Get All Access for $5/mo

How to Grab and Hold People's Attention Like a Hollywood Superstar Emmy Award-winning talent manager and producer Joel Zadak shares the secrets of winning over your audience no matter what industry you're in.

By Mike Koenigs Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Mike Koenigs

What's the secret to getting and keeping attention in the zero-attention-span world we all live in today? Have you ever imagined yourself being a comedian or actor on stage or in theaters? Maybe you wanted to write, direct, produce or invest in movies, music or entertainment? What does it take to think like a talent agent, director or producer in Hollywood and make it?

Or maybe you just want to know the big secret to elevating your value as a business owner, entrepreneur, speaker, podcast host, interviewee or writer?

Ideas are cheap—execution is expensive!

Recently on the Capability Amplifier Podcast, I had the privilege of interviewing Emmy Award-winning Hollywood talent manager and producer Joel Zadak. If you haven't heard of Joel, you've likely heard of and seen his clients, like Jordan Peele, Tiffany Haddish, Randall Park, Jimmy O. Yang and many more. Joel executive produces Comedy Central's Key & Peele, TBS' The Last OG, and PopTV's Hot Date. His film producing credits include New Line's Keanu and the upcoming Paramount Pictures' Like a Boss.

Joel takes us behind the scenes with some fun Hollywood stories. I know you'll love this episode because you'll learn how Joel thinks and what he thinks about. His wisdom will rub off on you and you'll realize, like I did, that we're all in the entertainment and talent business — no matter what industry you're in.

Let's meet Joel Zadak— listen here!

Joel grew up in Chicago and always really enjoyed comedy, appreciating movies like Animal House and Cheech and Chong. His dad introduced him and his twin brother to rated-R comedies on cable far earlier than the average parent would allow and that made him feel special. After college, he frequented The Second City Comedy Theatre where some of the greats including Gilda Radner, John Belushi, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Steve Carell got their start. That inspired Joel to take improvisation, creative writing and screenwriting classes at Second City and Columbia College. He wanted to write the next big comedy hit.

His next move was to Los Angeles where he got into UCLA's grad program for screenwriting but soon dropped out once he landed a job assisting a talent manager in the entertainment industry. Shortly after, his boss left to start his own company and Joel was promoted to manager after just four months. That's when his next-level comedy adventures began!

Fast forward to today and here's Joel's philosophy on the only people he'll represent and work with: "It's pretty much a prerequisite for me that they have interests and talents in multiple fields. That means they are writer/performers, writer/directors, director/performers, stand up comedian/actors. I really think it's imperative they are content generators. They're not just what I call 'vendors' who are vending their acting or writing services. I want them to direct or perform because I really love multiple points of entry. I love those artists who can be not only the visionary but also the implementer. The person who comes up with the idea and then also executes the idea. Ideas are cheap—execution is expensive. And if you can do both, you will have a long future in this or any business."

It doesn't get much more succinct than that, and it really is true, no matter what industry you're in.

Two of Joel's superpowers are networking and listening. So, if you'd like to have the same kind of success in your own career then you're going to want to listen to this episode! It's positively packed with great ideas you can use whether you're the talent or grooming it. And more importantly, you'll learn what I think is the real secret to being a super successful business owner and entrepreneur. I'm not going to give that one away—you have to listen to it!

Mike Koenigs

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Founder of Superpower Accelerator

Peter Diamandis calls Mike Koenigs An Arsonist of The Mind. He helps entrepreneurs create their “Next Act,” high net, low overhead, high impact, fewest moving parts, lifestyle-compatible businesses they love. Serial Entrepreneur with 5 exits, 17x bestselling author and the secret weapon of founders.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Business News

Why Greece's Six-Day Workweek Might Backfire on Productivity

In the wake of Greece's decision to introduce 6-day working weeks, questions are floating around regarding its true impact on worker productivity and output.

Buying / Investing in Business

I'm a VC With Over 50 Startup Investments. Here Are the 4 Secrets to Securing Funding for Your Ventures.

Investor relationships are crucial in most businesses, but navigating them is no walk in the park. These insider tips from a former founder and current venture capitalist reveal how entrepreneurs can tap into the investor mindset and masterfully manage investor relations.


Why I Get a Coffee with Someone New at 8 a.m. Every Single Day

Through daily coffee meetings, I discovered a unique opportunity to build new, meaningful friendships and expand my network.

Business News

Prime Day Is Reportedly a 'Major' Source of Injury for Amazon Warehouse Workers

Amazon Prime Day 2024 was held on July 16 and 17, and preliminary data shows shoppers were not afraid to spend on the sales.

Business News

Amazon Is Reportedly Tracking 'Coffee Badging' Workers and Their Real In-Office Hours

Leaked Slack messages showed employees had a minimum number of hours they needed to be in the office for the time to count as an in-office day.