Recession Watch: Expense Accounts Out At THR

Perhaps the most painful reality of Recession Hollywood — for egos and wallets alike — is the parking situation at CAA.

Last Updated: February 15, 2009 @ 5:31 PM
Recession in Hollywood means a lot of things, and one of them is: vanishing perks.
 
The Wrap has taken on the solemn duty of chronicling for you the diminishing advantages of being in the glamour business.
 
We’ve heard from two direct sources that The Hollywood Reporter has eliminated expense accounts. This means that reporters or editors from the trade must peer forlornly across the table when lunching with a source, and take care not to touch the bill. "Expense accounts are out," said one such executive, who took care of it for the benefit of Nielsen.
 
Previously: 
Here’s the latest: Our spies tell us that the candy dishes in the front lobby of Focus Features have disappeared. At Warner Bros. and Endeavor, employees’ subscriptions to "Variety" are no longer complimentary. And all across Tinsel Town, executives of every vice-president and senior vice-president stripe are being asked to fly "one class below" their usual airborne caste. For VP’s and above, it’s now coach, instead of business class. For presidents and higher, it’s business instead of first.  
 
It’s rough. 
 
But perhaps the most painful reality of Recession Hollywood — for egos and wallets alike — is the parking situation at CAA. As reported by Patrick Goldstein, valet parking at the Death Star in Century City is no longer validated – unless, of course, you’re Clint Eastwood or some other A-List-Enough actor or director privy to your agent’s limited supply of validation stickers. B-list screenwriter? Sorry, pal – try William Morris. The real rub is that CAA’s rates make the Spago valet look like a McDonald’s drive-through: two hours of parking costs $34. 
 
CAA has said it has no say over its parking rates, which is controlled by the building (which CAA does not own), and that to haggle for lower rates would mean having to cut CAA assistants and service staff in order to keep costs in check. 
  
Even so, the situation has gotten so ugly that CAA assistants are keeping their boss’ allotment of validations (we hear it’s around four, per agent, per month) under lock and key, but even so, there’s stealing. This is CAA, remember: to poach is to prove your agent-hood. 
  
Making it all the more prickly,  CAA agents are being encouraged to keep down their expenses by inviting clients and other guests over to CAA for meetings, as opposed to running up a bill at Cut or L’Hermitage. 
 
In recent weeks, the agency has been deluged by complaints from major stars and less major executives and managers, affronted by the fact that their Lexus’ and Prius’ are not being lovingly protected for free. As of yet, there have been no parking-related defections, but we’ll see.