Innovative agents find fresh opportunities for young talent
Matching the energy and enthusiasm of their young clients, Innovative Artists duo Ryan Daly and Melissa Hirschenson work as a team to break out teen and early-20s talent, whether as a film lead (Ashley Greene in Joel Silver-produced “The Apparition”), a TV principal (AnnaLynne McCord on “90210”) or series regular (Joshua Moore on “Desperate Housewives”). No matter the client, the goal remains the same: Ensure career longevity by ultimately transitioning them to adult roles.
Though they once shared an office as part of a separate “breakout department,” the two agents are now fully integrated within Innovative Artists. Both have had major successes spotting and developing unknowns: Hirschenson met McCord in a Miami casting session when the thesp was 15; Daly signed Greene at a talent search convention when she was 17.
Daly, who advanced to agenting after working up the assistant ranks, strives to maintain perspective for his clients. “I try to keep them humble,” he says. “I don’t want to contribute to the machine that creates egotistical actors.”
Hirschenson (who is also a lawyer) has helped a number of models make the transition to acting. Most recently, she placed Josh Pence in “The Social Network.” Her younger clients include Kathryn Newton, 11, of “Gary Unmarried” and Bella Thorne, who joins the cast of HBO’s “Big Love” next season. After developing and nurturing minors’ careers for more than a decade, both also can cope with stage parents, knowing how to spot the difficult ones and partner with those who get it.