Two of the largest, most storied
talent agencies in the world are merging. But sometimes, in order to birth a monster, the assistants must suffer. We have a few firsthand accounts.
By the time the smoke's cleared, and the kingpins of William Morris and the thugs Endeavor come together and become the giant talent syndicate that is WME Entertainment, a significant number of people are going to have lost their jobs. Until then, there's the typical air of absolute paranoia and uncertainty that these desk-chained youngsters - one of whom I once was - have to endure. And it sounds like nobody's saying anything right now...
"How would I describe it? Madness in denial...We see "normalcy" but things have been eerily quiet. Assistants are scared for their careers. It's very difficult not to feel as though there's a big target on our backs, but we're all just reporting to our desks like sitting ducks but you can taste the tension in the air and feel the nerves jangling. It's definitely a bizzare [sic] atmosphere. Every assistant is scrambling to find a new job, whether they're told they're in or not..."
...Except, of course, for Nikki Finke, who the assistants have to get their news through. Another one:
"We get all of our information second-hand from Nikki Finke. You know what we know. At the same time, I'd be lying if I didn't admit it was very exciting to be in the "middle" of something this "big." But people are being called in. And there are really no jobs out there. Like, none.
None, apparently! Finally, some intel on Dana Sims - one of the agency's largest talent agents - leaving the company, and the fate of her longtime, devoted assistant.
Dana had a brand-new assistant at the time that was an agent trainee. Dana's departure demonstrated WMA's new callousness towards its staff. When Dana left, her assistant (who had been at WMA for three years) was initially told he would be able to stay. He did, in fact, state to Human Resources that he would love to remain at the company, and told them he would do any job they needed him to do in order to stay. HR: Okay, great, you can stay." The next day, after Dana had be escorted out by security, HR called him and said "you're fired." This doesn't happen: a trainee was fired?! In the wake of this merger, the company just can't afford to care about any of its employees, regardless of how long they've been there."
And see! There's your lesson: Hollywood is like every other industry when it comes to letting people go. Shrouds of secrecy, thinly veiled threats, bald-faced lies, and eventual disappointment. To all other assistants out there in this merger, no matter which side you're on: duck, run, take cover. Only the strong (or strongly connected) are surviving this one.