The top Hollywood talent agents have artwork by Annie Leibovitz and Ed Ruscha on their walls, armies of sharp young assistants at their beck and call, and Porsches gleaming in their parking garages.
Then there’s Lynn Venturella.
She works out of an office with barred windows near homeless shanties and a medical marijuana dispensary in West L.A. There’s no sign out front, no receptionist inside. On a recent visit, she sat behind a metal desk surrounded by cardboard boxes and empty five-gallon water bottles.
Venturella is one of the hundreds of talent agents operating on the fringes of Hollywood, where the clients are mostly character actors, fledgling screenwriters, workaday directors, even unknown wannabes.
Most provide a useful service, but complaints about abuses by second-tier talent representatives grew loud enough in 2009 to prod the state Legislature to pass the Krekorian Talent Scam Prevention Act, which prohibits agents and others who represent performers from charging them any fees other than commissions and reimbursements for some out-of-pocket costs.