Monday, October 10, 2016
It’s an oral history of CAA and author Miller (as opposed to Arthur Miller) managed to speak to practically everyone involved, including Michael Ovitz and Ron Meyer (the two real spearheads of the agency). Very impressive of Mr. Miller to track all these players down. Especially in a town where no one takes anyone's calls.
But maybe you would like it. It’s a Shakespearean tale of blind ambition, greed, betrayal, politics, business savvy, inflated ego, and gift baskets. It’s also a look back at an industry that has changed radically since those days when one high-powered agent could control all of Hollywood. Now it’s Marvel Comics.
My partner and I were with CAA for one year. It was not a pleasant experience although we do like many of the agents who work there. What became very clear to us, and the book confirmed countless times, was that the agency always placed their needs over yours. Your career was to best serve them. So if you wanted to get more into the feature world, but they saw you as a TV showrunner who would allow them to put together a rich package deal, that is where they steered you whether it was your preference or not.
And look, the truth about ALL agencies is that if you’re hot they love you and send you gifts and treat you like LeBron James. If you’re not hot, good luck getting one of them to call you back before Haley’s Comet next returns.
My favorite CAA story is this:
Remember when you were a kid in school you would hold a book open but have a comic book inside? The teacher thought you were reading OF MICE AND MEN when you were really reading Wonder Woman? I was on vacation in 1982 at the Kahala Hilton in Hawaii. Michael Eisner, then of Disney, was there with his family. Several CAA agents were staying at the Kahala as well.
So you can read 752 pages, but that one story pretty much tells you all you need to know about CAA.