When Sharon Sheinwold, Nick Stevens and Lisa Hallerman moved from UTA to Endeavor, the town was shocked. The agents were the rubber in UTA’s “comedy wheel,” and they rolled that business across Wilshire Boulevard to a new address in May.
“I pride myself on being thoughtful and strategic, and didn’t think anyone would notice,” Sheinwold says. “I crossed that street many times before with nary a glance. People are allowed to get new jobs.”
Sheinwold became a queen of comedy over a 15-year career. She brought Endeavor a talent windfall that includes Jack Black, Jason Segel, Jason Schwartzman, Amy Poehler and Jonah Hill.
“Comedy came really from starting with nothing in a talent department that had no talent,” says Sheinwold of her earlier days. “Nick, my mentor, showed me that the best course was to develop self-generating artists we could internally package into movies. It was more out of desperation than anything.”
Sheinwold, who grew up in the Long Island town of Islip before studying film at NYU and AFI, knocks down 15 scripts a weekend and is known for being tough on behalf of her clients. She has a knack for spotting raw talent, signing Black when he was best known as half of Tenacious D playing at the Hollywood club Largo. She signed Segal when he was in the “Freaks & Geeks” cast.
Sheinwold encourages all her clients to write their own stuff. That paid off for Segal, who penned “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” his first feature, starring himself.
“I’ve always felt the business responds well to an artist who self-generates,” she says. “It gives you control, more opportunity, and it’s more satisfying.”
Sheinwold, who ran UTA’s talent department with Hallerman, is solely focused on working with clients at Endeavor.
“It feels the same, other than not having to sign expense reports,” she says. “Endeavor sees the industry the way I do, and when you add the talent we brought to Adam Sandler, Steve Carell, Ricky Gervais and others, it makes a powerful statement when we go to the town to put movies together.”
Role model: “(Email inventor) Ray Tomlinson; (BlackBerry pioneer) Mike Lazaridis.”
Three things in life I can’t do without: “1. Woodrow 2. Wilson 3. Jackson the 3rd.”
What I’m reading now: “‘The Bottomless Belly Button’ by Dash Shaw”
If not Hillary, then who? “Amy Poehler.”
Fave leisure activity: “Mind reading.”