Kevin is joined by Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, the founder and CEO of the Gotham Group, a management and production company that has been in business for 30 years. Ellen is a film and television producer, a political activist, and a charitable contributor.

With an impressive portfolio spanning both television and film, Ellen has produced blockbuster hits such as The Maze Runner film series, which grossed over 1 billion dollars at the box office worldwide. She has also produced critically acclaimed films such as Star Girl and its sequel Hollywood Star Girl, Wendell and Wild, Abduction, My Best Friend’s Exorcism, and The Spiderwick Chronicles. Ellen’s work has earned her several accolades, including an Emmy award nomination in 2008 for her contributions to the popular television series, Creature Comforts.

Ellen’s background and starting Gotham Group

Ellen shares how she started her career in the entertainment industry, leaving banking to work at William Morris Agency and eventually becoming a partner at Atlas Management. She wanted to be on the same side of the table as the talent and started her own management and production company, Gotham Group. Ellen also talks about her experience working with Michael Ovitz and how it helped her expand her business into publishing.

Ellen’s transition to representation

Ellen talks about her desire to be on the same side of the table as the talent and how she transitioned to the representation business.

Finding White Space

Kevin and Ellen discuss the importance of finding white space in the industry and how focusing on the animation space helped Gotham Group become successful.

Kevin on finding the white space:

…you find the animation space and then you leverage that into something else, and that is such good business practice. I try to use that philosophy at Screen Engine/ASI as well to try to find those places where competitors aren’t going and where there’s genuine opportunity.

Producing a $125 million movie

Ellen talks about her experience producing The Spiderwick Chronicles and the challenges of being a producer. Kevin and Ellen also discuss the idea of willing something into existence and how it takes a lot of energy and passion to make things happen in the entertainment industry. Ellen shared a story about a movie she produced and how it was only made because of her belief in it and her ability to gather the right people around the project.

Social activism

Kevin and Ellen discuss Ellen and her husband Jon Vein, a successful businessman and entrepreneur who she has collaborated with on political fundraising and awareness efforts. Ellen also talks about her own involvement in political activism, particularly around gun safety.

Challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated industry

Ellen talks about the difficulties of being a woman in the entertainment industry and how she had to work hard to be taken seriously.

And you meet with such disdain and disregard and disrespect, and you know, it’s very, very hard. Just like you do when you believe in something, and as we do in our country and democracy, you gotta buck up every day and get right back up on that horse.

— Ellen Goldsmith-Vein

Providing opportunities and advice for young women

Ellen discusses the importance of providing opportunities for young women in the entertainment industry and how she tries to help them get their foot in the door. Ellen gives advice to young women to focus on their own work and not worry about what others are doing to create success for themselves.

I would say to any young woman, and I say this all the time, is if you believe in something, make it happen. Go make it happen. But also like, don’t worry about what the guy over there is doing or that one over there is doing. Just keep your eyes on your own paper. Just focus on what you are doing and not what everybody else is doing. And ultimately, I think that is how you can create success for yourself.

— Ellen Goldsmith-Vein

Please tune in to hear Kevin and his special guest, Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, for their wide-ranging discussion on Ellen’s career in the entertainment industry, audience testing, political activism, and the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated industry.

Don’t Kill the Messenger, hosted by movie and entertainment research expert Kevin Goetz, brings his book Audienceology to life. This bi-monthly podcast takes a peek behind the filmmaking curtain as Kevin talks with famous filmmakers, studio executives, stars, and other creatives about movies, filmmaking, audience test screenings, and much more.

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