Talent Agencies are the lifeblood of the entertainment industry. They’re the best source for making connections, getting to understand the business, and placing a foot in the door of a highly competitive industry where the value of who you know can make all the difference.
But there’s more to agency than just making connections. Gaining a backdoor view at the entertainment business can not only link you up with some star players, rather, it can also give you an idea of how mainstream media comes together in terms of business relations and logistics. Your placement behind agency lines will not limit you to an agency-specific career — in fact, it’s just the opposite with many entry-level entertainment jobs.
You’ll find that, whether you’re pursuing an Assistant position or a Development-focused role, you’ll need to have some form of entry-level experience either working an agency desk or a similar administrative role. Many employers in film and television are vetting their applicants by this experience requirement, meaning that the sooner you can get involved with a position like this, the sooner you can become qualified for entry-level careers in talent management or general entertainment.
Gersh & CAA: What’s the Difference?
Those who are seeking careers in talent management or entertainment really cannot lose with this track — both The Gersh Agency and CAA are ranked as impressive agencies within the industry. Their client lists include notable celebrities like Kristen Stewart (Gersh), J.K Simmons (Gersh), Adam Driver (Gersh), J.J. Abrams (CAA), Jennifer Aniston (CAA), Lady Gaga (CAA), and many, many more.
The difference between Gersh and CAA is one of culture and operation. Whether you’re aware of it or not, the daily operation of an agency managing over 5,000 clients looks very different from that of an agency managing about 2,000 clients, meaning there’s a significant difference in the operations of CAA (over 5,000 clients) versus Gersh (roughly 2,000 clients). While CAA continues to push its internal communications strategy for building business, scale, and clients, Gersh has focused on funding its own projects for ads and music videos while continuing to support young and established actors with a steady stream of business. Gersh, as an added detail, is one of the last agents from Hollywood’s golden age and, as such, employs many of the same priorities as agencies before it with an emphasis on finding working actors and instilling a committed connection between them and the agency.
So What Can You Learn?
Learning about either agency will give you a more comprehensive understanding about the entertainment industry. The agency you gravitate toward will entirely depend on its working culture and client list as both CAA and Gersh maintain active roles within the industry as connectors and career-makers. It is worth mentioning that both agencies are actively interested in recruiting Emerson students and alumni and, as such, there’s a lot that you can stand to learn from either company’s info session.
From CAA: You’ll likely learn about a “big picture” view of the industry which includes client profiles like that of Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lawrence, and Michael Fassbender. CAA is incredibly tapped into the vein of the entertainment industry and, as such, they can provide a full-scale view of the most mainstream projects and the business making them work.
From Gersh: You’ll likely learn the art of “talent management” and get a sense of how to manage a limited list of committed and working clients in the industry. Gersh is not the biggest agency in the business but it is certainly one of the most successful players (boasting an impressive client list of accomplished actors and actresses). As such, your role here will expose you to a more nuanced view of the entertainment industry that may be less focused on the “big picture” and more focused on creating opportunities and supporting a significant client list.
This is the difference in terms of culture and scope but it is not the be-all, end-all for a career in talent management at either agency. Both employers are going to provide incredible experiences for learning the behind the scenes of the entertainment industry while connecting you with key players who could potentially make your career in entertainment. Check out our post on launching a career in entertainment for more talent agency information.
Creative Artists Agency
405 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10174
The Gersh Agency
41 Madison Ave #33, New York, NY 10010
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