An advance screening of the Entourage movie is about to play for a theater full of excited, bro-y University of Southern California students. I’m in the audience, sitting next to Scott Vener, the man responsible for half of the long-running HBO series’ entertainment value: its soundtrack. A moderator introduces the movie, but Vener’s busy showing me his secret Instagram, the rare social media account not associated with his brokemogul moniker. He uses this account to follow a bunch of hardcore music nerds who post weird, left-field songs. We laugh at clips until his girlfriend, Allison, seated on his other side, gently puts his phone down. The movie is starting.
In a post-film Q&A, series creator Doug Ellin jokingly compares Vener to Vince’s beleaguered older brother, Johnny Drama. But during our afternoon-long conversation at his home in the Hollywood Hills the previous day, Vener less jokingly compared himself to Turtle, due to their professional ascensions. To me it seems as if he might actually be more of a Vince type on the low: talented, blessed, respected, successful, but nonetheless moving day-to-day as if what he does is no big deal. After getting to know him over the course of two days, though, it’s clear that as chill and Vince-like as he may be, he is indeed opinionated and passionate about his ear and his instincts in a way that supersedes any of the drive and work ethic of Entourage’s stars. “He’s a pain in the ass, but he knows what he wants and he trusts in his ear,” Ellin jokes with me later. (Ellin maintains that Vener, who mostly keeps to himself with Allison and their two dogs, would probably never actually hang with any of the four characters he’s helped make famous.)