Mini Bio (1)
John Ptak was born in San Diego, California. He began his career in the entertainment industry in 1969 when, after graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles, he joined the staff of The American Film Institute, where he was part of the team that established AFI's Center for Advanced Studies in Los Angeles. As a student, he had worked as a theatre manager and film programmer for Stanley Warner Theatres, The Walter Reade Organization and the Laemmle Theatres in Los Angeles, as well as for UCLA. In 1971, he became an agent with International Famous Agency, now ICM, moving to the William Morris Agency in 1976 and to Creative Artists Agency in 1991, where he became a partner. He left CAA in 2006 to form his own company, Arsenal, which provides advisory services to film production companies and financiers, including the sourcing and securing of financing, distribution arrangements and talent for independent films.
As an agent, Ptak was principally involved in the representation of motion picture talent, with an emphasis on directors, producers and independent films. Early in his career he was directly involved with setting up such films as AIRPLANE, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, COAL MINER'S DAUGHTER, JAWS, NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION and TAXI DRIVER. His personal clients included directors and producers such as Bruce Beresford, Brian De Palma, Costa Gavras, Terry Gilliam, Scott Hicks, David Lynch, Wolfgang Peterson, Michael & Julia Philips, Sydney Pollack, Paul Schrader, Ridley Scott, Tony Scott and Peter Weir, as well as production companies such as Intermedia, Miramax, National Lampoon and Rysher Entertainment. At CAA, he created a consultancy structure that would enable talent agents to represent the financing and distribution arrangements of independent films, which resulted in his representation of over 100 films, working with his own clients as well as with Woody Allen, Kenneth Branagh, Jane Campion, Kevin Costner, Paul Haggis, Anthony Minghella and Phillip Noyce on such films as CRASH, DANCES WITH WOLVES, DRIVING MISS DAISY, EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU, FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, HANNIBAL, LOST HIGHWAY, THE MEXICAN, THE PAINTED VEIL, THE PIANO, THE QUIET AMERICAN, SARAFINA, SLIDING DOORS, SWINGERS, THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY and TRUE ROMANCE.
He has participated in transactions ranging from talent employment and production financing to the territorial sales of motion picture distribution rights worldwide, as well as the structuring of many international treaty co-productions, including Terry Gilliam's THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS, Ridley Scott's 1492, Wolfgang Peterson's SHATTERED, Vincent Ward's MAP OF THE HUMAN HEART, Peter Weir's GREENCARD, Peter Howitt's LAWS OF ATTRACTION and Wim Wenders' UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD. He was a key executive in CAA's corporate consultancy arrangements, working with such clients as Boeing Digital Cinema, Coca-Cola, IMAX, and the French bank, Credit Lyonnais, with whom, from 1992 to 1995, he participated in the restructuring of MGM and the rebirth of United Artists. He was an Executive Producer of Peter Weir's THE WAY BACK, Matt Reeves' LET ME IN, Terry Gilliam's DR. PARNASSUS and Peter Howitt's REASONABLE DOUBT.
Ptak is a member of The National Film Preservation Board, the American Archive of Public Broadcasting Advisory Council and The National Film Preservation Foundation. He's also served on advisory boards and panels for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The National Endowment for the Arts, UCLA, Loyola Marymount University and Chapman University, as well as The Motion Picture & Television Foundation, where he played a key role in its alliance with the UCLA Health System.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Arsenal Assistant