Four Seasons Magazine 2014 a portrait

By steven Beschloss Photography by  Dave Lauridsen


In the early morning hours, a soft, rose-grey fog rolls in from the Pacific Ocean, shrouding beach communities like Santa Monica and Venice in a moist murmur. By noon, the warm sun will burn away the clouds, but that gentle feeling often lingers, dewdrops on leaves, reminding residents of nature’s presence amid the urban setting. This is one of those special, seemingly immutable things about living in Los Angeles—just one of many reasons people come and stay. “Over the last five years, LA has experienced its share of tumult, dealing with a troubled national economy and a fresh wave of Californians heading eastward for new opportunities. People began to wonder and worry: Could it be that LA, which has exerted such a powerful pull on the global imagination, was losing its sway? More than a century after Hollywood began spinning out stories here, was this town still a magnet for dreamers and a window to the future? ”  Through a series of portraits, we take the city’s pulse to rediscover what draws people here, and what keeps people here. A marketing mogul, a radio personality, a painter, an acting coach, an environmentalist, a musician. What we find with each is an intensified entrepreneurial mind-set, in which there is rarely one singular path to success. This is enriched by a city that inspires—indeed, demands—passionate self-expression. With an openness to new ideas, an expanding sense of possibility and a readiness to work hard, these ambitious Angelenos are not looking back at the city that was, but looking forward to what can be.

Los Angeles Portraits. By Steven Beschloss Photography by Dave Lauridsen

Ken Markman
Entrepreneur | Los Angeles

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Ken Markman has scored more than US$2 billion in licensing deals, and marketed or licensed the rights to more than 450 movies and hundreds of hours of children’s animation and television programming. A self-described “myth-maker of the storytellers,” he came to California from New York in the 1970s, worked at a number of major film studios, then decided to follow his entrepreneurial instincts and launch KKM Global Brand Strategies 17 years ago. “I wanted to write my own story—and this is the place that lets me do that,” says Markman, who also teaches marketing at the UCLA extension school.

While movie posters and one-sheets may be the lexicon of his trade, he’s thought a great deal about how to give voice to the unique characteristics of LA and why it remains such a powerful lure. In short, this is a place “to dream things that never were,” he says, where “fantasy fulfillment drives people,” giving them the feeling that they “want to be something more.”

True, this quest is riddled with the threat of rejection and failure. But Markman is deeply optimistic about his city’s and state’s continuing impact—and why the ambitious who hear the siren call can still succeed. “Talent always wins out,” he insists. Talent and something more: “It takes passion, persuasion, persistence, personality, perseverance—and it’s entirely personal.”

Ken Markman

Branding and Licensing Management

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