EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that John Fogelman and J.J. Abrams are launching Factorymade Ventures with four global clients: Telefonica, Hasbro, RTL Group, and Intel. The entire WME skunkworks division, which had stayed on the 2nd floor of WME through June, is following Fogelman and joining the new hybrid entertainment and media business development and consulting firm company, including head Cristina Patwa. Abrams (Fogelman’s former WMA/WME client who left WME altogether recently), Michael Bay (another of Fogelman’s former WMA/WME clients), Robert Rodriguez, Thom Beers, and Whoopi Goldberg have already begun developing projects with the newly formed company. I told you all not to underestimate Fogelman. MORE
UPDATE: Here is the news release:
Santa Monica, CA (September 6, 2011) – John Fogelman, former William Morris Endeavor (WME) board member, today announced the launch of FactoryMade Ventures, http://www.factorymade.com, a hybrid entertainment, media business development and consulting firm. Filmmaker J.J. Abrams, a long-time Fogelman client, will join FactoryMade as its principal investor.
FactoryMade Ventures will partner with leading creative talent and inspired companies to develop and deliver content across multiple platforms worldwide. Initial plans for new ventures include creating various formats of original short-form programming, developing interactive viewing and gaming experiences, incubating projects for digital and mobile platforms as well as launching cable and network television both domestically and in emerging markets such as Brazil, Peru and Colombia. The new company will cultivate each venture for clients from original concept and strategy to execution.
At launch, FactoryMade has already secured alliances with global clients Telefonica, Hasbro, RTL Group and Intel. FactoryMade will craft, incubate and launch new ventures – utilizing technology and advanced distribution methods as a way to fully evolve creative content – while at the same time harnessing relationships with the leading talent agencies, management and law firms. Prolific, established talent including Abrams, Michael Bay, Robert Rodriguez, Thom Beers and Whoopi Goldberg have already begun developing projects with the newly formed company.
“We recognize the characteristics of the constantly changing media landscape that continue to shift our view of entertainment,” said Fogelman, CEO of FactoryMade Ventures. “We welcome the industry’s most imaginative and inventive minds to strategize new ventures with us and build them into fully fledged media businesses.”
J.J. Abrams, director of Star Trek and this summer’s Super 8, as well as creator/co-creator of television series such as Felicity, Alias, Lost and Fringe, shares Fogelman’s vision for FactoryMade to partner with leading creative talent and mine venture building opportunities.
“I’ve been lucky enough to work with the same representatives since I began in this business. John Fogelman joined our team in 2006, and I was immediately struck by his ability to identify creative opportunities and his determination and skill to actually realize them,” said Abrams. “I felt strongly about continuing to work with John, and this was a chance to support his latest ambitious enterprise, just as he has supported me over the years.”
Abrams’ producing partner, Bryan Burk, will play an active role in the new company, which is located adjacent to Bad Robot’s headquarters in Santa Monica, California. David Lonner of Oasis Media Group will continue as Abrams’ manager.
Focusing on the promising growth in Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic market, FactoryMade will work with Spain’s Telefonica SA, the third largest telecommunications provider in the world. Together, they will develop content-driven businesses with Telefonica’s subsidiaries Media Networks Latin America SAC and Terra Networks SA.
“It is an opportune time for Telefonica to join forces with the creative and savvy team at FactoryMade,” said Manuel Echanove Pasquin, General Director of Business Development & Multimedia Services, Telefonica SA. “We recognize the potential for reaching an even broader audience and look forward to delivering the highest quality, most original content imaginable.”
FactoryMade will continue its longstanding relationship with client Hasbro that began at WMA between Fogelman and President and CEO of Hasbro Brian Goldner. The relationship contributed to the production of a number of films including Transformers 1, 2 and 3, GI Joe 1 and 2 and Battleship, as well as the launch of The HUB television network as a joint-venture with Discovery Communications. Hasbro will also continue to be represented by WME.
“Hasbro is continuing to create immersive entertainment globally for our incredible portfolio of brands,” said Brian Goldner, President and CEO of Hasbro, Inc. “John Fogelman and his team have been a tremendous asset for us in the media and entertainment space and we look forward to many more opportunities with FactoryMade to build not only new experiences for our brands, but to work on creating new brands as well.”
The former Strategic Planning & Business Development unit at WME, known to many as the “skunkworks” unit where talent brainstormed ideas and corporate clients explored garage-style media ideas, will join FactoryMade Ventures. The team possesses highly developed skill sets across the media spectrum and will continue to be spearheaded by former WME department head Cristina Patwa as the President of FactoryMade. Patwa will be joined by former WME colleagues Aden Ikram (Comcast Business Development and Qualcomm Strategy) as the Head of Business Development, Dawn Holliday-Mack (Paramount Pictures and The Nielsen Company) and Douglas Gardner (Pricewaterhouse Coopers’ Entertainment, Media and Communications Advisory Services). Troy Zien (WME Talent) will separately aid Fogelman in personal producing efforts in film and television.
Fogelman recently left WME where, for over 18 years, he was a veteran agent to top talent including Abrams, Michael Bay, Whoopi Goldberg, Kevin Spacey, Eric Bana and Courteney Cox. In addition to Hasbro on the corporate side, Fogelman focused on HSN, an effort which resulted in the creation of a digital gaming and commerce platform called HSN Arcade. He was the former worldwide head of the Motion Picture department at WMA and was one of the principal architects of the merger between WMA and Endeavor.