Agents are necessary enablers and unavoidable exploiters of the Hollywood financing, filmmaking and talent-finagling process. But I’ve never been all that interested in their comings and goings (apart from being grateful to certain agency guys for slipping me scripts). How many people outside of the Hollywood talent community follow agent activities with the same passion that Yankee fans follow Mike Lupica during the season? Damn few.
The most avid followers and chroniclers of agentry are a microscopic group of industry-savvy editors and reporters, and….whatever, all power to them. But they must at least sense that reporting on which agencies and agents matter and what they’re up to can’t be terribly engrossing. What they’re doing is basically a form of elaborate networking that allows them to coddle up to the most powerful and thereby gain the best early information. It’s also about practicing a form of oneupsmanship among themselves and other industry-watching journos.
You can’t ignore the game, of course. You can’t write about Hollywood without being at least somewhat conversant with the agenting community, blah blah, but learning and filing this knowledge is, for me, like eating spinach. All right, make it broccoli.
From the POV of your average Joe, agents are good for one thing — i.e., they make good fodder for characters like Ari Gold on Entourage and Tom Cruise‘s Jerry Maguire. I’m not so moralistic or simplistic as to think that agentry is (trot out any cliche) an essentially arid and manipulative calling or whatever, but I do know that with some exceptions agents are not and never will be true movie “Catholics.”
The most important shared trait among the gifted folks who make movies that matter — before, now, forever — is their profound and lasting belief in movies as a kind of spiritual calling or faith, and in theatres as churches. Agents are necessary facilitators in the roundabout creating of said Catholicism (in the sense that they sort out bottom-line issues that need settling), but I’ve never found that nuts-and-bolts function to be especially soul-stirring. Who would?
Good agents know their stuff, of course, and are obviously expert at sensing true talent and sniffing out the best projects. But I don’t think they get Catholicism. I don’t they be good agents if they did. As this column is about Catholicism and aimed at Catholics, I’m sure that the agenting commmunity gets why I’ve never felt the hunger the way Sharon Waxman and Nikki Finke and Kim Masters always have. No offense, guys. No offense all around.