4:33pm PT by Chris Gardner
Inside Endeavor's Virtual Retreat with Dwayne Johnson, John Krasinski and "RW Quarantunes"
John Krasinski had a viral hit on his hands in the spring when he introduced the YouTube series Some Good News as a way to inject positivity into the news cycle at a time when many were struggling to remain upbeat due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The execution of that was essentially the topic of conversation Krasinski had last week with WME partners Sarah Self and Warren Zavala to help kick off day one of Endeavor’s retreat, an annual event that went virtual this year due to the pandemic. “Harnessing Positivity in Challenging Times” was among the programming offered by Endeavor from Wednesday through Friday, a schedule that made space for such topics as the future of content, faith and how to build an empire.
The speaker lineup included Krasinski, Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia, Tyler Perry, Tamron Hall and Michael Strahan, along with business leaders and thought leaders like Yale “Happiness Professor” Laurie Santos, former TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer, and Catherine Price, author of How to Break Up with Your Phone. Programming was made available to all staffers, including assistants, coordinators, agents and others. Employees were also invited to virtual “lunch tables” where they could meet colleagues across the globe.
Programming highlights included: “The Future of Content and What COVID Taught Us” featuring Mayer in conversation with Endeavor president Mark Shapiro; “Faith + Crisis” with Jay Shetty, Mark Nepo, Nadia Bolz-Weber and Rabbi Ken Chasen as moderated by Endeavor’s head of social impact Romola Ratnam; “For Such A Time As This,” a Q&A with police officer and Breaking Barriers United founder Ryan Tillman as moderated by Strahan; “(Re)Building The XFL,” a Q&A with Johnson and Garcia as moderated by WME partner Brad Slater; and “Building An Empire,” a conversation with Perry as moderated by Hall.
Organizers of Endeavor’s virtual retreat also worked in another special programming surprise in the form of WME partner Richard Weitz and his pandemic concert series RW Quarantunes, which has not only been of the longest-running and buzziest private virtual gatherings of Hollywood insiders, it has been a philanthropic powerhouse.
Along with daughter Demi Weitz, the duo passed the $10 million mark in September and they’re not done yet: in October, RW Quarantunes raked in more than $1.2 million for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. For the special in-house Endeavor edition, Weitz drafted Lizzo, John Legend, Andy Grammer, Lauren Daigle, Rick Astley, Netta, Teddy Swims, the War & Treaty, 24kGoldn, Umi, Barry Manilow, AJR and Lucky Daye. DJ Cassidy also helped drop the mic with his a special edition of his Pass the Mic series, this one featuring LL Cool J and Rev Run of Run DMC, who virtually “passed the mic” performing sections of hit songs. Per a source at the retreat, even several Endeavor employees got an opportunity to showcase their musical talents.