Read My Script!

There are no words to describe the atmosphere of a powerhouse like United Talent Agency (UTA).  Villanova-On-Set had an amazing opportunity to meet with Villanova University alumni Charlie Ferraro, a top motion picture literary agent at UTA.  While Mr. Ferraro was laid back into the soft fringes of his seat, his reactions were visceral.  As I came to understand, the agency atmosphere requires an almost instinctual showing of strength.  While other agents in the room took a more artistic view, such as only fighting for projects that they loved, Mr. Ferraro does not view taste as his sole driving force.  He does not believe being an agent is a job; it is a lifestyle.

 

Be prepared if you are considering representing writers, directors, or actors, as becoming an agent is no stroll.  The cohort has come to personally understand that Los Angeles is a land of hustlers.  There are no breaks, no 9-5s, and no excuses.  Being an agent is no different.  Agents most typically start in the mailroom and work their way up the ladder.  There is even an agent university at UTA, which prepares mailroom workers for agency life and, more importantly, an exam that the worker must master to even be considered for an assistant position.  Yet, the fun does not stop, as the assistant is forged over a three-year period before a skillful agent is constructed.

 

In the beginning, the visceral nature of the business was jarring.  Even as a law student, I was surprised at the ingrained bluntness of Mr. Ferraro.  However, then I began asking myself who I would want to represent me in the cutthroat entertainment industry.  You start to understand when you picture yourself as an extra by day and waiter by night who believes he or she has written the next masterpiece.  You don’t want a sheep representing you.  You want a shark.  I want a shark.  The intense passion that you poured into your script should be equally matched by someone with the resolve to fight for you.  Compared to an attorney who can lean on the law to persuade, an agent has only his or her insight and taste.  Without a steel backbone like the law, an agent must create a steel backbone of his or her own.  It is this shark-like resilience that ensures quality writing lives on into production.