Monday, January 28, 2013

Agency Moves, Or, No Unpublished Authors Need Apply

ICM and Andrew Wylie were wed but the union did not produce universal love and solidarity, if the latest rumblings in the agenting world are any indication.

Jeff Berg, ICM chairman, has started up his own agency, and he's taking a few of his ICM colleagues with him.

Ari Emanuel did the same thing when he bolted along with a few other mates from ICM and founded the Endeavor agency, which they then merged with the old William Morris agency to form a serious threat to ICM's position of power.

You'd have to guess that if Mr. Berg were happy with the direction ICM is going that he would have stuck around to do battle against the likes of Ari Emanuel, who is so well known in Hollywood that he had an entire HBO television series based on his antics.

Instead, Mr. Berg and his as yet unnamed band will form a new agency, to be called Resolution.

Not as catchy as "Endeavor" but still succinct and to the point. Sounds a bit too much like vows made on New Year's Eve in a drunken stupor, but the name isn't all that important. It's the names of the agents under that banner that matter.

The plan is to set up twenty-five agents in Los Angeles and another ten in Nashville (don't let anyone tell you that country music isn't hot). Those agents will all be established, with a roster of clients that they will bring to Resolution.

Which means talent will be leaving ICM and whatever other agencies lose agents to Mr. Berg.

Clearly, Resolution won't be in need of talent that hasn't been proven. If you're looking for an agent and you don't have a string of blockbuster books trailing in your wake, don't bother applying. If you are so fortunate, well, they'd be calling you, wouldn't they?

Where you'll want to search is lower down the food chain, as those up high who lose talent seek to siphon off the next level of talent from other agencies, who in turn look to replace what they have lost.

At some point, you'll find agents who are willing to take a chance because they need authors bringing in royalties to fill the slots of those authors who were lured to other agencies seeking to replace those who followed their agent elsewhere.

Agency moves can open up more doors for writers who are struggling for admittance. It's just a question of watching the next set of developments and figuring out where to take your manuscript.

Easier said than done, of course.

You still have to be telling the right story at the right time at the right place. The odds might shift ever so slightly, with the disturbance in the force that will be Resolution. But they're still very much not in your favor.

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