Hear It From An Agent: William Morris Endeavor Co-CEO Patrick Whitesell Discusses the Future of Content
Because mentorless is a website for independent storytellers and filmmakers, I tend to focus on how to write your screenplay, tell your story better, be inspired by others’ works, avoid crowdfunding traps or self-distribute your work.
One part I had overlooked until now was the Agent/Manager aspect of the business but this is about to change as Patrick Whitesell, Co-CEO of William Morris Endeavor, sat with Andy Serwer at Brainstrom Tech to talk about how everything that is happening today is changing the way agents do their jobs, represent talents and focus on content.
Agents and managers, (that’s particularly true if you work on the U.S. soil) are important players in a talent’s life, especially if you are a writer or an actor. If you are a filmmaker, you can start working and finding jobs without them but, even if you plan to always stay on the independent side of filmmaking, having an agent and/or a manager will help you find jobs, find better jobs, and find talents for your next projects. When the actor you want is represented by your agency, it helps.
In the 30 minute interview below, Patrick Whitesell covers a large spectrum of information. He talks about WME’s focus for their clients, his relationship with Ari Emanuel, his infamous Co-CEO (he is the man who inspired Ari Gold’s character in Entourage), the evolution of cable channels, how YouTube and Netflix impact their clients and agents’ jobs, the DVDs’ disappearance and how WME is working to remain current in this fast-changing landscape.
It is interesting to see how William Morris Endeavor, which was created in 2009 after the merger of William Morris Agency and Endeavor Agency, strategies to stay on top of their game, i.e. being able to place their clients on the best jobs. WME has an important number of divisions, covering Talent, Motion Pictures, Scripted Television, Non-Scripted Television, Music, Literature, Theatre, Commercials, Lectures, and Branded Lifestyle. In 2012, Silver Lake, a technology-focused private equity firm based in Silicon Valley, became a minority partner. Whitesell also explains why him and Emanuel felt it was important to integrate Silver Lake to the equation.
Watch Patrick Whitesell’s full interview below:
Thanks to Jason Hirschhorn
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