Ten Influential Entertainment Leaders

As the entertainment industry continues to evolve, the year 2022 has seen the rise of some of the most influential leaders in Hollywood. These individuals have made significant contributions to the entertainment industry, leading to widespread changes in how we consume and interact with media.

These leaders have not only transformed the way we consume media, but they have also paved the way for diversity and inclusivity in Hollywood. From increased representation of marginalized communities to challenging societal norms, the entertainment industry has become a catalyst for change.

As we move forward, it is evident that these entertainment leaders will continue to shape the industry and inspire the next generation of filmmakers, producers, and creatives.

Here are the top 10 Entertainment Leaders to watch in 2023.

#1 Brandon R. Williams

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Brandon R. Williams is an inspirational multi-hyphenate professional with a background in law and a deep passion for global business. He has successfully co-founded and run businesses in Africa and the Middle East and is now a legal and business advisor to some of the world’s biggest A-list celebrities.  In addition to his business and legal prowess, Williams is also an Executive Producer on multiple television and film projects, including Judge Steve Harvey and Family Feud Africa (South Africa and Ghana).

Williams is an accomplished professional with several notable career highlights. In his former life, he was recognized as a ‘Top 40 Under 40’ by the Atlanta Business Chronicle and has been listed as a ‘Rising Star’ on the Super Lawyer list multiple times. In addition, he is also a board member of Education Africa USA.

Williams has faced and overcome many challenges in his career, particularly as an African-American in predominantly majority-dominated businesses. He has done this through sheer dedication, persistence, and an unmatched work ethic. He has also been able to transition from a once legal-only career to one that finds him doing multi-million dollar deals at the highest levels of the entertainment industry.

Williams shares the wisdom that it always takes more than you think to achieve your goals. He encourages people to never put limitations on what they can accomplish, believing in themselves and their ability to succeed.

In the years to come, Williams sees himself as one of the top global business and legal advisors in the business and entertainment space, living out his dreams and making an impact every day. He wants to showcase his versatility and multi-hyphenate abilities in various sectors of business and law.

To find out more about Brandon R. Williams, follow him on Instagram @MrBizLaw.

#2 Brady Horn

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Brady Horn is a talented manager in the music industry who is known for his work with his company In8 Artist Group. With a keen eye for talent, Brady has been instrumental in launching the careers of several artists who have gone on to achieve national recognition.

One of his biggest achievements is the launch of NURKO’s career, where he played a crucial role in securing a record deal with the renowned electronic music label, Astralwerks, a subsidiary of Universal Music Group. He also manages Moombahton/Trap legend ETC!ETC! who has several exciting collaborations lined up for 2023, with artists like Flosstradamus, DEORRO, JWLS, Borgore, among others.

Breaking through in the music industry can be a challenging task, but Brady has consistently shown his ability to overcome the odds and help his artists achieve their dreams. He builds brands for his artists with a compelling story line and strategic release plan, making it his mission to bring their vision to life.

Brady’s story is one of persistence and determination, and he has a valuable lesson to share with others. He encourages people to never give up and to be persistent in the pursuit of their dreams. He advises finding artists with music that they believe in and who have a clear vision.

In the coming years, Brady sees himself and his brand continuing to grow and expand, elevating the careers of his artists and signing new talent to help them achieve their goals. He dreams of playing a pivotal role in the success of multiple artists and contributing to the music industry in a meaningful way.

#3 J.T. Swierczek & Justin Fix

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Creative Director Justin Fix, and Executive Producer J.T. Swierczek, are the Founders of JFI Productions, a renowned entertainment production company and creative development incubator headquartered in the heart of Los Angeles. JFI has revolutionized interactive entertainment with its unique immersive theater productions, exclusive live events, and niche film projects. The company’s most well-known productions include Creep LA, The Willows, and Night Fever, all of which have enthralled high-profile guests, including Billie Eilish, Will Smith, and Anna Kendrick, among others.

After eight years of organic growth, JFI’s shows now sell out in minutes; exclusive tickets go to those lucky enough to be in the know and ready when they go on sale. The creative team continuously strives to build human connections through unconventional and intimate storytelling, leaving guests full of excited conversation as each audience member has a very personal and unique experience.

The company’s hard-earned success has allowed it to partner with well-known studios like Universal, Amazon, Netflix, and Blumhouse. JFI also gives back to the arts by partnering with local charities like True Connection, Art of Elysium, and Inner City Arts.  They feel the key to their success lies in blazing their own trail, believing in their people, and above all, staying true to their values and letting them guide their way.

#4 Wes Morton

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Wes Morton is the founder and CEO of Creativ Strategies, a full-service marketing consulting firm for media and tech firms. Prior to Creativ Strategies, Morton rose to senior management in New York and Los Angeles at prestigious media firms WME, Dentsu, and Branded Entertainment Network. At those agencies, Morton led and organized multi-million dollar campaigns for brands including Sour Patch Kids, Swedish Fish, OREO, British Airways, EA, Ubisoft and BEN.

After founding Creativ Strategies in 2021, Wes Morton quickly signed clients like MOCEAN, THE FIFTH, News UK, Scopely, Haven Ventures, IPG, TheCleani, and Bonnier-corp. Creativ Strategies made over half a million dollars in revenue in its first year of operation, managing several million dollars in marketing campaign spend for his clients.

A native Texan, Morton counsels colleagues to speak simply and honestly, “Mean what you say and say what you mean.” Entrepreneurship can be a difficult road. He believes surrounding oneself with mentors, advisors, and other businesspeople can help one surmount the uncertainty that comes with building something new. Creativ Strategies’ vision, according to Morton, is to become the go-to marketing agency for the world’s top media and technology companies.

The business hopes to achieve that vision through a dedication to quality, from the employees they select, to the customers they work with, to the projects they take on. “My philosophy on business is simple. Sell the dream, but deliver on the promise,” says Morton. “You’d be surprised by how few people can do both.”

#5 Brent Johnson

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Brent Johnson is a visionary leader and a renaissance man, with over 30 years of experience in entertainment, media, production, live events, technology, hospitality, commodities, secure transactions, negotiations, marketing, branding, consumer products, development, finance, and gaming. He has a reputation for closing deals globally, working with some of the largest companies, celebrities and brands in existence.

Brent is a renowned businessman and entrepreneur, known for ONE Entertainment, but he is also the majority owner of Rapsody Vodka, a minority owner of Keenan Thompson’s AFA and Trion Supercars Group which all have exciting future plans. Johnson also co-owns TMT Racing, a NASCAR team with Floyd Mayweather. His wife Michelle is an award-winning new home sales consultant and he has a 2 year old son named Kingston.

Brent has created synergies worldwide that allow the ONE team to respond to the current state of business, expanding their reach and serving clients remotely and locally with their global location teams. Very notably, Brent was instrumental in the growth of Floyd Mayweather global exhibition boxing events starting with his first such event in Japan in 2018 through the upcoming event on February 25 in London.

In recent years, Brent and Floyd Mayweather attempted to acquire the Phoenix Suns for over $2 Billion, although unsuccessful, other NBA ventures are in the works. Brent continues to build on a successful track record. Just recently, he produced “Santa Games” a Christmas Comedy starring Faizon Love on Hulu and is expecting to announce a new Sci-Fi TV epic later this year with a major partner and even more epic Floyd Mayweather collaborations.

#6 Blue Coast Entertainment

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For the last 4 years, the partners of Blue Coast Entertainment, Jason Frizado, Kenneth Schoech, Tony Mohareb and Jonathan Craig have been the driving force behind some of the most innovative and successful esports and digital productions in Los Angeles. What started as a passion and a dream for the partners has now grown into a full-fledged business where they help brands, publishers and networks reach their goals through creative commercial storytelling.

Launching in 2019 just before the pandemic, the team at Blue Coast quickly pivoted to remote shoots and was able to return to safe, in-studio productions faster than almost any other studio in the city. Their tenacity and ingenuity garnered attention from high-profile outlets such as NBC, Apple TV+, Warner Bros., ABC, Showtime, A24, ESPN, Capcom, 2K Games, DC Comics, Walmart and the NBA.

Their projects have featured celebrities such as Andrew Garfield, Jimmy Kimmel, Ice-T, Matt Reeves & Paul Dano, and James Cameron, athletes such as Shaquille O’Neal, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Iman Shumpert and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and recording artists such as Lil Wayne, The Game, Master P, Snow Tha Product and E-40, to name but a few.

2023 has already started off with a bang as Blue Coast partnered with Variety to produce the Official Digital Pre-Show for the 80th Golden Globe Awards and the year shows no sign of slowing down as several other big projects are currently underway. With an ever-growing slate of clients and partners, Blue Coast continues to expand their offerings with a commitment to bringing high-quality entertainment to the ever-shifting digital landscape.

#7 Donald Glover

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Donald McKinley Glover Jr.also known by his stage name Childish Gambino, is an American actor, comedian, singer, rapper, writer, director, and producer. After working in Derrick Comedy while studying at New York University, Glover was hired at age 23 by Tina Fey as a writer for the NBC sitcom 30 Rock. He later rose to fame for portraying college student Troy Barnes on the NBC sitcom Community from 2009 to 2014. From 2016 to 2022, Glover starred in the FX series Atlanta, which he created and occasionally directed. For his work on Atlanta, Glover won various accolades, including two Primetime Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards.

Glover has starred in several successful films including the supernatural horror The Lazarus Effect (2015), the comedy-drama Magic Mike XXL (2015), and science fiction film The Martian (2015). He played Aaron Davis in the superhero film Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), and played Lando Calrissian in the space western Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018). He also provided the voice of adult Simba in The Lion King. Glover is also a filmmaker, and starred in and produced the short film Guava Island.

#8 Justin Berfield

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Justin Tyler Berfield (born February 25, 1986) is an American former actor, writer, and producer. He is known for his portrayal of Malcolm’s dimwitted older brother, Reese, on the family sitcom Malcolm in the Middle. He also played Ross Malloy on The WB sitcom Unhappily Ever After. As of 2010, Berfield is Chief Creative Officer of Virgin Produced, a film and television development, packaging, and production company announced in 2010 by the Virgin Group.

#9 Audrey Marshall

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Audrey Marshall is the co-founder and COO of Thematic, a community-driven platform that helps creators license music for their videos. Together with co-founders Michelle Phan and Marc Schrobilgen, the Thematic team has been leading the charge in driving innovative music discovery through the power of influence for the past 10+ years.

In the coming years, Audrey aims to further Thematic’s mission of connecting creatives and empowering them to achieve their full potential. She is also passionate about inspiring more women to pursue their dreams and become leaders in their respective fields. Audrey is a remarkable example of what can be accomplished with hard work and dedication. Her dedication and hard work serve as inspiration for those looking to make a positive impact in tech.

# 10 Victor Elizalde

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Viva Pictures is a film studio that uses innovative metrics to produce content for its platform partners. Unlike traditional studios that only rely on established actors, Viva Pictures was the first studio to acquire social media stars (including Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae) to reach specific target audiences, expanding its reach without sacrificing quality. The company has a rich history, with their President having worked with three of the six major motion picture studios, including Disney, Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures. President Victor Elizalde says one of the biggest challenges in the industry is sorting through individuals who are honest and ethical versus those who are in it for a quick profit. To overcome this, the company stays true to its principles, seeking guidance from mentors who prioritize reputation over fame and fortune. The ultimate goal for Viva Pictures is to become a leader in the film industry, offering both top-notch distribution and original productions, and exploring new technology such as AI and the meta-verse to take the business to new heights.

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