In Los Angeles, where I live, there are three things you can always count on. The first is weather — perfect to the point of being boring. The second is traffic — awful to the point of dictating a surprising number of daily decisions about where to go and when. The third is encountering hordes of people who think they can act, write or direct better than the people who make a living in the entertainment industry.
Everyone’s got a screenplay. Everyone’s a comedian. In such a subjective field, with no objective measures of competency or qualification ahead of whether viewers actually watch the end product, millions of people take a shot. It’s no wonder Hollywood Boulevard has been called the Boulevard of Broken Dreams.
With so many candidates for each role, every hopeful knows it’s fairly hopeless unless they have an agent. CAA, WME, ICM, UTA and their brethren represent every working talent in Hollywood. As a result, these agencies wield extraordinary power — effectively deciding who works with whom, and which movies get made. (James Andrew Miller’s recent book about CAA, Powerhouse, tells the story about how CAA decided that the prank-calling “Jerky Boys” should get their own movie, thereby creating the cultural nadir of the 1990s.)