Hollywood is betting large on TikTok expertise in bid to woo Gen Z

In this photo illustration a TikTok logo seen displayed on a smartphone with stock market percentages in the background.

SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images

When TikTok creator Boman Martinez-Reid first got an email from Creative Artists Agency he ignored it. As an Ontario native, he saw the acronym CAA and assumed it was CAA Insurance, a major car insurance company in Canada.

It was only after a TikTok representative contacted him that he realized he was being courted by one of Hollywood’s top talent agencies.

“I get a [direct message] from a guy at TikTok and he says let’s talk on the phone,” Martinez-Reid recalled. “So, we had a phone call and he asked me ‘I know that CAA has been reaching out to you. Do you know who they are? They represent Beyonce, Meryl Streep, you have to get on the phone with them.'”

Martinez-Reid, known online as “Bomanizer,” has more than 1.5 million followers and a budding career that includes a guest appearance on “Canada’s Drag Race” and a line of branded merchandise. While he rose to TikTok fame making reality show spoof videos, the 24-year-old has aspirations beyond the social media platform. He signed with CAA in July 2020.

Martinez-Reid is part of a growing list of content creators that have signed with traditional talent agencies, including dancer Charli D’Amelio, actress Addison Rae and the creators of the viral TikTok series “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical,” Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear.

These artists have been tapped because of their talent, but also because of their engagement with online communities. These entrepreneurs have built large and loyal followings on the short-form video app, something talent managers and agents from traditional Hollywood firms see as a potential gold mine.

Not only can these agencies help build mini-media empires around these creators, they also can benefit from the strategies these digital influencers use, and apply it to bolster the careers of the agencies’ already established clients.

Actor Will Smith, who is repped by CAA, is just one example of an A-list celebrity who has embraced social media, including TikTok and YouTube, in recent years as a way to promote his content and to promote himself.

“Will recognized four or five years ago that young audiences are consuming media in a much different way,” said David Freeman, co-head of the CAA’s digital media division. “Will understood that he had to shift and change the way that he was interacting with his audience.”

This pivotal audience, which ranges in age from six to around 25, is known as Gen Z and is one of the most sought after consumer bases for companies. Not only is this young generation coming of age as consumers, but they are also driving major trends for older generations, said Jason Dorsey, president of the Center for Generational Kinetics, a research and strategic advisory firm.

“This makes this younger set of trendsetters overly valuable,” he said.

This generation is not just impacting entertainment, but apparel, food, technology and bigger social conversations, he said. 

“As Gen Z comes up, they really are the best predictor of the future,” Dorsey said. “Smart brands are trying to figure out how you connect with them in a sincere way. … If you win Gen Z, you can win everyone else.”

Embracing Gen Z

Dorsey noted that many brands missed out on connecting with the millennial generation because they dismissed this demographic’s adoption of mobile devices and social media and believed that this group of young consumers would return to the traditions of previous generations.

“That didn’t happen,” he said.

While the millennial generation adopted the internet and a mobile-first mentality, Gen Z has never known a time that they could not do almost everything they needed to do on a mobile device, said Connor Blakley, a marketing consultant and Gen Z expert.

“Everyone always says that Gen Z has a six- to eight-second attention span,” he said. “What that is is just a really good ‘BS meter’ for different kinds of information so that we can pick the thing that we really want to spend time on.”

Blakley, who is a member of Gen Z himself, has advised companies like Pepsi, Johnson & Johnson and the National Hockey League on social media marketing strategies. He noted that Gen Z is a generation that can easily discern when people and companies are being disingenuous.

“That’s why you are seeing talent agencies, marketing agencies, influencer agencies, all kinds of branding agencies going to TikTok because that is the place where Gen Z already is,” Dorsey added. “If you want to reach them, you have to go to where they are because you have virtually zero chance of getting them to where you are.”

TikTok, in particular, has been a place for talent agencies to cull new talent because of its rapid rise to popularity and the viral nature of its content. In fact, TikTok was the most popular website in 2021, surpassing even Google, according to data from Cloudflare, a web security and performance company.

The social media app, which launched internationally in 2017, rose to prominence in 2018, but really gained traction with consumers in late 2019 and during the coronavirus pandemic.

Movie theaters were shuttered, productions of popular TV shows were halted and the rate at which content was being released to the public slowed considerably. With so many people stuck at home, many turned to alternatives like TikTok for entertainment.

“Suddenly there was a pandemic,” Martinez-Reid said. “Everyone was stuck inside. I had nothing to do but to make content and everyone else had nothing to do but to watch content.”

Boman Martinez-Reid, known on TikTok as “Bomanizer,” is a content creator who was signed by talent agency CAA in July 2020.

Boman Martinez-Reid

For Martinez-Reid, TikTok was a creative outlet. He was one semester away from graduating from Ryerson University’s RTA Media Production program when the social media platform began to gain popularity. So, he decided to try his hand at content production.

“What do I have to lose? If I post something and it does well, great. If it does poorly, then no one will know,” he said.

His first TikTok was posted in December 2019 and centered around Martinez-Reid having a conversation with his last two brain cells about joining the social media platform.

“I was just basically shooting for this like overproduced, super scripted, try hard kind of edge, which at the time was not a thing on TikTok,” he said. “And I think that’s why my content started to do so well, because I started to get this comment that was like ‘I can’t believe that this is a TikTok’ and from then on it sort of just snowballed into more and more opportunities.”

Martinez-Reid has become known for his reality show spoof videos in which, alongside family and friends, he pokes fun at how cast members often get into feuds over the small things. He said that during the pandemic, while people were stuck inside, they could relate to tiny little frustrations bubbling over into big arguments.

While Martinez-Reid has yet to break into Hollywood, he’s used his relationship with CAA to meet with casting directors and story producers at various networks over the last 18 months. His goal is to gain more knowledge about the industry so he can make more strategic decisions about what projects he wants to sign on for in the future.

But there is a path for Martinez-Reid, one that was first forged more than a decade ago by content creators on YouTube and the now defunct video platform Vine.

‘Talent is talent’

Over the last decade, CAA has helped content creators from nontraditional platforms make the transition to Hollywood. The group reps Tyler Blevins, aka Ninja, who rose to fame streaming himself playing video games. While Blevins continues to play video games professionally, he has also participated in Fox’s “The Masked Singer” and had a cameo appearance in Disney’s “Free Guy.”

The talent agency also represents Arif Zahir, who gained notoriety for his impressions posted on YouTube, and now voices Cleveland Brown on Fox’s “Family Guy.”

Other notable celebrities that have risen from this space include CAA-signed Justin Bieber, who was discovered by Usher and Scooter Braun and became a Grammy Award-winning artist; Liza Koshy, who also signed with CAA and now voices Zipp Storm on the “My Little Pony: A New Generation” TV show; and Bo Burnham, who is represented by United Talent Agency, went from making comedy YouTube videos, to writing, directing and starring in top Hollywood films.

“Talent is talent,” said Frank Jung, who launched CAA’s digital media division almost a decade ago alongside Freeman. “If they are an amazing talent, that’s just number one.”

TikTok is still a relatively new platform and has yet to produce the same number of Hollywood success stories as YouTube has in the last decade, but experts predict it won’t be long until its making a mark on the film and television industry.

Already we’ve seen the rise of Addison Rae, 21, who secured a multimillion dollar deal with Netflix in September after starring in the streamer’s film “He’s All That,” a sequel to 1999’s “She’s All That.” She is represented by William Morris Endeavor Entertainment and currently has more than 86 million followers on TikTok.

And, of course, Charli D’Amelio, 17, who touts a following more than 133 million strong on the social media platform, has partnered with brands like hummus maker Sabra, Procter & Gamble and Dunkin and now has her own docuseries on Hulu. D’Amelio is repped by UTA.

Then there is Maggie Thurmon, who rose to fame on the social media app dancing and performing circus tricks with her father Dan. The 19-year-old was signed by UTA in February 2020 before she hit 1 million followers on the platform.

Now, she has more than 5 million followers, a popular podcast called “Mags and Dad’s Wholesome Chaos” and just wrapped her first feature film “The Other Zoey,” which features Andie MacDowell and Heather Graham.

“I’m auditioning at the moment,” Thurmon told CNBC just hours after finishing up on set. “I’m so excited for the possibilities of acting in the future. If I can do this for the rest of my life, I would just be the happiest person on the planet.”

Thurmon said she was “greatly surprised” when she announced to her TikTok following earlier this month that she would be pursuing acting alongside her burgeoning social media career.

“I prepared for the backlash,” she said. “But I did not find one negative comment on the TikTok announcement or Instagram post.”

Thurmon’s experience is not unique. “What we see is that Gen Z influencers on TikTok have built meaningful followings and have a built-in audience of fans that feel a personal connection to the creator and want to be more supportive,” Dorsey said. “They feel like that are going along with them on the project.”

That’s one reason these content creators have clout among Hollywood agencies looking to sign fresh talent.

‘Data is the new oil’

“The unique thing is not only being able to identify talent, but this talent already comes with a built-in audience,” CAA’s Freeman said. “Through social media and these platforms, there is a direct conversation that is happening between talent and audience.”

For Jung and Freeman, these audiences provide much needed data about what people want to consume for content and who they want to see make that content.

“Data is the new oil,” Jung said. “What we are trying to do is make sure we are amplifying these voices and eventually creating media businesses for the clients, which will leave lasting legacies.”

“And also everyone can make some money,” he added with a laugh.

Not only can these agencies help build mini-media empires around these creators, they also can benefit from the strategies these digital influencers use, and apply it to bolster the careers of the agencies’ already established clients.

Smith, who has been campaigning for a best actor nomination at this year’s Academy Awards for his role in Warner Bros.’ “King Richard,” is a prime example of a traditional CAA client who has used social media to jumpstart the next phase of his career.

Freeman said that much of the actor’s learnings and best practices came from Koshy, who taught him that his social media videos didn’t need to be perfect, well-produced videos, they just needed to be authentic and give audiences a peek behind the curtain into his life.

Smith started his own YouTube channel in 2017, posting vlog-style videos about his life alongside curated series. 2018’s “The Jump” focused on Smith’s preparation to bungee jump out of a helicopter over the Grand Canyon for his 50th birthday, while 2021’s “Best Shape of My Life” centered on the actor’s journey to improve his personal fitness.

More recently, he has posted videos of himself training alongside Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, quizzing his young costars from “King Richard” about his career and explaining how he went about recording his audiobook.

Actor Will Smith takes a selfie at the UK Premiere of “King Richard” at The Curzon Mayfair on November 17, 2021 in London, England.

Samir Hussein | WireImage | Getty Images

“His career was colder than it had been,” Dan Weinstein, of Underscore Talent, said. “I wouldn’t say it was nonexistent, but he was not the ‘Independence Day’ blockbuster draw he was. He found new audiences. He reinvented his persona around his celebrity. There’s no denying the fact that he is an insanely creative, talented, charismatic individual and he’s leveraging that to breathe new life into all of his endeavors.”

In the last five years, Smith has starred in major blockbusters like Warner Bros.’ “Suicide Squad” and Disney’s “Aladdin,” reestablishing himself as a force at the box office.

And Smith isn’t the only celebrity following this path. Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez and more have embraced social media as a way to connect with fans and promote their work.

Jung and Freeman’s digital media division of CAA has been devised as a place to meld the best practices of the traditional Hollywood model with the strategies of grassroots entrepreneurial content creators. In doing so, their team can take already established talent and reinvigorate their careers. They can also take up-and-coming talent, like Martinez-Reid, and build from an already sturdy foundation.

Martinez-Reid is still forging his path and CAA isn’t rushing him.

“That’s why I love CAA,” Martinez-Reid said. “Because they see me as a talented creator who will have a career. It’s not just about quick jobs. It’s about shaping what my next 10 years are going to look like.”

Andy Dick arrested after reported chair assault in Hollywood | Arts & Leisure

Andy Dick was arrested Saturday after reportedly attacking another man with a chair, according to prison records.

Comedian’s girlfriend Elisa Jordana said Dick hit a man named Lucas with a metal chair. Dick has an adult son named Lucas, but it is unclear whether he was the victim.

“It was bad. It wasn’t good. He could have killed him,” Jordana said on her YouTube show.

Los Angeles County Prison records confirm that Dick, 55, was arrested in Hollywood on Saturday afternoon and released on bail early Tuesday morning. Jordana said the deposit was $ 50,000 but added that she was not interested in paying it.

On her show, Jordana described Dick as recently struggling with drug and alcohol abuse. She said he was evicted from his apartment and at one point asked her for $ 87 to pay for lunch.

Dick has faced multiple sexual assault charges in the past and was fired from the film “Raising Buchanan” in 2017 after several allegations were publicized.

In response, he said, “My middle name is ‘misconduct’. They know what they signed up for. ”But later in the same interview he said,“ I wasn’t groping anyone. ”

According to online records, he will be on trial again on October 25 for the alleged stool attack.

© 2021 New York Daily News. Visit at nydailynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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L.A. Instances leisure profession information for Hollywood dreamers

Careers in the entertainment industry can be mysterious to beginners and even to those who work in the industry.

Actor Randall Park said when he first decided to pursue Hollywood in the early 2000s, people told him to leave Samuel French film and theater bookstore.

“If you were an actor in Los Angeles, you were there for information,” he said.

The first Samuel French store in LA opened downtown in 1929 and moved to Hollywood in 1947. Until the 1970s, the LA business sold and licensed plays in the area.

But eventually, the shop also provided resources for people interested in pursuing a Hollywood career. It sold books of plays that actors could use for audition monologues; Entertainment character biographies; Guides on various aspects of filmmaking; and listings of agents and casting and production companies.

Former general manager Joyce Mehess, who worked at Samuel French from 1991 until it closed two years ago, recalls that Park came to the store before he became famous. She said she was so happy when she saw him on her TV screen.

So many celebrities came through the bookstore, She said.

“Many thought we were an agency,” says Mehess. “And we said, ‘No, we are an information center. I can give you a listing. I can give you a piece that suits your type and you can research it from there. You can certainly ask questions; I will be at my desk. And maybe a big star will pass by and inspire you. ‘”

Mehess’ mission for the store was to create inspiration and community. It wasn’t just about selling books, it was about encouraging nervous newcomers to make those calls and take these risks.

But Samuel French closed in March 2019. Concord Music acquired it as part of the company’s foray into the theater. At the time a Petition trying to save the bookstore has collected almost 8,000 signatures. The square has been empty for two years.

“When that bookstore closed, it really created a hole,” said Park.

Although there are numerous resources online, it can sometimes be difficult for newbies to find the right ones.

Here at the Los Angeles Times, we want to be your new destination for this type of information.

This guide provides explanation and advice to help you start and build your career in the entertainment industry. And feel free to ask us your questions, and we’ll do our best to find an expert to answer them.

Tri Star Sports activities and Leisure Group Launches Pupil Fund – The Hollywood Reporter

Lou Taylor, CEO of Tri Star Sports & Entertainment Group – known as The Hollywood Reporter’s Business manager icon in 2019 for representatives from stars like Steven Tyler, Mary J. Blige, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Britney Spears – created the Finish Line Scholarship to support the black student community at Spelman College.

The scholarship starts with a $ 70,000 donation and is distributed among students who have excelled in their studies but need financial assistance to complete their studies. The idea for the Finish Line Scholarship came about during the Black Lives Matter protests last summer, when Taylor and her Tri Star leadership team were trying to come up with elements of action that could support the cause.

“When we shared with Tri Star staff which HBCU we would work with for our scholarships, many employees shared their personal success stories and how the financial support they received along the way made a big difference to them and their families. “Said Taylor. “Among them was an employee with her own Spelman story. We knew immediately that we had made the right choice by partnering with Spelman College for our finish line scholarship. ”

Tri-star worked with Spelman President Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell and Vp for Institutional Funding Jessie Brooks to create the scholarship. Taylor confirmed that this is not a one-time gift, but rather a long-term plan to create future opportunities for Spelman students. Tri Star hopes to expand the scholarship program each year and provide more funding in the years to come.

Carrie Fisher Stars at Hollywood Stroll of Fame in 2022 | Leisure Information

Carrie Fisher and Jason Momoa are one of the stars added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The Walk of Fame selection panel announces the winners of the coveted Pink Star 2022, with the late “Star Wars” legend and “Aquaman” actor Jason cutting in 2016. It has been confirmed.

Ellen K of the Walk of Fame Chairperson said in a statement, “The Walk of Fame Selection Board is pleased to announce 38 new Hollywood Walk of Fame winners. The selection jury, made up of Walk of Famer colleagues, represents different genres of the entertainment world every year. We will carefully select the winning group.

“The jury did a great job in selecting these highly talented people. For any winner who realizes that the stars have been announced on the world’s most famous sidewalks and will become part of Hollywood history. Can’t wait to see the reaction! “

In addition to Carrie and Jason, Francis Ford Coppola, Macaulay Culkin, Michael B. Jordan, Ewan McGregor, Regina King, Salma Hayek, and Willem Dafoe will also earn stars for their contributions to the film.

In the television category, Ricky Gervais, Tracy Ellis Ross, Norman Reedus, Bob Odenkirk and others are winners, while Black Eyed Peas, DJ Khaled, Nipsey Hussle and Avril Lavigne are the musicians. I cut it.

Other winners are Tessa Thompson, Ray Liotta, Adam McKay and Michael Strahan.

For Jason, the honor is “complete” after his “Game of Thrones” stint because he was previously “hungry” for his family and couldn’t get a job. I have debts. “

Jason (13-year-old Laura, 11-year-old Nakoa Wolf and his wife Lisa Bonet) said:

“I couldn’t find a job. When you have a baby and you are completely in debt, it is very difficult. “

Carrie Fisher will appear on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2022 | Entertainment news

Source link Carrie Fisher will appear on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2022 | Entertainment news

‘Bordertown’ to ‘Bordertown,’ this Mexican author’s journey by means of Hollywood | Arts & Leisure

LOS ANGELES — Whenever I visit Olvera Street, as I did a few weeks ago, my walk through the historic corridor is always the same.

Start at the plaza. Say a prayer at the massive cross that marks the area as the birthplace of Los Angeles. Pass the stand where out-of-towners and politicians have donned sombreros and serapes for photos ever since the city turned this area into a tourist trap in 1930.

Look at the vendor stalls. Wonder if I need a new guayabera. Gobble up two beef taquitos bathed in avocado salsa at Cielito Lindo. Then return to my car and go home.

I’ve done this walk as a kid, and as an adult. For food crawls and quick lunches. With grad students on field trips, and with the late Anthony Bourdain for an episode of his “Parts Unknown.”

This last visit was different, though: I had my own camera crew with me.

My last chance at Hollywood fame was going to live or die on Olvera Street.

I was shooting a sizzle reel — footage that a producer will turn into a clip for television executives to determine whether I’m worthy of a show. In this case, I want to turn my 2012 book “Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America” into the next “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.” Or “Somebody Feed Phil.” Or an Alton Brown ripoff. Or a TikTok series.

Anything at this point, really.

For more than a decade, I’ve tried to break into Hollywood with some success — but the experience has left me cynical. Personal experience and the historical record have taught me that studios and streamers still want Mexicans to stay in the same cinematic lane that American film has paved for more than a century. We’re forever labeled… something. Exotic. Dangerous. Weighed down with problems. Never fully developed, autonomous humans. Always “Mexican.”

Even if we’re natives of Southern California. Especially if we’re natives of Southern California.

I hope my sizzle reel will lead to something different. I doubt it will because the issue is systemic. Industry executives, producers, directors and scriptwriters can only portray the Mexicans they know — and in a perverse, self-fulfilling prophecy, they mostly only know the Mexicans their industry depicts even in a region where Latinos make up nearly half the population.

The vicious cycle even infects creators like me.

As the film crew and I left for our next location, I stopped and looked around. We were right where I began, except I now looked south on Main Street. The plaza was to my left; to my right was the historic La Placita church. City Hall loomed on the horizon. The vista was the same as the opening scene of “Bordertown,” a 1935 Warner Bros. film I had seen the night before. It was the first Hollywood movie to address modern-day Mexican Americans in Los Angeles.

What I saw was more than deja vu. It was a reminder that 86 years later, Hollywood’s Mexican problem hasn’t really progressed at all.

Screen misrepresentation of Mexicans isn’t just a longstanding wrong; it’s an original sin. And it has an unsurprising Adam: D.W. Griffith.

He’s most infamous for reawakening the Ku Klux Klan with his 1915 epic “The Birth of a Nation.” Far less examined is how Griffith’s earliest works also helped give American filmmakers a language with which to typecast Mexicans.

Two of his first six films were so-called “greaser” movies, one-reelers where Mexican Americans were racialized as inherently criminal and played by white people (a third flick replaced Mexican bandits with Spanish ones). His 1908 effort “The Greaser’s Gauntlet” is the earliest film to use the slur in its title. Griffith filmed at least eight greaser movies on the East Coast before heading to Southern California in early 1910 for better weather.

The new setting allowed Griffith to double down on his Mexican obsession. He used the San Gabriel and San Juan Capistrano missions as backdrops for melodramas embossed with the Spanish Fantasy Heritage, the white California myth that romanticized the state’s Mexican past even as it discriminated against the Mexicans of the present.

In films such as his 1910 shorts “The Thread of Destiny,” “In Old California” (the first movie shot in what would become Hollywood) and “The Two Brothers,” Griffith codified cinematic Mexican characters and themes that persist. The reprobate father. The saintly mother. The wayward son. The idea that Mexicans are forever doomed because they’re, well, Mexicans.

Griffith based his plots not on how modern-day Mexicans actually lived, but rather on how white people thought they did. This presumption nearly earned Griffith a beating from angry Latinos.

As described in Robert M. Henderson’s 1970 book “D.W. Griffith: The Years at Biograph,” the director was staging a religious procession in San Juan Capistrano for “The Two Brothers” when a large crowd “suddenly broke and rushed the actors” because they felt the scene mocked them. The company rushed to their hotel where the townspeople waited outside for hours. Only the intercession of the Spanish-speaking hotel owner stopped a certain riot. It was perhaps the earliest Latino protest against negative depictions of them on the big screen.

But the threat of angry Mexicans didn’t kill greaser movies. Griffith showed the box-office potential of the genre, and many American cinematic pioneers dabbled in them. Thomas Edison’s company shot some, as did its biggest rival, Vitagraph Studios. So did Mutual Film, an early home for Charlie Chaplin. Horror legend Lon Chaney played a greaser. The first Western star, Broncho Billy Anderson, made a career out of besting them.

These films were so noxious that the Mexican government in 1922 banned studios that produced them from the country until they “retired… denigrating films from worldwide circulation,” according to a letter that Mexican President Alvaro Obregon wrote to his Secretariat of External Relations. The gambit worked: the greaser films ended. Screenwriters instead reimagined Mexicans as Latin lovers, Mexican spitfires, buffoons, peons, mere bandits and other negative stereotypes.

That’s why “Bordertown” surprised me when I finally saw it. The Warner Bros. movie, starring Paul Muni as an Eastside lawyer named Johnny Ramirez and Bette Davis as the temptress whom he spurns, was popular when released. Today, it’s almost impossible to see outside of a hard-to-find DVD and an occasional Muni marathon on Turner Classic Movies.

Based on a novel of the same name, it’s not the racist travesty many Chicano film scholars have made it out to be. Yes, Muni was a non-Mexican playing a Mexican. Johnny Ramirez had a fiery temper, a bad accent and repeatedly called his mother (played by Spanish actress Soledad Jiminez ) “mamacita,” who in turn calls him “Juanito.” The infamous, incredulous ending has Ramirez suddenly realizing the vacuity of his fast, fun life and returning to the Eastside “back where I belong … with my own people.” And the film’s poster features a bug-eyed, sombrero-wearing Muni pawing a fetching Davis, even though Ramirez never made a move on Davis’ character or wore a sombrero.

These and other faux pas (like Ramirez’s friends singing “La Cucaracha” at a party) distract from a movie that didn’t try to mask the discrimination Mexicans faced in 1930s Los Angeles. Ramirez can’t find justice for his neighbor, who lost his produce truck after a drunk socialite on her way back from dinner at Las Golondrinas on Olvera Street smashed into it. That very socialite, whom Ramirez goes on to date (don’t ask), repeatedly calls him “Savage” as a term of endearment. When Ramirez tires of American bigotry and announces he’s moving south of the border to run a casino, a priest in brownface asks him to remain.

“For what?” Ramirez replies. “So those white little mugs who call themselves gentlemen and aristocrats can make a fool out of me?”

“Bordertown” sprung up from Warner Bros.’ Depression-era roster of social-problem films that served as a rough-edged alternative to the escapism offered by MGM, Disney and Paramount. But its makers committed the same error Griffith did: They fell back on tropes instead of talking to Mexicans right in front of them who might offer a better tale.

Just take the first shot of “Bordertown,” the one I inadvertently recreated on my television shoot.

Under a title that reads “Los Angeles … the Mexican Quarter,” viewers see Olvera Street’s plaza emptier than it should be. That’s because just four years earlier, immigration officials rounded up hundreds of individuals at that very spot. The move was part of a repatriation effort by the American government that saw them boot about a million Mexicans — citizens and not — from the United States during the 1930s.

Following that opening shot is a brief glimpse of a theater marquee that advertises a Mexican music trio called Los Madrugadores (“The Early Risers”). They were the most popular Spanish-language group in Southern California at the time, singing traditional corridos but also ballads about the struggles Mexicans faced in the United States. Lead singer Pedro J. Gonzalez hosted a popular AM radio morning show heard as far away as Texas that mixed music and denunciations against racism.

By the time “Bordertown” was released in 1935, Gonzalez was in San Quentin, jailed by a false accusation of statutory rape pursued by an LA district attorney’s office happy to lock up a critic. He was freed in 1940 after the alleged victim recanted her confession, then summarily deported to Tijuana, where Gonzalez continued his career before returning to California in the 1970s.

Doesn’t Gonzalez and his times make a better movie than “Bordertown”? Warner Bros. could have offered a bold corrective to the image of Mexican Americans if they had just paid attention to their own footage! Instead, Gonzalez’s saga wouldn’t be told on film until a 1984 documentary and 1988 drama.

Both were shot in San Diego. Both received only limited screenings at theaters across the American Southwest and an airing on PBS before going on video. No streamer carries it.

How Hollywood imagines Mexicans versus how we really are turned real for me in 2013, when I became a consulting producer for a Fox cartoon about life on the U.S.-Mexico border.

It aired in 2015 and lasted one season. I enjoyed the end product. I even got to write an episode, which just so happened to be the series finale.

The gig was a dream long deferred. My bachelor’s degree from Chapman University was in film. I had visions of becoming the brown Tarantino or a Mexican Truffaut before journalism got in the way. Over the years, there was Hollywood interest in articles or columns I wrote but never anything that required I do more than a couple of meetings — or scripts by white screenwriters that went nowhere.

But “Bordertown” opened up more doors for me and inspired me to give Hollywood a go.

While I worked on the cartoon, I got another consulting producer credit on a Fusion special for comedian Al Madrigal and sold a script to ABC that same year about gentrification in Boyle Heights through the eyes of a restaurant years before the subject became a trend. Pitch meetings piled up with so much frequency that my childhood friends coined a nickname for me: Hollywood Gus.

My run wouldn’t last long. The microaggressions became too annoying.

The veteran writers on “Bordertown” rolled their eyes any time I said that one of their jokes was cliched, like the one about how eating beans gave our characters flatulent superpowers or the one about a donkey show in Tijuana. Or when they initially rejected a joke about menudo, saying no one knew what the soup was, and they weren’t happy when another Latino writer and I pointed out that you’re pretty clueless if you’ve lived in Southern California for a while and don’t know what menudo is.

The writers were so petty, in fact, that they snuck a line into the animated “Bordertown” where the main character said, “There’s nothing worse than a Mexican with glasses” — which is now my public email to forever remind me of how clueless Hollywood is.

The insults didn’t bother me so much as the insight I gained from those interactions: The only Latinos most Hollywood types know are the janitors and security guards at the studio, and nannies and gardeners at their homes. The few Latinos in the industry I met had assimilated into this worldview as well.

Could I blame them for their ignorance when it came to capturing Mexican American stories, especially those in Southern California? Of course I can.

What ended any aspirations for a full-time Hollywood career was a meeting with a television executive shortly after ABC passed on my Boyle Heights script (characters weren’t believable, per the rejection). They repeatedly asked that I think about doing a show about my father’s life, which didn’t interest me. Comedies about immigrant parents are cliched at this point. So one day I blurted that I was more interested in telling my stories.

I never heard from the executive again.

Five years later, and that Hollywood dream just won’t leave me.

I’m not leaving journalism. But at this point, I just want to prove to myself that I can help exorcise D.W. Griffith’s anti-Mexican demons from Hollywood once and for all. That I can show the Netflix honcho they were wrong for passing on a “Taco USA” series with the excuse that the topic of Mexican food in the United States was too “limited.” And the Food Network people who said they just couldn’t see a show about the subject as being as “fun” as it was. Or the big-time Latino actor’s production company who wanted the rights to my “¡Ask a Mexican!” book, then ghosted me after I said I didn’t hold them but I did own the rights to my brain.

When this food-show sizzle reel gets cut, and I start my Hollywood jarabe anew, I’ll keep in mind a line in “Bordertown” that Johnny Ramirez said: “An American man can lift himself up by his bootstraps. All he needs is strength and a pair of boots.”

Mexicans have had the strength since forever in this town. But can Hollywood finally give us the botas?

©2021 Los Angeles Times. Visit latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Peebles Elementary College honors academics, Hollywood fashion | Training

For a year like no other, an elementary school rolled out the red carpet to celebrate its teacher stars in Hollywood fashion.

Peebles Elementary School turned their regular weekly professional development into an Academy Awards to round off a week of teacher appreciation.

The school’s teaching staff mixed fun and stupidity with a dash of truth and voted on a creative list of award winners.

Bilingual fifth grade teacher Maribel Carraballo was voted the most likely speaker in the staff room.

She liked to take a moment to laugh and think, saying that this school year has shown the resilience of teachers and students.

“This year has been a challenge and a blessing,” she said. “We have proven that we can adapt and overcome. We made it through the year and the kids are happy. “

Interventionist Laura Foster, a 29-year-old educator, echoed these feelings. She was voted the most likely person to knock on your door during the admission.

“I’m overwhelmed,” she said over the red carpet, the gold stars with the teachers’ names and a spectacular cake depicting Peebles ’61 years of service. “Everything is so beautiful.”

“It’s been a year like no other,” she said. “We all appreciate the effort to show appreciation. It warms our hearts when colleagues honor our service. I am amazed at what we did. “

Headmistress Carol Correa called each teacher and praised her hard work during the challenging year before firing them earlier than usual to continue visiting or leaving for the day.

“We have adapted throughout the year,” she said, remembering the “180 degree” spin that teachers had achieved to teach virtually with the advent of COVID-19.

“We wanted them to feel like VIPs,” she said. “It’s really part of our culture here, but we wanted to make it a little better.”

“We are blessed to be appreciated this year,” said teacher Denise Zamora. “It makes a difference. We can see that the hard work is paying off. “

The following Academy Awards went to the following Peebles teachers, most likely:

  • Come sick to avoid planning for a Christie sub-wife
  • Forget her lunch – Ms. Mena
  • Visit during your conference time – Ms. Spikes
  • Be called if something breaks – Ms. G. Rodriguez
  • Spend your money on school supplies – Ms. Seguinot
  • Go all day without going to the bathroom – Ms. Grubb
  • Finish her lunch in 10 minutes or less – Ms. Vazquez
  • Do you know the name of every student – Coach Brown
  • Knock on your door while you record – Mrs. Foster
  • Carry a bottle of hand sanitizer – Ms. Zamora
  • Have the last car in the parking lot – Mrs. Blanes
  • Have the most organized classroom – Ms. Montero
  • I heard talking in the staff room – Ms. Caraballo
  • Correct your grammar – Ms. N. Johnson
  • Silence a room with just one look – Mrs. Smith
  • Confused with a student – Mrs. Lau
  • Dancing in the hall – Coach Dominowski
  • Do you need technical support – Ms. Wilkey
  • Prank her student – Mrs. Ingraffia
  • New hairstyle – Ms. Ortiz
  • Win danger – Mr. Burkhalter
  • Pack your bags and travel the world – Mrs. Laurenson
  • Provide best advice and wisdom – Ms. Rosas
  • Stay late on lesson planning – Ms. Madera

Feminine Writers of Coloration on Creating Leisure in a Yr of “Heartbreak and Horror” – The Hollywood Reporter

During a year of pain for so many, my mantra was, “Try not to complain.” After all, I am healthy. My immediate loved ones are healthy, and I was fortunate enough to keep working in a job I love in a year the pandemic drove many Americans into pantries. But like most people with a heartbeat, I could not avoid being emotionally affected by the traumatic events of the past year, and afterwards my work was also affected. For example, after George Floyd’s murder, I was moved to add a scene to a script that was supposed to be a celebration of the black hair. As written, it’s just a moment when two black women prepare their hair in silence. It is only when it ends that the audience realizes that one woman’s son, who is also the other woman’s husband, was killed by a police officer and they get dressed for the funeral. When director Bianca LaVerne Jones added Billie Holiday’s haunted lynch ballad “Strange Fruit” to the scene, I accepted that our streaming production would no longer be just a celebration because the moment we live in demanded more. It’s still hard for me to see this scene, but I realize it was necessary and it turned out to be one of the most memorable among the viewers. [Editor’s note: Goff’s The Glorious World of Crowns, Kinks and Curls premiered in March 2021 at Baltimore Center Stage.]

Like others I’ve spoken to, I’ve been overwhelmed with emotion in unexpected moments this year. Despite the laughter and light that has spent most of my days in the Zoom writer’s rooms, tears flowed when the subject of race or injustice of any kind or the black men in my life came up. And I was someone who took pride in the fact that my feelings in writing rooms weren’t getting the best out of me. But in a year filled with moments that represent the worst human behavior, not only was it hard to be at my best, but I frankly wondered if I had a right to be at all. Writing and laughing for a living can feel like self-indulgence when the world around you is on fire.

My bosses and colleagues, some of whom have faced their own challenges thanks to the pandemic, couldn’t have been kinder. But I wondered how it withstood other color writers, especially women writers with Black and Asian identities, in a year of so much heartbreak and horror for our specific communities. So I asked some of them. Your answers broke my heart and increased my hope at the same time. Some spoke of writing through the intense emotions, recalibrating their lives to keep their balance and refining their sense of their work. Because storytellers, in order to remind the world, with its many colors and cultures, of their humanity, are essential to the pursuit of equality and justice, and for some of us the most powerful political act we can undertake is simply to keep writing .

This story first appeared in the May 12th issue of Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to login.

How India’s COVID Disaster Is Devastating Leisure Sector – The Hollywood Reporter

The devastating second wave of the COVID-19 crisis in India has turned many sectors of the local economy upside down, including the country’s storied entertainment industry, which was still reeling from the effects of last year’s first wave of the pandemic.

India is currently the epicenter of the global COVID-19 pandemic, with the country accounting for over 3.7 million active cases while the total death toll has crossed 246,000. In the first week of May, a World Health Organization report stated that India accounted for 46 percent of new cases recorded worldwide and 25 percent of deaths.

As the second most populous nation on earth, with over 1.3 billion people, the ongoing crisis has overwhelmed the country’s medical infrastructure, leading to a humanitarian crisis.

In recent months a host of Indian celebrities have also tested positive, including Aamir Khan, Alia Bhatt, Ranbir Kapoor, Vicky Kaushal, Bhumi Pednekar and Deepika Padukone, who underwent treatment. Tragically, there have also been some fatalities among the esteemed elder corps of Bollywood, such as actor Bikramjeet Kanwarpal (whose credits include the spy drama Special Ops on Disney+ Hotstar), veteran composer Shravan Rathod and classical music icon Pandit Rajan Mishra.

While cinemas gradually began to open in October with limited seating and film shoots resumed, the devastation caused by the ongoing second wave since March has now brought everything to a halt. The wildly popular cricket event Indian Premier League, which has been a massive streaming success for Disney+ Hotstar, had to be suspended mid-season due to the pandemic. Brief attempts to keep India’s most beloved game going amid the carnage of the new wave was met with widespread criticism over the resources used to protect wealthy and healthy players, prompting organizers to agree to a full, ongoing shutdown.

“Everyone is making plans and contingencies based on an assessment of when things will open up, but there is no way of knowing that,” Producers Guild of India president Siddharth Roy Kapur tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s a bit like drawing up plans on the beach and then the waves come and wash them away before you know it.”

Kapur says nearly every major Indian film production is on hold following the implementation of lockdowns in April in the western state of Maharashtra, home to the country’s entertainment epicenter, Mumbai. While some shoots, mostly for television shows utilizing indoor sets, temporarily shifted base to other states such as Goa, the severity of the second wave has brought things to a standstill across regions. Many major cities also are imposing curfews and lockdowns, including the national capital Delhi, a popular shooting location but currently the pandemic’s worst-hit major population center.

Kapur, who was earlier head of the Walt Disney Co. in India, now runs his own banner, Roy Kapur Films, which has seen a number of its projects suspended. The disruption to the company’s films and series is “being mirrored all over the industry,” he says.

Similarly, Amazon Prime Video’s debut Indian feature co-production, Ram Setu, starring superstar Akshay Kumar, is currently on hold. In early April, Kumar tested positive and was briefly hospitalized but recovered soon after.

With shoots stalled, daily wage workers employed in various capacities in film and TV crews have been hit especially hard. Last year, the Producers Guild launched a relief fund for workers which also saw Netflix contributing $1 million. Kapur says the Guild is again reaching out to its members to raise funds. While the Guild has yet to release figures, it is estimated that over last year and this year, the relief fund has raised about $2 million.

Meanwhile, as the country embarks on a massive vaccination drive — over 170 million doses have been administered so far — some corporate entities in the industry are stepping in to assist the government’s lagging public health efforts. Leading production banner Yash Raj Films announced that it would pay for the vaccination of 30,000 members of the Federation of Western India Cine Employees. The company has sent a letter to Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray to  allow it to purchase vaccines.

In addition, YRF’s Yash Chopra Foundation will initiate a direct benefit transfer of $68 (5,000 rupees) to women and senior citizens of the industry and distribute ration kits to workers for a family of four for an entire month through non-profit organization Youth Feed India.

The Walt Disney Company India and its Star network announced it would contribute $6.8 million for local Covid-19 relief efforts, building upon the $3.8 million it contributed last year.

When it comes to the financial impact of the pandemic, analysts estimate that 2021 could be even more dismal than 2020. According to an annual report by consultants Ernst and Young, total revenue for India’s media and entertainment industry — covering all sectors including film, digital, TV, music, print, animation and gaming, among others — fell by 24 percent in 2020 to $18.7 billion (1.38 trillion rupees) compared to $24.7 billion (1.82 trillion rupees) in 2019 — “in effect taking revenues back to 2017 levels.”

The television industry saw its total revenue falling moderately to $934 million (685 billion rupees) from $1 billion (787 billion rupees) in 2019. However, digital saw a boom with video subscriptions jumping to $57.8 million (42.2 billion rupees) from $38.4 million (28.2 billion rupees) and EY predicts this figure could reach $76.3 million (56 billion rupees) in 2021.

But the film business was the worst hit with 2020 revenue crashing by more than half to $1 billion (76 billion rupees), compared to $2.6 billion (191 billion rupees) in 2019.

“The current crisis, from a cash flow and bottom line point of view, is worse than last year for the industry,” Reliance Entertainment CEO Shibashish Sarkar tells THR. “A substantial amount of cash which got invested in new projects is stalled. In terms of working capital locked and lack of monetization, the situation is worse than last year.”

With cinemas shut for six months in 2020 starting with a two-month long national lockdown imposed last March, a slew of releases skipped theatrical release and went straight to digital as producers scrambled to supplement revenue. As restrictions for public spaces were gradually eased and cinemas began reopening from October, the box office seemed to slowly recover, thanks largely to some South Indian language hits such as Tamil title Master, which collected an estimated $33 million (2.5 billion rupees) and Telugu release Krack, which grossed an estimated $8.15 million (600 million rupees). Hollywood also pulled in audiences with Godzilla vs Kong collecting $8.7 million in its two week run when it opened in late March, making India amongst the top-ten foreign territories for the Warner title.

The theatrical industry saw a ray of hope from October until early April this year when the second wave hit and cinemas shut down again until further notice. The successes seen in these months “reinforced our faith in the Indian theatrical business,” Inox Leisure CEO Alok Tandon tells THR. As India’s second-largest multiplex chain after PVR Cinemas, Inox runs 648 screens in 69 cities. Tandon is confident that when cinemas re-open, Hollywood titles like Top Gun: Maverick, No Time to Die, Mission: Impossible 7 and big ticket Indian releases will bring audiences back. “If the content works, people will come back to theaters,” he says.

In the brief window when cinemas did reopen, mainstream Hindi language Bollywood didn’t see any major performers, since highly anticipated titles such as actioner Sooryavanshi, starring veteran Bollywood star Akshay Kumar, and cricket drama 83, both from Reliance, have been on hold for over a year.

Sarkar can’t confirm when these titles will release in cinemas given the ongoing situation but says “we are extremely confident of the product and whenever they come to theaters, audiences will love them.”

The enormity of the pandemic has also led to digital releases being postponed. Director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s boxing drama Toofan, starring Farhan Akhtar, was headed straight to Amazon Prime Video, eyeing a May 21 bow, but its release has now been put on hold. “In light of the severity of the situation, our focus is completely on the pandemic and on supporting our employees, their families and in helping the wider community,” Akhtar said in a statement, adding that a revised release date would be shared later.

With the traditional film business under a cloud, producers have begun to veer towards creating more digital content. Sarkar says that for Reliance, “not just last year but over the last two or three years, we used to be around 90 percent in films, which has now come down to 60-65 percent while 30-35 percent content is for OTT and television.” Reliance also has an animation unit which produces shows such as Little Singham for Discovery Kids, Smashing Simba for Cartoon Network and Golmaal Junior for Nickelodeon. Unlike other productions, Sarkar says animation projects have been ongoing since last March just when the pandemic first hit “and employees were given hardware, software and proper bandwidth to work from home.”

But the current halt in productions could also affect content pipelines for digital platforms if last year’s figures are any indication. According to the Ernst and Young report, 2020 saw OTT players spending over $138 million (10.2 billion rupees) on creating around 1,200 hours of original content across 220 titles (excluding acquired movie rights and sports) which was a reduction of 27 percent from $190 million (14 billion rupees) in 2019 for around 385 titles. The reduced content spend in 2020 was caused by a five month stoppage of productions.

However, last year also saw digital platforms ramping up their acquisitions of film titles, with Amazon Prime Video India first off the block when it picked up a number of films starting with Gulabo Sitabo toplined by Indian screen icon Amitabh Bachchan co-starring with Ayushmann Khurrana. This obviously led to a furious debate over disrupted release windows which has become even more pronounced this year.

For instance, the much awaited title Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai starring Salman Khan announced a simultaneous release on digital, via the Zee5 platform, in addition to cinemas, and is slated to premiere on the May 13 Eid holiday weekend.

This obviously upset cinema owners who were banking on Khan’s mass appeal to bring in crowds, though given the ongoing situation, its highly unlikely if cinemas can actually open this month leaving Radhey to bow on digital, as experts warn that India could well be hit with a third wave of the pandemic at some point. Assuming a theatrical release was possible, Tandon is clear that his cinemas would not have run Radhe as a simultaneous release “because Inox believes that theatrical windows should be followed.”

Streaming giants, however, see things differently. “A year ago I told you there will be several disruptions leading to innovations, and at that time there was no evidence of any of this except for the fact that we had a lockdown,” says Amazon Prime Video India director and head, content, Vijay Subramaniam, referring to a statement to THR last year after the company unveiled a slew of acquisitions. “I continue to hold that view very firmly and what you are seeing is disruptions leading to innovative approaches to windows,” he adds, explaining how box office hit Master released on Amazon just two weeks after its theatrical run in January, as opposed to the traditional six to eight week window in pre-pandemic times.

But the disruption in windows has come at a heavy price for cinemas considering India has always been an under-screened market with only about an estimated 9,000 screens. That number is believed to have fallen further with estimates indicating that about 1,500 single screen cinemas had to shut shop over the last year due to the pandemic.

Tandon says that it is difficult to assess how many cinemas closed and he reckons that “not more than 500-600 single screen cinemas have shut and this is by hearsay since we don’t have any official data.” But he points to the South Indian market, which has more single screens “which did very well [with local titles when cinemas opened].”

However, even a publicly listed multiplex chain like Inox had to take a hit in the 2020 financial year which ended on March 31, 2021. The company’s total revenue dropped sharply to $16.1 million (1.19 billion rupees) from $260 million (19.14 billion rupees) in the previous financial year. Despite the setback, Tandon says Inox still “has a strong balance sheet” and pointed to the promoter’s stake, held by a mix of holding companies and individuals, which was reduced to about 47 percent from 52 percent.

The financial restructuring also saw massive cost cutting, with Tandon noting that monthly expenditures fell from about $11.5 million (850 million rupees) to $1.63 million (120 million rupees) last year. When cinemas were reopened, costs went up to between $3.4 million-$4.0 million (250 and 300 million rupees), “but the endeavor is to bring it down further.”

As the Indian entertainment sector continues to deal with the impact of the pandemic, there could be opportunities in identifying assets and companies for takeovers for recently launched International Media Acquisition (IMA) Corp., a New Jersey-registered company of which Sarkar is CEO and leading shareholder. IMA is set up as a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC), often called “blank-check companies,” which have no commercial operations and are formed strictly to raise capital through an IPO for the purpose of acquiring an existing company. IMA plans to raise $200 million-$230 million on the NASDAQ exchange within the next 12-18 months and has plans of targeting acquisitions in North America, Europe and Asia. Its management team includes the likes of David Taghioff, the former co-head of CAA’s global client strategy department who now heads Library Pictures International, Greg Silverman, former president of creative development and worldwide production at Warner Bros., who now heads Stampede Ventures, and former Disney India executive Vishwas Joshi, among others.

With India being a focus area for IMA, Sarkar explains that “there are businesses which look like they are available at interesting valuations and we definitely have an idea about the business fundamentals without factoring in the impact of the pandemic. So even if the business is not performing well because of COVID-19, we can assess if the fundamentals are strong.”

Once IMA Corp starts its operations, Sarkar says he will be relinquishing his position at Reliance to focus full time on running the SPAC outfit. Owned by the Reliance-Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, Reliance Entertainment also holds a minority stake in Amblin Partners.

Beyond just the impact on balance sheets, the pandemic is also leading to a re-assessment on the technical and creative fronts. “Cloud computing is going to facilitate in a big way” says Subramaniam, adding that he believes the use of CGI will be pressed into service even more “because you have learned the importance of protecting yourself against such forces of nature and you have to be smart about using technology even more. It will be a big mindset change to look at technology in a friendlier manner.”

Similarly, Subramaniam believes that onscreen storytelling itself will receive a reset thanks to the ongoing effects of the pandemic. “If you wanted to tell a story about a bunch of students who never meet for two years and only [interact] on social media, two years ago that script would have been a joke,” he says. “Today that would be a hot script.”

$450M Leisure Studio Venture Deliberate in Hollywood

A joint venture between Bain Capital Real Estate and the BARDAS Investment Group is planning a huge new $ 450 million entertainment studio in Hollywood. The Echelon Studios are located on a 5 hectare site and will include four 19,000 square meter sound stages, a 15,000 square meter flex stage, a 90,000 square meter creative village and a 350,000 square meter creative office in two buildings. The joint venture has submitted plans for the project to the City of Los Angeles.

The project signals the demand for high-quality studio and production space. In a statement, David Simon, Founder and Managing Director of BARDAS Investment Group said this project is well positioned to meet demand from the market for content creation.

Located at 5601 Santa Monica Boulevard, Echelon Studios offers world-class amenities including restaurants, a central courtyard, collaboration and production spaces, outdoor communal areas, and movie rooms.

The joint venture was founded in 2019 and is aimed at studio, production and creative office opportunities that will serve the media and content creation industries in the Los Angeles market. It is currently under construction in another production studio at 712 Seward. According to the joint venture, the 550,000 square meter urban studio is the first “purpose-built urban studio campus property in Hollywood in more than 20 years”. The partnership has a total pipeline of 1 million square feet.

New York City sees one too Increase in demand for entertainment studiosAnd like in Los Angeles, content creation is behind the trend. Research by CBRE shows that there is strong demand in New York for high-quality production space, which includes small broadcast studios in office buildings, raw space in warehouses, and professional production facilities with isolated sound phases.

There have been a number of high profile studio leases this year. Top deals include Wildflower Studios and Netflix building studio complexes in Queens and Brooklyn, and Lionsgate has rented a new studio complex in Downtown Yonkers that is currently under construction. All three companies are newcomers to the market. Existing tenants are also expanding. Apple TV + has signed up to occupy 75,000 square feet of manufacturing space at Kaufman Astoria Studios and 15,000 square feet of office space on the property.