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CAA vet Wendy Smith has joined Rockstar Games co-founder Dan Houser’s Absurd Ventures as chief operating officer of the media and entertainment company.
Absurd Ventures was launched in June by Houser, who spent more than 20 years as lead writer and creative director for Rockstar’s games and game series, which sold more than 500 million units, including Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption.
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Smith will oversee business operations, finance, communications, legal, HR, external partnerships and philanthropy for the new company, which has a focus on creating characters and worlds that can be expressed in many different forms, including video games, TV, film and a wide range of multiplatform content.
“Introducing new IP into the world is hard — games take a long time to produce and are very expensive,” Smith told Variety. “We mitigate that risk through smaller outputs on projects – whether it’s graphic novels, podcasts or television. Our intention is to Introduce those characters and stories and build audience along the way. As with every step we’ve taken thus far, we are being intentional about the strategy and the rollout of that strategy.”
Smith says that, while Absurd Ventures may have been in “stealth mode” since before its official launch in June, “we have been busy,” adding: “We will have more announcements in the weeks ahead about projects that we’re already in pre-production and production on those IP universes.”
Previously head of communications at CAA for seven years, Smith has also held senior brand, strategy and producing positions at Ralph Lauren, Hyatt, Forbes Tate Partners and The New Yorker. She worked on the presidential campaign for Bill Clinton and subsequently at the White House as special assistant to the president.
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