Violaine Roussel is professor of sociology at the University of Paris VIII and affiliated faculty at the University of Southern California. She is coeditor of Brokerage and Production in the American and French Entertainment Industries and How To Do Politics With Art and coauthor of Voicing Dissent: American Artists and the War on Iraq.
"Talent agents are surrounded by popular myth and misperception--but who are they really and what do they do? In this pathbreaking book, Roussel draws on interviews and behind-the-scenes observation to cast a detailed, ethnographic eye on the 'show' and 'business' of Hollywood agenting in the new media era. Across large, mid-size, and boutique firms, agents must connect talent to jobs by harnessing their own capacity to broker personal relationships within and across deeply hierarchical structures where a dizzying array of industry stakeholders compete for power and influence. How and why agents foster 'professional intimacy, ' build reputations, negotiate deals, and place a value on talent in a media landscape that is both risk-averse and ever-shifting is the subject of this book. A sociological tour de force of great depth and sophistication, Representing Talent is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the high-stakes game of Hollywood cultural production today."--Laura Grindstaff, University of California, Davis