Christopher Massimine is a recognisable and cherished name amongst a broad line of Entertainment. Known by insiders as “Mastermind,” a simple wordplay on his last name, Massimine gives ample reason for the moniker. Yet, most of us will be familiar not with Massimine’s name, rather his work.
At age 34, Massimine is one of the youngest and most dexterous amongst Entertainment Executives in the world. And he’s just travelled his work across the pond to set up shop here in London with his venture capital sourcing organisation Imagine Tomorrow LLC, which functions within the Entertainment, Lifestyle, and Tech Industries.
Founded by Massimine to “develop impactful creative projects that inspire humanity to do good,” Imagine Tomorrow runs a unique model for operating, one that is democratic in decision making, and one that sees its selection of projects through and through.
“Most venture capital sourcing firms are not interested in the end result, not really, at least,” explains Massimine over the tele. “The goal for many of these firms is to make the deal, collect a paycheck for their brokering of said deal between investor and company, and then move onto the next deal. That’s not our ‘bag.’ At Imagine Tomorrow we are vested to see the project through, without acquiring any additional equity after the deal is made. Why? We know asking for, or requiring, that additional equity could harm the project. Our goal is to see the success of any endeavour we’ve brokered through and through. We even enlist experts from our robust rolodex to help ensure that success. Guess who pays those fees? We do. Again, why? Because we are not in the business of damaging exploitation. We are perhaps absurdly selective of the work in which we choose to participate. We have a rule that if investor and project are not collaborative in spirit, the deal is over. It’s in our agreement between investor and company. At Imagine Tomorrow we particularly pride ourselves of this key value: no BS, no bureaucracy. What does that mean? It means the outcome of success is defined as one wherein everyone wins. That’s the name of the game: everyone wins. It starts here within the company itself where the employees weight is equal to mine. Each of us have specifics to our roles, and yet, we choose the projects together, we choose the investors together, we choose the experts together. It’s majority vote, and I’ll go on further to say that 99% of the time 100% of our team is onboard with the result. Why? We encourage the tough talks, we encourage asking ‘why,’ until we’ve hit the root of the matter, feedback goes in every direction imaginable. Ultimately I am the arbiter only if we’re at a standstill. This business model is working with incredible efficiency and maintains high morale. Generally speaking, you can’t ‘get to that place’ so easily in companies that have already pre-existing constructs and defined longstanding rules. We were fortunate to be able to build those together, choose our team members together, and grow, literally and metaphorically, together.”
On why Imagine Tomorrow LLC has opened an office in London, Massimine answers: “We identified a pattern in which many of our investors and projects themselves are based in the UK. We want to be prepared for the post-pandemic world, and people are going to want to have physical interaction and convenience in knowing they can reach one of our representatives within driving distance. There’s a responsibility we are striving to create, one where we have a physical presence where our constituents are. We now have four physical offices based on that self-accountability: New York City, Los Angeles, Delaware, and now London. When the need for additional growth becomes apparent, if it becomes apparent, we’ll continue to expand. Right now, aside from the addition of three more full time employees by June (the firm current has 9 full time employees), we are quite happy with the groove in which we are currently operating. Also, as ridiculous as this may sound, Imagine Tomorrow was a labour of love, and in such has essentially been a hobby that’s now proven a sustainable business. Out of all of my endeavours, I am proud to note that this one takes the least amount of time, does not interfere with any of my other work, and yet out of all my other work it produces the greatest output. The employees run the firm, I help them get the resources they need, and we do our work with trust in each other. So far, it’s an engaging formula.”
But, who is Christopher Massimine, and why is Imagine Tomorrow’s expansion to the UK, something to celebrate? Let’s explore the profile of the marvelous Mr. Massimine.
Massimine was the central force behind the revitalisation of Procter & Gamble’s men’s grooming brand Old Spice. His humour paved the way for the “Scents for Gents” campaign that put the brand back on the map in a profound and profitable way. Before that, he similarly did the same for Dos Equis with the creation of “The Most Interesting Man in the World.” In tech, Massimine was the media director for Intel’s “Museum of Me,” the aforementioned company’s attempt to join in the social media space, with the visualised creation of an individual’s living catalogue of personal memories, events, and family history. The idea was so advanced for its time, that it attracted Facebook to team up with Intel, providing the platform from-and-for which The Museum would draw and actualise the data.
Massimine’s accomplishments in the video games are nothing if not double in impressive. Since 2006, he has been involved in producorial roles on some of the biggest and most-well-received series of a generation including Bioshock, Resident Evil, The Legend of Zelda, Doom, Wolfenstein, The Elder Scrolls, and the Batman Arkham games. While engaged as the new media producer for the Skylanders series, Massimine conceived “toys-to-life,” a well-known gaming feature that pairs action figures to interact with video games.
Among his projects in Film are BAFTA and Academy Award winners Amy, and Free Solo, Academy Award winner 20 Feet From Stardom, and the international multiple-award-winning gems The Academy of Muses, And Then We Danced, The Death of Louis XIV, and An Elephant Sitting Still, and Have a Nice Day.
In music, Massimine has been a frequent consultant at the behest of major labels to build brand awareness for newcomers and veterans alike. He’s been deployed to work on image development and visibility of artists in a long roster including Queen Aretha Franklin, Lily Allen, Alicia Keys, Maroon 5, the late Tom Petty and Amy Winehouse. Massimine’s greatest noted achievement in music came with Jason Mraz’s single release of “I’m Yours,” wherein Massimine engineered the radio campaign strategy which kept the song on the Hot 100 for 76 straight weeks, which at the time set the record for most weeks spent on the chart.
Not least of all, at 27, this juggernaut of advertising, video games cinema, and music was appointed as the youngest CEO in American professional theatre, as the Chief of the over century-old National Yiddish Theatre. Before that, Massimine had earned a Tony Award nomination for Green Day’s American Idiot (which also went on to win a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album). Most meaningful during his tenure, Massimine was instrumental in bringing Yiddish back to Broadway with the stage play Indecent (which gave him his second Tony Award nomination), and Massimine is credited as the ‘driving force’ behind the universally-lauded production of Fiddler on the Roof (In Yiddish) directed by Academy Award winner Joel Grey.
For the past two years Massimine has been the managing director of Pioneer Theatre Company in the states. He and his co-leader creative director Karen Azenberg have just announced a planned returned to live performance in the Fall.
When asked about the future of live performance Massimine responded: “We’re not going anywhere. Pioneer Theatre Company has been vigilant about weathering the storm. We’ve aligned our priorities with empathy, ensuring we were able to return our staff to their jobs, we reaffirmed our commitment to the local community, and we’ve started reevaluating practices that are due for change. I believe live performance is ready to mark its return. I also believe audiences think they are ready for that return. The reality of packing theatres again may take a little longer to achieve. Rest assured, however, our Industry will rise, again. I believe I have only been as successful as I have because of my start in live performance. There is a work ethic and resiliency shared in live performance few other Industries offer. Since live performance, is, well, live, we have to be ready to make substantial directional changes in real time. In such, the planning for multiple eventualities is a constant. There’s no room for complacency because there is always change. This is why I am convinced, in perhaps this, the most adaptive of times, that live performance will prevail. Karen and I are looking forward to seeing people back in the theatre this Fall.”
To learn more about Massimine and Imagine Tomorrow LLC visit imaginetomorrowllc.com.