EXCLUSIVE: Paul Alan Smith is revamping his ESArtists (Equitable Stewardship for Artists). A unique hybrid, operating as an agency and management company since its 2013 launch, ESArtists has been rebranded as Equitable Mgmt and will function solely as a management firm.
The company has expanded its leadership team as Smith and his partner Lee Rosenbaum are being joined by four newly minted partners: Tyler Reynolds, Neda Niroumand, Varun Monga and Sonia Gambaro. Each will have a stake/ownership in the company, and the six partners will have equal say in all decision making.
Smith, a veteran TV lit rep, decided to change the makeup of his company after taking a close look at the top ranks of Hollywood agencies and management companies and being struck by the lack of diversity, especially when it comes to women in leadership positions.
“My first step was to make my immediate colleagues my equals,” Smith said. “My next step was to STRONGLY advocate we continue to reach out to more women (particularly women of color) in order to create the first representation company of medium size or larger that’s run by a majority of women. My instinct is we will achieve this within two years.”
He is moving fast — the promotions come just a couple of months after lit agent Niroumand and manager Gambaro joined ESA.
The choice of Equitable Mgmt as the revamped company’s new moniker was one of the first decisions made collectively by its new six-person leadership team. The company, which plans to use fluid representation of clients, will have an emphasis on writers and directors but also will rep performers, publishers such as Maytal Gilboa’s Emet Comics and a handful of intellectuals/authors including Connie Rice and Nomi Prins.
After years of a dual status as an agency and member of the ATA, which also operated as a management company, Smith opted to focus solely on management just as the lit agency business is going through an upheaval during the current standoff between the WGA and ATA.
“Given the trajectory of what agencies have begun evolving into, it’s clear my instincts — and those of my colleagues — are currently more ‘managerial’ in nature, so we are simply exploiting our strengths,” Smith said.
The firm’s clients include Adam Arkin, Harry Belafonte, Charles Burnett, Joe Chappelle, Allen Coulter, Maria Feldman, Arthur Forney, Milena Govich, Sayed Kashua, Jackie Katzman, Jim McKay, Lorien McKenna, Niles Arden Oplev, Oded Ruskin and Reza Tabrizi.