Next Generation Class of 2006: Legal & new media



Jeff Bernstein
partner, Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum & Morris

BORN: Sept. 11, 1971
When he was a mere pup at Harvard Law, the New York-raised Bernstein didn't even consider a career as an entertainment attorney. "It was viewed as very unintellectual," he says. But it didn't take long practicing corporate law in the Big Apple for Bernstein to realize that "intellectual" had its downsides. "It was a 24/7 thing, with people taking naps underneath their desks," he says. "I loved my job, but I didn't want it to be the only thing in my life." Bernstein -- who now represents Hilary Swank, Gina Gershon and Faith Ford, among others -- started looking for a way out.
LEAVING ON A JET PLANE: Bernstein hadn't been to Los Angeles since he was 12 years old, but he took three weeks off and hopped on a flight to meet with every friend of a friend in the business. When he interviewed with partners at his current firm, where he himself is now a partner, they told him they'd hire him -- as long as he took a job somewhere else first. "They said, 'You're amazing, but call in a couple of years. We don't have time to teach you what "pay or play" means.'" After nine months at a boutique entertainment firm in New York, Bernstein pressed his cause again; one month later, he booked a one-way ticket.
BODY AND SOUL: Although Bernstein doesn't have time for stealing naps -- even under his desk -- he leaves his post by 7:30 p.m. most nights, and he's 20 pounds lighter than he was when he worked as a corporate attorney. More importantly, he says, "Most lawyers don't like what they do -- it's a means to an end. While sometimes my days are frantic, I love what I do. I can't imagine doing anything else."
SUIT CASES: Like all entertainment attorneys, Bernstein negotiates his clients' contracts, but he also revels in working alongside personal publicists to kill incorrect tabloid stories before they appear. And he has, he attests, become a "crackerjack at negotiating protective nudity riders with female clients."


Peter Hirschmann
vp product development, LucasArts

BORN: Aug. 24, 1971
Peter Hirschmann considers himself the luckiest guy in the world. A movie nut and a gaming fanatic, he scored a job as an unpaid intern at Amblin Entertainment when he was a 19-year-old college student. "I knew I'd been struck by lighting," he says. "The first 'Jurassic Park' (released in 1993) was in preproduction, and it was absolutely the best education I could hope for in the entertainment industry." That proverbial "foot in the door" put Hirschmann on the fast track to LucasArts, where he currently oversees the release of next-gen games for next-gen hardware, specifically the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. A game based on the "Indiana Jones" franchise and the next "Star Wars" game are scheduled for release next year. "One of the biggest changes you can see in the game industry is viable electronic distribution," he says. "With a touch of a button, you can download content. Digital distribution is definitely the future," he says.
THE AMBLIN WAY: Everything he knows about the entertainment industry, Hirschmann learned at Amblin Entertainment, he says. He worked closely with production designer Rick Carter, storyboard artist David Lowery and producers Bruce Cohen and Gerald R. Molen. With Cohen, Hirschmann was thrown into a production management role on the 1996 interactive CD-ROM title "Steven Spielberg's Director's Chair." "At Amblin, I learned artistic integrity and commercial success aren't mutually exclusive," Hirschmann says. "And Bruce was an amazing mentor and epitomized the Amblin way. He really took the time to show me the ropes."
LIGHTING STRIKES TWICE: Hirschmann remembers the exact moment that Steven Spielberg, having just shot 1998's "Saving Private Ryan," announced he wanted to make a game about World War II. The result was Electronic Arts' "Medal of Honor." "It was two of the most exhausting and intense years of my life, but one of the best things I've been blessed to be associated with," Hirschmann says. In 2002, Hirschmann and his wife decided to move back to the San Francisco Bay Area, and Spielberg wrote Hirschmann a letter of recommendation for George Lucas. "It sounds silly, but I realized my childhood dream the first day I walked into LucasArts," Hirschmann says. "It felt like a full circle, being inspired to work in games as a child to actually being there."
FUN AND GAMES: Hirschmann was promoted to his current post at LucasArts in 2004. "We're at the cusp of a whole new generation of console hardware, and with the raw horsepower, the emphasis shifts from graphics to gameplay -- we'll have a whole new opportunity to explore authentic interaction with a virtual world," he says.

Cyriac Roeding
vp wireless, CBS Corp.

BORN: March 26, 1973
Most 15-year-olds grin and bear the indignities that come with an after-school job, but not Cyriac Roeding. Faced with the mind-numbing task of confirming advertising placements at the newspaper where he worked in his native Germany in 1988, he devised a more elegant solution: Roeding created a computer program that did the work for him. "I was always interested in the mix of media and technology," he says. Eighteen years later, Roeding hasn't changed much. He is still operating ahead of his time as vp wireless at CBS Corp., where he is bringing together traditional broadcasting and the brave new world of wireless technology.
CONTENT PROVIDER: The melding of the two media is an interesting experiment that could yield significant alternative revenue streams. Already, subscribers can have headlines and video clips from CBS' "Entertainment Tonight" and CBS News sent to mobile phones. Diehard fans looking for more content from such network hits as "Big Brother" and "Survivor" can have exclusive clips and news alerts sent to their mobile phones, and in January, CBS even began developing a stand-alone soap opera for mobile viewing.
MOBILE MAN: Leading CBS' wireless efforts is a natural next step for Roeding considering he launched one of Europe's biggest mobile marketing companies, 12snap, whose clients include Coca-Cola and Vodafone. Joining an established company like CBS also represents a departure for Roeding, a lifelong entrepreneur. Ultimately, he couldn't resist what CBS had to offer in the budding mobile sector. "I think the combination of TV and wireless is going to be huge, not the individual media by themselves," he says. "CBS has this tremendous marketing machine here, and all these great content assets. Senior management is behind us -- they are very interested in what we can do."
NEXT GEN: Roeding wants to be responsible for the next generation of great CBS assets, whether a virtual mobile storefront or branded games. He also envisions CBS properties functioning more and more as cross-media plays. "Our whole creative process has changed," he says. "The smaller the screen, the more creative you have to be."