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TOUGH MONEY: Entertainment | EXAMPLES FROM LIFE

Letter of the Law

Marc Diener, 40, Los Angeles

March 24, 1997

Sometimes you feel intuitively that it's time to expand into a particular area. It's what one of my teachers called "inner necessity." I didn't see it until recently, but welcoming the challenges inspired by inner necessity is the common thread that binds my life together.

Necessity of a more mundane nature led me to law school and then to a position in a prestigious Los Angeles firm. That's when inner necessity first spoke to me. Realizing that entertainment lawyers typically have more interaction with their clients and greater primary responsibility earlier in their careers, I decided to become one and started cold-calling everyone in the book. After introducing myself as an entertainment lawyer trapped in the body of a corporate attorney, I'd ask if they were looking for anyone or knew someone who was. My break came when I called Michael Jackson's attorney, John Branca. He referred me to Mark Goldstein at CBS, who gave me my first job in the industry.

My last job working for someone else was at Orion, where one of my duties was reading screenplays. Again inner necessity spoke and I decided to take time off from the law to write a few of my own. Then people began calling to offer me a little work on the side. By the time I'd written the screenplay bug out of my system, I had a thriving independent practice. Today my client roster includes three major movie studios as well as personal managers, musicians, directors, writers, actors and producers.

Now inner necessity is telling me to share my expertise with others. I've already written a book, a step-by-step approach to making business deals, that's due for publication by Henry Holt & Co. this fall. The next step is a seminar series, and I'm currently putting the materials together for that.

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