What’s Next, Hollywood?

Audio Interview with Larry Tanz, President, COO, and Co-founder of Agility Studios

By Nancy Ellen Dodd, MPW, MFA

Larry Tanz

Larry Tanz

What is an MBA worth in Hollywood? Where do the most opportunities for newcomers lie? What’s in store as the entertainment industry undergoes a radical transition into the digital age?

On January 16, 2009, Graziadio Business Report Academic Editor Nancy Dodd spoke with Larry Tanz, president, COO, and co-founder of Agility Studios, to get the answers to these questions and more.

In 2008 Larry launched Agility Studios, an incubator investment fund that builds and runs entertainment-oriented digital franchises, alongside Scott Ehrlich and Keith Quinn. To learn more about Agility Studios, visit their website: agilitystudios.com.

Previously, Larry served five years as CEO and President of LivePlanet, a multiplatform entertainment company founded by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Prior to joining LivePlanet, Larry was Director of Strategy and Operations at AOL Time Warner and a senior associate at Mercer Management Consulting.

Larry holds an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in behavioral psychology from Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and a B.A. from Harvard College. He is also a co-founder of H20 Africa, which has raised five million dollars for water projects to date.

Audio Files

To hear the interview with Larry Tanz, please click here and choose the “Full Interview” or the segment you would like to listen to.  Questions in the interview are listed below.

Questions for Larry Tanz

  1. What is the marketing concept of for Agility Studios? How is Agility’s business model different? (1:19)
  2. In a time when most investors are pulling back from “risky” ventures, especially in the entertainment industry, how did you secure financing? (3:22)
  3. Can you explain what Agility’s franchise opportunities look like? (5:30)
  4. The entertainment industry is going through a radical transition in terms of platform, new media, distribution, and target audience. What do you think the future of the entertainment industry looks like? (8:06)
  5. How do you think globalization is impacting the industry? Do you see more joint ventures with oversea firms? (10:44)
  6. What do you think is the future of the large studio system in Hollywood? (12:21)
  7. Are there new opportunities for small studios and entrepreneurs and what should they do to prepare? (15:06)
  8. Do you believe there is ageism in the industry and if so, in what form? Do you think that will change with the growing momentum of the internet? (17:39)
  9. Where do you see the biggest opportunities for newcomers to the industry? (19:41) How should an entrepreneur get started in the entertainment industry? What should they focus on in their business plan? How should they approach finding investor funds? (21:24)
  10. Did you plan to go into the entertainment industry? Did your MBA help you?  (23:22) In Hollywood, most people in the studios and agencies start at the bottom and work their way through many facets of the office before getting to the top. Is that true for professionals such as MBAs and lawyers? (32:13)
  11. What is on your mind these days as you establish a new business model? (35:00)
  12. If I am a creative-type and I have a project I want to bring to you, what should I know first, and how should I prepare to get Agility’s attention? (37:30)
  13. This town is all about pitching and getting someone interested in your ideas, like you did with the H20 Africa clean water initiative and your Running the Sahara documentary. What else excites you? (40:40)

Original article published in the Graziadio Business Review, 2009, Volume 12, Issue 4.


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