A screenwriter spent a frustrating eight hours yesterday attempting to answer the toughest question a parent can be asked by their child: What’s the difference between a Hollywood agent and a manager?
The discussion began when Greg Hackett, a veteran screenwriter with numerous uncredited rewrites under his belt, was having a heart-to-heart conversation with his 10- year-old son, Travis, following the recent death of the boy’s grandmother.
“Travis asked me several questions, including ‘What happens after we die?, ‘Why bad things happen to good people?’, and ‘What is the meaning of life?’ ” Hackett told Hollywood & Swine. “Fortunately, I was able to answer all of them until he asked me to explain the difference between an agent and a manager.”
Hackett says he was unable to answer his son because he himself didn’t know what the difference was. So he immediately put a call into both his agent and manager, but not surprisingly, they never returned his call.
After calling all of his screenwriter friends and discovering they too did not know what the difference was, Hackett decided to put on several episodes of the HBO series “Entourage,” hoping the characters of Ari Gold and Eric “E” Murphy would clear up the agent-manager confusion.
“Unfortunately, the several hours of watching ‘Entourage’ only managed to teach Travis what a douchebag is,” Hackett said.
Having nobody else to ask, Hackett finally turned to his rabbi, who offered the elusive answer of what makes an agent different from a manager: “An agent can’t produce movies, but a manager can,” the Rabbi explained to Hackett and his son. “And managers can’t negotiate contracts for their clients, but agents can.”
“So basically, you’re telling me someone made up a couple rules that allow you to pay two people a ten percent commission to do the same job?” Travis asked.
“Yes,” Hackett admitted to his son, then added, “Don’t you dare ask me why I’m paying an entertainment lawyer another 5%, or I’ll disown you.”