Youth Impact Report 2011: Primo Percenters
Impact: The Abrams Artists duo significantly upgraded their act by signing with Paradigm.
Next: Kristi Lauren plays Jaime Pressly’s 16-year-old daughter on Fox’s upcoming sitcom “I Hate My Teenage Daughter.”
Causes: Support such child-focused charities as St. Jude, Make a Wish, Camp Ronald McDonald and Starlight Foundation.
After starting the youth department 16 years ago at the boutique Abrams Artists, powerhouse youth agent Wendi Green and partner Jennifer Millar (whom Green hired 13 years ago) moved to major player Paradigm this past summer, bringing with them such A-list clients as Angus T. Jones (“Two and a Half Men”) and China Anne McClain (“A.N.T. Farm”).
The move, which Green describes as “a really big deal for both us and our clients,” has already proved a smart business decision for the team. Notes Millar, “We don’t just view our clients as ‘youth talent,’ and Paradigm offers us incredible crossover opportunities and possibilities across all departments. Now we have access to a full literary department, endorsements, theatrical, music.”
The longtime duo — who split casting directors but otherwise do everything together, including signing new talent and strategizing their charges’ career paths and goals — count many key kids among their clients, including Maxim Knight (“Falling Skies”) and sisters Vanessa and Laura Marano. While Vanessa appears on “Switched at Birth,” Laura has a lead role on Disney Channel’s “Austin & Ally.”
“It’s great they both have their own series now,” Green says.
Over the past two decades, Green has seen big changes in the youth market. “It’s far more kid-friendly now,” she stresses. “Kids have huge box office openings, families want more kid-friendly shows and movies, and youth talent is now rising to the top. Before, kids were used as props on TV shows. Now they’re used as stars.”