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Thursday, November 30, 2017 Loews Hollywood Hotel



All of the Participants of the 2017 Entertainment Industry Conference

We Proudly Support



Welcome from the Co-chairs Susanne Ault, Variety Kristin Cavanaugh, Sony Welcome to our sixth annual State of the Entertainment Industry Conference! Our goal has always been to bring the Hollywood community, business and industry executives, and public officials together to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing California’s signature industry. Each year, the conference has grown – and this year is no exception. Television producer Vin Di Bona will again serve as our emcee, assuring that our program flows smoothly and on time! We’re delighted to have Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell give us a Hollywood update. Senator Kevin de León, President Pro Tempore of the California State Senate will offer a keynote address, and we will again be joined by other public officials. We have several exciting sessions today, including a panel of experts from Netflix, National Geographic, Sony Pictures Television and Verizon discussing the rapidly evolving state of the streaming entertainment business and what is next for the Television Industry. We’re pleased to announce that FilmL.A. will present their inaugural soundstage production report, where you will be the first to learn the results of this study. Amy Lemisch, the Executive Director of the California Film Commission, will interview Jim Whitaker, the producer of the upcoming feature film A Wrinkle In Time, about how the California Film Tax Credits helped to bring this production to our State. To top it all off, we are thrilled to present our special, annual Commitment to California Award to Steve Levitan, the Co-creator and Executive Producer of Modern Family. We offer an enormous thank you to our committee and the many sponsors who have made this conference possible. And, of course a very special thank you to Variety, our media partner, whose team once again helped us assemble a top-notch program. Enjoy the Conference!

November 30, 2017

Dear ar Friends, On behalf of the Califorrnnia Statte Senaatte, it gives me great pleaasure to extend my warmest greetings to the 2017 State of the Entertainment Industry Confference. It gives me great at pleasure to see the best and brightest RI&DOLIR IRUQ UQLD¶VPRVWSUL]HGLQGXVWWU\FRPLQJWRJHWKHUWRGLVFXVVRXU IRUHQWHUWDLQPHQW,congrratulat ate the Hollyw ywood Chaam mber of VWDWH¶VFKDOOHQJHVDQGRSSRUWXQLWLHVIR Commerce fo for its efffo orts in organizing this vital conffeerence. Califorrn nia cherishes the entertainment industry not solely as a major contributor to job creat ation and economic activity, but DOVRDVSDU an DUWRIRXULGHQWLW\DVWKHFR RXQWU\¶VOHDGHULQFUHDW DWLYLW\DQ DQG innovation. This has held true since the ear arly days of Hollyw ywoood film-making, when D.W. Griffffith filmed In Old Caliiffornia LQ2YHUWKH\HDU DUV&DOLLIR IRUQLDKDVVHUY UYHGDVWKHFRXQWU\¶V standard bear arer fo for quality movie an and TV production, an and I am committed to ensuring that at it VWD\VWKDWZD\2XUVWDW DWH¶V)LOPDQG7HOHYLVLRQ7D[&UHGLWKDVVPDGH headway in bringing, an and retaining, jobs in The Golden State, and I am grateful for yourr efforts to make it happen. Events like the Entertainment ,ndustry Conference DUHYLWDOWR RDVVHVVLQJWKHVWDWHRI&DOLIR IRUQLD¶V am confident film industry and exchanging ideas and solutions to the challenges that lie ahead. I am WKDW DWWRGD\¶VGLDORJXHDQ DQGLQWHUDFWLRQVDPRQJEXVLQHVVH[HFXWLYHVSXEOLFRII IILFLDOVHQWHUWDLQPHQW employees, and the community will yield invaluaab ble insight in nto how we can an continue to shap ape CalifR fRUQLD¶VSURVSHURXVHQWHUW UWDLQPHQWLQGXVWU\WRJHWKHU Thank you for the maan ny years of stellar worrkk an and glowing results that have helped the State of Califorrn nia an and City of Los Angeles fl flourish. Sincerely, Sincerely KEVIN K EVIN DE LEÓN LEÓN President pro Tempore Twenty-Fourth Senaatte District






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a n d the 2017 State of the Enter tainment Industry Conference

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Welcome from the Hollywood Chamber

Jeff Zarrinnam, Chair of the Board Leron Gubler, President & CEO

For 96 years, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has been a strong advocate for the Entertainment Industry. When the Chamber was formed in 1921, the industry was still fledgling here. No one at that time could have foreseen that it would become the economic powerhouse for our region. For many years, we took the industry for granted. No one thought that the industry was endangered. After all, it had been associated with Hollywood for most of its existence. But then, other states and countries started to woo production with film incentives. Suddenly, it became quite obvious that we were losing entertainment jobs by the thousands, and that there might not be an industry much longer if we didn’t learn to compete. Fortunately, industry supporters pulled together and worked with our California legislature to craft AB1839. Now stages, studios and other industry businesses are all operating at near capacity. And that means jobs – jobs that are local so our residents can stay home with their families rather than commute to neighboring states. For Hollywood, it means the industry is moving home, creating jobs that will help to revitalize this historic community and a huge boost to the economy. This conference was created six years ago with the intent of focusing attention on the threat that existed to our signature industry. We will again provide an analysis of how the film tax credits are working, but we will also look at so much more. Whether it is a discussion about the future of the streaming industry, or a look at where our music industry is headed, we will present some of the experts who can share their expertise with us. Congratulations and thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make this conference possible! We could not have done it without your help! And now, sit back and enjoy the program!


Kevin de León

Mitch O’Farrell

David Wells


Vin Di Bona

Erin McPherson

Amy Lemisch

Eric Berger

Andrew Wallenstein Debra Birnbaum

Kevin James

Rachel Webber

Andrew Barker

Steve Levitan

Jim Whitaker

Philip Sokoloski

Howard E. King

Susanne Ault

PROGRAM 8:30 a.m.

Registration and Networking Continental Breakfast

9:15 a.m.

Welcome from Conference Co-chairs Susanne Ault, Variety Kristin Cavanaugh, Sony Pictures Entertainment Emcee Vin Di Bona Vin Di Bona Productions and FishBowl Worldwide Media Greetings from the City of L.A. Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, 13th District


9:35 a.m.

Kevin de León, President Pro Tempore, California State Senate

Kristin Cavanaugh


9:55 a.m.

The State of the Stream Today’s entertainment-on-demand loving audience has quickly built a complex streaming economy, with a new group of media power players calling the shots. Business strategies vary across subscription and ad-supported models. User-generated content mixes with increasingly premium offerings across platforms. In a crowded field, the streaming elite debate what comes next for this industry. Moderator: Andrew Wallenstein, Co-Editor in Chief, Variety Panelists: Eric Berger, Chief Digital Officer at Sony Pictures Television Networks; GM, Crackle Erin McPherson, Head of Content Strategy, Acquisition and Programming, Verizon Rachel Webber, EVP, Digital Product, National Geographic David Wells, CFO, Netflix


10:40 a.m. This spotlight conversation will explore opportunities and challenges for today’s artists who are looking to succeed in a rapidly changing music industry. Howard E. King, Managing Partner; King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano, LLP Andrew Barker, Senior Features Writer, Variety 10:55 a.m.



11:10 a.m.

Inaugural FilmL.A. Soundstage Production Report Philip Sokoloski, VP, Integrated Communications, FilmL.A., Inc.


11:20 a.m.

The Benefits of the California Film Tax Credit Amy Lemisch, Executive Director, California Film Commission Jim Whitaker, Producer, and Chairman, Whitaker Entertainment 12 noon

LUNCHEON GREETINGS Kevin James, Director & Chief Liaison, Mayor’s Office of Film and Television Production Donelle Dadigan, President/Founder, Hollywood Museum/Max Factor Building

Presentation of Commitment to California Award Presentation by Susanne Ault and Kristin Cavanaugh Honoree: Steve Levitan, Co-creator, Executive Producer, Modern Family Interviewed by: Debra Birnbaum, Executive Editor, TV, Variety 1 p.m.




Speaker Profiles


SUSANNE AULT Susanne Ault is Director, Programming of Summits, Variety. She has been with Variety since 2010, where she oversees the content for all of Variety’s thought-leadership events. She has previously worked as a journalist for a variety of publications, including Broadcasting & Cable, Billboard and Variety. She currently is serving as Co-Chair of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s State of the Entertainment Conference Committee and has assisted with the conference for the past six years. A graduate of UCLA, she currently lives with her husband, son, two dogs and a cat in Highland Park.

ANDREW BARKER Andrew Barker is Senior Features Writer at Variety, having previously served as Music Editor and Associate Features Editor. In addition to writing and editing Focus feature sections, he also regularly reviews films and music, and has written cover stories on Jimmy Iovine and Justin Timberlake. He has appeared on The Today Show, the BBC, KCRW and Bloomberg, and is a member of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. In spring of 2017, he published his first book, Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde, for Bloomsbury Publishing’s 33 1/3 series. Raised in Texas, Arkansas and Southern California, he currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.

Warner Bros. Entertainment warmly congratulates

Steve Levitan on his

Commitment to California Award and proudly supports the

Hollywood Chamber of Commerce

ERIC BERGER Eric Berger is Chief Digital Officer at Sony Pictures Television Networks, and General Manager of Crackle. Under his direction, Crackle has become the leading Over-the-Top, premium ad-supported network. He also manages mobile games and applications based on television properties, and in conjunction with the general managers, the digital presence of the company’s channels around the world. Additionally, he manages all ad-supported digital businesses and partnerships with companies such as YouTube and Hulu. Prior to Sony Pictures, he was vice president of strategic planning at Time Warner Inc. where he was responsible for wireless initiatives and the creation of new digital growth businesses.

DEBRA BIRNBAUM Debra Birnbaum is an editor and media strategist with over 20 years of experience covering news and entertainment. She is currently the Executive Editor, TV at Variety, overseeing all TV features for the trade magazine’s multiple platforms, including the weekly print edition, and special awards season issues. She is also the host of Variety’s weekly TV podcast, “Remote Controlled,” featuring interviews with top showrunners and stars. She appears frequently on TV and radio as an entertainment expert, and regularly moderates panels for the TV Academy, Screen Actors Guild, Paley Center, and more. She was previously the president/editor-in-chief of TV Guide magazine, where she revitalized the classic brand.

KRISTIN CAVANAUGH Kristin Cavanaugh is Vice President, Studio & Production Affairs, for Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE). She oversees initiatives and policy that impact SPE’s regional corporate strategies, production activity and studio operations. She serves as a member of FilmL.A.’s Community Relations Committee, as Project Leader for Creative Future, and Co-Chair of the Hollywood Chamber’s State of the Entertainment Industry Conference. She also serves on the Board of the Culver City Chamber and represents SPE as a member of the Urban Land Institute. She has a B.A. in Film from Vassar College, and resides in Culver City with her two children.

SENATE PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE KEVIN DE LEON Senator Kevin de Leon is the first Latino elected to be President Pro Tempore of the California State Senate in 130 years. He represents the 22nd District of L.A. County, which includes Hollywood. He grew up in the San Diego barrio of Logan Heights and was the first in his family to graduate from both high school and college. He has spent a lifetime fighting to empower working families – as a community organizer, teacher and public schools advocate. As a Freshman Senator, he was named Chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus. In 2013, he became the first Latino Senate Appropriations Chair. In 2009 and 2014, he was a key figure helping to pass the Film and Television Tax Credit Program. He is currently running for the U.S. Senate.

VIN DI BONA Vin Di Bona is CEO of Vin Di Bona Productions and Chairman of FishBowl Worldwide Media. A four-time Emmy award-winning producer and eighttime Emmy nominee, he is the creator and executive producer of America’s Funniest Home Videos, the longest-running primetime entertainment show on ABC, now in its 28th year on the air. A pioneer in comedic reality programming and 49-year entertainment industry veteran, his diversified experience in producing and directing includes television movies, broadcast and cable series, network specials, music award shows and variety programming. Under his FishBowl banner, he currently has scripted and unscripted projects in development at ABC, Fox, Bravo, TruTV, VH1, and Adult Swim. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007.

KEVIN JAMES Kevin James is the President of the L.A. Board of Public Works and also serves as the Director and Chief Liaison of the Mayor’s Office of Film and Television Production, where he oversees the relationship between numerous City departments and the entertainment industry to make sure that film, television, commercial and music video production feels at home in the City of Los Angeles. He came to L.A. from Texas in the 1980s as an attorney with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. From there, he joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office. After serving as a Federal Prosecutor in L.A., he returned to private practice focusing on an entertainment litigation practice.

HOWARD E. KING Howard King is managing partner at King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano, LLP, and has broad experience in all facets of corporate, real estate, music and entertainment law, as well as complex business, real estate, banking, finance, and copyright and trademark litigation. He has been named as one of The Hollywood Reporter’s “Power 100 Lawyers in Entertainment,” has been designated a “Super Lawyer“ by Super Lawyers magazine, and has been included in the Los Angeles Daily Journal’s list of “California’s Top Entertainment Lawyers.” Mr. King received his undergraduate degree from UCLA and law degree from the UCLA School of Law.

AMY LEMISCH Amy Lemisch is the Executive Director of the California Film Commission, an appointment she has held since 2004. In that capacity, she works to support California’s vital film production industry by offering support services. She was involved in the creation of the film and television tax incentives program and administers it. Prior to her appointment with the Film Commission, she was a producer for Penny Marshall’s company - Parkway Productions, at Universal Studios and Sony Pictures. She is a member of the Directors Guild of America and Producers Guild of America.




STEVE LEVITAN “Modern Family” co-creator and executive producer Steven Levitan has been making television comedies for more than 20 years. His credits include “Wings,” “Frasier,” “The Larry Sanders Show,” “Just Shoot Me” (Creator), “Greg the Bunny,” as well as several shows he’d like you to forget. A Chicago native and graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison (The Harvard of Southwestern Wisconsin), Levitan’s honors include seven Emmy Awards, five Writers Guild Awards, two Humanitas Prizes, a Peabody Award, three Producers Guild Awards, a Comedy Writer of the Year Award, three AFI awards, two Television Critics Awards and a DGA nomination.

ERIN MCPHERSON Erin McPherson serves as Verizon’s Head of Content Strategy, Acquisition and Programming. In this role, she oversees Verizon’s content activities, including programming, acquisitions, development, strategic partnerships, and original content across all Verizon’s platforms, including Fios and future OTT efforts. Prior to joining Verizon, she served as Chief Content Officer at Maker Studios, the world’s largest network of short-form online video, which was acquired by the Walt Disney Company in 2014. Prior to that, she ran video at Yahoo. She received her Juris Doctor degree from Harvard University.

COUNCILMEMBER MITCH O’FARRELL Councilman Mitch O’Farrell has served as councilman of the L.A. 13th Council District since 2013, which includes Hollywood. A member of the Wyandotte Native American tribe, he grew up in the Oklahoma City area. He moved to L.A. 35 years ago to continue his studies and work professionally in theatre and dance. After a career in the arts, he became a restaurant manager and manager trainer. In 2002, he began a career in public service as a deputy to then-councilman Eric Garcetti. A strong supporter of the entertainment industry, he is working to enhance Hollywood’s reputation as a world-class neighborhood in which to live and do business.

PHILIP SOKOLOSKI As V.P. of Integrated Communications at FilmL.A., Philip Sokoloski oversees corporate communications, community relations, marketing and research programs for the world’s largest and busiest film office. He also oversees Film Works CA – an award-winning education and grassroots advocacy platform focused on the California Film and Television Tax Credits Program. He currently holds board positions at PRSA-LA and at the Valley Industry and Commerce Association. He holds a M.A. in strategic public relations from USC Annenberg, and a B.A. in English from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He and his family reside in Valencia.

ANDREW WALLENSTEIN Andrew Wallenstein is Co-Editor-in-Chief, of and Variety magazine. He has been with Variety since 2011, where he oversees daily and weekly coverage of the entertainment industry, with a focus on technology. He was an on-air contributor for NPR’s All Things Considered for nearly a decade and also hosted the PBS series Variety Studio: Actors on Actors, and the TV Guide Channel’s Square Off, a weekly primetime series about the TV industry. He has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe and Business Week. He was at The Hollywood Reporter from 2002 to 2010.

RACHEL WEBBER Rachel Webber is Executive Vice President, Digital Product, National Geographic Partners. She oversees the organization’s product development and technology, audience and community development, and digital storytelling through video initiatives and other digital experiences. Prior to National Geographic, she served as Senior Vice President, Fox Television Group, where she helped drive new business growth for Fox Broadcasting and 20th Century Fox TV. She held other positions at Rovio Entertainment and at Tumblr. She started her career with News Corporation. She graduated from Barnard College of Columbia University with a Bachelor’s Degree in History.

DAVID WELLS David Wells has served as Chief Financial Officer at Netflix since 2010. He has been at Netflix since 2004, serving in a variety of planning and analysis roles, including most recently as the Vice President of Financial Planning & Analysis. Prior to joining Netflix, he worked in progressive roles at Deloitte Consulting from 1998 to 2004 and in the nonprofit world before getting his MBA. He joined the Board of The Trade Desk, a public leading programmatic advertising platform company in 2016. He holds an MBA and MPP from The University of Chicago and a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from the University of Virginia.

JIM WHITAKER Producer Jim Whitaker is the Chairman of Whitaker Entertainment, which is based at Walt Disney Pictures. He most recently produced The Odd Life of Timothy Green for the studio. He began his career at Imagine Entertainment as an intern, rising to President of Motion Picture Production. He is the founder and director of the Peabody Award-winning Rebirth, a featurelength documentary on the rebuilding of the World Trade Center that aired on Showtime on the 10th anniversary of September 11th. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and holds an MFA from the Peter Stark Program at USC as well as an honorary doctorate from Pace University in New York. He is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute.

A w o n d e r f ul p la c e f o r dinin g, g a night away o r a r o o m f o r f amil y an d f r i e n ds . D is tin g uis h e d ex p e r i e n c e s th at n eve r f e e l s tif f o r p l o t t e d, b e c a u s e w e s p e ak to o ur g u e s t s f r o m th e h e a r t , n o t a m a n u al.

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The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce would like to thank the 2017 Entertainment Conference Planning Committee who worked tirelessly in presenting this event.

CO-CHAIRS Susanne Ault, Variety Kristin Cavanaugh, Sony Pictures Entertainment

COMMITTEE MEMBERS Patrice Atiee, Variety Paul Audley, FilmL.A., Inc. Vin Di Bona, FishBowl Worldwide Media Howard Green, Disney Animation Jason Hariton, Netflix Bill Humphrey, Hudson Pacific Properties Larry LaBoe, NewFilmmakers L.A. Maureen Schultz, Capitol Records Doug Troy, Trailer Park Sarah Walsh, MPAA

STAFF Leron Gubler Kaylee Kiecker Nicole Shahenian Jacob Jauregui Marlene Panoyan

We Congratulate Steve Levitan on his Commitment to California

The Entertainment Industry’s Chamber Join us in our advocacy agenda.

Since 1921... Promoting and enhancing the business, cultural and civic well-being of the greater Hollywood community.

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2017 State of the Entertainment Industry Conference  
2017 State of the Entertainment Industry Conference