Despite the sweltering heat, Wilshire Boulevard’s talent agencies have their lights on and their doors open.
A few years ago, CAA’s top brass floated a trial balloon, suggesting that since August is perennially in the doldrums, why not just shut down for a week or two and let everyone recharge?
It was an implausibly noble sentiment — one imagines an impromptu soccer match breaking out on the front lines of a WWI trench, or Lance Armstrong telling his fellow Tour riders, “Let’s all stop and catch our breath, shall we?”
But as a Big Five agency partner points out, Miramax is a shell of its former itself; the Weinstein Co. isn’t firing on all cylinders yet; MGM is history and DreamWorks is on the block.
“At first blush, it might look like fewer buyers equals fewer movies equals less work for us,” he says, “But it only means we have to work harder and be more focused.”
That’s not to say percenters aren’t decamping for Bermuda or the south of France to spend some quality time with their Blackberries.
But closing up shop altogether would be ridiculous, says one agency’s head of motion picture lit. He insists: “I could do this job from Jackson Hole, but we’re still pretty busy right now, just not at as frenetic a pace.”
Besides, were all agencies to shutter simultaneously, the resulting crush of industryites would create a new set of snarls.
Explains one agent: “The real problem comes when we all shut down around Christmastime. You’ll go away to Hawaii at some remote resort, and there’s 30 people around a pool reading scripts. You’ll just feel like, ‘God, get me out of here.’ “