Power House CAA: The Untold Story of Hollywood’s Creative Arts Agency by James Andrew Miller (4 out of 5)

I checked this out when it was out in hardcover, but quickly forgot about it. Then it was in paperback, and still I forgot about it. Then it was going back with our publisher returns, and I finally remembered to buy it. This author also did the well-known NYT bestseller about SNL, “Live From New York”, as well as the ESPN one, “Some Guys Have All The Luck”. I am familiar with his work. I enjoyed his other two books, so this was much in the same vein, except it was not centered around a television show or channel, but a talent agency. I was reading this and kept drawing parallels between the way that CAA ran and runs, and the TV show Mad Men. It was fucking uncanny, down to Coca-Cola wanting to do business by way of the legendary McCann-Erickson ad firm. (Aka Seasons 1 and 7 of Mad Men. Yes, Andrew, they really DO exist). It was gratifying that I wasn’t bored out of my mind, because it was centered around behind-the-scenes, and not in the thick of it.

5 friends in Hollyweird, led by the domineering (and narcissistic, from the read of it) Michael Ovitz and softer-touch professional nice guy Ron Meyer, decide that it’s time to eclipse the long revered William Morris and bring a newer, client based (not as much profit based) agency to Hollywood’s attention. Thankfully, the collective behind the scenes at CAA have the gravitas to bring about the creation, basically omitting their own profit margins and not having salaries for the first few years it takes for the business to take off. And it does, in spectacular fashion. But as in most cases when two polar opposites go into business together, the Cinderella story begins to splinter, eventually fading into backstabbing, public shaming, not to mention high profile celebrity deaths (Robin Williams, Chris Farley, and the agency’s own rising star, agent Jay Moloney). A riveting and comprehensive look at how talent agencies, the client/agent relationship, Hollywood studios, and the human factor work in the hallowed walls of Holllywood work. A must read for any fan of television, cinema, or Hollyweird in general.

~ by generationgbooks on July 16, 2018.

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