“It takes a village to develop a budding career,” says Coast to Coast topper Meredith Fine. “I can’t do it all by myself, so building a strong team around the talent that includes managers, lawyers and publicists just makes good business sense.”
With a strong, pro-manager philosophy and a tight team that includes agent Dana Fletcher, who handles contracts, and Reagan Wallace, Fine is a firm believer in occasionally sharing Coast to Coast’s more successful young stars with partners at the major agencies. In the past, the youth-oriented tenpercentery has made deals to co-rep Haley Joel Osment with Paradigm, Hailee Steinfeld and Robbie Amell with ICM, plus Devon Werkheiser with APA. But such deals are “a matter of judgment and should be done only when the time is right and the agencies share your vision,” Fine cautions. “That way, it’s just better for the overall strategy and the big picture.”
As a rule, Fine doesn’t pursue such alliances for her early-teen talent, “as we’re trying to transition them into an adult market.” But when Steinfeld booked “True Grit,” “We all knew we had a big opportunity and that we should capitalize on it,” she explains. “ICM came in early and then did a great job of promoting her.” (Steinfeld ended up scoring a supporting actress Oscar nom.)
“Kids have become so much more of a brand today,” Fletcher says. “When I began 15 years ago, working with kids and animals on sets was considered very difficult.” But the attitude toward young actors has changed thanks to the success of stars such as Miley Cyrus and Hilary Duff, she adds.
By extension, Coast to Coast’s philosophy has evolved as well, with the agency striving to build a team around its talent that includes managers, lawyers and publicists, where appropriate. That strategy even extends to consulting with Oscar-savvy promoters “and getting them on board when the time is right,” Fletcher adds.