From Business Affairs to Creative Producer, Lesli Masoner utilizes her multi-faceted experience in every aspect of Pureplays business. A rare third generation Southern California native, she manages company operations and post production; often times acting as a hands-on post producer for Pureplay’s most challenging projects.
Prior to co-creating Pureplay, Lesli was an entertainment attorney and producer, working with many of the industry’s top actors, producers and studios for nearly three decades. Lesli has developed and produced feature films, televisions shows, and an award-winning short film. This makes her uniquely qualified to understand the intersection of business and creative and brings a major advantage to clients in a quickly–evolving media landscape when packaging projects, talent or IP, navigating union guidelines, or negotiating co-productions and agency partnerships.
How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
I grew up in a very blue-collar family with traditional gender roles and a belief that males were superior to females. I was competitive with boys in sports and academics and truly did not see a huge disparity. Therefore, I did not believe in gender roles and male superiority, which caused a lot of conflict with my parents, and with most boys for that matter.
My Dad did not believe girls needed a college education and I challenged him in this area as well. After high school I worked three jobs and got a few student loans and went to college. During this time, my mother divorced my father and re-married a law school dean. My step father really took me under his wing and encouraged me to continue my education and go to law school.
Although my youth was full of conflict, I would not trade it for anything. It made me strong, it made me work harder than most, and it gave me a very strong sense of fairness. I try to lead by example. I have also learned to surround myself with people that can-do things better than me and praise them for it. I do not see gender or race as a factor and I am so happy to have passed those values onto my children.
How has your previous employment experience aided your current role?
I have been an entertainment attorney for 20+ years. I have worked in all aspects of the business. I know what works and what doesn’t in business. I understand that the business is constantly changing with technology. I also understand that you must be very conservative with expenditures, even in the good times because they may not last. I have witnessed too many clients live the high life and not plan for the future. It is heartbreaking.
What have the highlights and challenges been during your current role?
The challenge is finding your niche, which I think Pureplay has. The highlight has been Pureplay’s partnership with Amazon and producing content for their X-Ray platform. Despite the fact that I am an attorney, I am a creative person and I think it is super exciting to develop and create content for fans of a show. We get to think outside the box and enhance the fan experience.
What advice can you offer to women who want a career in your industry?
Learn every aspect of the business, especially on the budgeting and finance side. If you know how to budget and control the money, you will always be able to find a job.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career to date?
Delegate and don’t try to control too much. Otherwise you make poor decisions and burn yourself out.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
It’s hard because in this business, you are always looking for the next job while performing the current one. However, when you have the down time, you need to let yourself enjoy it. No one ever says on their death bead, “I wish I had worked more.”
What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
Women try to control too much and don’t support one another. Be secure enough to delegate.
How can we encourage more women to start their own business?
Exactly what you are doing. Tell successful women’s stories and let them lead by example.
How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
My stepfather was my mentor and he believed in me when others didn’t. He encouraged me to go to law school and told me that education was the one thing no one can take from you. It only takes one person to validate what you already know to change your life.
Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
That is hard because I truly haven’t focused on any in particular. I admire all female leaders because I know it isn’t easy to get there. Even if I don’t agree with their politics or their style, I admire their tenacity to achieve their position.
What do you want to professionally and personally accomplish in the next year?
Professionally, I want to make Pureplay an entertainment company that people want to be associated with. I want to continue to grow our content and relationships within the industry. Personally, I want to get more involved in charitable endeavors.
What are the top three tips you can offer to an entrepreneur starting out?
Learn every aspect of your business. Surround yourself with people that know more than you and listen and learn. Live within your means and plan for the bad times; they will come.