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One of the most fascinating categories of novels to read would definitely have to be the oral history genre. In general, people tend to enjoy reading books that include interviews with real celebrities and famous figures.

It is always fascinating to hear stories from other people, but there is an extra level of intrigue provided when the people are famous. (It’s why podcasts like WTF with Marc Maron are so popular.)

In the past, the writing duo of James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales have provided the general reading public with a slew of comprehensive oral histories about some of the most fascinating subjects in the entertainment business.

They published These Guys Have All the Fun and Live from New York, behemoth novels that compiled an oral history about both ESPN and Saturday Night Live, respectively. Now, they have ventured into an interesting, albeit unexpected oral history that tackles the history of one of the top talent agencies in the world.

The book is entitled, Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood’s Creative Arts Agency. Regarding the book’s unexpected foray into CAA, Miller says that casting and talent agencies are such a part of our daily lives and we do not always realize it, so it allows for an interesting glimpse into something that is so prevalent in the behind the scenes world of our lives.

From talk show hosts like Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, and Stephen Colbert to huge Hollywood actors like Cate Blanchett, Chris Hemsworth, and Brad Pitt, the book will chronicle the ins and outs of many back door Hollywood deals that have shaped the future of our culture, our media, and our entertainment for years upon years and decades upon decades. And after the quality of the stories presented in the oral histories of ESPN and Saturday Night Live, the book will be a must read for all those who adore those types of novels.

 

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2017’s Big Talent Battle

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In the past, the success of talent agencies were defined by the amount of qualities that agencies could boast. Perhaps, also, the quality of the talent that these agencies acquired was also hugely beneficial for marking the level of success that talent agencies procured.

For example, the film industry used to be largely based around various studios that had certain stars attached to them. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, for one, were tied to RKO Radio Pictures for many years.

Now, however, the model for successful talent agencies is shifting, as is the entire landscape for the entertainment industry. For one, talent agencies are increasingly more dependent on their own internal growth as well as generating revenue from outside sources. They cannot afford to be completely reliant on the star power of their celebrities.

One reason for this is because with the increase in popularity for services like Hulu and Netflix, actors are working for fewer episodes of television every year. Additionally, stars do not get people into movie theaters as effectively as they used to, with many considering Leonardo DiCaprio the last actor that could pull an audience based on name recognition alone.

WME-IMG is pursuing the option of owning their own content in 2017, while CAA is looking to making deals overseas. Both of these seem like viable options as the foreign market for films and television has only gotten larger over recent years (after all, it rescued Universal’s Dark Universe by buoying most of the profits made by 2017’s The Mummy) and the idea of producing your own content has come to be one of the most lucrative ones with every company getting into the game, from Apple to Netflix to even Amazon.

Time will tell which talent agency truly proved to be the victorious one this year.

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Fionn Whitehead Joins UTA

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When Christopher Nolan began work on his tenth feature film, the true story of the evacuation after the Battle of Dunkirk during World War II, Dunkirk, he made it quite clear that despite hiring the likes of Kenneth Branagh and Tom Hardy to star in his film, he wanted the true lead of his movie to be an unknown.

Once filming and production on Dunkirk was complete, it became obvious to the moviegoing audience that Nolan was true to his word. The lead for Dunkirk was a young man named Fionn Whitehead.

With such star power in his film electing to serve in supporting roles, Nolan allowed for Whitehead to become the focal point of what was one of the most successful original films of the summer, becoming quite the box office juggernaut. Because of the large amounts of exposure that Whitehead received in the summer of 2017, it would only make sense that one of the top talent agencies in the world would make a move to scoop up his talent and that’s just what happened.

The United Talent Agency inked a deal to represent the rising star recently. Talk about a slew of major developments for an actor after starring in his first big movie.

Dunkirk is considered a major awards player going forward for the Warner Brothers studio, as there has been much buzz about the potential for Nolan to sneak into the category for Best Director, the film to be nominated for Best Picture, and many other aspects to be nominated for the technical categories of the awards ceremony. If any actor were to make a splash in the Oscars, it would likely be Mark Rylance, but I do not think we should rule out the potential for Whitehead, the newcomer, to surprise everybody.

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An Office for Creativity

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To begin, first, with an obvious example, quite a many people tend to gush about the quality and the design of the offices in which Pixar productions take place. Colorful, playful, and full of fun, many visitors to the offices of Pixar (and the employees, too) tend to gush about how wonderful an environment it is to work and create at Pixar.

Likewise, other offices have attempted to replicate this feeling, including the United Talent Agency. If you walk into one of these, it can be intimidating to nail the right tone for your interview. The tips in the video below should help with that.

And you do not necessarily need to have a playful and colorful work environment in order to achieve massive amounts of success. After all, what works for Pixar, may not necessarily work for all other companies. But even if you do not go the extra mile as Pixar did in making your offices fun, it is still important that you ensure your workers do not feel as if the environment they are being forced to work in is one that resembles a prison.

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