Next Gen 2012: Agents
Bright young things? Bring 'em on, as The Hollywood Reporter recognizes the 35 superstars 35 and under who are moving up fast (and having fun) in film, TV, digital, law and news.
ALLAN HALDEMAN, 30
UTA, Television Agent
Haldeman has carved a successful niche developing television careers for such young comics as Amy Schumer and Anthony Jeselnik, who are working on Comedy Central projects. The well-respected Pasadena native also helped identify the group Mail Order Comedy (creators of Comedy Central's breakout Workaholics) from the web.
Industry Mentor: UTA's Matt Rice and Microsoft's Blair Westlake, who told me that the most important thing is to find a great mentor.
Big Break: Meeting Michael Conway, who runs HR here, on the way back from lunch with a friend at UTA. He talked to me for 15 minutes and offered me a job. I was a senior at Penn at the time with some sweet hair and a puka-shell necklace. [He has been at UTA ever since.]
Best Advice: Sue Naegle, Jay Sures and Matt all said: "You've got to be nice. It's going to get you a lot further."
Biggest 2012 Accomplishment: On the same day, Comedy Central picked up Amy Schumer's and Anthony Jeselnik's shows.
Can't-Miss TV: SportsCenter. And if I'm ever flipping around and I find Saved by the Bell, I have to stop and watch the entire episode.
Lunch Spot: I've got to go with Cole's French Dip.
I Wake Up At: 6 a.m. The First Thing I Do: Walk the dog and call my girlfriend in D.C.
BRIAN DOW, 33
APA, Partner/Board Director/Head of Branded Lifestyle Division
His client roster -- past and present -- is a virtual who's who of reality television (save for Alyson Hannigan). In addition to the never-ending expansion of the behemoth Kardashian brand, the Valencia, Calif., native (who started his career at UTA before heading to APA and was promoted to the latter's board of directors in October) was the driving force behind Bethenny Frankel's jaw-dropping $120 million Skinnygirl sale.
Industry Mentor: APA's Jim Gosnell. I remember venting to him about work, and he just looked at me. I thought, "Ah, I'm complaining to the wrong person." Every time I'm in his office, he's making a client deal, but he is still incredibly involved in the company. That's rare.
Big Break: Surviving Sharon Sheinwold's desk at UTA. She was really hard on me but always had my back. It was incredibly difficult, but I wouldn't give that up for anything.
Best Advice: Sue Naegle told me, "In this business, you hear everything, but you say nothing."
10 Years Ago: I was still in college. After seven years, I crawled across the finish line at Cal State Northridge with a political science degree.
Biggest 2012 Accomplishment: Expanding the Kardashian Kollection to 16 countries after launching one year earlier at Sears.
Can't-Miss TV: Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. That show has a lot of heart and a lot of underlying lessons about materialism. I don't know if it's intentional or not, but it's otherworldly.
Movie Fix: Drop Dead Gorgeous with Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams, Ellen Barkin, Kirstie Alley and Allison Janney. The cast is amazing.
Best Day: Selling Skinnygirl. It was one of my first big wins, and it's a good creation.
When I'm Not Working: I'm hanging out at home with my three dogs: two French bulldogs and a Rottweiler.
JASON CUNNINGHAM, 29
Paradigm, Talent Agent
Not yet 30, Cunningham has been able to secure a stable of up-and-comers including Girls breakout Allison Williams (daughter of NBC News' Brian), Magic Mike leading lady Cody Horn (daughter of Disney Studios' Alan) and Breaking Bad's Colton Dunn. The New York City-born Cunningham rounds out his portfolio with such veterans as Michael Rapaport, Dan Bakkedahl and Tony Danza.
Industry Mentor: Paradigm's Sarah Fargo. She teaches me something every day.
Big Break: When Sam Gores handed me a glass of Champagne and said, "You're an agent." I was shaking, but I didn't break the glass. [He began his career in the agency's mailroom.]
Career Inspiration: Growing up in Astoria, N.Y., I was surrounded by so many artists and knew I wanted to work in the arts. In my late teens, I decided I wanted to be an agent -- a modern-day patron of the arts.
10 Years Ago: I was in college at the University of South Florida in Tampa. I was a bartender at a Japanese steakhouse.
Online Obsession: ESPN.com. I have to see what's going on with my teams: the New York Mets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I haven't celebrated anything in years.
Lunch Spot: I love La Scala at 12:45. I love the salad -- and avoiding the rush.
Best Day: When I found out Cody got Magic Mike and when I found out Allison got Girls.
MICHAEL KAGAN, 31
ICM, Partner, International TV/Media
The ICM partner already has put more than 30 shows on the air, with a portfolio that's as diverse as it is successful. The New York native counts Undercover Boss' Studio Lambert, What Not to Wear's Clinton Kelly, Inside the Actors Studio's James Lipton and The Biggest Loser's Jillian Michaels among his clients.
Industry Mentor: My father, Russell Kagan, who has produced TV movies and miniseries.
Big Break: Starting in the ICM mailroom in 2003. It's the only job I've ever had. [Kagan graduated from the University of Michigan.]
Best Advice: Bernie Brillstein said, "Have an opinion, even if it's wrong."
Biggest 2012 Accomplishment: When Studio Lambert won the Emmy for Undercover Boss. It was nice to see a client recognized like that.
Can't-Miss TV: Eastbound & Down.
Movie Fix: Step Brothers. It gets better that 13th time, though.
Online Obsession: TMZ, to make sure my clients aren't in trouble.
I Wake Up At: 7:30 a.m. The First Thing I Do: Panic.
I Go To Sleep Every Night At: 11 p.m. The Last Thing I Do: Panic.
MICHAEL KIVES, 31
CAA, Motion Picture Agent
Kives' roster ranges from the brawny (Bruce Willis) to the scrawny (Warren Buffett, Jesse Eisenberg). The Winnipeg, Canada-born agent orchestrated Arnold Schwarzenegger's return to the big screen and counts Obama speechwriter-turned-1600 Penn writer Jon Lovett among his politico-turned-writer clients.
Big Break: Getting my first job in the CAA mailroom [after graduating from Stanford] despite being Canadian, because they don't sponsor people for work visas. Arlene Newman, head of HR, decided to make a one-time exception.
Career Inspiration: Growing up, I would read books on different entertainment players: David Geffen, Mike Ovitz and Barry Diller. Many started at agencies, so I decided from an early age that I wanted to be an agent.
Best Advice: My high school debate coach told me to be the best version of myself.
10 Years Ago: I was working for Bill Clinton in the post-presidency in Harlem. I always told the president I wanted to be an agent. And he'd say, "You want to be a Secret Service agent?"
10 Years From Now: I hope to be working with great clients and celebrating Hillary Clinton's re-election -- in 2020, after raising a lot of money.
Best Day: June 1, 2011. I got an e-mail that I got my green card, and I started running around CAA screaming like a madman.
RANDI GOLDSTEIN, 34
Gersh, Senior VP
The New York-based talent agent (from Silver Spring, Md.) has an eye for spotting talent and represents three of the most buzzed-about newcomers: Christopher Abbott (Hello I Must Be Going), Dreama Walker (Compliance, Don't Trust the B-- in Apt. 23) and Alexia Rasmussen (The Comedy). Goldstein, who left Marymount Manhattan College at 19 years old to become an agent at Fifi Oscard, also is steering the career of Girls' Adam Driver, who landed roles in the Coens' Inside Llewyn Davis and Steven Spielberg's Lincoln.
Industry Mentor: Gersh's Rhonda Price. She allowed me the freedom to trust my instincts.
Career Inspiration: Oddly, I've known since high school that I wanted to be an agent. I have always loved the business. It was a no-brainer.
Biggest 2012 Accomplishment: Succeeding in having so many clients go between each medium -- film, TV and theater -- and not be pigeonholed as one kind of actor.
Online Fix: Talkinbroadway.com.
I Go To Bed Every Night Around: 2 a.m.
The Last Thing I Do: Look at my calendar for what I have the next day.
I Wake Up At: 8 a.m.
The First Thing I Do: Look at my calendar to see what I have that day -- since I can't remember from the night before.
THERESA KANG, 33
WME, Scripted TV Agent
The L.A.-born Kang has been involved in the small-screen moves of Steven Zaillian, Seth Gordon and Guillermo del Toro. With a reputation for being shrewd and savvy, the UCLA grad also helped sell Matthew Parkhill's Rogue spec to DirecTV, got pilots ordered at MTV and Syfy and counts Happy Endings' David Caspe and Awkward's Lauren Iungerich as clients.
Industry Mentor: WME's Ari Greenburg, Paul Haas and Ari Emanuel.
Big Break: When I met Seth Gordon while I was an assistant at Endeavor [before his film The King of Kong] at a festival and made him my first client. This year, he directed his third feature.
Best Advice: "No" is just the start of the negotiation.
Career Inspiration: My father. He owned a chain of video stores that he started, where I worked weekends and summers. [Kang started her career at the USA network.]
Can't-Miss TV: Homeland. I wanted to be a CIA agent when I was younger. I interned for Sen. Boxer, which led to a State Department internship at the U.S. Embassy in Burma. I ultimately declined that position, but for years I had intentions of pursuing a career in intelligence.
When I'm Not Working I'm: On Instagram, looking at travel websites or watching a movie.
I Wake Up At: 6:30 a.m.
The First Thing I Do: Turn on MSNBC.