Marissa Crespo is an entertainment attorney who specializes in drafting and negotiating contracts in the film, television, literary, fashion, and new media industries. She represents entrepreneurs, creatives in various facets of the entertainment industries, as well as brands through trademark and copyright protection and licensing activities to monetize their intellectual property assets and leverage their brands through strategic collaborations. Through her vast experience, Marissa has represented deals involving high profile editorial magazines and branded content such as Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, television and podcast production deals involving Universal, VH1, Bravo, Tenderfoot, and HBO Max to name a few. A cultural advocate in her own right, she not only represents minority owned businesses and protecting intellectual property assets of minorities, but speaks and writes on cutting edge legal issues within the entertainment industries.
Why is your business a business to watch in 2021?
As an advocate committed to representing more diverse voices and narratives in Hollywood, Crespo Law Office, P.C. is the business to watch as it has played and continues to play an instrumental role in development and production deals for up and coming talent and high profile talent in the film, television and new media industries.
What inspired the to start your business?
I was driven by my passion for advocating for the underrepresented and my love for entertainment to create a more socially conscious firm centered around a culture of promoting diverse voices and representing more progressive artists who challenged societal norms in the art spaces.
How did 2020 change your business? Was it for the better?
2020 was a blessing in disguise as it gave my firm even more purpose and hope for entrepreneurs who invested in themselves and their business ideas during an economically unstable climate.
What lessons did you learn in your business in 2020?
I definitely learned the value of my firm and how defining what I do and my underlying purpose shaped the types of clients I obtained that were aligned with my firm’s purpose. I also learned how to practice better discernment over the types of projects I wanted to represent and the underlying why that surpassed a mere dollar valuation to my business.
What kind of impact do you want your business to leave on your client or customer?
I want every client who chooses my firm to represent them to feel like their voice is heard and that they have counsel that not just represents them, but really looks out for their career trajectory and overall goals to help them along in their journey.
Do you feel your product or service meets the needs of the market
What hurdles did you personally face in getting ready to open your business and how did you overcome them?
Having people understand what I do and trust that I know the entertainment business and know how to navigate from a business and legal perspective. Especially compared to those firms that have been in business for 15-20 years plus, the competition can be quite fierce in getting clients to trust a more junior firm in representing their needs. Not every large, established firm is always the best, however. Sometimes, you can get lost in the shuffle as just another client number to bill rather than you be your project being more valued by a firm that pays closer attention and detail to your needs. That’s the value of my firm.
When did you realize entrepreneurship was right for you?
Immediately within the first year as an associate at a large, top 100 firm. I realized how I was sometimes used as the token Afro-Latina associate when it served the firm’s interests and sometimes put me in personal ethical quandaries that didn’t align with who I am and what I wanted to represent in my career. From that point forward, I knew that I would need to embark on the entrepreneurial path to pursue a legal career that was defined the way I wanted to define it and now how it defined me superficially.
Why did you choose entrepreneurship?
To be my own boss and take control of my career on my own terms.
What would you say is your most driving motivation to keep doing what you do?
Seeing some of the projects I’ve worked on or brands I represent in the marketplace, knowing I played an instrumental role in helping them get out to the public. Also seeing others passions ignited and serving their goals.
What are you most excited or passionate about? (In both business and life or both)
Just being present and showing up for others, no matter how big or small.
What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your business? What are the goals that you hold personally?
To be the Clarence Avant (The Black Godfather) equivalent in any business deal and within the industry. In other words, being that quiet, key player that gets the job done and maintains respects by all parties involved.
Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in and what you’re committed to in your work and life? Tell me about them.
My family and husband who always keep me grounded, my professors who believed in me and knew early on what I was capable of, and my friends who are part of my soul tribe and are my backbone for keeping me upright and uplifted!
Did you have any life-changing experiences that put you on the path that led you to be doing what you’re doing today? Tell me about them.
Absolutely! In a nutshell, hitting a hard financial downturn after I left my comfortable six figure associate position at a big firm to pivot into my passion all around the same time of losing my younger brother who was passionate about music. I realized during that dark period that my mental health and spiritual well being was far more important than chasing the dollar. Life is too short and I knew that I needed to write my own narrative and let God do the editing and publishing of what was meant to be for me and my sanity-personally and professionally. Going through that personal storm and soul searching led me to where I am now in fulfilling my purpose even within my own career and firm.
What’s next for you in your business/brand? What can readers look forward to from you?
Currently working on producing a docuseries and potentially teaching a couple of film/tv courses to spread more knowledge of the business and legal sides of the industries.