I hope everyone out there in internetville has had a lively week. How was mine, you ask? It was fantastic. It's beginning to look like a client of mine - my first client actually - may wind up with his own TV show. And he would star along side one of TV's all-time great hunks. I can't say who, but if you asked me to give you a clue, I'd have to say, "uncle!"
I bet you're wondering what, if anything, I did to secure this. Well, the answer is talk on the phone, a lot. So much that my jaw his hurting! But all this phone chattering made me think that the next thing one most know in order to be a Hollywood agent is Phone Etiquette 101.
There are three - and only three - tacts a young agent can take while "agenting" via phone.
1. The New Car Salesman.
Used car salesman reek of desperation and Drakkar Noir, but new car salesman are confident, concise and often quite fetching. When you're selling your clients, you are selling a Lexus. If the person you're talking to is wavering, forget 'em. The next person through the door is abso-freaking-lutely going to want your top-of-the-line luxury automobile.
2. The Homegirl
Use this approach when talking to female executives who seem like they could use a friend. Personal relationships are currency is Hollywood. Ask about their love lives, their pets, or the new book they're reading because it was got a good review on Slate.com (or because it's an Oprah book club pick - know your audience). This works doubly well if you're gay.
3. The Blame Game
If you get a call from an angry producer, manager or client, you MUST escape without any harm to your agency or clients. And you'd do quite well to avoid any damage to your reputation. This calls for the Blame Game. It's not pretty, but now being on the other side, I understand the importance of this rule: when in doubt, your assistant screwed up. The thing about the Blame Game is that it's universal, so no one really believes that your assistant is at fault, but like a get out of jail free card, the person on the other line will let you off the hook. This is because he or she will almost definitely play the Blame Game for you at some point in the near future.
Of course, there are variations on these rules. There's the Mother Hen, the Big Fan, the Let's Get Dinner and, of course, the Hail Mary. But if you stick to the first three you should have no problem accomplishing any goal you need to as a junior agent.
Okay, guys. That's all I have for you today!
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!