The little train that could
by Perry Zimel
I have been fortunate enough that in all my years of managing clients I have only twice encountered managers based in Los Angeles, who tried to poach clients of mine. One was unsuccessful and the other was successful. I have always admired that the industry has a certain respect for ‘the little train that could/does’. It is why the ‘Big’ agencies leave a couple of the small boutique agencies alone. The smaller boutiques are classy agents who represent their clients with attention and care. The ‘big’ agencies respect that, in fact, they may actually envy it.
When your bottom line is not answerable to board members, you get to make different choices as a representative. I have always been fortunate enough that my clients know that I don’t live in L.A. When standing next to a client when another manager actually comes up and says ‘you need a manager‘ and my client says ‘Perry (standing right here) is my manager‘ and the manager says ‘oh Perry is great, but he lives in Canada‘, my client says ‘Thankfully’. The second manager who tried to do this was successful in getting two of my clients to come to him. He did it in a sneaky way. He did it by offering one a film to direct, and the other by saying he only wanted to be part of his ‘writing’ career, not his acting. After the film was shot the client was led to believe that me being in Canada was a hindrance and the other (no surprise) felt compelled to include this manager in his acting career.
I approach my clients (as I do everything) with compassion, so I ventured into ‘trying’ to work with this manager and co-manage these two clients. I wanted to ‘try’ and see what it would mean to have a ‘partner’ based in L.A. and how we could venture forward and help the client achieve their goals. The ‘attraction’ of working with someone was very appealing so I decided to ‘go for it’ and have no aversion to it. The opposite of how I have led my ‘career and personal life’.
Suffice to say, it failed miserably as my beliefs in co-managing were based in my fear of losing a client, rather than in my desire to work with someone and co-manage. It was one of the only times in all the years of being in this business that I ‘questioned’ if not being based full time in L.A. was a hindrance to my ‘career’. And then I would go back to my clients who would say ‘Thankfully‘ I don’t live in Hollywood. And I understood it.
Because I live on the ‘outside of being in’ in Hollywood, I have a different perspective. I have one of ‘separation’ between work and life. I have one that allows me to work within the industry all the while maintaining a life of being centered of self, rather then self centered.
There is nothing wrong with this manager ‘wanting’ my clients. The question is………what do I ‘want’ in life??? Do I want to be the person who is negative and greedy or do I want to be the person that is positive and generous?
The world of Hollywood is known for its positivity and its generosity. That is the world I choose to live in. Out of that situation, I have learned that there will always be people who ‘want’ something from me and I would much prefer to work with people who ‘want’ the same thing as me.
There are some wonderful people in Hollywood who are inclusive and like minded. It doesn’t matter to them where I physically live. We still can have a connection that is meaningful. That is the Hollywood I choose to see. That is the Hollywood that is great. I may at the end of the day not be as ‘successful’ as some of the managers based in L.A. but at the end of the day…………how do you define ‘success!!!!!’.Tags: Film and TV business, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Manager