As a newbie studio attorney, Andrew Gumpert benefited from a crash course not taught in any law school.
“I was fortunate that I learned from various mentors who would say, ‘Hey kid, come into my office and get on the phone — and just listen,’ ” recalls the American U. law school alum. “It was the best education I could get.”
After moving further up the studio food chain, Gumpert decided to return the favor. Now president of business affairs and operations at Col, he describes his leadership style as inclusive.
“I do that same thing with everyone who works for me,” says Gumpert, who lists Michael Helfant, Bob Osher and Peter Schlessel as three execs who mentored him over the years. “Well, only when they’re green, and then they don’t need it anymore.”
Among the careers that Gumpert has helped nurture are Media Rights Capital’s Jonathan Golfman, Indian Paintbrush’s Peter McPartlin and WME’s Courtney Braun.
McPartlin, who worked with Gumpert at Miramax, says the biggest lesson he learned was to always maintain your individuality and composure, regardless of the situation.
“One of my favorite memories is of him refereeing a heated conference call between a Dimension executive and an executive from another studio,” quips McPartlin, now exec VP of business and legal affairs at the production and finance company. “As tensions escalated, Andrew kept saying, ‘Bring it to center everyone. Bring it to center.’ Later, when we were on with the studio executive alone, I learned that Andrew’s composure and positivity ultimately got the deal closed.”
Similarly, Golfman sat in on countless deal calls during a summer internship at Miramax. What he marvels at, in retrospect, was Gumpert’s patience amid the pressure-cooker atmosphere.
“Looking back now as an executive in the industry only makes me think that much more highly of Andrew,” says the VP and head of film business and legal affairs at MRC. “I now understand how stressful his job must have been and find it even more remarkable that he always made time for me and never made me feel like I was in his way or disturbing him.”
And Braun, who worked with Gumpert at Col before she segued to WME’s business affairs department, took a page from how he conducted himself both inside and outside the office.
“One of the best things I learned from him is that it’s possible to be ambitious and to be a great parent at the same time,” she says. “He works incredibly hard, but he’s also a family man. I often saw him running out the door to sports events or school functions for his kids, yet he never missed a beat at work.”