My first role after I graduated was with William Morris Endeavor. They had launched a new team called strategic consulting, on the heels of doing a big deal with Hasbro and Discovery. It gave the group the institutional support to pursue similar deals and to go after other corporate clients, as opposed to traditional clientele like actors and writers.
When that group disbanded, I made my way onto the research team at WME, and that was an amazing learning experience. I will say to anybody, if you have a chance to do a stint in research, go for it. Those roles can help lay the foundation for how to approach problems in a data-driven world.
After I left WME, I went to Pokémon. I was excited because when I was in school, I really wanted to do international distribution — whether it was international theatrical distribution, TV distribution or film pre-sales.
Pokémon was a small company but a gigantic brand. And the job seemed, in some ways, very narrow: to distribute this vast library of one very focused franchise, because they’d been churning out an episode a week for 20-plus years and a movie a year for 20-plus years.
When I took the job, it was very much constrained to traditional linear TV deals. I only had a handful of markets. But I found that there was interest in expanding distribution. So it became the most amazing opportunity that just happened to fall in my lap. I think a lot of good things that happen in our careers are luck. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t prepare, right?
It gave me the chance to do some cool things, like launch their digital distribution from scratch. So that meant doing the first deals with Hulu, Amazon and Netflix, which were incredibly successful for both parties. From there, I went on to launch their EST TVOD distribution and get that content onto Apple, Google and Amazon. Because it was such a small company, I had to do everything, soup to nuts. I had to work closely with the post-production team to make sure that we were able to deliver content and dubs to spec. I got to do the deal making. I got to do the strategy. But I actually had to execute and get involved in operations.