— Peter Kaufman (@Dealfatigue) February 16, 2013
What happens in Vegas, may spread to the rest of the country.
Resiliency is not baked in to us; it's something you learn over time. After in-artfully coping with setbacks and disappointment. Many times.
— Peter Kaufman (@Dealfatigue) January 19, 2013
If you want to get anywhere in any aspect of the entertainment business you need friends in high places.
But this business is a business. Friends can easily become enemies even if you make business decisions that in any other context might be appropriate.
This is true for most business cultures but it’s all the more acute where, as here, there’s a high concentration of emotionally driven, exceptionally creative (but oftentimes, profoundly insecure) people all fighting for far too few opportunities. With that kind of competition, you may feel that you need all the edge you can get; sometimes, unfortunately, even at the expense of your friends.
Sheer tenacity will get your foot in the door. Talent will keep you in the room. But the only way to succeed in this business – and be able to maintain the momentum to remain successful over the long term – is to have friends that you can count on professionally; that make you feel safe creatively; and that make it possible for you to do your best work consistently.
It takes a village.
That’s the rub.
It’s always personal.
Good repping is the art of persuading people to agree to your terms. Not all salesmen are lawyers but all good lawyers (and agents) are salesmen. You can sell hard or you can sell soft. Over time, many Reps develop a belligerent or schmoozy negotiating style because it works for them (or it doesn’t and they’re just built that way).
However, situational awareness is key to achieving consistently good outcomes in negotiations, regardless of leverage. The savvy Rep modulates her negotiation approach to conform to a given situation rather than the other way around. See my post on the importance of regularly watching Animal Planet here to learn how animals (including humans) instinctively do this.
What follows are a number of movies that portray agents and salesmen in roles a Rep typically confronts (or becomes) during negotiations. The movies are all critically acclaimed and enjoyable to watch. For our purposes though, the story lines are secondary to the archetypes of the characters.
1. Glengarry Glen Ross
Here’s Alec Baldwin’s motivation by dominance. “Always Be Closing”:
Contrasted with Al Pacino’s softer, I feel your pain and you feel my empathy approach:
2. What Makes Sammy Run?
Sammy must win even if he loses:
3. Broadway Danny Rose
Our instincts naturally pick up on Danny’s desperation vibe which only serves to work against him:
4. Swimming with Sharks
The Alpha in the room. Win by domination and dominate to win:
These archetypes shouldn’t be viewed as role models though I have to admit a fondness for Pacino’s portrayal. However, Reps (as well as principals) like those above abound in different permutations in the negotiation culture.
You need to be prepared to deal with them as the situation requires.