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Friday, September 26, 2008

How Do You Get a Hollywood Agent?

Every year millions of "wanna bees" move to Hollywood in hopes of being "Discovered", getting a big Hollywood Agent and Making it in Hollywood. Well now you don't have to move to Hollywood to get a big Hollywood agent.

I had the chance of catching up with ICM digital content Agent George Ruiz and I asked him about what he looks for when he's searching for talent to sign.

George explained that first and foremost he's looking for passion. George believes that you as a online video creator or performer need to be passionate about your work but he also needs to be passionate about your work. He can't sell you if he doesn't believe in what your doing.

Keep in mind that you as a online video creator succeed in helping other people. You succeed in helping people laugh. You succeed in helping people cry. You succeed in helping people with information and you succeed with advertisers by helping them get the message out about their brand.

You also have to have something that an agent can use as a sales tool. An agent isn't going to pick up the phone and say, "Hey I met this great guy who thinks he might be able to make some videos that might be able to get some views."

Agents are salesmen who need to believe in the products they are selling and they need to have sales tools.

Sales Tools? What are you talking about Tim? Agents are cool and creative they don't do sales.

Wake up.

An agent needs to be able to show a studio, network, production company or Web 2.0 company something that will make them believe that you can do something for them. If you are a writer it would be a good idea to have a few really good scripts written. If you are a director it would be a good idea to have a demo reel of really good videos that you have directed. If you are an actor it would be a good idea to have a demo reel and resume of the best work that you've done.

Now the chances of you getting an agent right now if you only do one thing is pretty low. Your best chance of getting a new media agent is much better if you write, produce, direct and act or are part of a team that does all that. Right now agents are looking to sell turnkey solutions for studios and networks. There's very little money flowing in online video right now and people who can do multiple jobs and have already proved it are of the most value.

Already Proved it?

Are you smoking crack Tim?

I need an agent so I can get work. I don't have anything to prove it.

Well you better get off your butt, go make a video, post it on the Internet and get an audience.

Get an audience?

If I had an audience I wouldn't need an agent.

There is a bit of a Catch 22 going on here but the bottom line is that you are going to have to put out for free to get an agent and the bigger your audience is the more studios, networks and production companies are going to want you. Even if you have an audience of millions you can still use an agent to set up meetings for you. Agents are dealing with buyers everyday and know what the buyers are looking for. They can work for you setting up your next project while your working on making your current online video hit.

That's just stupid Tim. If I have millions of viewers I don't need an agent.

Well, I can only think of a few online video creators who are making money with online video content that don't have agents but they do have companies and funding behind them.

Agents don't cost you money on the front end the way a staff sales team does and they could get you more money on the back end because agents know the deals that have already been made, they know things to ask for in a deal that you might never think of and all for the low, low price of 10%.

How Do You Get a Hollywood Agent?

Have something to offer that an agent can use to sell you:

An online series with millions of views
A resume and demo real
Emotionally engaging written material

Then contact a new media agent by email or contact someone who already has a new media agent and have them recommend you. That's how I got an agent. Kent Nichols of Ask a Ninja recommended me to UTA and after I had been signed awhile I recommended Blake Calhoun who produces Pink. Now there are other people that I've sent to my agents at UTA and for what ever reason they weren't passionate about those people and they didn't even call them in for a meeting even though they had millions of views.

One of the people George Ruiz has been able to sell is Video Blogger Brigette Dale from Lincoln Nebraska who has signed a deal with ABC Family.

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JZ said...

I'd just add that it's important to remember that your agent is only as good as your last project. You have to keep working just as hard, if not harder, once you're rep'd in town. Your agent can help you negotiate deals and close business terms, but in the digital space it's even more important for the content creator to be aware of the deal precedents that are being established as well as what is developing in terms of ownership, rights management etc. Smart agents like George can help their clients better understand these elements.

1 Tim Street said...

I totally agree with you. Human nature really comes into play in selling create and people are very fickle.