With the media landscape changing faster than a J.J. Abrams storyline, Hollywood talent agencies can no longer rely on last century's business model. That's why powerhouse CAA is as interested in transforming a sports celeb into a Web 2.0 maven as it is in turning a brand into a Webisode character.
CAA's most recent innovative deals cross every creative profession, from actors and athletes, to comedians and designers, to musicians and venture capitalists. When videogame pioneer Will Wright was gearing up to release Spore last year, CAA connected him with another client, Brian Eno, the father of ambient music. Eno composed the game's original score, which mutates with each player's style. When CAA found out that starlet Rosario Dawson was headlining their client Electric Farm Entertainment's original Web series, their agents wedged tech client, Cisco, into the Gemini Division's plot. And in just its second year representing athletes, CAA brokered nearly $700 million worth of contracts -- more than any other talent agency last year.
Here are some of CAA's recent innovative deals:
Brands Go Hollywood 2.0
Negotiated the brand integration between the viral Web hit LonelyGirl15 and Neutrogena. The cinematic result: a 22-year-old Neutrogena scientist who thwarts bad guys.
Wove tech client Cisco -- along with Acura, Microsoft, and UPS -- into the plot of "Gemini Division," a critically acclaimed Web series starring Rosario Dawson and produced by CAA client Electric Farm Entertainment.
Hollywood Goes Global
Connected client Steven Spielberg with India's Reliance Big Entertainment to secure $500 million in funding for DreamWorks.
Cracked the elusive Chinese market, recruiting more than 50 clients, including Ang Lee, Jet Li, and recently the award-winning actress/singer Karen Mok.
Guided the production companies of actors Nicolas Cage, Jim Carrey, George Clooney, Tom Hanks, and Brad Pitt into project development deals with India's Reliance Big Entertainment.
Jocks Go for the Money
Negotiated landmark NFL deals for Matt Ryan ($72 million, largest guaranteed contract), Bob Sanders ($37.5 million, highest-paid safety), and Jake Long ($57.5 million, highest-paid offensive lineman).
In its second year representing athletes -- who now include David Beckham, Eli Manning, and Nascar champ Jimmie Johnson -- CAA brokered nearly $700 million worth of contracts.
Rockers Go Multimedia
Connected client Brian Eno, father of ambient music, with client Will Wright, video-game pioneer, to compose the score for Wright's Spore, in which the composition mutates with each player's style.
Took crooning clients the Jonas Brothers, Tim McGraw, and Harry Connick Jr. onto the big screen with acting gigs in Walter the Farting Dog, Four Christmases, and New in Town, respectively.
Gamers Go Entrepreneurial
Its deal between GameTap and CAA client American McGee gives McGee content and distribution rights for his latest game, American McGee's Grimm, a new industry biz model.
Paired TV and film producer Jerry Bruckheimer with MTV to launch Jerry Bruckheimer Games Studio, which will create and fully finance games based on original intellectual property.
Brokered a historic deal between EA Partners and horror game designers Shinji Mikami and Suda51, letting the creators retain total ownership.
Jocks Go Digital
Connected LeBron James, Derek Jeter, and Peyton Manning, among other stars, with Major League Baseball Advanced Media and VC firm FirstMark Capital to launch WePlay.com, a youth-sports community.
Introduced skateboarder Tony Hawk to VC firm Sequoia Capital to create ShredorDie.com, an action-sports video version of the "or Die" franchise.
Comedians Go Digital
Introduced comedy czar Will Ferrell to Sequoia Capital, the VC firm behind Google and YouTube, to create FunnyorDie .com, poised to become the Web's SNL. CAA then brokered a deal between HBO and FoD (now valued at $100 million) for original programming in exchange for equity.
Worked a deal to integrate Step Brothers, Pineapple Express, and The House Bunny -- at the time three about-to-be-released Sony films -- into the hijinks of "The Line," a new Web series created by clients Lorne Michaels and Seth Meyers.