EXCLUSIVE: Paradigm‘s longtime production department co-head Frank Balkin, who reps below-the-line talent, has left the agency for a partnership at 3-year-old Worldwide Production Agency – but Paradigm is refusing to let Balkin out of his contract. Nonetheless, Balkin is currently working out of the WPA offices as the dispute continues. At the same time, Paradigm is answering Balkin’s office phone saying that they are taking messages for him. Threats of litigation have been levied as Paradigm has apparently insisted he return to the agency, but progress has been made to let him out. I called Paradigm and asked about this about two weeks ago. At that time, Balkin was still working out of the Paradigm offices and the talent agency said they were hoping to work it out with him. Oh well. It’s unclear what Paradigm is hoping to get but commissions if the agent has already bailed. He had been with Paradigm for over a decade.
Balkin joins a well-respected below-the-line agency in WPA. Run by partners Richard Caleel and Steven Jacob, it represents cinematographers, production designers, editors, and VFX supervisors in all areas. Their clients include producers Michael Fottrell (Fast & Furious), Ralph Winter (X-Men series) and cinematographers Larry Fong (Untitled Batman Vs Superman, 300, Now You See Me), Simon Duggan (The Great Gatsby), Ross Emery (The Matrix, The Wolverine), Shane Hurlbut (Terminator Salvation), Michael Seresin (Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban), Matt Lloyd (Better Angels), Declan Quinn (The Reluctant Fundamentalist), Stephen Windon (Fast and Furious), editors Vincent Tabaillon (Now You See Me), Michael Shawver (Fruitvale Station), and TV clients like Hunter Via (editor of Walking Dead, Sons Of Anarchy, From Dusk Til Dawn). WPA also reps Oscar-nominated cinematographer Emanuel Lubeski for commercial production; ICM reps him in all other areas.