Babette Perry is Vice President of IMG. Babette began her career as a communications student and has since worked in many areas of the business, from management to programming to agenting. I recently had a chance to interview Babette to discuss branding, Henry Kissinger, and the Super Bowl.
Q: Can you tell us about your background and what made you want to work in entertainment? how did you get involved with the HRTS?
-I graduated from UCLA where I majored in Communications. I then worked for a management company that represented the Peoples Court. I then was an assistant to the VP of news at the William Morris Agency. I then started a new agency where I was the President of Programming. From my department came Matt Lauer on the Today Show, Greg Kinnear on Talk Soup, Tom Bergeron on Fox After Breakfast, Julie Moran of Entertainment Tonight, among others.
I was then hired by ICM to head up their broadcasting division. It was there that I signed Elisabeth Hasselbeck from Survivor and got her a show, The Look for Less, and then The View, put Tom Bergeron on Dancing with the Stars, Phil Keoghan on the Amazing Race. I was most recently hired by IMG to develop a West Coast Entertainment Division to represent athletes, models and broadcast talent. I love people and have always been motivated and inspired by the people that I represent. I am very passionate about our business and consider it a privilege to be working with my clients.
When I was at ICM I was introduced to HRTS and I have enjoyed the amazing speakers. I think I most enjoyed the HRTS children's luncheon, it has been a special bonding moment for me.
Q: What is your decision-making process when considering a potential client?
-when I look to sign new clients I look for authenticity, likability, and credibility, and above all the reputation and quality of that person.
Q: How is IMG similar to or different than, say, CAA or ICM?
-IMG is similar to ICM and CAA in that the representation of the client is the same but where we are different is that I consider myself Henry Kissinger, I work with everyone. I think given the environment it is important that we value the strength that each agency offers. I service their producers on a day to day basis. IMG is more of a business, they are #1 in the country in licensing. My clients have benefited by a department where they now have the opportunity to be branded. Elisabeth has her own clothing line and gluten-free food products, Phil Keoghan is working with GNC who sponsored his bike ride from LA to NYC. We are a REAL international company. We are in 30 countries. We have media production and distribution, event management, sponsorship and media consulting, global sponsorship and media sales.
Q: What is the one thing you wish you’d known when you first started out as an agent?
-the one thing I wish I knew when I first started out as an agent is that I would end up being glad that I didn't know the rules. This business is about what doesn't work. I was fearless and quite frankly a little naive but I think that gave me the advantage. I didn't always know the answers. I just did my job and when I got a ‘no’ I just kept looking for the ‘yes’. I really never gave up and most importantly believed in what I was selling.
Q: What lessons can Hollywood learn from the sports world?
-the lessons that Hollywood could learn from the sports world are that even though we are told that we are only as good as our last game we may be even better on another team. When a new coach comes on we may not be the coach’s starting quarterback but could take another team to the Super Bowl, just ask Kurt Warner or Drew Brees.
Q: Anything you would like to add?
-I think the most important thing in life is balance. I am very thankful to be married and have a family and to be blessed with a job that changes and challenges me every day. I am passionate about what I do because I believe in my product. I also know how important it is to have wonderful people behind you. My staff are the reason for my success. I also think that it is important that all of us look out for one another especially now, I think it is our obligation to try to help others who are in need of help.