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Episode 082 – Justin Wineburgh, President and CEO of Alkemy X
This week’s guest is the President and CEO of Alkemy X, a production company that brings “big ideas to life by working together in an end-to-end process that allows (them) to ideate, produce, and deliver faster (and better) than you ever thought possible.” Alkemy X has offices in offices in Philly, LA, NY, and Amsterdam, and their team has a proven track record of bringing a unique approach to every production or project they are involved in.
Justin is not your average lawyer. In fact, as Justin points out during this episode, he considers himself a “reformed lawyer.” He built the entertainment practice at Cozen, by maintaining strong friendships that eventually led to a big opportunity. In the course of representing one of Justin’s best friends, in a lawsuit over the film The Ring, Justin found himself quickly making a name for himself as an attorney that could help film and entertainment producers get things done. This opportunity begot other opportunities, which eventually led to Alkemy X (check them out here: https://www.alkemy-x.com/), a production company based in Philadelphia, reaching out to Justin because the company was failing. Alkemy was hit hard by market factors (the commoditization of post-production equipment, consolidation of the market for post-production services, etc.), and found itself spread thin, having difficulty in a tough film/media production market.
Justin, who at the time had served as outside counsel for Alkemy, came up short when he tried to help by recruiting a new CEO to take rescue Alkemy. That’s when Alkemy’s Chairman of the Board asked Justin if he would be willing to take over the company. This was in November 2015, and Justin had built a large media-and-entertainment law practice at Philly-based Cozen O’Connor, and was enjoying life as a partner. Justin, knowing the media and entertainment business to be a fickle one, actually said “no.” But, ultimately that did not end the discussion.
Justin knew his life would be pretty solid if he continued on at the firm, but wanted a challenge. Something inside of him told him this new opportunity could provide a big upside as well as add some excitement. As Justin mentions in this episode, he just thought to himself “the worst thing that can happen is I have to go back to being a lawyer.” So Justin finally decided to resign from Cozen and take on a new challenge at Alkemy. He started on February 1, 2016 and has since transformed Alkemy into a top production house, including receiving recognition by winning six 2019 Addy Awards from the Philly Ad Club, including “Best of Show” for The Plastic Ocean. Justin has also expanded the business and added a strong VFX line.
Here for your listening pleasure are the Self Made Strategies of Justin Wineburgh.
On this episode you will hear Justin discuss:
* How Justin started a thriving media and entertainment legal practice
* Why doing something once really well can catapult your career
* The importance of being an active student, even in the face of great success
* How to identify the leading minds in your field and learn from them
* Why understanding the important details of your business is critically important for success (in Justin’s example, from the episode, as distribution outlets were changing formats were changing that brought on the need to understand the impact of those changes on a budget of a project)
* Why asking the right questions asking as well, and why you shouldn’t have any shame or feel weakened by asking someone to elaborate
* How to find the skills and assets that uniquely qualify you to be successful
* Justin’s best practices for bringing an organization “back from the brink,” as he did with Alkemy X