Newsmakers: Courtney Armstrong '97
makes movie magic
Armstrong '97 describes his career trajectory from mechanical
engineer to lawyer to negotiating contracts for Warner Bros.
Pictures as "a bit circuitous."
September, Armstrong was promoted to senior vice president
of business affairs at Warner Bros., where he has worked on
the business side of projects including "Batman Begins," "The
Departed," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," and the upcoming
"The Dark Knight."
didn't know what I wanted to do in school," said Armstrong,
who spent his undergraduate years studying engineering, though
a lifelong love of film nudged him toward the West Coast.
affinity for a good story was reflected in his Kellogg courses.
"My favorite class at Kellogg was the entrepreneurship class
I took with Professor [Steven]
Rogers," he said, recalling Rogers' well-known dynamic
of the Kellogg School's Full-Time
MBA Program and Northwestern University's School of Law,
Armstrong had his first contact with the entertainment industry
as a member of the entertainment litigation team at Paul,
Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP, a Los Angeles-based law
firm. He went on to spend three years drafting contract and
acquisitions agreements for The Walt Disney Company before
joining Warner Bros. in 2003.
"Now I negotiate
deals on a deeper level," he said. Instead of putting someone
else's deals on paper, Armstrong interacts directly with agents
representing top Hollywood talent. And since the cast is assembled
at the end of a film's business cycle, he must negotiate quickly.
"I didn't appreciate just how many people are involved [in
producing a movie]" Armstrong said.
to work quickly and effectively with others is central to
training helps," Armstrong said. "It helps a lot more now."