EXCLUSIVE: Janklow & Nesbit Associates is opening its first Los Angeles office and has also ended a policy of not doing business with WME and ICM because they too have publishing departments. The literary agency will continue to work with Hollywood-based co-agents to sell the high volume of books it generates for movies, TV and digital. But the expansion is designed to extend its reach and be more proactive in promoting author back lists and new books in those ancillary areas. Hollywood vets Carlo Martinelli and Amanda Schweitzer will head the Los Angeles office.
The agency is headquartered in New York and has an outpost in London.
The expansion effort is being spearheaded by senior partner Luke Janklow, who has a bit of Hollywood in him as the great grandson of Harry M. Warner, and a graduate of the film program at Wesleyan. Janklow tells me that while the agency steered clear of doing business with WME and ICM in the past, breaking down those barriers is part of this expansion plan.
“This is a really simple approach that is material driven, a recognition there is a lot of competition as well as a lot of opportunity out there right now,” Janklow said. “Our job is to serve the piece of material, something our agency has always done very well in a hand-crafted manner. I have a lot of friends in Hollywood, but find that in general, they often lack that calm sophisticated attention to detail. That is a core value of our agency and we want to apply it on the ground.”
When Janklow & Nesbit co-founders Mort Janklow and Lynn Nesbit were at the center of precedent-setting movie deals for author clients like Michael Crichton and Thomas Harris, most of those 7- or 8-figure book deals were co-agented by CAA. UTA and some independent agents like RWSH’s Sylvie Rabineau have also co-repped J&N authors, but Janklow said he sees no reason to regard WME and ICM as threats anymore.
“My goal is agnosticism, that’s the name of the game going forward,” Janklow said. “We are in the position of working with the best content and it’s our job to create the best opportunities to exploit that work and not worry they are going to steal our clients. I don’t operate that way and we can’t have our writers slaving away and only be able to approach half the creative community in Hollywood. CAA might be the perfect match, but if it is better for Ari, or Untitled for that matter, we need to take advantage of that. Having good people on the ground will better allow us to cover the waterfront.”
Martinelli Joins J&N from Vuguru, Michael Eisner’s online content company, and before that spent 10 years at Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa’s Bona Fide Productions. He began his career as a book scout in New York at Gotham Scouting Partners and Writers House after graduating from NYU’s Tisch School. Schweitzer joins from Millar Gough Ink and before that Hugh Jackman’s Seed Productions. The Yale grad began her career at at CAA.
Janklow & Nesbit’s list of blue chip authors has yielded such films over the years as Jurassic Park, The Silence of the Lambs, Seabiscuit, the miniseries John Adams, Interview With The Vampire and True Grit. Projects in the works now include the upcoming Sony Ardman animated Pirates! Band of Misfits, for which client Gideon DeFoe wrote the scripts based on his book series, as well as Syrup, an adaptation of the Max Barry book, and Unbroken, the film adaptation of Hillenbrand’s bestseller on Lou Zamperini. Universal and Walden Media have a script by Richard LaGravanese with Francis Lawrence directing.