So, I just got off the phone with my niece who’s attending acting school at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC and I told her, "Hurry, pack your bags … Get your tookus to Hollywood cuz the chances of getting an agent are gonna be next to impossible very soon." I was reading The Wrap’s story on the merger of WMA and Endeavor, and it affected me like my morning bran muffin. Not pretty!
We all know the economy is wreaking havoc on our Industry, but the latest news of the "conglomeration" of the talent agencies is bad news for all those wide-eyed dreamers in the world. It used to be you could arrive in Tinsel Town and have a shot at finding a small agent who would submit ya for small roles, and then you could move up the showbiz ladder with hard work, luck, perseverance and chutzpah!
We all know there’s a Hollywood food chain, and it starts at the very top with the William Morrises, the CAAs, the ICMs. Followed by the Gershes, the Stone Mannerses, the Paradigms, then the little Ma & Pa agencies who manage to squeak by on their 10 percents.
Well … with the onslaught of reality TV, with NBC slashing its primetime lineups, the acting "parts" are drying up like the Red Sea, the competition for acting and writing gigs are becoming fierce. Movie stars are taking TV roles, and the once coveted guest-star gigs are disappearing as fast as the hair on Jeff Zucker’s head. The Big Agencies "package," and what’s left is dished out to the middle agencies.
What does this all mean? (I’m no rocket scientist but I can make a mean potato latke, tap-dance my tookus off and have a little showbiz common sense), it means with the conglomeration of the talent agencies … the opportunities are for the very lucky with premiere representation only!
The networks are controlled by corporate Behemoths– GE, Viacom, News Corp, Disney. Everything is cross marketed and squeezed for the best bottom line return. The Big Agencies are juggernauts and lie in bed with the corporate controlled networks and thus a controlled environment for new talent.
How will future stars be discovered? On reality shows? Raffles? "American Idol"? The Internet? I dunno … but it scares me.
The smaller agencies are hurting, and I’ve heard the rumblings at Aroma Café of many of them closing shop. All of the agencies big and small are letting staff go. I don’t think it’s gonna be pretty this coming year.
My heart goes out to those kids arriving in town each day with hopes, dreams and the allure of fame. It isn’t gonna be easy. But, don’t let go of your dream. I still believe — if you’re good — Hollywood will find you. It’s just gonna be a lot harder
Okay. I’m finished venting this week.