The Who, What, and Why of Representation in Hollywood
Hollywood’s black agents and managers are few and far between, but we have gathered this elite group to discuss how, when, and why a filmmaker, writer, or actor becomes the hot ticket in town requiring someone to advocate on their behalf…and what happens on the road to representation.
Billy Hawkins – Agent, CAA
Jelani Johnson – Manager, Generate
Matthew Johnson – Partner, Ziffren Brittenham
Charles King – Agent/Partner, WME
Andrea Nelson Meigs – Agent, ICM
Moderator: Franklin Leonard, Overbrook Entertainment
Sponsored by BET
Click below to register for the full day of activities on Saturday, June 16, 2012:
Billy Hawkins is a Motion Picture Literary agent at Creative Artists Agency (CAA), an entertainment
and sports agency based in Los Angeles with offices in New York, London, Nashville, and Beijing.
Hawkins works in the Los Angeles office and represents many of the world’s leading writers and
directors including Spike Lee, Antoine Fuqua, Tarsem Singh, Rosario Dawson, Doug Liman, Marcum
& Holloway, Geoffrey Fletcher, Eric Singer, and Nick Schenk, among others.
Hawkins began his career at Morgan Stanley as an investment banker. He joined CAA in 2002.
After graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree in Business Administration, Hawkins
graduated from Harvard Law where he was an editor of the Law Review.
Jelani Johnson is a talent manager at the Santa Monica based management company Generate. After entering entertainment as an intern at CAA, Johnson transitioned to management in 2010. His client list includes actors, comedians, writers and directors. Johnson is a graduate of Columbia University where he double-majored in History and Anthropology.
Matthew Johnson is the managing partner of Ziffren Brittenham LLP, considered the country’s premier entertainment law firm. Mr. Johnson has an extensive film and television practice, representing some of the biggest A-list personalities today, as well as many renowned directors and writers for film and television. He is a leader in structuring and negotiating ground-breaking transactions in the media and entertainment industries and has been instrumental in helping his clients develop important revenue sources, such as publishing, endorsements and merchandising opportunities. He is President of the Board of the Challenger’s Boys and Girls Club, a member of the board of the Los Angeles Urban League, the Foreign Policy Roundtable and the Next Generation Council of The Motion Picture and Television Fund. He is also an at-large member of the Democratic National Committee.
Charles King is a Partner/Agent in the Motion Picture department of William Morris Endeavor Entertainment (WME). He joined the storied WIlliam Morris Agency mailroom in 1997 and was promoted two years later to Agent, becoming the first African American to rise from the training program in the Film/Television department in the company’s 101-year history.
Throughout his career, Charles has become known for his eye in discovering emerging talent and creating multi-layered brands that extend over a rapidly changing media landscape. He brings his strategic, long-horizon thinking to bear for his clients and has been involved in some of the most innovative deals in the business.
King represents media mogul Tyler Perry and was one of the first people in Hollywood to recognize his immense talent. He was an instrumental member of the team that helped to transform the multi-faceted actor, director, playwright and producer from the stage to the global brand he is today.
King also represents a select group of culture-impacting actors, actor/musicians and other media figures. Some of his clients include Paula Patton, Kelsey Grammer, Andre Benjamin from Outkast, music icon/actress Janet Jackson, rising music force Janelle Monae, Kevin Clash (Jim Henson protégé and Elmo creator) and the bestselling author/producer TD Jakes. He also works with acclaimed and emerging young filmmakers, some of whom include Craig Brewer (“Hustle and Flow”), Barry Sonnenfeld (“Men in Black”), M Night Shyamalan (“The Sixth Sense”), Kenny Leon (“Fences”), Dee Rees (“Pariah”) and writer/director Rick Famuyiwa (“Brown Sugar”).
King is a graduate of Vanderbilt University with a BA in Political Science, he also holds a J.D. form Howard University School of Law. He currently resides in Los Angeles, California with his wife, Stacey, a fashion designer/executive and their two young sons, Noah and Julian.
Andrea Nelson Meigs is a Talent Agent at International Creative Management (ICM). She represents a wide variety of clients who impact and influence pop culture, from international mega-superstar and Grammy winner / Golden Globe nominee Beyoncé Knowles, to the fifteen time Emmy winner Cristina Saralegui (often referred to as the Latina Oprah), to the multi talented power couple Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil (producers and creators of the TV hits GIRLFRIENDS, THE GAME, and the upcoming film SPARKLE) to Mark Salling (the star of the Emmy, SAG, Golden Globe winning TV show, “GLEE”).
Andrea received her B.A. from Tufts University, her J.D. from Duke University School of Law and is a member of the California State Bar Association. After working with Congresswoman Maxine Waters and the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office, she decided to change career paths and pursue entertainment.
Andrea started in the mailroom at Creative Artists Agency and, in a relatively short time, she worked her way up the ranks to become a Motion Picture Talent Agent. She has since become a dominant force in the film business, as a trailbrazer — breaking ground for other young women and people of color to follow. Andrea packaged OBSESSED which client Beyonce Knowles starred and produced with then-client, Idris Elba. It was the #1 movie in the country opening weekend – made for just over 20MM and grossing close to 80MM. She also secured a multi-figured deal for Beyonce’s next feature, A STAR IS BORN, which Clint Eastwood is set to direct.
Andrea was featured on the cover of Black Enterprise in their “Hot List: The Best and Brightest Under 40” issue. She was profiled in Essence magazine as a “Woman On Top” in her field and was later featured on the cover of its Hollywood issue. She has also been profiled and interviewed in Billboard magazine and featured in The Hollywood Reporter Oscar 2009 issue. In 2009, Andrea received the P.T BARNUM Award for Excellence in Entertainment from Tufts University.
Andrea studied in Madrid, Spain while at Tufts and is fluent in Spanish. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated (an international community service organization). She regularly attends West Angeles Church with her family and is a member of the American Black Film Festival Steering Committee and the Council of the Motion Picture and Television Fund. Lastly, she is actively involved in the charitable organization FSMA (Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy), which helps to raise awareness and money for this disease which is the number one genetic cause of death for children under the age of two.
Andrea is married to John V. Meigs, Jr., a partner at the entertainment law firm Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, et al. They have four beautiful daughters, Avery N. Meigs, the late Alexandra N. Meigs and twins / Isabella Alexa and Calla Alexis Meigs.
Franklin Leonard is best known for creating the Black List while a development exec at Appian Way in 2005. The list, which is unveiled every December, ranks the most-liked unproduced scripts Hollywood movers and shakers have read all year and has become an anticipated event among the development community as well as a platform for screenwriters.
Leonard has acted as director of development at Universal, where he worked on “Fast Five” (the fifth installment of “The Fast and the Furious” franchise), the Vince Vaughn comedy “Couples Retreat”, the Meryl Streep romantic comedy “It’s Complicated” and M. Night Shyamalan’s “Devil.”
Franklin is now VP Creative Affairs at Overbrook Productions.