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Talent Agents in the American Film INDustry: how cinematic careers and projects are shaped behind the scenes (TAFIND)
Start date: Oct 1, 2013, End date: Sep 30, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"This project is aimed at exploring a neglected aspect of the movie industry and of the film creation process: the role played by talent agents and its significance for the making of cultural products. Even though agents often remain unseen participants in the day-to-day functioning of the film industry, they hold a key position. This study will provide a detailed account of their professional activity, analyzing the organizational system they belong to and the interdependence mechanisms connecting them to other participants in the film world, to show how they contribute to the making of artists’ careers and cinematic projects and, ultimately, to the manufacture of ""popular culture."" Exploring agents' perceptions of their work identity, their mission, their distinctive skills will help us to make sense of the occupational models and conventions that currently prevail in that field, in the light of the historical constitution of “agenting” as a profession.In-depth sociological interviews and in situ observations will constitute the main material of this research. Agents’ activity will be analyzed from a sociological viewpoint, at the intersection of several sub-disciplinary perspectives: the sociologies of profession, economy and culture will provide instruments and resources to elucidate how agents participate in shaping cultural markets, with local as well as more global effects. This case study – targeting one of the world leading film industries – can be used as a paradigmatic example, with which to better understand their dynamics and mutations in other societies.With this project, I do not only intend to advance European research regarding screen industries, I hope to make a contribution to cultural studies at large, thanks to a close collaboration with top American scholars in the field (at the University of California, Santa Barbara and the University of Southern California)."
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