Hollywood's New Leaders 2016: The Agents

By Variety Staff

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Jeffrey Greller Age: 29; Agent, digital media, WME With a focus on virtual reality, augmented reality, and other forms of interactive media, Greller's goal is to be an expert in this evolving space and help content creators understand its promise. "You have creators who have spent 50-plus years becoming experts in storytelling in their lane -- TV, film, books -- we put them through VR 101," he says. "To look at their faces, and the enthusiasm and passion they get coming out of a great VR experience for the first time, it completely floors them and expands their thought processes around storytelling. We're all world builders and now you can be in the world."

Ashley Holland Age: 31; Television literary agent, CAA She represents top showrunners, directors, writers, producers, talent, with a focus on women, people of color, and the LGBT community. Clients include Ava DuVernay, Omar Epps, Yara Shahidi, and Nia Long. Holland recently orchestrated deals for Prentice Penny to showrun HBO's new series "Insecure," written by and starring Issa Rae, and for Melina Matsoukas to direct the pilot, and serve as EP and series director. Holland notes: "I strive to have the kind of impact on the business, and in the world, that requires me to juggle art, commerce, innovation, and activism."

Zach Iser & Caroline Yim Ages: 31, 37; Music agents, ICM A hot team with clients including Kendrick Lamar, Jhene Aiko, Future, SZA, Schoolboy Q, Rae Sremmurd, Earl Sweatshirt, Kehlani, Anderson .Paak, Little Simz, and The Internet. Together, they have confirmed 600-plus shows this year, from clubs to festivals around the world. Their clients played 175 showcases at SXSW this year. Currently planning Lamar's next tour, while Sremmurd headlines another that starts this month, Schoolboy Q is also touring at more than 40 dates domestically. "One of my biggest challenges is balancing work with my personal life," says Yim. Adds Iser, "My greatest challenge is staying healthy and keeping it tight while traveling constantly for work."

Julian Jacobs Age: 30; Executive, UTA marketing He led the effort to sign flagship client Delta Air Lines and helped develop marketing and sales programs targeting the entertainment and production communities. Jacobs works with LinkedIn on marketing and editorial partnerships within entertainment, and Hearst Digital Media, helping to put together the company's first digital Newfront to unveil their slate of upcoming original video programming. The challenge? "Staying on top of what's happening in the world of media and entertainment while delivering on the service we guarantee to our clients."

Andrew Russell Age: 31; Comedy agent, APA He has helped build a juggernaut stand-up comedy department, with clients including "Saturday Night Live" stars Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, and Pete Davidson, plus Chris D'Elia, Craig Robinson, and Ron Funches. Russell brokered deals on Netflix, SeeSo, Comedy Central, and other premium platforms, and is also a strong presence in digital and gaming worlds, representing GameGrumps (over 3 million subscribers on YouTube). "My clients' lives are my life," he says. "When things go great, I'm excited beyond words. But if something doesn't go their way, I just as equally share the disappointment -- maybe more."

Alec Shankman Age: 37; Senior VP, Abrams Artists Agency Shankman, head of alternative programming, digital media, and branding and licensing, has been integral to the expansion of the alternative programming and digital division. In reality TV, he reps top producers and stars, including the entire casts of Discovery's No. 1 series "Gold Rush," and National Geographic's No. 1 series "Wicked Tuna." He helped launch Brandi Glanville's award-winning wine, Unfiltered Blonde, and expand the agency's digital talent footprint; its digital division reps influencers such as Brodie Smith, Ann Reardon, Amy Pham, Mr. Kate, and Teni Panosian. Shankman notes: "Given my oversight of emerging businesses my biggest challenge is the critical need to stay ahead of the perpetual evolution of the marketplace."

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