Business Articles



What is leadership? Is it innate, or something we learn with experience? Are leaders born or made? Is their status largely a matter of being in the right place at the right time, or do they rise to the top by virtue of demonstrated ability? There are countless books that explore the subject in detail — from Machiavelli’s seminal 16th century tome The Prince, to the more recent Jesus: CEO — and most of them take the position that leadership is something that can be learned. That’s probably true, if you have the basic mettle. Napoleon Bonaparte said, “A leader is a dealer in hope” … [read more] 







The film industry is experiencing an unprecedented influx of fresh capital, a result of hedge funds and other private equity sources, as well as institutional investors staking claims in Hollywood. The boom can be attributed to several factors, including greater transparency in movie accounting and increasingly educated investors who know how to structure deals, and have made a science of packaging portfolios. Gone is the “dumb money,” siphoned gleefully by free-spending producers of yore. In its place are financiers packing MBAs and Wall Street credentials, seeking average returns of 10% to a more typical 30% (although one investor interviewed for this report claimed an average closer to 50%)…   [read more]





The ballroom of Hotel Casa del Mar in Santa Monica looks like something out of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Ornate columns rise in the corners, framing the sunlight as it streams through double-height windows that reveal palm trees swaying in the breeze, and beyond that, the blue-green waters of the pacific. Nearly 200 guests fill the room. Taking a break from the American Film Market next door, they chat amiably and queue up for luncheon delicacies at a buffet line as host Ken Kleinberg navigates the room. His firm, Kleinberg Lopez Lange Cuddy & Edell, LLP, sponsors the annual event. Complimented on the proceeds, Bob Lange jibes, “We’re lawyers, if we didn’t serve lunch no one would come!” …  [read more] 






Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is a man of many offices. In addition to his gubernatorial digs in Sacramento, he has a state office in downtown Los Angeles, and maintains a civilian sanctuary in Santa Monica. A holdover from his days in filmmaking, it’s his most personal workspace, filled with art and artifacts and family pictures along with the trappings of state — all of which he discusses with great relish.  A replica of the Harrier jet from 1994’s True Lies hangs above a pool table, beneath which lurks the crocodile from 1996’s Eraser. Across the room there’s a heroic bust of Vladimir Lenin. A gift, he explains, from a Russian weightlifter friend. “When the Soviet Union fell, these were the hugest thing to get a hold of. I told him how great it was, and he …”  [read more] 







Any good lawyer will tell you that, if at all possible, the goal is to keep your client out of court. The attorneys at Mannatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, are no different, but when push comes to shove, they take off the gloves. The firm’s litigation department has come to be as well known for its negotiating skills as for its white-knuckle trial tactics. “Litigation — I like to call it the rich man’s blood sport,” litigation group co-chair Craig de Recat says. “You want to avoid it if at all possible, but there are times when it’s a necessary business tool. A blunt tool, but a useful tool.” Founding partner L. Lee Phillips, a former trial attorney for the Department of Justice…   [read more]







Move over Titanic. Back off Batman & Robin. The Walt Disney Company’s Dinosaurs is on the fast track to become one of the most expensive films of all time — quite possibly the most expensive. Aiming to blend computer-generated characters with live action backgrounds in a seamless, photorealistic package, the film is a gamble creatively as well as economically. For those willing to work within the confines of established technologies, computers allow producers to make films faster and more cheaply. But in the case of the highly ambitious Dinosaurs, Michael Eisner has learned pushing the envelope comes at a price…  [read more]