THR’s Hollywood Agents Roundtable

Nowhere is gender disparity among Hollywood’s corporate ranks more painfully acute than inside the top talent agencies, where the percentage of women agents can dip as low as 15 and nary a female CEO can be found. Sure, women have made huge strides as network and studio chiefs (Exhibit A: the dozens of such execs who appear on this year’s Power 100 list), but such advancements have yet to materialize in the agency world, where in-your-face, ballsy machismo seems to remain the default sensibility. This reality, among others (24-hour care of clients, pressure to embrace new revenue streams, shrinking budgets), was discussed with candor — and not a few laughs — among the six agents (WME’s Sharon Jackson, Gersh‘s Leslie Siebert, CAA’s Maha Dakhil, UTA’s Blair Kohan, Paradigm’s Debbee Klein and ICM Partners’ Lorrie Bartlett) who gathered for THR‘s first-ever on- the-record conversation with top agents. With the diplomacy required by their profession, they tackle the struggle to straddle work and family life (five of the six are married mothers), why it’s OK when clients leave and how an innate sense of nurturing actually can be an agent’s best weapon.

Read the Transcript on the link below:

The Hollywood Reporter: How has your job changed since you became an agent, and how have you adapted to those changes?

Sharon Jackson: Well, there’s e-mail now. (Laughter.)

Debbee Klein: Cell phones.

THR: How did you do your jobs before e-mail?

Blair Kohan: I remember the “cc.” We couldn’t just send a “cc,” so at the end of the day, as an assistant, you would go to the Xerox and you would make as many copies as were on the “cc” list. And you would run around and put them in people’s inboxes. That was your little after-hours treat.

Leslie Siebert: And there were real pictures and résumés!

Lorrie Bartlett: I think everybody’s working harder now to make less money.

Siebert: We’ve had to lower our clients’ expectations, too. So many have huge quotes from the good days, whether in film or TV, and now you go and make the best deal you can.

Bartlett: That’s a huge part of it, just managing expectations.

Siebert: And they don’t believe you anyway. (Laughter.)

Klein: There’s also no backend. I deal only with the writers. We still play for the big backend, and the writers still hope for it. Occasionally it comes through.

The Hollywood Reporter | Read the Full Article