Ask Tony Gil why he and his two friends started their own literary management and production company, and he will tell you that it was the result of deep reflection. Gil will point to a social awakening prompted by the pandemic and the murder of George Floyd. It was a moment, Gil said, when he, Jairo Alvarado and Max Goldfarb looked at each other and said, “You know guys, it’s so time to put this into action.”
The trio left their entertainment management positions last year with the goal of redefining what it means to be a creative person of color in Hollywood. “We hated that so many people were trying to define us early in our careers,” Alvarado said. “The older generation in Hollywood was always saying, ‘Oh, you’re the Latino guys.’ The new generation feels like we’re going to change what it means to be Latino today, or to be African American.”
These days their company, Redefine Entertainment, has a client roster that includes several high-profile writers, producers and directors–most of whom identify as Latino, Black, Asian or Native American. One of their best-known clients is Ángel Soto, who directed “Blue Beetle,” DC Films’ first Latino superhero movie. Gil describes his clients as “a community of multicultural storytellers that can feel that they are not alone in building their careers. We give them the tools to succeed.”
Literary management companies manage the careers of writers, producers, directors and other behind-the-scenes talent. Some companies also develop and sell film and television projects. Redefine Entertainment does much more.
The company offers its clients one-to-one mentoring as well as guidance on choosing film and television projects that the studios are more likely to green-light. Clients are also coached on how to navigate high-stakes meetings with studio department heads. “We know what (Hollywood) likes to hear. We know the buzzwords, the politics and the games,” Gil said.
For screenwriter Isaac Gómez, the mentoring he’s received at Redefine has already had an impact on his career. Gómez began as a playwright and is now a staff writer on “Joe Pickett,” a Paramount+ TV drama. He is also working on an upcoming Apple TV+ series, “The Last Thing He Told Me.”
“I’m still learning how to work in Hollywood and Jairo has been instrumental in that journey for me,” Gómez said. “He found me on a random blog for playwrights and has been incredibly supportive, really guiding step-by-step.”
Latinos are among the groups historically underrepresented in the American entertainment industry. An analysis released in 2021 by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) of the top 200 films from 2020, found only about 3% of the writers and directors were Latino. Latinos make up nearly 19% of the U.S. population.
Recommended for You
“We’re demystifying the business for people who haven’t had seats at the table,” Alvarado said. “Our communities are not given that knowledge freely because most of us are the sons and daughters of immigrants."
“We’re going to give you the keys to the kingdom that no one gave us,” he added.
Alvarado and Gil grew up on L.A.’s heavily-Latino Eastside. Alvarado got his start while attending UCLA. He had won an internship at Warner Bros. which led to a junior executive position upon graduation. Gil attended Loyola Marymount University and later worked in the television department at Creative Artists Agency. A few job moves later, Gil and Alvarado established themselves as literary management insiders, managing top literary talent from all over the world.
“We view ourselves as double agents of power,” Alvarado said. “We know how to speak on both sides.”
The company’s empowerment strategy involves networking sessions among clients, and guest speaker events featuring top showrunners and business managers. Redefine also brings in financial experts who hold workshops on building generational wealth. “Our value isn’t just derived from the (financial benefit) that we bring to the table. It’s from the strategic community of resources that we provide,” said Gil.
Gómez says the virtual cafecitos that Redefine puts together have made a difference. “We get to have that camaraderie and community of navigating this tough business,” he said. “The majority of us are people of color so (the conversations often turn to) ‘How are you surviving? You’re experiencing this, too? I thought it was only me.’”
Redefine’s partners say their support for diverse storytellers not only helps their clients–it helps society. “We need to show the (entertainment) business that these types of stories from multicultural backgrounds are in demand and can make a profit and can be hit movies,” said Gil.
Redefine’s ethos resonates with Isaac Gómez who says he’s inspired by the message of self-determination that many creatives of color are sending to Hollywood these days. “If you’re not going to invest in us,” Gómez said, echoing the words of Latino activists, “then we’re going to invest in ourselves.”