Jamie Freed is one of Hollywood’s top talent managers. He sat down with Jessica Abo to talk about his career path and how his new online course is designed to teach actors the business of acting.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Jessica Abo: Before we get into your new course, can you start by telling us a little bit about your career path?
Jamie Freed: My career in entertainment’s actually been a pretty wild ride. I grew up in Orange County and originally came to Los Angeles for school. I went to UCLA, and after graduating, I got accepted into the agent training program at one of the top three talent agencies called United Talent. It was a great opportunity at a very young age. I got exposed to some of the highest-level talent, people like Johnny Depp, Harrison Ford, Angelina Jolie, Jim Carrey and many more. Then, in the early 2000s, I actually made the crossover from the agency side to the management side, when the most powerful man in Hollywood named Michael Ovitz came back to the business and started a really dominant management company called Artists Management Group. It was hard to say no to working with some of the highest-level talent in show business, people like Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Martin Scorsese, Matthew McConaughey, and more. It was just a really, really exciting time in the business.
What would you say was a career-defining moment for you?
As my career progressed, I made a really early discovery and I found Selena Gomez, who I took from completely unknown to a global star using Disney as a huge accelerator. In 2007, The Hollywood Reporter profiled me as one of the top talent managers in show business. I quickly became known as a manager with abilities to represent multi-hyphenate artists, crossing the boundaries of entertainment. As I was creating new opportunities for my clients in film, television, music, and what was emerging as the new digital wave, I stepped in to represent the ultimate modern celebrity, Paris Hilton. Within my time with Paris, we grew her empire into becoming one of the first multi-billion-dollar celebrity brands. Our goal was to reinvent Paris as a new, modern celebrity DJ, along with grossing over 4 billion dollars in sales with her brand, which included fragrances, handbags, shoes, brick-and-mortar stores around the world, and much, much more.
As I became a global deal maker, I went beyond just representing film, TV, and music stars. I started representing high-net-worth individuals and royal families for strategic entertainment investments.
How did all of that evolve into what you’re doing now?
Today, with the evolution of technology, I became really passionate about creating a new digital studio that would merge the worlds of entertainment and tech with the purpose of finding new talent around the world. The Momentus Academy’s 12-step course, The Business of Acting, is the first digital program we’re offering our growing community of actors who are going to become the next generation of stars.
What inspired you to create this course?
As a talent manager, the best thing I can do is find ways to discover people around the world. This platform is going to give me an ability to find new faces and connect them to the key decision-makers in show business.
What are some of the things people will learn?
You’ll learn things like mastering the audition, finding an agent and a manager, and booking jobs for film and television. Along with all that, you’re going to have access to some of my interviews with the Hollywood elite. The truth is if you know how the power players think, imagine the advantage you’re going to have over everybody lined up down the hall. You’ll have a chance to get seen by me and my network because the entertainment business is always looking for new talent.
There are so many courses out there, how is this course different?
Simple. It’s never been done before. For the first time, a high-level talent manager is going to offer students support and real inside information on a better way to break into the business. I’m opening up my network and connections and teaching tactics you’d otherwise never know.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to get into acting?
Well, I actually designed this course to answer that exact question, but if I were to describe it in one sentence, I would say to do the extraordinary, you have to make extraordinary moves. Be bold, be brave, be patient, and above all, never give up.