In Conversation with Harold Lewter – Promoting Talent

Harold Lewter, Talent Manager

The very handsome Harold Lewter is a talent manager who oversees and guides the careers of actors for Broadway, TV, film, and writers, in areas such as marketing and promoting, negotiating contracts, and making business deals. He is one of the most hard working, passionate and devoted talent managers in the entertainment industry, and I am speaking to him today.

David:

Hello Harold, thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to speak with me. Take me back to the day you decided you wanted to become a talent manager. What inspired you?

Harold: 

Hey, David! Thanks for the opportunity. The decision really came back when I was interning at a Talent Agency, because truthfully, I fell into this side of the business. My friend Mike Cruz was working at the time as a Junior Agent and asked me if I would be interested in interning for him and I immediately jumped at the opportunity partly because I was curious, partly because I had nothing else to do at the time since I was just auditioning and working at a restaurant in the evenings. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with representation after meeting my then boss turned mentor and business partner Cyd LeVin. Cyd is an old school agent with an incredible history and passion for the actors a passion that I soon recognized in myself. Low and behold a year later that agency closed and we had zero time to figure it out, so Cyd decided to reopen her management company and there we went. 10 years later, the rest is history. 

Harold Lewter, Talent Manager

David:

What have you learned about yourself as a talent manager?

Harold: 

I don’t think we have enough time for that (hehe). Here are 8 of the lessons I have learned:

  1. Building lasting relationships with other colleagues is both important and fruitful.
  2. This business is only as personal as you make it (thanks Uta Hagen)
  3. Evolve or die!
  4. Never stop learning, never stop growing.
  5. Honesty and Integrity go a long way
  6. Authenticity counts for a lot in the business of entertainment.
  7. It is ok to have a life outside of work.
  8. Make people laugh and you can get just about anything.
Harold Lewter, Talent Manager

David:

What is the biggest obstacle you face as a talent manager?

Harold: 

Not being as widely known as needed. Power is everything in entertainment. The more people that know you, your clients and your company the more doors that open to you. Everyone knows the major agencies CAA, WME, GERSH, PARADIGM, ICM, but no one knows the smaller agencies. So, I am constantly thinking of ways to get my name and the companies name out there. Including going through a rebrand and changing the company’s name to make it stronger and more memorable. Like I said above, evolve or die! And I refuse to die…I won’t stop until every single person on the planet knows CLA Partners.

David:

What is the most rewarding part of your job? 

Harold: 

Nothing is better than seeing clients achieve goals, whether it is booking that first Television or Film job, making their Broadway Debut, booking their 12thBroadway Show or Releasing a long-awaited album. Seeing people that you believe in and fight for daily win is always rewarding.

David:

If you weren’t a talent manager what do you think you would have become instead?

Harold: 

A producer, which I am already doing and plan to do a whole lot more of it.

David:

If you can go back in time what would you tell your teenage self?

Harold:

FOCUS LEWTER, stop being LAZY.

David:

If you could change one thing in the entertainment industry what would it be? 

Harold: 

DIVERSITY, my god have we got a long way to go. Diversity does not mean oh here let’s make this role LatinX or this role African American or Asian. What it means is not seeing color PERIODT and instead seeing actors for who they are. See everyone black, brown, white, yellow, red, purple, orange, who cares see them and find the best actor for the job at the end of the day. Of course, if it is a period piece then that presents a different dilemma but hey, Hamilton broke that stereotype didn’t it!?

David:

What do you think the entertainment industry lacks?

Harold: 

Creativity! If I hear or see the word “existing IP” I am going to scream! You mean to tell me with all of the billions of people on this earth, there is not one single original thought out there!? That we have to go back and reboot a movie from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, etc.…come on people! Take a risk. After all that is the first rule of business, you have to be willing to lose money to make money.

Harold Lewter, Talent Manager

David:

What advice do you have for struggling actors looking a manager?

Harold: 

Be yourself, be authentic and don’t be afraid to standout. We get submissions every day and it is amazing to me how many of them have 0 thought behind it whatsoever. If you want representation you have to fight for it, just like we have to fight to get the actors in the rooms.

David:

What is a guilty pleasure you have?

Harold: 

HGTV & FOOD network are my favorite two stations!

David:

Thank you for your time. Any words of wisdom to all the readers?

Harold: 

Yes, this was a quote I posted the other day and I think every actor needs to read it over and over, “I am not a quitter. I will fight until I drop. It is just a matter of having some faith in the fact that as long as you are able to draw breath in the universe, you have a chance” the great Cicely Tyson.

Photos: Courtesy of Harold Lewter

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