The cocktail party chatter I was chattering at this weekend was about Hollywood’s fast and furious infatuation with the vast and laborious talent pool bubbling up online. According to a piece in the New York Times, the United Talent Agency has formed a new unit dedicated to the godly task of unearthing Internet content creators, and then presumably helping them out of their pajamas. UTA has assigned not one, not two, but three good men to this task. These guys should have a blast getting paid to get on that YouTube ride over and over, and we recommend they sign Ze Frank to a three-picture deal immediately. Of course, here at SMITH searching out new content creators and unknown and extra special storytellers is a big part of what we do. For free. But enough about us, let’s go to the tape:
The move by the United Talent Agency … amounts to a bet, albeit a modest one, that Web video is on a growth curve similar to that of cable television a generation ago. It is also a return by Hollywood’s core talent representatives to the sort of new-media business they tested, without great success, at the peak of the dot-com boom.
“It starts with just helping identify people on both sides of the aisle,” said Brent Weinstein, head of the new division, UTA Online. “The barrier to entry is so low, everybody is now a potential artist. So there’s this great unwashed of talent out there, 99.999 percent of which is probably not good enough to have a traditional film and television career. But on the Internet, a lot of different types of things go. And yet for buyers, this is a wall of people, so how does a brand know which one of them can help it execute?”
As always, SMITH is here to help. And if UTA wants to get in touch? We’re around — let’s do lunch. (You’re paying, right?)