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A journey from ensign to agent

WME's Brandt Joel sez Navy experience prepped him for H'wood

A four-year stint in the Navy helped lay the foundation for Brandt Joel’s future career as a tenpercenter.

“It was great training for me to go from being in college with little or no responsibility to a situation that taught me how to be responsible for a lot of people very quickly,” says Joel, who now reps actors and directors at WME. “It definitely prepared me for working in this business.”

Joel joined the service from Duke U., which he attended with tuition aid from the military under the condition that he serve four years after graduating. During his 1987-91 hitch, his ship was deployed to the Persian Gulf. They conducted plenty of battle exercises but ultimately did not see combat. (Years later he thanked Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf for that decision when he ran into him at the premiere of “The Lost World: Jurassic Park.”)

After being discharged in San Diego, Joel headed to Hollywood where he quickly landed in the UTA mailroom.

“I think I got hired because they hadn’t met with many people who were coming out of the military,” Joel says.

Today he’s a strong advocate of clients going overseas to entertain the troops. He knows what an impact it can have on service members stationed far from home.

“It can be very lonely over there,” he says.

Related links:
A journey from ensign to agent | HBO topper’s career guided by military service | Mark Burnett’s boot camp

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