By Iain Blair
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - VANESSA ANSOORIAN Assistant to Heather Griffith & Craig Mizrahi, Innovative Artists, production Ansoorian has been assisting senior BTL agents Griffith and Mizrahi for the past two years at Innovative. Besides being the department coordinator, she works with such clients as Paul Hirsch ("Mummy 4"), Courtney Hoffman ("Hateful Eight"), and Maryann Brandon. "Job challenges are anticipating the immediate needs of two busy agents, our clients and buyers while simultaneously upholding highest standards of collaboration across all departments," she says.
CHRIS BOWYER Assistant/coordinator, non-scripted & alternative programming, STX Bowyer began as a temp in 2015 working for executives including Cathy Schulman, Amy Elkins, and Oren Aviv. He's now assisting Jason Goldberg. Responsibilities include overseeing development of more than 25 projects in various stages for the U.S., China, India, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Integrally involved in production of four on-air series that are filming and two series orders for 2017, including the first broadcast television show to be developed by a U.S.-based entertainment company in China. "I use Adam Fogelson's advice when under pressure and ask myself, 'What is real?' in the moment," Bowyer says. "When that doesn't work, I meditate in the mother's room."
PHOEBE BURNHAM Talent assistant, ICM Partners Daughter of legendary literary agent and partner John Burnham, she worked for ICM partner Ted Chervin in the TV literary department after interning at HBO. Graduating from the University of Arizona with a degree in film and television, Burnham returned to ICM in 2015 and worked in the mailroom. For the past nine months, she has assisted talent agent Andrew Rogers. "Learning the roles of each department was both a challenge and a great opportunity," Burnham says. "Although my focus is on talent, agents across multiple departments serve each client, and it's important to be collaborative and understand how everyone works together to create the best opportunities."
MATTHEW DOYLE TV lit coordinator, Verve Doyle joined in January as Verve's first off-desk TV lit coordinator. He implemented a new system for information flow and tracking, redesigned current grids, and helped lead Verve to its most successful staffing season ever, with 80% of clients staffed on broadcast and cable shows. He has been an aggressive recruiter, interviewing and training new employees. Worked with up-and-coming clients such as Arkasha Stevenson and Kirk Sullivan on the television side, and has played an important role in signing clients staffed on upcoming series such as "Pitch" and "Riverdale." Challenges of the job? "Recognizing that everyone is the protagonist of their own story, and treating them accordingly," Doyle says.
DANYELLE FOORD Assistant to Alexandre Dauman, VP of motion pictures, and Julie Oh, VP of development, Imagine Entertainment Within the past year, Foord has worked closely with writers, directors, and actors, and been involved in all the day-to-day development on Imagine's current projects. She sits in on creative development meetings and has directly pitched to executives. Her credits include "In the Heart of the Sea," "Inferno," and Doug Liman's thriller "American Made," starring Tom Cruise, out in 2017. "You're reading nonstop, separating the good from the amazing, while also trying to navigate an ever-expanding world of supremely talented filmmakers, each of whom could be the next best thing," Foord says.
ALEX HERRARTE Assistant to Chris Hart, partner and co-head of talent, UTA The multilingual rising star interned in 2012 while pursuing a business administration degree at USC's Marshall School of Business. Herrarte negotiated early graduation from USC and joined the agency training program in 2013. He began on the desk of talent agent Jonathan Weinstein, moved on to work for partner Jeremy Barber and clients including Anthony Hopkins, Don Cheadle, Patrick Dempsey, and Liev Schreiber. Following his tenure with Barber, Herrarte then landed the highly coveted desk of Hart, who reps such clients as Sofia Vergara, Mariah Carey, and Jeremy Piven. "Anticipation is key," he says. "Whether it be for your boss or for your client, getting ahead of an issue before it becomes a problem is critical."
ISHMAEL HINSON Assistant to television co-heads Nick Khan and Jeff Jacobs, CAA Moving to L.A. in 2014 without a job or industry contacts, the North Carolina Central University grad joined CAA as a floater, assisting a wide array of agents and executives. In January 2015, he landed at Jacobs' desk, working day-to-day with such high-profile clients as Jimmy Fallon, Lorne Michaels, and Ryan Seacrest, and by year's end was accepted into CAA's agent trainee program. He is coordinator for CAA's sports media group, working closely with Khan and Jacobs. "Anticipating the needs of others is a skill that I have had to hone, and it is my primary focus on a day-to-day and minute-to-minute basis."
ADDEN LAUGHLIN Executive coordinator to CEO Brent Montgomery, ITV America Laughlin started with Montgomery when he was CEO at Leftfield Entertainment. When LFE was bought by ITV America, Montgomery was made CEO of the entire operation and brought Laughlin along with him. She works closely alongside Montgomery and the entire ITVA team to help ensure that the integration process runs smoothly, and helped set up an internal system in the L.A. office that mirrored the company's own N.Y. system. "The hardest part of the job is ensuring Brent can provide consistent support to the many different teams he oversees, so being fastidious and nimble is crucial," Laughlin says.
TAYLOR RITZEL Administrative assistant to head of originals Beatrice Springborn, Hulu Springborn relies on the Olympic gold medalist (rowing at the London Games) to attend meetings, give feedback on scripts and screeners, plus conduct industry research that drives Hulu's original programming strategy. Since joining in March, Ritzel has been involved in major pickups of Hulu Originals, including "Chance," starring Hugh Laurie, which premieres this month, plus "The Handmaid's Tale," based on the bestseller by Margaret Atwood. Recently she spearheaded a women's initiative at Hulu. "As a tech and entertainment hybrid, it can be challenging to navigate two contrasting styles of operating, but in many ways we get the best of both worlds," Ritzel says.
JENNA SARKIN Assistant to partner Eryn Brown, Management 360 The Australia native started at the Management 360 mailroom, and quickly transitioned to assisting partner Nicole King, working with Jennifer Garner, Giovanni Ribisi, and Kat Dennings. She moved to the literary department and under partner Eryn Brown's tutelage, has worked closely on projects with directors, writers (Dan Fogelman, Phil Johnston, Bruce Eric Kaplan), and acclaimed international directors Pablo Larrain ("Neruda," "Jackie"), Deniz Gamze Erguven, Sebastian Lelio, and Felix van Groeningen. "Eryn's really encouraged me to find material right for our clients," Sarkin says. "The only way you can move forward is to be proactive."