I Want to be a Hollywood Agent


QI’m a second year at a well known Chicago firm.  I’m looking to move to LA and break into Hollywood.  Maybe get a job as an agent?  Any advice?

AYeah. Don’t do it. Unless, of course, you really want it.  I mean, really, really want it. Hollywood’s no joke. It’s an insular, hyper-competitive, random business overflowing with narcissists and pettiness. It’s cliché, I know. But it’s true. However, if your dream really and truly is to represent Brangelina and sip watermelon mojitos with studio big shots, and you can’t imagine doing anything else, then go for it. But do it with your eyes open. Wide open. For starters, know this: you won’t be the only lawyer with a fancy resume looking to break into the biz. You’re a dime a dozen, bro. Just another educated douche bag looking to move west and touch fame.

Talked you out of it yet? If not, here’s what you do: try your hardest to get a job as an assistant for a top agent. Sounds demeaning, I know, but it’s a tough job to get. As tough, if not tougher, than landing a job at Skadden. Really. Only difference is, your starting salary will be about $30,000 per year. And you’ll be a secretary. In other words, you’ll have to swallow that Ivy League JD and become a phone-bitch for two, possibly three years before you actually become an agent. That means answering phones, making lunch reservations, overseeing your boss’s kitchen re-model and dropping off urine samples at the urologist’s office.  For real. Oh yeah, and the hours suck. 8 am to 9pm, plus weekend chores like reading scripts and doing household errands. It’s a long, grueling and demeaning process. So get ready to suck it up in ways you never imagined. But the good news is: if you’re a dutiful soldier and actually get promoted to agent some day, and “sign” lots of successful clients, you’ll make big money. Investment banker cash.  Partners at top agencies make a few million bones a year. Uber-agents make five to ten. And the social life ain’t too shabby too. Definitely better than being an attorney. Like a lot better. The people are prettier, the parties more fun, and no one talks about law.

Got a question for Ex-Bitter?  Email it to advice@bitterlawyer.com

Photo by Marc Horowitz

Ex-Bitter is a former big firm lawyer who now doles out advice to anyone who asks. Got a question? Email it to advice@bitterlawyer.com. Or read more Advice from an Ex-Bitter.

5 Comments

  1. aspiring agent

    July 18, 2008 at 11:31 am

    wow.  sounds brutal.  then again, fetching coffee for some douche bag sounds better than doing research all night for some stupid brief.

  2. Scott

    July 20, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    good buddy of mine from law school tried to live the LA dream- his Duke law degree was of no help when trying to make dinner reservations for his boss, or figuring out how to get the agent’s kid into the top LA preschool…we now practice corp law together in atlanta…not a dream job but better than being someone’s bitch

  3. nick c

    July 21, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    totally agree.  gotta really want to do it.  get treated like a punk for years… i’d rather be a lawyer.  not perfect, but at least you don’t have to answer someone’s phone.

  4. YrNextBestAsst

    August 26, 2008 at 6:52 am

    I find these comments hilarous! Mostly because ive fetched coffee, answered phones and pretty much been a “bitch” for many an attorney douchbag (such as some of you-judged only by your comments of course), but at the end of the day i have a life, my family sees me, my dogs get great walks, i see my kids grow up and you know, all those “other” importants things in life dont pass me by

  5. Ken

    September 10, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    “It’s an insular, hyper-competitive, random business overflowing with narcissists and pettiness.”
    In other words, you mean that it’s a lot like practicing law???  (Sorry … couldn’t resist).

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