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Gotham builds new model on tooned-up frame

Far-reaching client list puts group in unique position

Group leader draws talent | Gotham builds new model on tooned-up frame | Gotham builds slate | Kids stay in exec’s focus

Few firms have had the kind of trajectory or earned a level of influence like the Gotham Group. The firm that built its reputation as an animation and family entertainment talent agency in the mid-1990s is now a management and production company that reps everyone from producers, directors, illustrators and content creators to publishing houses.

This far-reaching client list puts Ellen Goldsmith-Vein’s Gotham Group in a unique position: With both a long list of talented artists and access to quality content, the company can bring its clients onto a project that plays to that artist’s strengths and interests.

“It’s about getting every client as many bites at the apple as they can get,” says founder and owner Goldsmith-Vein. “It’s about building an annuity for them.”

There are vast and varied resources that can be used to create that annuity.

Gotham reps Bloomsbury/Walker U.S., Dark Horse Entertainment, HarperCollins, Penguin Group, Simon & Schuster, SAF Comics and Com.x, among other publishers.

The company — which has a staff of about 25 — also reps around 500 artists, writers, content creators, directors and producers. Among them are director Henry Selick (“Coraline”), writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak and author Tony DiTerlizzi (“The Spiderwick Chronicles”).

Gotham has a first-look deal with Sony Pictures Animation, where several of its feature projects — including “Futuropolis” and “Make My Own Monster” — are currently in development. The firm has more than 30 films and about 15 television projects in development overall.

“Ellen (Goldsmith-Vein) is unique in the quality of the material that she controls,” says Jason Spitz, co-head of the motion picture literary department at William Morris Endeavor Entertainment. “It’s not an accident that super-high-end artists tend to be attracted to that.”

While the company began with a focus on family entertainment and animation, Goldsmith-Vein doesn’t limit Gotham to those areas and is constantly looking for the kind of material that can connect with an audience.

“I’m interested in great stories,” says Goldsmith-Vein. “And when I think something is great, I’ll fight for it forever. Never lose a war of attrition, I say.”

Goldsmith-Vein believes focusing on quality is also a way to remain successful even in a challenging economic climate.

“The need for great material is so strong that there’s never a problem selling something if it’s a well-written story that people love,” says Goldsmith-Vein. “That will always sell.”

Currently, Gotham is producing — along with Vertigo Entertainment and Tailor Made — the Lionsgate film “Abduction,” which stars Taylor Lautner and Sigourney Weaver. John Singleton is helming the project.

Singleton, an avid reader from a very young age himself, is impressed with the material Gotham can access.

“It’s very exciting to work with Ellen because she has excellent taste, and she really gets to know you and what you like so she’ll find material that she thinks will work for you and bring out the best of your talents,” says Singleton, whose iPad is currently loaded with titles suggested by Goldsmith-Vein.

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