These lawyers, financiers, execs and entrepreneurs have forged ahead amid a pandemic and an economic near-collapse
ALTER, KENDRICK & BARON
Focused on music for copyrights and transactions, Alter repped Primary Wave Music Publishing, Reservoir Media Management and Tempo Music Investments. Artist clients include Ray Davies, David Gilmour and Steve Miller. The New York-based lawyer notes that banks, private equity and hybrids of music publishers working with third parties are non-traditional tune-property buyers and find that music assets “are very secure investments in otherwise volatile markets.”
Broadening: “In past couple of years, the scope of what industry players are interested in acquiring for music asset purchases has expanded beyond just the copyright in the song,” Alter says. This includes income streams and neighboring rights.
Tom Ara, David Markman, Robert Sherman, Afshin Beyzaee, Scott Bradford, Katherine Imp
Ara: Partner, Co-Chair of Entertainment Transactions Practice & Entertainment Finance Practice
Markman: Partner, Co-Chair of Entertainment Transactions Practice
Sherman: Partner, Co-Chair of Entertainment Finance Practice
Bradford: Of Counsel
The firm’s Century City-based entertainment team brings a deep bench of talent to film, TV, new media, music, gaming and branded entertainment deals — ranging from L.A.-based animation studio Titmouse’s (“Big Mouth”) new pact with Netflix to MC Credit Partners’ $100 million film and TV co-financing deal with Great Point Media. Ara works with Imp and Markham on the transactional aspects of deals. If they need help with an international co-production, they can call on Beyzaee’s tax structuring expertise or Sherman’s knowledge of cross-border financing. Music specialist Bradford reps record labels, artists, publishing companies and various licensors, buyers and sellers, including TikTok music star Cookiee Kawaii, for whom he helped negotiate a $1 million recording agreement with Empire Music, and independent music company Concord, for which he helped arrange a $600 million term loan B debt offering and a $450 million revolving-credit facility. The team has also repped talent agency APA in a major non-equity investment from Ron Burkle’s the Yucaipa Cos. and with e-sports startup Vindex to establish a theatrical partnership agreement with Imax. DLA Piper has also created a global industry guide to production post-pandemic.
The New Normal: “I think for years to come there will be close attention paid to things like force majeure provisions,” says Ara, “because people will be thinking in the back of their heads, ‘Will this happen again?’”
SVP, Associate General Counsel, Head of Scripted Television Business and Legal Affairs
Arias acknowledges that the “small but mighty” Endeavor has more volume than typical boutique studios, but not as much as major studios. Key deals with Apple TV Plus, HBO Max and others include “Severance,” “Truth Be Told,” “Scenes From a Marriage,” “Tokyo Vice,” a Hedy Lamarr biopic starring Gal Gadot, plus the highly anticipated “Nine Perfect Strangers,” which Arias calls “a very expensive, massive show.”
Pandemic Pivot: “Putting together the whole ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ package during the pandemic was probably the most interesting, challenging and critical dealmaking that we’ve done. We had to do a quick pivot, and ended up shooting the show in Australia because of the lower incidences of the pandemic there.”
Vice Chair, Global Entertainment & Media Practice
Over the past year, Black has been involved in transactions and business initiatives valued at more than $2 billion. He was retained by Bill Gates and his Gates Ventures, providing ongoing counsel and legal expertise related to content creation, and was hired by HDNet to serve as primary outside counsel for its AXS TV network. In addition, Black recently negotiated $115 million in guaranteed compensation deals for many senior entertainment executives.
Streaming Steams Ahead: “The further transition of streamers becoming the locomotive for projects within the industry, whether theatrical or television, was well underway pre-COVID, but has exponentially accelerated since last March,” says Black.
Founder & Chairman
Global entrepreneur and self-made billionaire Blavatnik, founder of conglomerate Access Industries, plays a key role in many types of business around the world, including media and entertainment. Back in 2011, Access acquired Warner Music Group for $3.3 billion in cash. The price reflected the times: the music biz was struggling with plunging record sales and rampant piracy. Then digital happened, and, once again, with impeccable timing, Blavatnik took the company public in June at a stock price of $25 — which subsequently surged above $30, giving WMG a market value of $15.6 billion at the end of its first day of trading. The IPO’s value validates the music industry’s resurgence. With a roster that includes artists such as Lizzo, Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars and Cardi B — and with the majority of its income derived from digital sales — WMG has been well positioned to withstand the ravages of the coronavirus and stands poised to grow further in a post-pandemic future.
More Than the Money: Blavatnik has been quoted as saying, “I believe in the undying power of music to move people culture and technology.”
LOEB & LOEB
Chamlin reps Oprah Winfrey/Harpo on multiple Apple TV Plus docuseries and Book Club programs; “Oprah’s 2020 Vision” tour; and Weight Watchers affiliation. The New York-based lawyer also advises Glenn Close (“Hillbilly Elegy”); non-scripted talent including Ree Drummond (Food Network’s “The Pioneer Woman”) and executive employment contracts including extensions for Truly Original principals. COVID-19 driving consumers to personal media consumption “has forever crowned home viewing,” he says. “There is no going back.”
Pacesetter: The streaming revolution is also igniting verticals, such as limited-series documentaries. “I think so much of the interest in docuseries involves the volatile culture and political landscape,” Chamlin says.
Joseph Calabrese, Nancy Bruington, Ken Deutsch, Robert Haymer, Justin Hamill, Patrick Mitchell, Rick Offsay, Frank Saviano, Jonathan West, Lisbeth (Libby) Savill, Adam Sullins
Calabrese: Partner-Global Chair, Global Entertainment, Sports & Media practice
Hamill: Partner, Co-Chair, Entertainment, Sports & Media Industry Group
Bruington, Deutsch, Haymer, Mitchell, Offsay, Saviano, West: Partners
Savill, Sullins: Partners, Co-Chairs, Entertainment, Sports & Media Industry Group
LATHAM & WATKINS
The group boasts of several blue-chip clients, including A24, AGBO, AMC Networks, Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment, Blumhouse, Brothers Intl., Endeavor, Entertainment Studios/Allen Media, Facebook, Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., Illumination Entertainment, Intl. Olympic Committee, Miramax Films, MGM, New Republic Pictures, Sierra Pictures, Sinclair Broadcast Media, Skydance Media, Sonar Entertainment, Univision, Warner Bros., Westbrook and World Surf League. Based in Century City, Calabrese has a broad practice; Bruington handles financings; Deutsch works content initiatives and related financings; Haymer represents companies and talent in entertainment, sports, and media; Offsay advises studios, TV, streamers and financiers; Sullins covers sports and media; and West advises talent in marketing collaborations. Based in London are Savill advising creation, financing and distribution of film, television, media; and Mitchell focusing on sports and media. Based in New York, Hamill represents M&A and media transactions; and Saviano handles sports & media transactions. Calabrese says the Hollywood ecosystem will be impacted by the extent that coronavirus disruption of consumer media consumption becomes permanent, which is an open question. “This started a long time ago, but COVID has accelerated the decline of theatrical attendance and the move to streaming services,” he says.
Togetherness: After the pandemic passes, Calabrese is bullish on sports attendance snapping back. “One thing is clear: people want to return to social gatherings, particularly sporting events.”
Recently named for the sixth time to the Southern California Super Lawyers list, Chatham negotiated and closed a new multi-year talk show deal for “Dr. Phil” with CBS through Season 21, negotiated and closed a multi-year talk show deal for “Doctors” with CBS through Season 13, and serves as an on-air legal analyst on network television. He’s also a part of Dr. Phil’s team of veteran attorneys who explain complicated legal issues on the iconic program. “There are plenty of companies that want to tap into a talent’s brand and followers to further monetize their business, and they’re willing to pay hefty sums to do so,” he says.
Embracing the Moment: “Cultivating your client’s image to take advantage of opportunities, whether it be in business and/or philanthropy, is more prevalent than ever,” Chatham says.
Lindsay Conner, Sophia Yen
Conner: Leader and Partner, Entertainment
Yen: Partner, Entertainment
MANATT, PHELPS & PHILLIPS
The duo represents Sony Entertainment, East West Bank and Beijing-based Perfect World Pictures. Conner advised sellers of big YouTube channel Cocomelon; clients include AT&T, Content Partners, ITV Studios America and New Republic Pictures. Yen repped David Chang’s Majordomo Media Spotify podcasts and a first-look Hulu deal. Other Yen clients include Entertainment One, FilmRise, O2 Filmes and Wavelength Productions. While Covid-19 slowed production, dealmaking quickened as “companies with cash looked for assets to acquire,” Conner says, and found willing sellers.
Money Mood: Financiers that used to gravitate to familiar talent are now embracing diversity. “It’s great to see that people with the money are buying into it,” Yen says, “and challenging the way things used to be done.”
DEL SHAW MOONVES TANAKA FINKELSTEIN & LEZCANO
Dang negotiated Kevin Hart’s deal with Audible and Charlamagne Tha God’s the Black Effect Podcast Network deal with iHeartMedia. Dang also closed an imprint publishing deal for Charlamagne and handled talks for Netflix series “The Woman in the House,” created by clients Rachel Ramras, Larry Dorf and Hugh Davidson. The latter also signed a three-year deal with Warner Bros. Animation.
More to Be Done: “Progress had been made [in diversity], but there are still major areas where there has been very little progress, including behind the camera, executive ranks and board memberships,” Dang says. “So while we should celebrate, it shouldn’t stop us from pushing for further change.”
Robert Darwell, Leif Cervantes de Reinstein, Robb Klein
Sheppard Mullin’s L.A.-based entertainment practice covers a lot of ground, from traditional studios and streamers to sports. Darwell serves as counsel to Amazon Studios on its feature and TV projects, as well as production deals with the likes of Lizzo, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Steve McQueen. Cervantes de Reinstein’s headline deals includereppingFremantle in its $85 million license agreement with Apple TV Plus for a series reboot of “Mosquito Coast.” Klein works on the financing, production and distribution of productions, including Komixx Entertainment’s sequels to “The Kissing Booth.” and Emilio Estevez’s role in the Disney Plus series reboot of “The Mighty Ducks.”
Pandemic’s Trickle-Down Effect: Production is a little more expensive, and it’s taking longer, because they’re subject to constant shutdowns,” says Klein.
PAUL, WEISS, RIFKIND, WHARTON & GARRISON
Deckelbaum helped shepherd to a successful close in December 2019 one of the most significant media deals of the past 12 months, advising the Special Committee of the Board of Directors of CBS Corp. in its successful merger with Viacom, representing an enterprise value exceeding $40 billion. He also repped Fortress Investment Group, the New York-based management firm that operates New Media Investment Group, in New Media’s $1.4 billion cash-and-stock acquisition of Gannett.
Innovation: “Changes in the media industry have redefined traditional roles and created new opportunities for lawyers to innovate, making it an exciting area to practice in,” Deckelbaum says.
Thomas Dey, Richard Gray
Dey: Founder, CEO, President
Gray: Managing Director
ACF INVESTMENT BANK
Dey and Gray remained busy all throughout a turbulent year. Dey advised execs Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones on the sale of their company to Netflix, marking the streamer’s first acquisition of a scripted production company. Dey also advised on Neal Street’s earn-out with All3Media. Gray advised on The Immigrant’s production deal with Fremantle and Bron Ventures, as well as on the sale of Blackfin to eOne, and the creation of Plimsoll Prods. in a deal valuing the company at over $100 million.
Pandemic Economies: “Things have become more efficient as there’s less travel and more time spent on getting things accomplished,” says Dey.
David C. Eisman
Partner, Global Head of Entertainment Group
SKADDEN, ARPS, SLATE, MEAGHER & FLOM
Eisman repped Platinum Equity Advisers in acquiring the distribution-services business of Deluxe Entertainment and also CineVizion; and separately counseled Qatar-based beIN Media for selling a 49% stake in Miramax in a reported $375 million deal. Other clients of the Los Angeles-based attorney include David Maisel’s Mythos Studios, Shamrock Capital and UTA. Per Eisman, “the strong demand for streaming is driving investor interest in three buckets: labels, publishers and catalogs.”
Pumping Tunes: Exercise equipment-makers bundle tunes with their products for a new music-industry revenue stream that can also promote emerging artists, Eisman notes.
Partner; Chair, Global Entertainment and Media Practice
Emanuel’s client list includes writer-director-producers Robert Rodriguez (Netflix’s “We Are Heroes”) and Tony Gilroy (untitled Disney Plus “Rogue One” series), actress Marisa Tomei, production companies Sight Unseen and Likely Story, and endlessly prolific creator Ryan Murphy (Netflix’s “Ratched,” “The Prom”). Recently, he repped the Lumistella Co. in its seven-figure rights deal for “Elf on the Shelf” with Netflix and Clive Davis in his pact to produce the Whitney Houston biopic “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”
Zoom Fail: “I think there’s a real inefficiency if you work with a team of lawyers and you can’t sit down together and go through a document in their physical presence,” he says.
Alan J. Epstein
Chair, Entertainment and Media Group; Chair, West Coast Business Transactions Group
Epstein handles transactional and tax matters for high-profile production companies including J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, Spyglass Media Group and Imagine Entertainment. But his most impressive recent accomplishments have been his celebrity influencer deals, such as Ryan Reynolds’ $610 million sale of Ambassador Gin to British spirits giant Diageo in August. He also engineered the “Deadpool” star’s new deal with Mint Mobile.
Looking on the Bright Side: “Even though the method of consumption continues to change, the fact of consumption does not, and that’s always good for our business,” he says.
Partner, Sports Group; Co-Head, Technology, Media & Telecommunications Group
Freeman’s recent deals include repping ForgeLight in its acquisition of a majority stake in leading Univision Holdings, Cox Communications in its new carriage deal with Disney, the Starz Group in its launch of Fox Bet, and Spectrum Networks in its agreement with AT&T for the launch of Spectrum SportsNet L.A., which brought Dodgers baseball games to its customers after a seven-year blackout.
Fun With Force Majeure Clauses: “If a pandemic is not listed in the laundry list of contract terms as a force majeure event, it becomes a question of what the law is in each individual state,” he says.
CEO, Vice Chairman
Fries recently closed the $7 billion acquisition of Sunrise Communications. But his biggest deal of 2020 was the $30 billion U.K. merger between Virgin Media broadband/TV business and the country’s largest mobile operator, O2, in May.
Good Deals: “To consistently make good deals, you generally need three things: deep knowledge of the asset so you can quickly assess what the bid/ask means in real terms; a fundamental — not emotional — view on when to draw a line in the sand; and, perhaps most important, a level of trust between principals.” Fries continues: “When you’re second-guessing motives and credibility, you almost always lose sight of the bigger picture. Everyone needs to feel good about the outcome.”
Matt Galsor, Schuyler “Sky” Moore, Sally James, Mark Muir, Alla Savranskaia
Galsor: Partner, Head of Entertainment
Moore, James, Muir, Savranskaia: Partners
Galsor represents talent and production companies in film, television, games and new digital media. Clients include Joe and Anthony Russo (directing/producing big-budget Netflix “The Gray Man”); Tom Cruise for back-to-back “Mission: Impossible” movies (with Muir); and AMC Networks for TV adaptions of lit properties. Working film/TV financial transactions, Moore handles Cross Creek Pictures on multiple film financing transactions, including “Bloodshot”; Warner Music for tune-oriented docus; and financing for “The War With Grandpa.” Working entertainment financing transactions, James advised on financing to launch music publisher Fourward Music; XR Studios for its extended reality content; Chris Hemsworth for financing/launching his wellness app Centr; and documentary film “You Cannot Kill David Arquette.” Handling talent in tandem with Galsor, Muir advised Tom Cruise for a movie shooting in space; Hemsworth for “Thor”; writer-director Mohamed Diab for TV series “Moon Knight”; and Tony Danza and Dan Farah rebooting “Who’s the Boss.” Repping Hollywood talent and literary authors, Savranskaia advised James Cameron on his Nat Geo docs; the estate of Ray Bradbury; and novelist Andy Weir (“The Martian”) for an original Universal Pictures movie. The five are based in Century City. With production insurance problematic due to the pandemic, big players will likely self-insure, but “that’s changing the way smaller, independent films get made because people have to put up their own equity that is truly at risk,” Galsor says.
Going Large: Galsor expects streamers to eventually embrace significant theatrical releases for their biggest movies to placate creative talent and create marketing buzz. “The movie model for large spectacle movies will evolve where streaming services will be providing global theatrical releases in a premium way such as Imax theaters,” Galsor says.
Gilbert-Lurie closed Dick Wolf’s deal with Peacock for the streaming rights to his catalog of procedurals in January, then negotiated a nine-figure five-year extension for the producer and his Wolf Productions on its Universal Television pact. Post-shutdown, he negotiated new types of deals, such as setting up quarantine housing for client Sandra Bullock on the Vancouver location of her Netflix film “Unforgiven” that had her sharing living space with only hands-on crew members (e.g., hair and makeup).
COVID Kumbaya With Studios: “They weren’t hostile negotiations,” he says. “They were like we’ve got to figure out how this all works to keep the industry running.”
Damien Granderson, Andre Des Rochers, Elizabeth Moody, Josh Sandler
GRANDERSON DES ROCHERS
One of the few Black-owned entertainment law firms and with offices in New York and Los Angeles, Granderson Des Rochers covers music, film, TV, new media, technology, podcasts, lifestyle and sports. When the pandemic hit, the firm pivoted by allocating resources to sectors best positioned to weather economic disruption. Granderson’s recent deals encompass a slew of signings for singer J Balvin, including a documentary on Amazon and a Super Bowl performance agreement. Des Rochers’ pacts include Taylour Paige’s deal for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and Sasha Lane’s role in Amazon series “Utopia.” Moody shepherds clients including Triller and Ne-Yo. Sandler handles comedy, with clients such as Pete Davidson.
Platform Lift: “Our practices have all experienced unprecedented transaction volume in 2020 because of the uptick in content streaming via platforms like Spotify, Netflix, TikTok and Triller,” says Granderson.
Senior Counsel, Business & Legal Affairs, Original Studio Films
Stay-at-home orders have Netflix subscribers hungry for new content, which has kept Haffner and her team busy. Establishing a franchise with “The Christmas Chronicles 2” was a highlight, but she also enjoyed the competitive “auction-style negotiations” for movies including “Hillbilly Elegy.”
Remote Work Works: “Since we’re all at home, colleagues, agents, and talent lawyers regularly call or text me directly on my cell phone, and we often hear each other’s dogs barking or kids talking in the background. The informality has created a kinship that didn’t necessarily exist before”
Jason Karlov, Carolyn Hunt, Steve Weizenecker, Rebekah Prince, Bryan Thompson, Scott Witlin, Ryan Barncastle, Amanda Taber
Karlov: Chair, Entertainment, Media & Sports Practice Group
Hunt, Weizenecker, Prince, Thompson, Witlin, Barncastle: Partners
BARNES & THORNBURG
Karlov handles music, television, film, live events, advertising, licensing and technology matters. His clients include Bob Dylan, John Fogerty, Grateful Dead music publishing, T Bone Burnett. Hunt focuses on finance and distribution in film, TV and digital media, often representing financial institutions and producers. Prince works on sports, entertainment, corporate transactions and celebrity endorsement deals, including for Russell Westbrook. Thompson handles financing, development, production and distribution deals in television, film and digital media; clients include MUFG Union Bank. Weizenecker focuses on the film, TV and videogame industries. His clients include Bounce Media, eOne, Ingenious Media, HBO, MGM and Viacom Intl. Witlin works entertainment labor and employment law. Barncastle handles talent and corporate transactions in entertainment, media and sports. Taber works music and live events, often collaborating with Karlov. Production budgets are more complex due to “a lot of new COVID costs,” Hunt says, including testing and nurses on set.
Not Just the Money: As music talent gets tempted by sky-high offers for their publishing rights, Karlov says, “each client has a degree of human attachment to any deal for the copyrights that they’ve created over their careers. It’s like a photo album of their lives.”
Kenneth Kleinberg, Jill Smith
KLEINBERG LANGE CUDDY & CARLO
The duo has had a busy year. Kleinberg reps J.K. Rowling and handled business and legal issues regarding upcoming event film “Vermillion,” which is the third entry in the “Fantastic Beasts” series, while also working with Lego, which has licensed the production of four major theatrical films for Warner Bros. and entered into a multiyear motion picture financing-production-and-distribution agreement with Universal Pictures. Smith works with actors, directors, writers, independent producers, production companies, and outfits that own sought-after intellectual property.
Fresh Start: “We closed the Lego-Universal deal earlier this year on behalf of Lego,” says Kleinberg. “It’s a multi-picture, multi-year deal that’s more complicated by virtue of the fact that creatively, they are starting with a blank slate rather than a specific property or story or product.”
Steven Kram, Steven E. Blume, John M. Mass
Kram: Co-Founder, President, CEO
Blume: Co-Founder, Chief Operations Officer, CFO
Mass: Executive VP
The acquirer of intellectual property assets bought financial interests held by investors in three different film slates spread across six different Hollywood studios and also acquired the library of FilmDistrict. Those were among 100 titles acquired in the past year. Los Angeles-based Kram, Blume and Mass helm a business purchasing IP assets from individuals, financiers, estates and other entities. Looking at Hollywood today, Mass marvels that “who would have thought 10 or 15 years ago that Netflix, Amazon, Apple TV Plus and Disney Plus would be as dominant forces as they are now not only in licensing content but creating new content.”
Road to Tomorrow: Mass says living through times of business upheaval can be tough. But “history shows events like the pandemic and technological change force the business to adapt, innovate and reset to do things differently,” positioning the industry for a better tomorrow.
Bryan LaCour, Tony Beaudoin, Matthew Rosenberg
LaCour: Head of Entertainment Finance
Beaudoin: Managing Director
MUFG UNION BANK – ENTERTAINMENT FINANCE GROUP
After enduring its two slowest quarters of all time owing to the pandemic, activity has picked up at MUFG and “we’re set to have maybe a record quarter,” LaCour says. He says “a notable, but not necessarily the largest” deal was with Neon, the U.S. distributor of the Oscar-winning film “Parasite.” “They’re a newer company, so the relationship could certainly grow. We also closed the financing on a production-side loan for a very important client of ours, Gaumont [Television] USA for season five of ‘Narcos.’ That was a pretty sizable project loan.”
Negotiating 101: Avoid overconfidence. “It’s always better to go in assuming you’re an underdog to win the client’s business, and approach if from that perspective,” LaCour says. “Overconfidence can only lead to disappointment.”
Levy was instrumental in engineering ICM Talent’s $150 million private equity deal with Crestview Partners in December 2019. This enabled him to cut a series of big deals in 2020, including the acquisition of London-based agencies Stellar Group, the world’s largest soccer agency, and Primary Talent, a music booker with a roster of 900 artists, and the purchase of a minority stake in Swedish lit agency Albatros.
Don’t Call It Goodbye: In January, Levy announced he’d be retiring from ICM Talent at year’s end, but he plans to remain on the board of several of its portfolio companies, including Stellar, Albatros and the Just for Laughs Group.
Linda Lichter, Jamie Feldman
Lichter: Founding Partner
Feldman: Managing Partner
LICHTER GROSSMAN NICHOLS ADLER FELDMAN & CLARK
Lichter repped Chloé Zhao directing “Nomadland” and Marvel movie “The Eternals.” She also advises Niki Caro (Amazon series “Daisy Jones & the Six”). Feldman handled Steven Soderbergh for his multi-layered WarnerMedia deal; Barry Jenkins (“The Lion King” prequel); Viola Davis to star in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Production shutdowns have upended talent schedules and caused aa “10-car pileup on the freeway,” says Feldman, with more projects speeding up the entrance ramp.
Let’s Chat! “Everybody wants to talk about their lives, their families, where they are living,” observes Lichter. “We need to talk and we can’t go to lunch.”
Business Affairs Executive
In addition to securing first-look deals for Lizzo at Amazon and for Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions at Apple TV Plus, Linzell played a key role in a straight-to-series deal bringing “Kings of America” to Netflix. She also negotiated deals on behalf of Steven Spielberg/Amblin Entertainment and Danny Boyle.
Backend or Buyout?: “Right now, streaming platforms generally only exploit their shows on their own platforms, but there could be a world in the future where they decide to sell their shows to a third party … like how HBO eventually started selling their shows in syndication,” Linzell says. “There’s additional revenue from that, but if the deal had the full buyout, the client would never see any of those future revenue streams.
Founder & CEO
It’s been a busy year for Luo with Sam Raimi’s supernatural horror film “Umma” in production, James Wan’s “Malignant” in post, and Yung Chang’s “Wuhan Wuhan” documentary. He’s hopeful that Starlight Media’s Stars Collective initiative as well as a joint venture partnership with Lion Forge Animation will generate ground-breaking content with universal appeal.
Global Promise: “Never has there been a better moment to lean into the future of global storytelling,” Luo says. “And by that, I mean backing diverse voices who will tell new and authentic stories that audiences globally will embrace. Our aim [with the Stars Collective initiative] is to provide real opportunities for emerging filmmakers to break out in a big way.”
Partner, Entertainment & Media Industry Group
Marcus served as chief negotiator for the ad industry’s Joint Policy Commit- tee in its talks with SAG-AFTRA tal-
ent unions, negotiating a massive $3 billion commercial production contract. She also led negotiations for the JPC’s COVID-19 safety protocols, helping to get the commercial production industry back on track. Marcus additionally handles deals for celebrities and luxury brands and repped endorsement deals totaling $58 million this year.
Adjusting for COVID: With the pandemic upending traditional ways of doing busi- ness, Marcus says, “transitioning the luxury market into the digital space has been a top priority.”
RAVEN CAPITAL MANAGEMENT
Raven bought Open Road Films in 2018; Masciello recently relaunched it with something unthinkable these days — theatrical releases of “Honest Thief” and “After We Collided.” With streamers clamoring for content, he’s begun funding TV pilots in Southeast Asia. “If we can find ways to take small risks that could turn into something exciting, we’re going to do that every time.”
The Big Picture: “I don’t view any individual deal as the be-all and end-all; almost the opposite,” he says. “I don’t want to live or die by one deal or one thing. I want to build something stable. We do that through continuing to build our capability and build our partnerships, and by being able to be creative and provide more than just capital.”
Kevin S. Masuda
Partner and Co-Chair, Media, Entertainment and Technology Practice Group
GIBSON, DUNN & CRUTCHER
Masuda straddled the worlds of sports and entertainment, repping Eros Intl. in its merger with STX Entertainment to create Eros STX Global Corp., a publicly traded company valued at $600 mil- lion with operations in the U.S., India and China; and handling the reorganization of LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s three companies under the SpringHill Entertainment banner. He also repped Eros Innovations in a joint venture with Mike Tyson, forming the Legends Only League, which launched with his November bout with Roy Jones Jr.
Don’t Blame the New Normal on the Pandemic: “I do think changes have been accelerated due to the quarantine, but they were inevitable,” he says.
Partner, Entertainment and Media Practice
Mayerson did his part for the pandemic recovery, helping SpottedRisk design its first-of-its-kind COVID Insurance Policy for independent film and TV projects. He also set up several features that shot during the pandemic, repping MPCA in its deal with Netflix for “Castle for Christmas,” starring Cary Elwes and Brooke Shields, and Tribune Entertainment in the structuring the financing for its adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s “Across the River and Into the Trees,” starring Liev Schreiber.
Enjoying COVID Casual: “For almost 40 years, I’ve worn a suit and tie to work every single day,” he says. “Now, I go to work in jeans and James Perse T-shirts.”
Darrell D. Miller
Partner; Founding Chair, Entertainment & Sports Law Department
In the wake of the Black Lives Matters protests, Miller took an active role in promoting systemic change in the biz, repping the NAACP in a multiyear deal with CBS Television Studios to develop scripted, unscripted and documentary content produced by Black creators. He also handled Reginald Hudlin’s pact, making him the first Black exec producer of the Emmy Awards telecast. Other clients include Angela Bassett, Courtney B. Vance and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges.
When (Some) Studios Cried “Force Majeure” and Stopped Paying: “The legal basis was one thing, but there was a real risk of pissing everyone off or just being perceived as insensitive and cruel,” he says.
James P. Moore
Managing Partner, CEO
VINE ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENTS
Moore cites the recent acquisition of Calvin Harris’ music catalog as “absolutely the right deal” for Vine, which has begun expanding into music publishing. He’s also excited by Vine’s purchase of Lakeshore Entertainment and EuropaCorp, which both came with iconic libraries.
Return to Normal: “I view all of it like as a pendulum. And this pendulum has swung very far in one direction. I do see it coming back, but every pendulum never swings back quite as far as it was,” Moore says. “So maybe 2021 isn’t the year where theatrical gets back to normal, but maybe 2022 is.”
Ben Mulcahy, Gina Reif Ilardi
Ilardi: General Counsel
Mulcahy and Ilardi collaborated for 15 years across three law firms. Three years ago they landed at DLA Piper, where their accomplishments included repping WarnerMedia in aspects of its HBO Max launch; Nike in its deal to replace Under Armour as the exclusive on-field uniform supplier for Major League Baseball; and counseling gaming platform Twitch on structuring and activating more than 60 global esports tournaments. In September, Ilardi left to become general counsel for DLA Piper client Vindex, a leading e-sports infrastructure platform that plans to invest $300 million in gaming arenas.
The Shrinking Tentpole: “I think the theatrical distribution of motion pictures has been disrupted perhaps irrevocably, and it’s going to have an effect on the kind of budgets major studios are able to have for their films,” says Mulcahy.
Adrian Perry, Stuart Irvin
Perry: Partner and Co-Chair of the Music Industry Practice Group
Irvin: Of Counsel, Founder Video Games and Esports Practice
COVINGTON & BURLING
Perry advised Central European Media Enterprises in its $2.1 billion sale; Washington, D.C.-based Monumental Sports & Entertainment in a sports-betting venture; and extended Alliance for Lifetime Income’s sponsorship for Rolling Stones concerts. New York-based Perry advises Disney, NBA, NHL, Sony Music, Universal Music and WWE. Washington D.C.-based Irvin represented Activision-Blizzard for an e-sports league connected to “Call of Duty”; and Tencent for “Honor of Kings” e-sports league. Irvin’s other clients include Electronic Arts, Epic Games, Psyonix Studios and Riot Games.
Videogame Mashup: Irvin observes that “popular entertainment is moving inside video games or on to gaming platforms, and it’s happening with increasing speed.” For example, music concerts now stream in games, and “Star Wars” spawned a galaxy of games that are practically freestanding. Perry sees partnerships proliferating because they “increase royalty opportunities for artists and rights holders. And it’ll increase investor interest in music catalogs because of the added value.”
Elsa Ramo, Michelle Chang, Erika Canchola
Ramo: Founding and Managing Partner
Ramo Law provides business affairs and legal services for clients such as Imagine Entertainment, Boardwalk Pictures, Scout Prods., Skydance and the Jim Henson Co. for projects at all stages of production. Ramo Law originally focused on traditionally financed independent films, but this past year has worked on TV projects such as “Cheer,” “Bad Education,” “Grace and Frankie,” and “Wu-Tang: An American Saga,” and feature films including “Arkansas,” “Chick Fight,” “Four Good Days,” and “Holler.” And in a rapidly fluctuating year, the trio has made the necessary adjustments, doing deals for Disney Plus, Netflix, Apple TV Plus and HBO Max.
Changes in Behavior: “The streaming wars kicked off the beginning of the year, and now COVID is a foundational force, and it’s of course changed everything,” says Ramo. “We’ve been noticing how transitional behavior is affecting how people find their content.”
Ratner played a key role in the reported $20 million+ sale of the splashy, 10-part YouTube/Justin Bieber docuseries “Seasons,” as well as the “Seasons” album rollout via a deal with Def Jam to produce music videos for every song on the album. “We’re always looking for creative ways to finance projects,” says Ratner, and in 2020, despite COVID-19 turning many businesses upside down, the company he co-founded has remained very busy.
Forging Ahead: “We haven’t slowed down,” he says. “We’re looking for new and fresh content, and we’ve put into action very effective safety precautions. We’re working with limited crews, and doing constant testing.”
Adam Reiss, Carissa Coze
Reiss: Executive VP, Associate General Counsel
Coze: Partner, Content, Media & Entertainment Practice & Co-Chair, Corporate Practice
JENNER & BLOCK
The duo have partnered on numerous media deals for Fox over the years. Recently they repped Fox in its $440 million acquisition of Tubi TV, a leader in the free ad-supported streaming category. The transaction, which was announced in March and closed in April amid the COVID-19 pandemic, positioned the company squarely among streaming platforms and underscored its commitment to compete in the direct-to-consumer space. Tubi is available on more than 25 digital platforms in the U.S. with over 20,000 titles and 56,000 hours of film and TV programming. Their earlier deals include the launch of Fox Bet, the first-of-its kind national media and sports wagering partnership in the U.S.
The Right Deal at the Right Time: “Fox’s acquisition of Tubi marked a strategic expansion of Fox’s digital reach and a transformative investment for Tubi,” per the duo. “The substantial growth in Tubi’s total view time and advertiser base since the acquisition evidences the need that enhancing this streaming service has helped to fill while our audiences have faced the unique challenges of 2020 which, in that context, makes this deal a little more meaningful to us.”
Chairman, Global Entertainment & Media Practice
In the past year, Rosenbloum has overseen and advised on music deals generating $3 billion-plus of value, but they weren’t typical record contract and concert tour deals. The Atlanta-based attorney specializes in helping companies in the streaming, fitness, social media and gaming spaces navigate global music licensing. Clients include Facebook, Snapchat, Spotify, Dick Clark Prods., Microsoft, Condé Nast and Equinox Media/SoulCycle. He’s also deputy general counsel for the Recording Academy.
Music Law vs. Film & TV Law: “Music is much more interesting and complicated from a legal point of view because it’s easily adaptable to all sorts of other types of products,” he says.
Barbara M. Rubin
Partner, Chair of the Entertainment Department
Rubin serves a wide assortment of clients, including Martin Sheen, Anonymous Content and station owner E.W. Scripps Media, which in September announced the planned acquisition of national broadcaster Ion Media for $2.65 billion. She also teaches at Loyola Law School. In a year dominated by COVID-19, she’s felt the changes. “All business is personal, and we’ve lost much of that human touch,” Rubin says.
Getting Intimate: Despite the loss of human contact, says Rubin, “by Zooming we’ve gotten to peek into our business colleagues’ homes. They too have demanding children and messy rooms with bad lighting. Might this bring new empathy to our business?”
Global Head of Business Affairs
Scharf oversees negotiations for all of Amazon Prime Video’s original content, encompassing both TV and feature films, as well as Amazon’s international original programming. Over the past year he has closed deals with Plan B Entertainment, Steve McQueen and Gloria Calderon-Kellett. Scharf has also engineered cast deals, including those with Josh Brolin, Al Pacino and Priyanka Chopra Jonas. Additionally he closed the IP deal for the series “Fallout” (under Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s overall Amazon agreement), and led negotiations for upcoming greenlit series including “Jack Reacher,” “Terminal List” and “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” On the feature side, Scharf was instrumental in the acquisition of Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.”
Standing Out: “In a hyper-competitive market for top people and projects, we’ve found ways to differentiate ourselves from our competitors across series and movies,” says Scharf. “Whether it’s partnering with Amazon Music, Amazon Fashion, Audible, Alexa or other areas within the company, we’ve been able to leverage these assets to both land hot properties and expand the businesses of our more entrepreneurial creators.”
David Shaheen, Reggie Lang, Jeff Bazoian, Darian Singer
Shaheen: Head of Entertainment Industries & West Region
Lang, Bazoian, Singer: Managing Directors
J.P. MORGAN CORPORATE CLIENT BANKING INDUSTRIES GROUP
Shaheen and his team — specifically Lang, Bazoian and Singer — specialize in highly structured financings and advisory assignments for IP and content production and distribution businesses around the world. “Though our respective concentrations vary, we share a singular focus on finding the best solutions for our clients,” Shaheen says. The company closed multiple multimillion-dollar deals in the past year or so for clients including Concord Music Publishing, Exile, New Regency, Endeavor Content, Entertainment One, Hasbro, National CineMedia and Funko.
COVID-19 Trends: “While COVID has been difficult and caused widespread uncertainty, many trends that were emerging pre-pandemic have rapidly accelerated, such as shifts to streaming services and premium video-on-demand releasing models,” Shaheen says. “It has helped us quickly evolve towards thinking about new ways to finance the industry and help our clients thrive.”
Nina Shaw, Gordon Bobb
Shaw: Founding Partner
DEL SHAW MOONVES TANAKA FINKELSTEIN & LEZCANO
It’s well known that Del Shaw Moonves was way ahead of its time when it comes to embracing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. Equally recognized is the firm’s unwavering advocacy for the best interests of its clients. Recent deals include a pact with MGM — winner of a five-studio bidding war — for Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “The Water Dancer,” whereby the author will write and produce with Bad Robot along with his partner Kamilah Forbes. Other deals include Gina Prince-Bythewood’s and husband Reggie Rock Bythewood’s overall agreement with Touchstone Television; and Nikole Hannah-Jones’ deal with Lionsgate and the New York Times for her to produce all properties based on Pulitzer-winning “The 1619” Project,” which she developed. Hannah-Jones will produce all projects in all media derived from the series.
Embracing the Cause: “We continue to adjust to the remote workplace,” says Shaw. “However, the partners didn’t think it exempted us from the self-examination and reckoning being discussed by most of America. We held a firmwide event following the murder of George Floyd, which Gordon Bobb and I hosted. We encouraged candid conversations and getting educated about the issues and gaining insights about how to be part of change.”
Partner, Head of New Media, Motion Picture, Television, Theater, Publishing & Sports Group
GRUBMAN SHIRE MEISELAS & SACKS
Shire reps LeBron James in entertainment/endorsements, including his “Uninterrupted” digital platform; Bruce Springsteen, including docu about the “Letter to You” album; and Facebook for programming ventures. The New York-based attorney also advises Robert De Niro, rapper Drake, Mariska Hargitay, iHeartMedia, producer Scott Rudin, and executive employment contracts such as George Cheeks helming CBS Entertainment Group.
Catalyst for Good: Clients “have the ability and power to negotiate provisions for social good and the betterment of society,” Shire says, such as allocating a portion of fees to charitable cause.
In addition to managing day-to-day operations at Skydance, Sisgold runs point on deal-flow across various development and production divisions. In 2020, he oversaw the sales of various, soon-to-be announced television development projects to multiple premium outlets, including Apple TV Plus, Showtime and Amazon. Additionally, Sisgold was the architect of a significant capital raise leading to two new key investment and strategic partners, Redbird Capital Partners and CJ E&M. The deal raised $275 million, bringing Skydance’s approximate valuation to $2.3 billion.
Adapting During Crisis: “Hollywood has often been labeled as slow to move, but because of COVID, it’s gotten quicker at adapting,” says Sisgold.
Marc H. Simon
Partner; Chair, Entertainment & Sports Law Department
A former documentary director and producer (“Nursery University,” “Unraveled”), the New York-based Simon cuts deals for everyone from Alec Baldwin and his El Dorado Pictures to activist and police shooting survivor Leon Ford and 8-year-old Nigerian refugee chess champion Tani Adewumi. The rest of his roster is similarly diverse, with clients such as Joe Pesci, former White House photographer Pete Souza, bestselling author Emily Spivack (“Worn Stories”) and Swedish film producer B-Reel (“Midsommar”).
Pandemic Dealflow: “I can’t say it’s back to normal, but there’s a semblance of normalcy with respect to the work product, which has been buoyed by unscripted and podcasts,” he says.
VP, Corporate Development
Each of five recent acquisitions — the Gimlet Media, the Ringer and Parcast content studios, plus Anchor and Megaphone, which specialize in production tools and monetization, respectively — complements the others. “It’s the holistic view of these businesses together, combined with Spotify’s platform, that are going to allow us to significantly accelerate and grow the podcast industry for everybody, in particular creators,” Spence says. In addition, Spotify launched Joe Rogan’s popular podcast in September.
Strategic Vision: “We’ve accomplished a ton at Spotify, becoming the world’s first leading audio network,” says Spence. “M&A has been a critical part of it, and I’m so proud of that.”
Chris Spicer, P. John Burke, Marissa Román Griffith, Alissa Miller, Vanessa Roman
Spicer: Entertainment Practice Head
Burke, Griffith, Miller, Roman: Partners
Spicer leads the quintet of Los Angeles lawyers that handled more than $1 billion in transactions in the past year, joined by Burke, Griffith, Miller and Roman. Clients include the American Coalition for Independent Content Production (ACICP) seeking COVID-19 financial relief from government; and separately MUFG Union Bank, including for a $60 million senior secured revolving credit facility for a film distributor and a €100 million ($119.6 million) revolving credit facility for a European borrower. The five also advise Bank of America, City National Bank, Comerica Bank, East West Bank, J.P. Morgan Chase and SunTrust Bank. Other clients include Aperture Media Partners, Content Partners, Narrative Capital, Image Nation Abu Dhabi and Shamrock Entertainment Capital as well as producers Demarest Media, Endeavor Content, Media Rights Capital, One Community, PictureStart, Talent Intl. and XYZ Films. In a sign of the times, “we’re seeing budgets go up significantly because producers have to address COVID-19 safety protocols,” says Griffith. Delays and shutdowns risk corona budget overruns.
Switcheroo: Movies that can’t achieve theatrical release amid the pandemic shutdown are “pivoting rather quickly to either streaming or premium VOD release,” but can then face side issues that dealmakers resolve, Roman says. For example, foreign contracts may have specified a North American theatrical release; also, streaming deals for all rights may disappoint investors and talent hoping for bonuses from traditional sequential distribution.
Jay Sures, Rich Shuter, Michael Sinclair, Seth Oster
Sures: Co-President & Board Member
Shuter: Partner & Head of Television Business Affairs
Sinclair: Partner & General Counsel
Oster: Partner & Global Chief Communications Officer
The UTA team hammered out a deal with the WGA in July, making the agency the first of Hollywood’s “big three” to end their stalemate with the guild that had forced film and TV writers to fire their agents in April 2019. The agreement brought UTA’s writer clients back to the agency. In the negotiations, UTA rejected the WGA’s requirement that it disclose financial details of its writer deals, arguing that this violated the agency’s fiduciary duty to its clients. However, it did cede to the guild’s primary demand that it stop inserting packaging fees into deals, but with two major caveats: it would have two years to phase out the practice and it would only go into effect if another major agency also signed on to the deal (as ICM Partners subsequently did in August). UTA also agreed to cap its ownership interest in production companies at 20%.
Talk of the Town: “The most important thing to us throughout these negotiations was to keep a dialogue going — that we owed that to writers and it would ultimately lead to a compromise solution,” says Sures. “So we focused on ensuring the fire always remained on simmer and never went out, and when formal talks broke off at different points we pushed backchannel conversations.”
Global Chair, Entertainment & Media Group
Syrkin works with clients such as Bumble, Roku, AMC Networks, Sony Music Entertainment, the Madison Square Garden Co. (New York Knicks and Rangers) and ViacomCBS. Direct-to-consumer platforms and digital content are seeing a tremendous surge in business, he says, and COVID-19 acted as an accelerant in terms of media disruption. In 2020, he represented WarnerMedia in the upcoming launch of HBO Max in its first international territory, Latin America, while handling digital subscription, e-commerce, and OTT pacts for HBO in the region.
Corona Immunity: As his practice is technology-dominated, Syrkin says, “our firm hasn’t really been affected by the effects of COVID-19.
EVP, Head of U.S. Business Affairs
SONY PICTURES TELEVISION
Sony delivers to linear networks and streamers alike, but Tatevosian says her favorite deal of the year was the one that moved “Cobra Kai” from YouTube to Netflix. She also handled film-based series “A League of Their Own” and “I Know What You Did Last Summer” — plus a spin-off of “The Boys” — to Amazon and an ani-mated version of “Good Times” to Netflix.
People’s Choice: “People clearly watch TV in a different way now,” says Tatevosian. “When a show is incredible, audiences gravitate to wherever it is. They want to see their show when they want to see it, on the platform they want to see it, at the time they want to see it. Certain shows are still watched linearly — we see that with audiences flocking to ‘The Good Doctor’ on ABC.”
Matthew C. Thompson, Richard Petretti, Annie Wallis
Thompson: Head of Media and Entertainment Group Firmwide
Petretti, Wallis: Partners, Media and Entertainment Practice
The trio of lawyers represent Raine Group launching the Thrill One Sports & Entertainment combining extreme sports outfits. Thompson handles mergers and acquisitions as well as corporate; Petretti and Wallis delve into financing. Century City-based Thompson advises Dwayne Johnson/Dany Garcia on their XFL football acquisition; Johnson on introducing his Teremana Tequila brand; the launch of producer T-Street; and Entertainment One’s management in the $4 billion sale to Hasbro. Century City-based Petretti handles JP Morgan, including its $825 million syndicated secured credit facility for Regency Entertainment and also its work for City National Bank. Chicago-based Wallis handles theatrical distributor Neon Rated (with Thompson), including its big credit facility. Wallis observes that Hollywood indies are overcoming COVID-19’s hard times: “At first glance, you would think independent film distributors would be decimated due to their ties to theatrical exhibition,” Wallis says. “But their business models are built on streaming revenues so they have been thriving.”
Bullish Signals: Thompson finds that transactions in today’s dealmaking carry premium prices across entertainment, indicating buyers are bullish despite the current COVID-19 malaise. “Not only are we going to turn this corner, the entertainment industry is going to be stronger than ever,” he predicts.
Bruce Tobey, Amy Siegel, Silvia Vannini, Sean Monroe
Tobey: Chair, Entertainment, Sports, & Media Corporate Practice
Siegel, Vannini: Partners, Entertainment, Sports, & Media Corporate Practice
Monroe: Partner, Mergers & Acquisitions Corporate Practice
O’MELVENY & MYERS
The Century City-based quartet advised ViacomCBS in its 49% acquisition of Miramax; NBCUniversal and Warners for force majeure/return to work strategies; and, separately, Bron Studios. Tobey and Siegel work Hollywood content transactions; and Vannini and Monroe handle corporate mergers and acquisitions. Tobey advised Paramount Pictures in a multi-picture co-financing with New Republic Pictures. Siegel represents Looped, the video chat platform connecting celebs to fans. Vannini handles FilmDistrict. Monroe advises the diversified Friedkin Group, including for a soccer-team transaction. Siegel feels that Hollywood companies will dial back on their recent competitive, go-it-alone tendencies. “Coming out of the pandemic, I think there will be a greater appetite for strategic partnerships and cooperation to share some of the new risks and costs,” Siegel says.
Consumer Watch: Tobey says understanding the audience is crucial in the unfolding streaming revolution. “The media companies are all having to take a hard look at reviewing and revamping their business models as they try to determine what the consumers will pay for and how much they are willing to pay.”
Vice Chair, Music Industry Group/Entertainment
LOEB & LOEB
White represents music publisher Primary Wave for catalog acquisitions; advises K-Pop sensation BTS and its label Big Hit Entertainment; and reps influencers Nessa Barrett and Cannons for music recording deals. The New York-based attorney’s other clients include Christina Aguilera, Duran Duran, Melanie Martinez, Diane Warren, Citibank and Uber.
Streaming Pivot: With touring flattened by COVID-19, White says the music industry is embracing live-streaming performances with a caveat. “Fans are tired of seeing webcam performances from a basement or recording studio,” she says. Advanced technology, higher production value and fan interaction are needed to grow live streaming, she adds.
Partner; Co-Chair of the Entertainment and Media Finance group
A Canadian native, Williams specializes in complex, large-scale entertainment finance. She recently wrapped up a year and a half of work on Vine Alternative Investments’ $220 million deal giving it a 60.15% stake in Paris-based independent film studio EuropaCorp, which had her balancing the requirements of French and U.S. laws. She’s also been repping lender First Republic Bank in the bankruptcy of the Weinstein Co. Other clients include Bank of America and Comerica Bank.
On Being Dragged Into All Canada-Related Matters as a Young Lawyer: “Even though I’m a graduate of USC and a U.S-trained lawyer, for some reason, they all thought I spoke Canadian,” she says.
Frank Zeppieri, Lane Hancock
Senior VPs and Team Leaders
CITY NATIONAL BANK
When the pandemic shutdown hit in March, cutting off showbiz income streams, this duo stepped in to extend financial lifelines to the bank’s clients. Zeppieri completed more than $100 million in credit transactions, including a nearly $10 million music catalog loan for a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee and a seven-figure loan for a model’s lifestyle company. Hancock secured Paycheck Protection Program loans valued at $36 million, saving the jobs of thousands of crewmembers and other support staff.
Counting Changes in the Music Biz: Today, “you earn money on every which way music is cut up and diced and sliced,” says Hancock. “You even get a royalty from a ringtone.”
Up Next: Chris Carter, Sarah Collins
Carter: Director, Original Series
Collins: Manager, Original Series
A seven-year veteran of the Netflix original series team, Carter worked across the early slate of series for the streamer, including “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black,” before overseeing several of the company’s highest-profile overall talent deals. In 2020, he handled negotiations on Ryan’s Murphy’s “The Politician,” “Ratched,” “Hollywood” and “Halston.” Collins joined the Netflix business affairs department in 2017 and handles a wide array of matters for the young adult/family original series programming division, and is the principal negotiator on “Outer Banks” and “Dash & Lily.”
Up Next: Lindsey Gleitman
Senior Director, Business and Legal Affairs
Gleitman has been working at Anonymous Content since 2018 and negotiates underlying rights deals in the area of life rights, specifically in connection with the media-rights division. She specializes in working on acquisition agreements for established writers, directors and producers for properties in feature film and TV development — both scripted and unscripted — and also handles underlying rights deals on behalf of the New York Times. Additionally, Gleitman advises managers and producers on first-look deals and overall shopping agreements.
Up Next: Michael S. Isselin
Associate, Entertainment & Media Industry Group
In 2020, New York-based Isselin conducted celebrity, beauty and luxury goods deals valued at more than $60 million while also completing the latest round of negotiations with SAG-AFTRA, resulting in a three-year, $3 billion contract that spans the production of all commercials using SAG-AFTRA members through 2022. He also negotiated talent endorsement deals for two high-profile Super Bowl commercials featuring Bill Murray and Jason Momoa, and was the lead attorney on Drake’s More Life Growth Co., the rapper’s $38 million cannabis wellness enterprise.
Up Next: Sean Jefferson
Associate, Entertainment Group
FRANKFURT KURNIT KLEIN & SELZ
Jefferson represents financiers, producers and production companies. In 2020, he played a key part in the deal for CNN documentary “John Lewis: Good Trouble.” He advised Jeffrey Lurie’s Play/Action Pictures as the lead investor in the Alex Gibney-directed pandemic documentary “Totally Under Control,” and represented Israeli-based production company Keshet Studios on its $1.2 million sale of “Save Yourselves!” to Bleecker Street at Sundance.
Up Next: Scott Oranburg
In addition to representing major actors, writers, musicians, directors, producers, production companies, independent studios and financiers across the full spectrum of transactional entertainment matters, Oranburg has strong experience handling complex licenses and acquisitions of content by studios, independent producers, international brands, technology companies and over-the-top networks. This past year, Oranburg represented the Nelk Boys in the expansion of their YouTube channel to more than 5.6 million subscribers and worked with Sarah Skibitzke on her deal to showrun the HBO Max series “Wahl Street.”
Up Next: Jason Rejebian
Rejebian has been busy, having worked on the recent $100 million sale to Netflix of Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones’ Broke and Bones, which was unique as it marks Netflix’s first acquisition of a scripted production company. Rejebian also played an integral part in the 2019 deal for producers Camila Jimenez and Silvana Aguirre’s production company the Immigrant, with Fremantle and Bron Ventures, and worked on the sale of nonfiction content producer Blackfin to eOne.
Up Next: Jamie Slade
GRANDERSON DES ROCHERS
Slade is the youngest partner at the firm. In addition to working in the music division, she started the lucrative fashion, branding and lifestyle division, maximizing financial opportunities for clients. She closed deals for musician J Balvin’s collaboration with Air Jordan, which marked the first time that a Latinx artist had partnered with the brand. She also made an endorsement deal with Puma and rapper Cordae.
Up Next: Alexander Steinberg
In law school, Steinberg was project law associate for ESPN. Before joining DLA Piper he served as an NFL attorney, responsible for a broad range of media-related transactional and strategic matters. Recent accomplishments include representing investment firm For Soccer Ventures on corporate, sponsorship and media matters while serving as a team member on advising the Chargers on all matters related to the NFL team’s relocation from San Diego to Los Angeles.
Up Next: Junzi (June) Tan
LOEB & LOEB
Tan focuses on domestic and international transactions while advising production companies, distributors, and investors in all stages of film, TV, digital media and location-based entertainment projects. Her bilingual capabilities have been instrumental in helping numerous Chinese entertainment clients, including Tencent, navigate Hollywood dealmaking. In 2020, she worked with Vice Media on over a dozen projects, and served as outside counsel to Black Label Media while negotiating development deals for screenwriter Derek Kolstad (“John Wick”).