JHRTS NY Recap: A Conversation with Boaty Boatwright and Adam Schweitzer
JHRTS-New York had the honor of hosting two of New York’s most prominent talent agents—Boaty Boatwright and Adam Schweitzer on Wednesday, December 7th. Boaty Boatwright is a distinguished Talent and Literary agent at ICM who has been in the business for fifty years, and Adam Schweitzer is the co-head of ICM’s Talent Department. Moderating the evening’s talk was Kent Sanderson, manager of digital content at Focus Features.
While boasting a general feeling of optimism and enthusiasm about the entertainment industry at large, Boaty and Adam began by speaking about their individual journeys to success. Boaty started her career as a casting assistant in New York, going on to become the children’s casting director for such iconic films as TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and the original WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. In addition to casting, Boaty served as an executive for major film studios including MGM, Columbia, and Universal—stating that she decided to enter the agency business because she had “run out of studios to work for.”
Adam Schweitzer began his career working in physical production at a small production company in New York, but quickly realized he was much more suited and enthralled by the agency side of the business. He went on to become an assistant at ICM and then became a manager at a boutique management firm. Soon enough, Adam missed being at a large firm and decided to come back to ICM as an agent. At 32, Adam became head of the ICM Motion Picture Department, and now at 34, he is co-head of the Talent Department—which now comprises of the merged Motion Picture, Television and Theatre Departments.
Some highlights of the night include:
Both Boaty and Adam agreed that being a successful agent requires a very similar skill set to that of a successful producer. As agents, they often find themselves securing financing and casting. To this degree, an agent is often so much more than a talent’s representation, but an integral producer as well. Furthermore, Adam explained that the integration of the Motion Picture, Television, and Theatrical Talent Departments last year served as an important strategic decision in response to the evolving nature of the industry—actors are no longer relying on one medium as in years past and instead must be well-versed in all to be successful.
On another note, Boaty and Adam also stressed the importance of having a sense of flexibility within one’s career path—meaning one must avoid being too limiting or too precious about the kinds of companies and jobs that one accepts early on in one’s career. After all, some of the most valuable and educational experiences can arise from the jobs or even employers that might not be the right fit.
Despite the fact that neither Boaty nor Adam have ever lived in Los Angeles, both are true testaments to the fact that one can build a successful career in “the biz” without moving to Hollywood. Both agents are very excited about the industry’s dynamic and unpredictable future and believe there are plenty of opportunities for actors, agents, and various young professionals starting their careers---so long as one remains enthusiastic, creative, and open to change.
Written by: Anna Weinstein
For more photos of this event, visit the JHRTS NY Facebook page.