Monday
Sep132010

How to Become an Agent

Dearest friends, I fear I have done something my father always warned me not to do while gathering grapes on our vineyard: I put the cart before the horse. For the last several weeks, I have dispersed advice to help you all excel as agents, but I left out the most important part: How to become an agent in the first place!

If you want to be a lawyer, you go to college, then law school. Then, you pass the bar, get hired by a firm and -- voila! You're a lawyer!

If you want to be an architect, you go to design school, get your degree in architecture, wear form-fitting clothes, have great hair and strong hands and -- poof! You're an architect!

But being an agent is not so cut and dry. There is no time-worn path for weary travelers to follow. Every path is different and every path is treacherous. But there are a few points on your journey you're going to want to hit, if only to know that you're making progress… which most of you won't be.


1. Go to college.

Nearly every agency requires a college degree. But college is the easy part, filled with binge-drinking and secretive nighttime experiments.


2. Get a job in the mailroom of an agency.

I assume many of you have heard that agents start in the mailroom. Well, this is true. Such suit-wearing Hollywood luminaries as David Geffen, Barry Diller, Michael Ovitz, Ari Emanuel and Bernie Brillstein started in the mailroom, sorting letters and packages, pushing a cart and going on runs for the higher-ups. Another future luminary who started in the mailroom is yours truly, and let me tell you, it is the most degrading, and sometimes depraved, experience I have ever been through. That is until Step 3...


3. Work for an agent.

One of the hallmark ways the career ladder in Hollywood differs from Wall Street, or Main Street, is that everyone works as an assistant. That's right, as a secretary. For years. And for monsters. In this space, I have dedicated many hundreds of words to the monster for whom I once worked, and I would say my situation was decidedly middle of the road. You must work for a dragon, and you must slay that dragon with your work ethic, your kindness, your grace under fire, your bedside manner and your can-do attitude. Then, after three or four years, you may have a shot at being promoted...

Or, you may be squeezed out by a threatened/jealous partner who sees you as potential competition, someone who wouldn't give you credit for tying your own tie, who seizes upon any opportunity, real or imagined, to paint you in a negative light to your superiors in the company and in the industry at large only to protect his or her own tenuous place in the vicious food chain we call Hollywood. (Deep breath...)

Oh, how I can't wait to be just like that.

Until next time, so long!

Monday
Aug302010

All Systems "Go"

Monday
Aug232010

To Poach or Not to Poach

That, my friends, is the question and we're not talking about eggs! What is it to poach, you ask? Well, first and foremost, its the subject of Lloyd's next lesson is being a SuperDuperStar Agent! To poach, in agent-ese, means to steal a client from another agent. Unlike, say, cattle poaching, it is not illegal. The remains a question, however, about its ethicality.

Well, let Lloyd give you the straight scoop. Poaching IS immoral. Poaching IS unethical. And if you don't try to poach clients from other agents, you WILL fail!

POACH! POACH! POACH! And if someone tries to poach from you, scream bloody murder!

Oh, I see a hand. Yes? The question, class, was "how do you poach?" This is a very good question.

The basic dynamic of a poach is the same as that of a love triangle, with you playing the role of the Latin Lothario out to steal the lonely housewife from the neglectful husband.

So, first, you need to make contact with your target. Avoid email! Avoid the phone, even! This must be done in person, preferably in public. You have nothing to hide. Who knows why you're talking to the fourth lead on Big Bang Theory? Maybe you have a client who wrote a script for him? Maybe you want to know what it's like to work for Chuck Lorre (or maybe you don't...)? Either way, its a free country, guys. So, talk and talk freely.

After you have made contact, establish a phone relationship with the target. Begin innocuously. "It was great to see you at that party/premiere/random gay club. I think you're a hell of a talent and I wanted to let you know you have a lot of fans in town and at our agency."

Okay. Now they know. If he's not interested, no harm no foul. All you did was tell him the truth. You barely even hit on him. But, if he's unhappy with his representation (and, I'll tell you, most actors are), you may get a call in return. Or you may get a call from his manager or lawyer. Or you may get a note slipped under your apartment door under the cover of night (true story!). But you will be notified.

At that point two things will happen. The first is, it's time to meet in person, perhaps with another agent. This is where the real agents shine. You meet in person, perhaps in an out-of-the-way place in - shiver! - the valley (!). Perhaps it is even on a weekend. You lay it out for them. This is where we see you in a year. This is how much money you stand to make. We can get you in a room with this producer, this director, this musician, this porn star! Lay it on thick. Butter this egg up and swallow it whole, people.

The second thing that will happen is you will receive a call. This call will be from the agent being poached from. He will freak out all over you. He will slander you, libel you, tell whoever he can what a slimeball you are. If he has any skills whatsoever, he will threaten your bank account, or your life. And there's only one way to handle this:

What's not just a river in Egypt? DENIAL! Deny everything. Act insulted. Avoid answering direct questions and be polite in return. The less you say, the angrier he will get and an angry agent is almost always an inefficient agent. And an inefficient agent is exactly the type of sucker who deserves to have his golden goose stolen from under his snot-nose!

Except one thing. If you happen to get that call, and on the other end of the line is Ari Gold...ABORT MISSION. Take it from someone who has seen it first hand, you try to poach a TMA client, Ari will destroy you. Oh, and if he doesn't, I will ;)

Tata for now, homies!

Lloyd



Monday
Aug092010

Lloyd's Guide to Schmoozing

Schmoozing. It's as closely associated with Hollywood as motion pictures and stints at Promises. But what is it to schmooze? Who schmoozes? When and how does one schmooze? Well, leave it to your trusty guide Lloyd to send you to the school of schmooze. All graduates receive a BS in BS!

In our two previous installments, we've discussed phone etiquette and lunching. Schmoozing is very similar in that you have an objective: improving your position or standing, and a mark: the producer, manager, executive or otherwise you are wooing. When you schmooze, however, one important element is added: booze.

Now, is it a coincidence that schmooze rhymes with booze? Perhaps. But more likely not -- for without booze, or at least the presence of booze in the immediate area, you're not schmoozing.

Why is booze so important to schmoozing? For the same reason Tom went home with me the first night I met him at Rage. Booze lowers your standards! (JK about Tom! We met at the olive bar at Bristol Farms, obvi!).

When booze is introduced you will notice two things:

1. People you already know will tell you things they are not supposed to be telling you.

2. People you DON'T know, important people, will actually acknowledge your presence!

This makes premiere parties, industry mixers, charity club nights and plain, old afterwork drinks SO essential. This is where you make hay.

So you have one and only or responsibility to yourself and your employer when schmoozing. Repeat after me: Don't Get Hammered!

Alright boys and girls. See you all in the next installment of Lloyd's blog!

Monday
Aug022010

The Perfect Puppy - Meet Rose!