Portal A's Brittani Kagan on the Talent Revolution in Entertainment
Brittani Kagan is head of talent, associate partner, at Portal A, where for the past five years she has built the company's approach to talent partnerships and established its position in the industry.
Her background in production, development and talent management has been instrumental in negotiating, packaging and managing partnerships across branded and original projects. Brittani also oversees talent relations, deal-making and casting strategies across branded and original projects, collaborating closely with leadership across creative, strategy and production.
We spoke with Brittani for our Backstory series, where we chat with folks in the entertainment industry about their creative inspirations and more.
Brittani, tell us...
Where you were born, and where you live now.
Born in Miami, Florida. Currently live in Hudson, New York.
Your first job in the industry.
My first job in the industry was in the mailroom at APA Talent Agency.
A breakthrough moment in your career.
When I realized that the only way I'd move forward in my career was by making stuff myself, learning by doing versus following a track I didn't believe in. I took a leap of faith in 2013 and quit my assistant job, and started directing, producing, casting, writing as much as I could on my own—that experience, those challenges prepared me to take on the role I have now at Portal A.
Three movies you couldn't do without.
The Parent Trap (Lindsay Lohan version). A classic nostalgia pick I could watch over and over again.
Birdman. A contained celebration of artistry in front of and behind the camera and a movie that kept a smile on my face from start to finish—something about a theater setting, masterclass acting, blaring horns and cutting commentary about the industry excites me!
There Will Be Blood. Just super badass in every way.
Your favorite movie quote.
"As if." —Clueless
Your favorite movie trailer or poster.
Movie trailer: Spice World—only because there was probably no movie I anticipated with more excitement than that one.
A classic TV show and a recent TV show that you loved.
Classic: Gilmore Girls. Recent: Outlander.
A recent project you're proud of.
I'm very proud of my work with Target. Last year, Portal A created a six-episode digital series with content living across brand and talent channels, with each episode featuring a mainstream and digital-native talent—folks like Laverne Cox, Tabitha Brown, Emma Chamberlain, Jordan Firstman and more. We were able to make a fun, funny, heartwarming show during a very hard year and work with a cast of truly special and diverse talent. I really enjoy working with talent that bridges the gap between traditional and digital alongside a beloved brand … and see more of this coming in 2021!
Someone else's project that you admired recently.
Our partners at Wheelhouse Entertainment are doing innovative work in the creator and entertainment space. Their upcoming reality show around the Hype House and the push they're making to translate the appeal of digital content creators to entertainment platforms is super exciting. As someone who loves reality TV and also believes in the creativity and unique voices of digital-native content creators, it's a smart move that will have a meaningful impact bridging the gap between digital and traditional storytelling.
One thing about how entertainment marketing is evolving that you're excited about.
It's so refreshing to see the definition of talent expand to include both mainstream and digital talent as well as activists, artists and more. There's so much more room for creativity when we take a broader view of who can be in front of the camera. Even more exciting is a focus on diversity and empowerment—I'm proud to be a part of an industry that takes on the responsibility of driving culture in a direction that's boundlessly inclusive and aspirational.
What you would be doing if you weren't in entertainment marketing.
In my Sliding Doors life, I'd probably be running a hybrid coffee shop/lounge/theater/cat cafe/bookshop and writing novels!