Trio of BU Alums Make the Hollywood Reporter’s Next Gen List
Annual ranking celebrates 35 agents, managers, lawyers, and executives under the age of 35
Three BU grads—all women—have made the Hollywood Reporter’s 27th annual Next Gen list, which celebrates 35 agents, managers, lawyers, and executives, all under the age of 35—the people responsible for finding the next TikTok star and shepherding successful TV and film projects along.
Amy Neben (COM’12, CAS’12), a partner with Select Management Group, Olivia LaRoche (COM’09), manager of nonfiction series at Netflix, and Alissa Bachner (COM’08), senior vice president of development at Tomorrow Studios, appear on the list, which was published last month.
“Not even a global pandemic could slow these 35 standout executives,” the introduction to the Hollywood Reporter ranking reads. “The new crop of rising stars joins an esteemed list of Next Gen alumni that includes Marvel’s Kevin Feige, Disney’s Peter Rice, Endeavor’s Ari Emanuel, and Crazy Rich Asians producer Nina Jacobson. But unlike the lists of years past, the 2020 installment is a reflection of a changing media landscape, with executives who specialize in, among other things, podcasting, video gaming, election awareness campaigns and, yes, TikTok stardom.”
Neben says making the list “offers a stamp of credibility to the work” she’s done as an agent. After interning at NBCUniversal and Boston public television station WGBH, Neben, who earned dual degrees in film and television and in French at BU, took a job at digital management firm Collective Digital Studio (now Studio71), where she represented many early YouTube stars. “As many other high-level execs did in prior new iterations of media…in cable, reality TV, radio, the ‘talkies,’ etc., I got in early, young, and pushed really hard to prove that what I was doing would have a long-term impact,” she explains.
In 2015 she was named one of Top Women in Digital by Cynopsis Media and last year she became a partner at Select Management Group. Select is one of the most prominent talent management companies in the digital realm, and Neben’s clients include YouTube stars Brooklyn and Bailey McKnight (6.9 million subscribers) and Olympic skating hopeful Sky Brown, who also won Dancing with the Stars: Juniors in 2018.
Neben credits her time at the College of Communication—and the relationships she formed working at its Field Production Services, creating and assisting on senior thesis films and cocreating the BUTV game show Pop Showdown—with preparing her to navigate the entertainment world. “These experiences outside of classes are what taught me some of the real-life skills I needed to get my foot in the door in Hollywood,” she says.
LaRoche got her start in radio and the music industry, working at Fenway Recordings, cohosting the music podcast Noise Pop, followed by a four-year stint at iTunes as a video and music content specialist. When she joined Netflix in 2014, her focus shifted to television. LaRoche was one of the first hires in the streaming giant’s nonfiction series department, according to the Hollywood Reporter profile.
“In the years since, she’s had a hand in several of its buzziest nonfiction projects, from competition series (Nailed It!) and makeover shows (Tidying Up with Marie Kondo) to reality docuseries (Deaf U) and interactive titles (You vs. Wild),” the profile reads. She “has stayed loosely tethered to the music world, too—be it with the docuseries Hip Hop Evolution or as an ‘armchair music supervisor’ on her many projects.”
Bachner says she values her time in COM’s film and television program because it “focused on preparing graduates to work. Between the BU in LA program, the industry business courses, and the general approach to the entire major, it was clearly intended to create professionals,” she says, adding that the large BU alumni network out in Hollywood has been very helpful, too.
After graduating, Bachner worked as an assistant to producers on shows like the network comedy-drama Scrubs and for showrunner David Zabel (ER, Detroit 1-8-7). Those experiences helped her eventually land at Tomorrow Studios, which is run by industry bigwig Marty Adelstein, a cofounder of Endeavor Agency. The Hollywood Reporter cites her hands-on style, and notes that she is hard at work on a redevelopment of the 2008 Swedish horror film Let the Right One In, the Rose Byrne aerobics dramedy Physical at Apple, and the TNT drama Snowpiercer, this year’s top-ranking new cable series.
Asked where she sees her career 10 years from now, Bachner says she hopes to either be producing a few series or “working as a hybrid therapist/party-planner, which is basically what producing is.” The New Jersey native has been aware of the Next Gen list since she began working in LA, she says, and because the Hollywood Reporter consults those in the industry to come up with the list, making it is a huge honor. “Finding out I had been actually chosen was exciting and incredibly gratifying.”