18 Apr Episode 31: How to Excel in your Career with the Producer of Girls Trip and Little, James Lopez
James Lopez, the Head of Motion Pictures at Will Packer Production, opens up about his journey from call center representative to Producer of Girls Trip and Little. He discusses his time in the music industry working at Atlantic Records and his transition in to the film industry. James also shares how he re-branded himself from a marketer to a producer. In this interview, James shares his strategies to be successful and his advice to others looking to excel in their creative journey.
JAMES F. LOPEZ is Head of Motion Pictures at Will Packer Productions. In this position he is responsible for developing and overseeing production on all film projects through the company’s first look deal with Universal Pictures.
He is an executive producer on the hit comedy Girls Trip starring Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Queen Latifah and Tiffany Haddish. The film opened to critical acclaim and has grossed over $140 million to date. He also executive produced Almost Christmas, starring Gabrielle Union and Danny Glover as well as the upcoming films Night School, starring Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish, and Jacob’s Ladder, a reimagining of the 1980’s thriller classic, starring Michael Ealy, Jesse Williams and Nicole Beharie. He is also producer on— Breaking In starring Gabrielle Union, What Men Want starring Taraji P. Henson, and Little starring Issa Rae, Regina Hall & Marsai Martin.
Prior to joining Will Packer Productions, Lopez was Senior Vice President of Production at Screen Gems, a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment. During his tenure, Lopez oversaw some of the company’s top grossing and most anticipated projects. He was the production executive for the box office hit Think Like A Man. He also oversaw production on About Last Night, Think Like A Man Too, The Wedding Ringer, The Perfect Guy and When The Bough Breaks for the studio. He also produced and conceived the story for the acclaimed short film #AmeriCAN, directed by actor Nate Parker.
Lopez’ films have grossed over $480 million at the box office.
Formerly Senior Vice President of Marketing for Atlantic Records before joining Screen Gems, Lopez played an instrumental role in developing and overseeing the marketing campaigns for several multi-platinum artists including T.I. during his award winning tenure in the music business. He also oversaw the soundtrack campaigns for numerous films including Hustle & Flow, P.S. I Love You, Step Up 2: The Streets, Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls, Meet The Browns, Why Did I Get Married? and Avatar. In addition to overseeing marketing for artists, Lopez has directed a series of television commercials for album campaigns and led efforts for film soundtracks and brand partnerships. His music video for T.I.’s “No Matter What“ from his double platinum album Paper Trail, was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award. Lopez also has a Grammy nomination for his producing of a long form video for the Nappy Roots.
Lopez holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Sam Houston State University. He is a member of The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and has been included on Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 list and Imagen Foundation’s Most Powerful & Influential Latinos in Entertainment.
Learn more at: https://willpackerprods.com/
Key Questions answered by James Lopez
- How James’s creative career began
- How James transitioned from Corporate America to Entertainment
- How James transition from Music to Film and how he knew it was the right now
- How to know if it’s the right move
- How James has been so successful and his advice to creatives
- James’s perspective on POC in the film space today
James Lopez Discusses:
- How to make moves
- Standing out from the competition
- Taking risks
- Following your dreams
- His career path and how he transitioned from one career to another
- Diversifying his creative talents by doing this one trick
- Advice to other creatives looking to make a a jump into entertainment
- Challenges James has faced as a person of color and how he overcomes them
- Importance of pivoting
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