WWAGD? (What would Ari Gold do?)
I watched a few seasons of Entourage over the Christmas break in search of some inspiration – and my new year’s resolution is to ask ‘What Would Ari Gold do?'
In truth, the fictional world of the super agent in the hilarious HBO series is, of course, a heightened version of reality – though not as far from the truth as some people might think. Famously, the character was based on show creator Mark Wahlberg’s real life agent Ari Emanuel, who broke away from ICM to form Endeavour, and Ari reportedly insisted that his own client Jeremy Piven play him.
The biggest difference between the show’s depiction of my job of choice and life as an agent in London is that we don’t have a distinction between agents and managers. Here, we are one in the same thing. Explaining the difference between the roles in the US, the manager Eric outrageously claims of the difference, “The manager’s the one that cares!”.
The agent is the business contractor and takes the direct calls from the casting directors and producers seeking talent. A manager traditionally gets involved in promotion and the cultivating and promotion of their clients functioning as an adviser and guide. There are restrictions on what a manager can do in terms of negotiating contracts, unless they use an agent or lawyer alternatively.
I for one really enjoy the fact that we do both here – I enjoy the close personal relationship with an actor and developing their talent and career as well as finding them their opportunities and negotiating hard on their behalf.
[pullquote]Ari is an industrial tribunal waiting to happen[/pullquote]
Ari, meanwhile, is an industrial tribunal waiting to happen (“You fire a guy, you create a rival. You fire a woman you create a housewife”), if not a heart attack waiting to happen, and if I ever worry about getting my work/life balance right and maintaining a happy family life – he crossed that line so long ago he can’t even see the line.
But what actually is quite inspirational is his energy and passion. I do find, as a rule, that a lot of agents in the UK have a kind of “They should ring me” attitude, and don’t like to be seen to be the ones knocking on the door as much. It may just be a perception, but I do like the pro-active aggressive nature of American agents and managers.
They also tend to take their own physical health more seriously in relation to occupational success, and so the other effect that watching Entourage has had with me has been to join Virgin Gyms. I shall report back in my future blogs how I’m getting on as a footnote. I hope this spurs me on… watch this space.