Hi All! Welcome back to Lloyd's blog and the first installment of our new series Lloyd's Guide to Being a Hollywood Agent!
Now, I'm no expert, having only been on the job for less than a year, but I have studied under a master. If you stick with me and follows these rules, your dream of being a Hollywood Super Agent can come true. Unless, of course, that's not your dream. In that case, I hope you succeed in whatever it is your heart desires.
I learned many moons ago that one of the most important parts of being an agent here in Hollywood is "lunching." Lunch is to being an agent as the Coliseum was to being a gladiator. Lunch is where careers are started, ended, made and broken. Stars are born and fade away. And agents are the ones pulling all the strings. Lunch is your battlefield and every decision you make when going into battle could be the difference between a free lunch and a hefty check.
First, where do you want to lunch? If you're a young agent, like myself, you do not want to go to the Grill. Nor do you want to be caught dead at the Ivy nor BLVD. If you enter one of these holy waters of negotiation before you are mentally, and physically, prepared, the sharks will eat you alive. You might want to try a place like Nate 'n Al's (timeless, full of character, brutally good corned beef) or, if you're feeling feisty - or, in my case, stereotypical - Xi'an. But if the food is delicious, the price is right and the zip code is 90210, you'll impress your guest enough to continue.
Now your guest is approaching, what do you do? One thing that I've seen done is the bro-hug. Oh, how I wish the bro-hug would go the way of the three-part handshake. You do not want to bro-hug another man while wearing a three-piece suit (and you will be wearing a three-piece suit). You must - MUST - stand up, look your guest in the eye and shake his hand like you're Don Draper. It doesn't matter if he was your college roommate or your dentist's brother or the son of your boss, shake his hand! No fist pumps. No slapping fives. And, for God's sake, no bro-hugs!
This rule goes doubly for women! Unless the woman is a relative, do not hug or kiss her. Though, you would never waste a weekday lunch on a family member. Lunches are valuable, people! Women are exactly like men, but pretty. From 9-7 treat them as you would a man, and you'll get what you want. And then, after work, feel free to wine them and dine them. Or ignore them completely :)
When it's time to order, remember one thing: You CAN order just a salad. This is L.A., not Philadelphia. No one is judging you based on your ability to consume your weight in beef. In fact, you are far likelier to be judged negatively if you order short ribs. That being said, if you ever go to Mastro's, get a steak.
Finally, you have to deal with the check. And, barring special circumstances, YOU have to deal with the check. Of course, your agency will provide you with an expense account, so you have no reason to squabble or split. Look magnanimous. Take the check from the server's hand, peruse it for any egregious errors (but ignore minor ones; again, its not your money), and provide him or her with your American Express Business Card.
And when you bid your guest adieu, refrain from making any promises you may not want to keep, like "let's do this again soon," or "I'll send you that script this afternoon." However, if your guest makes any promises, you best be on the phone to his or her assistant the next morning following up. Remember, you're a Lunch Gladiator!
If you follow these simple rules, you'll be on your way to being a successful Hollywood agent. From the hours of 1pm-2pm. Check back for tips on the other 23 hours in the coming weeks!
Until then, adios!
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