Lindsay Conner of Manatt talks to Tobias Jaeger about China and brokering big deals in Hollywood

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Lindsay Conner of Manatt talks to Tobias Jaeger about China and brokering big deals in Hollywood

– Welcome to the Media CFO Podcast, the show where we talk talk to people on the front lines of finance, business affairs, legal, and strategy in the media and entertainment industry I’m your host, Tobias Jaeger, and when I’m not hosting this podcast, I’m the CFO of television and content studio, Colibri Studios, in London Today we’re joined by Lindsay Conner, partner and co-chair of the media practice at Manatt, Phelps, and Phillips He studied at UCLA, Occidental College, and Harvard, and since he got started more than 25 years ago, Lindsay is a regular on all top attorney lists and rankings, including The Legal 500, Chambers, Best Lawyers, and Variety Besides his work in everyday media transactions for production companies and studios, Lindsay negotiated one of the largest US-China late deals ever, to the tune of half a billion dollars Lindsay welcome to the program It’s such a pleasure – Thank you Toby – to speak with you As you can see my or hear rather, my voice is a little scruff, but I’m sure people get through this (laughing) – This sounds fine to me – I’m really excited to talk to you ’cause obviously you’ve had an extremely long and prosperous career in the legal practice, especially for entertainment industry And I was curious and wondering, how did you get into it? Tell us a little bit more about your journey – Well, I grew up in the entertainment industry My dad was in it for his whole career and by the time I was aware of my surroundings, he was a personal manager here in Los Angeles So I grew up in the business, I had variety and Hollywood Reporter around the house and I think I learned to read a little bit through them and probably surprising, I don’t talk like that The way they used to read with their very special lingo, but I did grow up in the business I was very interested in politics from an early age And I think law was, more something I thought of as an avenue to go into politics one day Although I knew I’d want to see entertainment law to when I got to that point – Yeah, I know you’ve lived here your whole life, so one of the things I was obviously wondering about is, did you think that influenced (laughing) your decisions so? – No question No question, I think growing up in the industry, will you either like it or you don’t, I suppose some people are driven away from it, I was enticed I thought it was fun to see how film and television especially would be made and thought would be interesting to go into that – So you mentioned politics that you were interested in it Did you pursue that for a while and then come around to the entertainment industry? What was that path like? – Well, I did sort of pursue a dual track, though the political side came up, not out of nowhere, but I hadn’t intended to be in politics So early on, I just started my legal career when one of my mentors from UCLA where I had been student body president, as an undergraduate, asked me to run for his seat on the Los Angeles Community College Board He was retiring, the Community College Board is a seven member board that governs America’s largest community college system – Okay – And it turned into a big campaign And so I was elected into this city wide public office when I was 25 And all of a sudden, I was in politics as well as an entertainment lawyer So I did both for a number of years and enjoyed both But eventually decided that politics was less attractive And I think it’s gotten even less attractive since I stepped out – I can imagine I mean, probably not a bad decision to do something honest (Laughing) – Well, you know what, the good thing about the Community College Board is that it wasn’t subject to the kind of campaign contributions and the other things that distort national politics So that part of it was fine But I did it for 16 years – Okay – And had a great run and felt that I had made a real contribution, but it was time to step off of the Community College Board and there was really no other office that I was excited to run for at that point And I concluded that being in the private sector, at least at this point, would be the right way to go – Yeah, so as you’re doing that working to make a difference there, you simultaneously practice law and got started there? – That’s right – What was your start like?

Can you still remember the first couple of transactions or deals or things you worked on? – I started at what was in the biggest entertainment law firm in the country a firm called, Kaplan, Livingston, Goodwin, Berkowitz and Selvin – That was a mouthful – Yeah, it was It was tough on the reception had to start earlier She had the answer that every time she picked up the phone, it was a combination of deals representing production and distribution and financing entities, and also sometimes representing talent – [Tobias] Oh, okay – So, and I had a mix of that, from the partners who were there at the time – [Tobias] Yeah – And both were enjoyable and profitable – Yeah, you mentioned the talent Obviously, this is an industry with quite eccentric or an eclectic people How, and obviously, as a lawyer you’re trying to focus on, the substance and not probably, how did you bridge that when you were working on a deals or transactions or things like that with talent or creative people? – When you’re a young associate, you do whatever the partners ask you to do And in fact, they are talking about fun things that you don’t expect to do when you went to law school One day, the senior partner for whom I worked, called me in and one of his best clients was Gene Wilder And he said, “This isn’t exactly a legal assignment, “but I need you to do this, “Gene is writing a screenplay “and he wants to know the words “in German to a song, an old German song “called I left my heart in Heidelberg.” (laughing) Which I had never heard of before The closest I ever got was that left my heart in San Francisco and that was that was nowhere near what Gene Wilder was looking for And so I had the afternoon and no Google in those days, and no opportunity to do it the easy way to call around and find the lyrics which I eventually did – Wow, okay – And then I had to call Gene and tell him what the lyrics were, and letter by letter almost And then he started singing the song in the middle of the call He was as nice as he could be, I’m very grateful to have these lyrics for his screenplay that he was writing So those are the kinds of things you don’t expect to do when you’re studying in law school – Yeah, that’s quite amazing, especially since then you didn’t have Google And I have a couple of friends who are my age that became lawyers And I always find it amazing of like how technology has helped that industry as well ‘Cause obviously, if you need to research information, which is a great part of the work Now, it’s all available, but you still need to interpret it, of course But I mean, that’s an assignment sounds like great fun – Yeah, it was, it was You would ask about, bridging the gap of the creative side and the legal or business side And this is an important part of what we do It’s really a case of protecting the business aspects, the financial aspects, and of the legal aspects so that the creators can produce their magic – Yeah – That’s what my job is, in a sense when I’m working on a specific creative project as opposed to a more corporate project – So you see yourself as kind of the protector of whatever is created, in your capacity as a lawyer, you just wanna make sure it’s structured properly, and people are protected in what they do? – Absolutely Nothing gets made without financing, and financing is an important part of my job, making sure financing is structured in an intelligent way Whether it’s for individual project or for a slate of projects or for a company, then making sure the production is done properly and then once you have a product, how is that being distributed? What are the agreements for distribution? Sometimes that’s all wrapped up in one package, one agreement, whether it’s with a studio or whether it’s with a Netflix or an Amazon, something like that And sometimes things are separately financed, produced and distributed – Yeah, you just mentioned kind of the new companies, you feel them entering into the market has changed the dynamics of this that now there’s someone that has global distribution from the get go, that working with them is different from let’s say another studio or the existing players? – The streamers have certainly changed

the television business radically And they’re starting to change some of the film business as well They’ve changed it in part because of the financing model, most of the streamers will pay you the cost of production of a show, plus some kind of premium That’s certainly the Netflix model, and right now they’re the leading streamer That eliminates deficits, which producers used to have to bear because the license fees being paid by television networks weren’t enough to cover the cost of a show initially So the deficit had been eliminated but the streaming services also now increasingly well we want worldwide rights, or at least a large portion of the world in the case of Amazon and Netflix wants worldwide rights and they want them for a very long period of time so you don’t have the same kind of back end sales that one could have in television and still can’t have with the broadcast networks if a show is successful So what they’ve done the streamers is they’ve taken away the strikeout, and they’ve taken away the home run You can make a profit on everything you do, there aren’t gonna be the enormous profits of the big hits, but there aren’t going to be the losses of the missus, that’s changed our business and it’s now starting to change the film business too or it’s given people and other alternate place to go to get financing and have a different experience That’s not to say that the major studios are gone Fox has just merged into Disney So we’re down to five majors plus Lionsgate, which is very close to being a major But we have these new entrants in our business, Netflix, Amazon, Apple that are spending an enormous amount of money and we really have to consider the major studios, particularly since they’re all now making feature length content, as well as episodic content Really the distinction between film and television that 20 years ago was so strong is today, pretty much poorer It employed a lot, yeah And I’ve been wondering about this, did you feel like the surge of television and the blurring, that’s just kind of a temporary phenomenon, or do you feel like that’s something that it’s just gonna continue that way that maybe one day, we don’t really make the distinction anymore, other than of course, film being 1,2 hour episode, rather than 10,1 hour episodes and something like that? Do you feel that’s shifting more and more? – Yeah, I think that distinction between film and television is if not gone, at least going away In fact, in agreements that I do now, usually, I refer to features and episodic series – Okay – It’s not so much whether it’s gonna be exhibited in a movie theater or exhibited on Netflix or Amazon Prime, it’s really about the length of the content A two hour piece of content, we’d consider it a film And I consider it a film, whether it’s gonna be in a movie theater, or gonna be on Netflix But it’s really a feature It’s a feature length An episodic series might be on a broadcast network, but it may also live on Netflix or Amazon or Hulu or one of those services, and that’s the series I think for most talent, the distinction of film and television, which was so important years ago is now almost completely gone People don’t care where they perform, they’re happy doing features wherever those features are gonna be shown, they’re happy doing episodic series as well And our business has switched from being a film or television business to being a content business – Yeah, that’s right I mean, there’s so many new aspects to it, whether it’s ad funded programming, or even shorter stuff like on Facebook or even Instagram, Snapchat, I mean, everyone’s in content now – Right and it just to illustrate how important the shorter forms are, Jeffrey Katzenberg has formed a company Quippy, with substantial backing that’s designed to make what he calls Premium Short Form content, and it is a nod to the fact that so many people particularly younger consumers, do consume their content in five minute or eight minute bites

on their way to work or is there relaxing at home or working out in the gym So we now have long form classic film, we have what you might call mid form I don’t know that – What is the new name? – But that term will stick But that’s what I would think of as the classic television series 30 minute or 60 minute television series And then we have short form content, which is in many cases, user generated, the YouTube model, but now increasingly, with the likes of Quippy, gonna be available as premium content as well – Yeah, it’s definitely a venture that it’s gonna be interesting to watch of a how they approach, just the sheer mass of content that they will need to produce, but also, compared to you mentioned YouTube, where users are, you know, kids out there doing rugby stuff, and filming it, and people love watching that How that’s gonna translate to, the premium short form where, it’s scripted, and professionally done So, well– – Well, it’s a very broad market and we’ll see over time what consumers want My guess is that they want both the premium content for certain things, and the spontaneity of the user generated content for other things So I don’t think it will be entirely premium content one day, I don’t think YouTube is going away People are still gonna be watching the crazy stuff that people and animals do They’ll still be watching the things that get posted elsewhere in social media, but there will also be a place for premium content at all levels – I find that really funny because often, I think especially in this industry, as soon as something new comes out, people always have this idea of like, Oh, this is going to change everything And as if all the existing stuff is gonna vanish I mean, that hasn’t happened, that has never happened – Right – When television came, it didn’t kill film When streaming television, if you will came and also didn’t kill linear television Obviously, it has changed the dynamics and economics quite a bit, but it hasn’t gone and the film isn’t gonna go away I think there’s actually some places where film is doing a lot better now – And I believe that what you and I are calling the film business, which is really the theatrical film business, will continue There is something special about that experience of seeing a movie with a bunch of other people, whether it’s funny or scary or moving or thrilling There’s something special about the big screen and the theatrical experience, and I don’t think it’s going away There will still be television as we know it The screens may be in different places, maybe everywhere and in your home, but there will be a place for what we more or less traditionally think of as television And clearly, people will be watching content on phones and iPads and a variety of other devices probably one day including glasses with (mumbles) and things like that – Now with all these, with this changing landscape, and also changing economics, we talked about the creative side of the business Do you feel there’s a kind of a fundamental misunderstanding that creative people have about the business and also legal side of course, and vice versa? – I don’t think it’s a misunderstanding, people live in their own worlds, if you will Creative people like to create, business people need to look at the bottom line, so to speak, lawyers are trying to protect an enterprise And sometimes the misunderstandings come from the fact that it is a collaborative business Unless you’re doing videos of your cat singing, (laughing) opera or something, creators have to have a budget, they have to get financed from somewhere, they have to live within a budget Their work is legally protected and it will get distributed in a certain way So there is that business and legal side of what they create that is important to getting the content created in the first place and then distributed and protected At the same time, if the only thing that anyone focuses on is the financial aspect, the business people will be happy until they realize that what’s being created isn’t something consumers want (laughing) – I think that has happened a couple of times

– Yes and there’s It’s interesting that the challenge of the sides collaborating, of the different sides of the equation collaborating, is probably going to grow greater rather than less – Okay – And the reason I think that is because historically, there’s a kind of not a tug of war, but a tug and pull between the creative side and the business side of the industry and all employers and on the the business side there So, you know, what a director needs to create, what an executive needs to be able to market, a film or a show, back and forth But another force has entered the picture, and that’s technology And now, you have to decide not only how you’re going to film something, but importantly how it’s going to be distributed and technology is shaping the way we do that When the internet didn’t exist, there was no question of streaming or having the short form content that was out there So technology now plays a role in addition to the creative and business side And the newest entrance into the picture, in a sophisticated way is data More and more over the years to come, we will see companies trying to find the perfect type of content or create the perfect type of content by assessing data So it won’t simply be a question of a Netflix saying, “Toby, we see you like these films, “please consider these other 10 films.” That’s what we now consider a pretty sophisticated use of data It will seem less, unusual in the future Where I see companies wielding data going is to say, how do we assemble this data in a way that we create the perfect film? That we create a film that most people are gonna wanna see And now you’re gonna have a pull from four different directions You’re gonna have the human creative mind, that original creative force that underlies all of it, the business side, that has to still protect the bottom line on each project and for a company, the technologists who, in advancing their technology, effectively start to shape what the content is, and then the purveyors and analyzers of data who will step in and say that’s not going to work but if we change these five scenes, or change these two actors, this will work The creative businesses always been collaborative, but the numbers of people collaborating are going to grow – Has that changed? You know, the the contracts or documents or agreements you work on, that there’s all these new components you need to cover? – The technology certainly has changed our agreements Lawyers, in particular have to try to stay ahead of the curve, be aware of the technologies that are out there the technologies that may be used, the rights that may be necessary to ensure that content is available in the broadest range of technologies and protectable in the broadest range of technologies And that the business terms deal appropriately with those different technological outlets, so the technological pieces very much there Data is the Brave New World, of the new frontier if you will, Now, the companies that we represent that are in the data collection business, and that’s not necessarily a reference to companies that collect data as their main business, they may collect it as a byproduct of whatever they’re doing But those companies are thinking about how the data is collected and how the data is used Much of the rest of the business still isn’t that focused on data, but data is the next frontier – It feels like often organizations that started to keep track of things or collect data, as you said, as a byproduct, once they’ve done it for a while understand how much not just information but intelligence they can actually extract out of this So my other conversation recently where somebody said, “Well, you know, Netflix doesn’t share the information “with the creators of the producers if you like,

and we were kind of it was more of a philosophical debate I guess, of if there’s ever gonna be a point in time when they will share this or share more of it ’cause I’m not sure if it’s right now just like the holy grail, or if they also, for example, don’t share it because as you said, you know, it’s a collaborative process They don’t wanna influence creators, and producers by saying like, “Oh, this is something that works.” And then, you know, the next couple months, they only get proposals for that type of content cause I guess it’s the same with Andrew Ford said, “If I had asked people what they wanted “they would have said faster horse.” Nobody’s actually said like, “How can you build me an automobile?” So I feel like that’s, there’s good content, there’s this magical element, I don’t want to call it But where you and I watched it and we’re like, we would have never asked for it, but we’re really enjoying it – Yeah, I think that’s right Initially, the use of data will be more in the selection of programs, I wanna make that movie or I wanna make that show based on the data that our company has at its fingertips But I think it’s inevitable that at some point, producers and creators will look at the data and alter script based on it and make it a part of the creative process And it will be an interesting question to see how well those things go together Whether you can make the ideal movie or an ideal movie by mixing in the data at a very early stage, or whether that turns out to stifle the creative process and make everything sort of cookie cutter where you don’t have the kind of eccentricity that gives you some of the scenes in film and television that were most fond of we look back – So you were talking about all these different activities and in things, obviously, internal and external activities Tell us a little bit more about how does it day in the life of Lindsay Connor looks like – Well, one of the great things about this job is that I never know when I walk in in the morning exactly what the day is gonna look like Yeah, I always have a plan for the matters that I’m working on, appointments that I have, but clients call, email, text, WeChat, WhatsApp, there’s so many ways they make their needs known and all of a sudden that they can be off in a different direction depending on what client priorities are And in a given day, I could be dealing with five, eight, 10 different matters, or a bunch of different clients It can be anything from negotiating a deal, in one case, to reviewing documents in another, to drafting or amending agreements, to introducing one client to another, and trying to see if there’s a viable business or business proposal there, all of those things go on in any given day and then obviously, business development is part of what all of us have to do So the day is a real mix I think that makes it fun, actually But when there’s a lot of work piled up, and emergencies on top of it can be quite a juggling act – I was about to ask, so what’s your personal recipe for kind of kind of staying on course and not getting absorbed by the daily requests that you get? – Well, you do your best to prioritize the needs and have a plan as to how everything is going to get done, and you stick to the plan as much as you can It’s harder and harder in a world where we’re constantly being hit with email and text and all of the phone calls and all the different media of communication, and clients have needs that pop up all of a sudden, a new idea, a new problem, a difficulty with an old agreement, something they wanna change in the current agreement, and clients, understandably and rightly expect that their lawyer will be there to handle it for them So sometimes you have to put your plan to one side and jump on whatever needs doing today and get it done, and then go back to the plan You have to be flexible in this in this job I think that’s one of the things that makes it fun actually Is that you don’t really know what’s gonna happen

when you walk in the door But you also do need to have a plan or at least some way to keep track of the things that need to get done today or this week, so that you can keep on course for as many of them as possible – So my theory is that I think probably you don’t sleep at all anymore because obviously you work a lot with China So that brings a whole ‘nother, timezone aspect to the game You’ve done a lot of work in China or with China How did that come about? The interest for it or the direction that you’re one of the people that from China that people would go to in this town and vice versa? Well, it’s been it’s been very exciting and a great privilege for me Its roots probably are in the fact that I did grow up in Los Angeles, and in some ways was always focused on the Pacific Rim and looking at the prospect of Asia as an important business partner When I started my career, China was really not a factor in the American entertainment industry in Hollywood at all Things changed in the last 20 years But where they really got a jumpstart was in 2007, when the State Council of China announced that over the next 10 years or so, entertainment and leisure industries would go from being two and a half percent of China’s GDP to 10% And I thought to myself, wow! Quadrupling share of GDP against the rising GDP? The only way they’re gonna do that is by pushing all the chips on the table and telling everyone in the business in China to get moving So I started focusing on Chinese companies and the Chinese industry, got involved in conferences and media and so forth, and over a period of a few years, I started getting calls and talking to more people Initially, there was a lot more talk than action The Chinese Business Community and the Hollywood Business Community I don’t know, the business environment, if you will Business cultures, just couldn’t quite get together So there was a lot of talk and very little agreement And then, about five years ago, things changed, people got more comfortable with each other, there was better understanding of the needs on both sides I was fortunate to represent a Chinese company called Hawaii Brothers in the first ever Chinese investment in a Hollywood film slate, they did 18 film deal with the STX And I represented Hawaii Brothers in that year – Which was huge news at that time – Yeah, it was big news It was an incredibly exciting deal Being a pioneer means you either find very interesting success or live with disappointment in this case of a success– – Leave a learning (laughing) – That’s right, you just have to take it as it comes But that led to an introduction of perfect world of pictures of Beijing and I was privileged to represent them in a $500 million 50 film five year deal with Universal Pictures, which was not only the first Chinese slate investment in one of the major studio film slates, but is still to this day, the largest Chinese investment in a Hollywood film slate ever closed, and from their business just grew Not only were my existing clients active in that space, but I met more companies in China, that wanted assistance dealing with Hollywood or dealing with the global film industry and learning about the global film industry And I had the privilege of representing many of them – Yeah, you just mentioned one of the aspects, obviously, it’s two different worlds And there’s so many differences culturally, politically, how business is done, what if you’re feel like are some of the learnings as you kind of dance the dance you described, this sort of conversations and getting to know each other and feeling the other side or the other partner out? What are some of the takeaways from all these years that you’ve been doing this that Chinese people should know about when they come to the US and of course vice versa as well? Well, I kiddingly said at one conference that part of the problem getting the two sides of the Pacific together in the entertainment industry is that China is a nation state with its way of doing business,

and Hollywood is a nation state of mind (laughing) with its own way of doing business and for a while you just couldn’t get the two together That happily has changed and people have a much greater understanding and appreciation of the other I think for Chinese companies and individuals coming to Hollywood, one thing that they had to understand was that the legal structure really does protect people And the court system is fair, not only to Americans, but to people from China and around the world, and you can rely on it to be protected in your investments and in your dealings Folks from China, needed to develop a greater appreciation of lawyers (laughs) It sounds it sounds self serving, but in China, well, there was not previously a very good developed legal system, contracts were very short, most things were done on the basis of relationships, nobody took anybody else to court They were unused to a context like Hollywood, where agreements were longer, spelled out terms in great detail, you could rely on the court system, and were lawyers acted not merely as the people who wrote down what the business people decided, but as business guides And Chinese clients have come to appreciate the fact that American entertainment lawyers are business guides We do understand what the marketplace looks like, we understand what market terms are, where a deal ought to go and where a deal could go off the tracks, and if there’s a greater sense of partnership between the client and the lawyer, the lawyers can add a lot of value on the business side as well as to their job on the legal side – Yeah, and vice versa when you went to China and saw things for yourself and talk to people there, what were some of the things you took away, that you said, Oh, that this will be interesting for US business people studios, producers to know about China? – Well, I think we are aware of the fact that China is a different political system than the United States That’s not so apparent when you’re walking down a street in Beijing or Shanghai You can have a very pleasant experience in those cities, dine, converse with people In that sense, it’s not that much different from being somewhere else in the United States or in Europe You do have to be aware that the political system is different and the government can announce a change of a program or change of its thinking in a certain area and unlike America where that just leads to a battle in Congress, in China it happens So when China sets a quota on the number of Western films that can come in, that’s a limit if they want to enforce it They may decide at the end of the year if Box Office isn’t doing as well as they’d like to open that quota up And it’s just a decision that the government makes In America, it’s a negotiation as to what percentage of Box Office a theater owner keeps and what percent goes to the distributor, a studio in China it’s set by the government For domestic Chinese films or official co-productions, the distributor keeps 42%, Theater 58 If it’s an important film, distributor keeps 25% and the exhibitor keeps 75 Those numbers were changed a few years ago by the government to get to this point, and they made it a little more advantageous But they could step in tomorrow and change it in a different direction And that’s true of Chinese television as well, there was a time when more American shows were imported, and then the government simply announced that there was gonna be a limit on how much imported television there could be on Chinese television Sensors have to approve all the films that come in, and sometimes change their minds It’s true of Chinese television too and I’m not just talking about what’s important from America, it’s true of domestic Chinese content as well There was a period of two or three years ago, where there were a lot of, how shall I call it? Romantic shows,

dating shows and things like that on Chinese television And one day, the government announced that there was just too much of that And they were pulling certain shows off the air and content would be directed in a different way You have to understand that you’re gonna be going into that kind of environment and except the fact that some things may be a certain way that is not like Hollywood, or some things could change positively or negatively And it’s not as if you’re gonna have an opportunity to change it, you have to roll with it – Do you find that ironically, maybe this makes things a lot more efficient? ‘Cause not everything’s negotiable but that’s just how it is? And it makes it easier but of course, more difficult to navigate at the same time? – There is efficiency when you have central direction but it comes at a price And obviously, this is a difference between American culture and Chinese culture There’s less creativity, and Chinese filmmakers and television and other content producers are extremely creative But they understand their creativity has to be within certain bounds There’s certain things that are just not gonna be allowed by the Sensors We have the freedom to make content in those areas and it either succeeds or it doesn’t succeed with audiences But from a pure efficiency standpoint, that kind of Central direction works, it just comes at a price – We talked a lot about learnings from your career One thing I’m wondering about, of course, is if you’ve done this for such a long time, what are some of the things you would recommend or tell your 20 year old self if you could go go back and meet yourself and say, “Listen, here’s a couple of points, “follow them religiously or don’t do this or do this.” What would that be? – Well, the most important one and I say this to people at any age, is be yourself You can develop certain aspects of your style, you can certainly learn all the time But be yourself your instincts, your personality, your way of doing things are yours And while you can emphasize your strengths and work on your weaknesses, you have to be you If you try to be somebody else, you’re not likely to be good at that for very long And that’s not a problem because there’s no one personality that’s right forever a deal I have a certain way that I operate, I’m very honest and straightforward, I try to create win-win relationships in deals I try to allow the deals to establish a relationship that’s gonna last for a long time, rather than burning bridges or fighting so hard over every penny, that people walk away and don’t wanna do business with each other again That’s my style And my clients are here because they like that style If you want a different style, there are others who will give that to you And I’m not saying that my style is necessarily the best for every single deal, but I think over the range of deals that a client’s involved in, in our business, then that style works well, but you have to be yourself It’s too hard to be somebody else or to try to be somebody else You’re likely to trip yourself up and not take advantage of your own strength The other thing I would tell younger people coming into the industry, is that there are some things that just come with experience And they shouldn’t get frustrated if they don’t know everything right away There’s no way you can swallow a pill and know what someone who’s been in the business 10, 20, 30 years knows, it’s just impossible Don’t get frustrated, learn as quickly as you can, read, study, work with people who have been in the business a long time and just know that you’re going to develop over time too just like they did – I think that’s such an important message and I think you put it so beautifully ’cause obviously this world wants you to be so many things And just the message of saying like, just be you

and then focused on that I think it’s so valuable because especially when you’re working in a larger organization, there’s so many things you have to comply with, but to find your way of how you can do both, be you and reach the goals that you set out, I think is so important You mentioned people coming into the industry like for example, young lawyer When you got started, if that hadn’t been an option, if someone had said, “No Lindsay sorry, Entertainment Law, can’t do it.” What else would you be doing if you couldn’t have done it? – Well, I like to build I like to create, I like to bring people together So I suspect if Entertainment Law as a category hadn’t been available, I would have gone into some other area of Transactional Law Entertainment Law to me is just more fun And it’s a fun industry to be in, but I would have probably been a lawyer in another area of of Transactional Law, trying to create businesses or improve businesses, enhance businesses – For someone that’s coming in now or knowing what you now know, how would you have things done differently, for example? Or how would you recommend them to approach the industry that’s changing? Is there something that you observed where you go like, huh, this is very different from young associates, for example, that coming into the film right now, as opposed to when you were younger and came into the company? That there’s different priorities you have to set – The technology has changed, and you have to be adept at technology, but that’s not a problem for young lawyers They are growing up in those technological worlds in college and law school That is a change, but it doesn’t disadvantage the young lawyers at all I don’t think there is a real difference in the sense of you need to learn about the industry, about the norms of the industry, about legal issues in the industry, but that’s always been true I had to do that when I first came out too If there’s a greater challenge now, it’s just that we are bombarded by so much information, so many places to go and get news There’s just a lot more to know in a sense, but the basic task of learning about the business so that you can advise clients what’s smart, where the market is, what they ought to do in order to achieve their business objectives, that really hasn’t changed – Interesting ’cause when I started to develop an interest for the industry and started learning about it and reading books, something I always found was very difficult to get was information, especially from books that’s accurate And you know, the book was written three years ago, when you read it and you’re like, okay, this is how it is when you talk to someone who’s actually doing it, and they’re like, “No, no, this is what we did three, four years ago.” And you’re like, oh, how do I stay up to date? Do you have any observations or things you can share of kind of, what is a good way to learn about this industry? – Jump in and work with people who know what they’re doing There are a couple of law schools that teach Entertainment Law courses, mostly there in the Los Angeles area – Was about to say move to Los Angeles – Yeah, it’s a company town There are some Entertainment Law courses elsewhere But there’s only a limited amount you can learn about the business reading out of a book, or studying old contracts, because the business changes so quickly You can get a grounding in the areas of law that are most central to entertainment, which are really the Law of Contract now and Copyright Law And that’s certainly a good place to start But that gives you legal structures, that doesn’t teach you about the business of the industry, doesn’t teach you what the norms are, it doesn’t teach you the lingo of the business, that you really have to get in and apprentice if you will We don’t call it apprenticeship but that’s what being an associate is You have to learn from the people who are doing it And over a period of time, you do pick up the language and the norms and the market knowledge, so that you’re in a position to advise clients intelligent as well

– Speaking of people who know what they’re doing, I had a look at your list of things you worked on And I mean, there’s very few transactions and deals on there that aren’t gigantic And so one of half a billion dollars, billion dollar – Well, but but that’s not day to day I have done deals in that range, but I also do plenty of deals in a middle range and even smaller deals The big ones attract a lot of media attention – Yeah, for sure – But clients come in all shapes and sizes Yes, I do represent major studios and networks, major telecommunications companies, banks and major financial institutions and major production distribution companies, but I also represent, people in smaller production and distribution companies, including some individual producers, who are trying to get a project made So, there’s quite a range of projects that I work on on a daily basis – So one of the things I was wondering when we’re talking about the deal size and you know, size of organization Is there a fundamental difference between all these deals or is it just like you add a zero on some deals and others are basically the setup or the anatomy of the agreement is the same – The basic principles are the same As a deal grows larger, clients want more and more protection And as deals are smaller, clients may say, “You know what, I just can’t afford “to tease out every possibility here.” So you have to be practical, you have to understand what the client wants, and you have to be, as I said, a partner, in effect with the client in figuring out the level of complexity that makes sense for the overall level of protection and the degree to which things are gonna be negotiated Some things just don’t deserve 10 weeks of negotiation, some things do And you have to be able to make that kind of distinction and advise clients in that area But the basic principles are the same And the one underlying principle for me, that’s always the same, is I always want to do a great job for the client I never approach anything big or small and say, Oh, this isn’t that very important If it’s important to the client, it’s important to me The deal is what matters And this, by the way is something that varies from lawyer to lawyer and in Hollywood I’m one of those lawyers who believes that I am not more important than the deal, the deal is what’s important It’s sometimes troubling when you do run into lawyers who think they’re more important than the deal or who inject their ego into it I don’t inject my ego into the deal The client and I are there to make the best possible deal for the client, and establish a relationship that’s going to work and be successful over a period of time And whatever it takes to get that done is what we need to do, but it’s not about me, it’s never about me It’s always about the client – So speaking of working with you, when someone’s listening to this announces, “Hey, I wanna work with Lindsay or Manatt.” What are the prerequisites to work with you? What type of question or transaction or deal should someone come to you with? – I wouldn’t say there’s a prerequisite other than the fact that, what can I say this is a business and clients do pay fees, and we’re not the most expensive firm in the business, but we’re not the least expensive either So clients have to understand if they’re going to come to a place like Manatt, they’re gonna get top of the line legal service , but they’re also going to be paying for that service But beyond the ability to pay for the services, there is no real qualifier, as long as I think somebody is a good person or a good company to work with, I’m happy to work with them Whether they’re in the United States or abroad I have clients not only in China and elsewhere in Asia,

but in Europe, and in Latin America And regardless of the size of the clients, it may be a very big company or it may be one individual, by the way, the one individual might be a producer trying to get a film made, but it might be a high net worth individual who wants to put money into the entertainment industry and wants to get involved in the business in some way So clients come in all nationalities and shapes and sizes and aspects of the business and we’re happy to take them on – Perfect, I think that’s a wonderful place to wrap it up Thank you so much for making the time and the pleasure speaking with you – My pleasure, Toby I’m really glad we have this opportunity – Perfect and I’m sure we will do it again sometime soon – Sounds great to me – All right, thank you – [Announcer] Thank you so much for listening, everyone We’d love to hear from you now Please let us know what you think of the show and this episode Leave us a comment, send us a message or Tweet and we’re looking forward to welcoming you on our next episode By the way, you can follow Media CFO on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and if you haven’t already, please subscribe to this podcast on Apple podcasts and rate and review this podcast Again thank you for listening and bye bye The Media CFO podcast is hosted Tobias Jaeger, our executive producers Bridget Scarr, digital editing by Christina Voigt and Athanasios Karakantas, design by Daniel Cottis Many thanks to Anouk van Ghemen and Frederik Jaeger for their creative review The notes for the show can be found on Copyright 2019 Colibri Studios