Adler & Associates Entertainment Inc.
Even from birth the Adler family knew that their only girl was going to be anything but ordinary. Young Marie was like an extraordinary pearl, but unlike a pearl she didn’t take much time to shine. Marie opened her first company at an age when most young people have not yet even graduated from college. She was the latest generation in a clan of entrepreneurs, and when she founded American Financial Lending, Inc., it was no surprise that she quickly found herself running one of the leading financial institutions in California. Starting in 1999, with a small team of seven employees and a big vision, she took over and quickly filled a 5000 square foot office. AFL became a formidable player in the lending industry, within its first year generating an impressive loan volume of $172 million. Three short years later the company would have an astounding total volume of $38 billion and employ nearly five hundred people. Ms. Adler would go on to expand her operation into thirty-two separate branches doing business in forty-two states and develop a highly successful internal training regimen for up-and-coming financiers.
However, such rapid growth could not come without difficulties, and as AFL expanded the company required an increasingly sophisticated set of sales and advertising tools, even as Ms. Adler discovered that there were few marketing firms with the resources or the know-how to meet those needs. “After a few bad experiences with marketing companies I saw no need for the middle man. It simply made more sense and cents [laughs] to start my own marketing company,” she remembers. The result was a series of direct mail and online marketing campaigns that reached more than three hundred thousand prospects on a monthly basis and generated tens of thousands of website hits, as well as generating a five percent annual return. “That marketing experience proved to be even more valuable once I started moving into the entertainment industry,” she adds. “With movies there are so many more variables, so many more data sets to consider. Like finance, the film business has always been risky and unpredictable, and if you don’t understand your market and your customer there is no way properly manage those risks.”
Marie Adler held the reins at AFL for ten years, having successfully transformed the company from a simple mortgage lender to a full-service mortgage bank. A California business empire may sound like an unlikely prospect for a nineteen year-old North Carolina native with a degree in biochemistry, but Ms. Adler loved every moment of it. “The discipline I exercised in running AFL, and the conservative approach I used when underwriting, is what kept my secondary market investor’s confidence in me. These are same principles I’m applying in picking our films, their budgets, the logistics of production and the scheduling,” she explains. “I’m always keeping in mind the investors ROI and minimizing their risk while maintaining the integrity of the film.”
With the paperwork in hand Marie was ready to take AFL public in 2008, but the turbulent market forced her to make some tough decisions. As a privately held mortgage bank there were no government bailouts, and so she propped up the company herself, determined to keep afloat and weather the storm. Ultimately realizing that she had to abandon that hope she knew it was time to conquer her ultimate dream: Hollywood. “My intention was always to use investment banking and real estate development to give me stability for the entertainment industry, but when life gives you lemons you make lemonade‚ then you open a lemonade stand and buy a truck.” While dealing with the heartbreaking task of closing the doors and dissolving AFL, she began opening the door for Adler & Associates Entertainment, Inc., DBA., Adler Productions.
Learning the differences between the two industries was a simple task for a hands-on CEO like Marie Adler. Over the next two years she jumped at the chance to work on every film she could, and just as in her prior businesses she volunteered to work in every position needed to learn from the ground up. In 2010 she founded Adler & Associates Entertainment, Inc., transforming her longtime dream into a concrete, globally connected business entity serving filmmakers both across the country and across the planet. Nonetheless, her previous real estate and marketing experience proved to be of universal value: “Having a firm grip on what was different was most important to me. I needed to be a sponge for the logistics of the entertainment industry and I still am. I was pretty certain that business is business and managing people is managing people.” Just as in her previous enterprises, she has planned strategically and built a firm foundation in just a few short years. What is next for Marie Adler? “Forget the bailout, I’m taking Hollywood by storm!”