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Monday, May 29, 2023


Jeffrey Freedman

Paramount Pictures

Director of Business Affairs, Motion Picture Group

Age: 29

Upon graduating from UCLA law school in 1993, Jeffrey Freedman, an aspiring entertainment lawyer, had doors slammed in his face by each of the major studios.

That didn’t faze the Michigan native, who found his way through the back door at Paramount Pictures and, at 29, has become the studio’s youngest business affairs director.

“I recently moved to a house and was going through my old papers and found my rejection letter from Paramount,” he remembers. “I thought that was very funny.”

But working his way into the entertainment business, which captured Freedman’s fancy as a boy growing up in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., was hardly a laughing matter. After being rejected by the studios out of law school, Freedman started on a more conventional career path, beginning with a job at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom practicing corporate law.

He jumped ship after only a year to try his luck at Sinclair, Tenenbaum, Olesiuk & Co. Inc., a boutique firm that specialized in entertainment law. A year into that second job, he followed a former partner from that firm to Paramount, where he started as production counsel, working on a slate of movies that included “Escape from L.A.” and “The Saint.”

He moved last summer to his current position , which involves negotiating deals for producers, writers, directors and actors as well as participating in rights acquisitions.

Freedman’s ability to grasp the big picture is just one of the traits that have served him well in his rapid rise at Paramount, said Ken August, a friend and partner at Ziffren, Brettenham, Branca & Fisher.

“He has been clever about making the transition from Skadden into the entertainment industry, which isn’t easily done,” August said. “I think Jeff, although he hasn’t been at this that long, is developing a reputation as a nice, reasonable guy to deal with. That doesn’t mean he’s easy. You fight about the things that matter, not the things that don’t. He seems to have a good instinct for this.”

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