Category Archives: Reading List

4 Movies That Every Rep Should (And My Intern Must) See

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.

My Intern’s Reading (and Viewing) List Part I

"Copier Tech" Courtesy of Yo Spiff

Every year, I take on at least one intern to work in my office. I expect them to do quite a bit of scut-work and provide support to the office.

In return, I let them see and hear what it’s like to negotiate and litigate in the entertainment business. The reps on the other side of the deal are usually gracious enough to allow the interns to listen in on conference calls and the interns attend depositions, hearings and settlement conferences when we’re involved in litigation matters.

I also require my interns to complete a reading and viewing list and be prepared to discuss it with me during the course of their internship.

Here’s the first in a series of what was on last summer’s list in no particular order:

Animal Planet

Everything (ok. well, not everything) I know about the entertainment business I learned from watching Animal Planet.

All negotiations (indeed, most human interactions) can be reduced to basic animal-like drives and instincts. Like the clip here between a male and female bear or the bull moose locking horns below, negotiations involve the struggle for dominance and submission.

Watch it. Really. Trust me. Once you understand that negotiations are really driven by human behavior and human needs, you can increase your ability to address the needs demands of the opposing party without giving away the store.

Next: Glengarry Glen Ross