We had the good fortune of connecting with Brent Paxton and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Brent, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
So, first let me say that before I became successful in entertainment, I tried and failed at many things. I remember vividly watching an interview with Alli Webb on television (the founder of Drybar) and she said the same thing. She emphasized that the journey to Drybar was a long one with many entrepreneurial efforts that went kaput. That moment, seeing how forthright and humble she was, inspired me. Generally speaking, I think people get down on themselves when they fail at something. The reality is that failure is part of success. In many ways, it’s essential. I just think embracing failure is something that I could (dare I say) accomplish on my own. At most companies, you’re not allowed to make many mistakes without getting in trouble, ostracized or fired. So, I think the need to accomplish things on my own and kind of tinker with my career was a big reason for me being an entrepreneur. I also think that there’s a myth that the big boys are always doing it better. In any industry, you need to be a disruptor to carve out some market share. So, we have done that in many ways by being a lean and mean company that allows its employees to try new things and fail. When my employees make a mistake, I remind them that you can ‘fail your way to the top.’ Now, obviously that depends on how you interpret that. We don’t encourage lowe performance or laziness. Quite the opposite. We value efficiency, high performance, accuracy, integrity and having a winning mentality at Kreativ Media Partners. So, that was a huge contributing factor to me starting my own business and letting my employees also have an entrepreneurial spirit when it comes to their jobs.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I started Kreativ Artists after working for several different agencies and management companies. I learned so much from each one of those places but I knew I wanted to do things differently. Kreativ Artists Entertainment is our company that has a production development side and a talent representation side. Our representation side is Kreativ Media Partners.

The more significant thing that sets Kreativ apart from our peers is that we consistently reach across the aisle to work with people who some might see as competitors. We have a firm belief that a rising tide lifts all boats. So, we work with other agencies and management companies. So many managers scratch their head and they hear this, but it’s actually a great model to tag-team and share clients with other management firms because it’s builds bridges and helps everyone involved learn more about the industry, the job and the client. Two heads are better than one. So, we often take a communal approach to the way to represent talent.

I’m most excited about the future of Kreativ in the production space. We have been working tirelessly to build a team and put systems in place that facilitate the process. It’s been a challenge but I think the upcoming productions are the most exciting part of the business.

Hmmm…what am I most proud of? I would say the fact that Kreativ is such an open company and that we have such a great reputation with our peers. It’s very easy in entertainment to develop a reputation for being difficult (for both talent and companies themselves). We have a policy of FFMO “forgive fast and move on.” So, I’m proud that we don’t lose our temper when we get screwed over (hey, it happens) and that we don’t hold a grudge. I will NEVER forget when Ben Affleck won the academy award for best picture (Argo) and he said that his mentors taught him that “you have to work harder than you think you possibly can, that “you can’t hold grudges, and that it doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life (because it’s going to happen), all that matters is that you’ve got to get back up.”

This speaks to the next part of the question which is “how I got here.” It’s a long winding road with moments that are more glamorous than others. I think the the short of it is that I do get back up when I get knocked down and I just don’t spend too much time feeling sorry for myself when things go wrong. That’s something that took me time to get over. In many ways, we all lick our wounds because it’s a part of the healing process to shake it off. But, I’ve learned to move on from failure and bring all of the lessons with me.

Was it easy? No. It was not easy at all and the odds were not in my favor for a variety of factors. I came into this business with no clout, connections and no one had a reason to help me. No one was going to advance their career by giving me a helping hand. So, I had to scratch and claw my way to a baseline and people really began to respect my hustle and grit. Now, a few years in, it’s kind of funny when people assume I had it easy. I was sleeping on the floors of agencies, taking communal showers with homeless people (because I was homeless) and then working as an agent during the day. My clients at the time had no idea. And why would I tell them? I was willing to put in the work to get past that point and I didn’t want anyone looking down on me or judging me. Now, I can happily say that I am not homeless, but live very comfortably and work tireless to create opportunities for people coming up at Kreativ Artists.

What do I want people to learn about our my story? I mentioned this earlier, but I cannot emphasize the importance of taking ownership over your own life. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN LIFE. If you’re waiting around for someone to save you, rescue you or even help you; you’re wasting your time. You have to take each moment for what it is. Accept and forgive the past and move forward. And the sooner you get that the sooner your life will kick into gear and you’ll start to have a higher self-esteem.

I think RuPaul said it best and that’s “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love anybody else?” He’s right. Love yourself and don’t let anyone keep you down. You have to take some punches and can and will pull the rug out from under you. But if you keep getting up and operate from a place of integrity…in some way or another you will win in the end.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
That’s a tough question because I’m a very spontaneous person in my personal life. So, I don’t know if I’d have an itinerary.

First, I would give them a walk around my lovely neighborhood, Los Feliz (still my favorite part of the city). I feel so safe and like I’m in a small town here. Yet, Hollywood and Sunset are just a few streets away. So, I’d definitely show off the beautiful hilly neighborhood.

I would definitely take my guests for long walks all around the city. I’m a walker. I love walking place where most people would drive and it can drive some people crazy…but I enjoy taking in the environment as I move through outdoor spaces. I’d definitely visit Miracle Mile and take them to see the beautiful lamp posts, swing by the La Brea Tar Pits and showoff the beautiful Petersen Automobile Museum as well as the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures (yet to be open for visitors inside).

Going for a walk or run on Runyon Canyon is definitely on the list as well as visiting Griffith Park and the Observatory. I think it would be a crime to not visit this landmark…not to mention the Hollywood sign!

A long walk down the Hollywood Walk of Fame would definitely been in order. I love walking down this street because it reminds me that this is still the land of dreams no matter what’s going on around us. The stars are literally at our feet to remind us “you, too, can make it.”

And last but certainly not least, I would go to Venice Beach to see the wild eclectic group of people on Venice boardwalk. I used to live in Venice and would run all the way up to the Pacific Palisades and back. It was a nice time living near the beach and some of my best memories are near the skate park in Venice Beach.

For food, I think L.A. has so many eateries that it’s hard to say where I’d take a guest, but we’d definitely grab a bite at Grand Central Market in Downtown L.A.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
So many people have helped me along the way but I would have to say my mother, Martha Paxton, has been my biggest supporter. I thank my mom for being there for me when I wasn’t there for myself. When people mention their moms I think people kind of give an eye roll like “how cliché.” For me, however, I think the value I draw from my relationship with my mother lies in her not letting me get away with anything. She’s not a cheerleader or person telling me how fabulous I am. Rather, she holds me accountable for when I am phoning things in or feeling sorry for myself. I once produced a reality show that never aired. It was a real disaster and personal embarrassment that took my years to process. It was my mom who told me one day to “stop being so wounded by the world and stop being a victim.” I can hear it in my mind like it was yesterday. My mom has a real sense of ownership and has instilled that in me. If you see yourself as a victim, then you give away all of your power to your circumstances. When you take ownership and stop being a victim, you just get to work and make things happen. That’s why my mom has had the largest impact on my success.

Website: kreativartists.com

Instagram: Instagram.com/kreativartists

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brentpaxton/

Facebook: Facebook.com/KreativArtists

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