John Tarnoff is a reinvention career coach, speaker and author who helps late-career professionals transition to meaningful and sustainable careers beyond traditional retirement. Fired 39% of the time over his 35-year career as a Los Angeles-based film producer, studio executive and tech entrepreneur, he reinvented himself at age 50, launching a career focused on professional development, education and training.
A strategic, future-focused communicator and connector of people and ideas, John has held eighteen positions over his career, as talent agent, studio executive, film and video game producer, project manager, and program developer. His reinvention curriculum is a natural outgrowth of his own journey of self-discovery.
Starting his entertainment career in film distribution in the ‘70s, he became a literary agent launching the careers of writers and directors including John Landis, Martha Coolidge, Michael Mann and Douglas Day Stewart. In the ‘80s, he developed and supervised the production of movies for Warner Bros, Columbia, MGM and others, including Diner, The Year of Living Dangerously, Pink Floyd The Wall, and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. As entertainment software technology emerged in the ‘90s, he produced CD-ROM titles for MGM Interactive, Broderbund and MediaX. Along with multimedia artist Robit Hairman, he co-founded the technology startup Talkie Inc. during the dotcom “bubble,” developing artificial intelligence-enabled conversational animated characters for customer service applications. Clients included Sprint, Progressive Insurance, AT&T and Scottrade.
When the bubble burst, and his start-up along with it, John’s career hit a wall. At age 50, he went back to school, earned a Master’s degree, and reinvented a new direction for himself in entertainment, where he was hired to serve as Head of Show Development for DreamWorks Animation from 2003-2009. In this new role, he developed culture-changing creative leadership training and college recruiting programs that helped the company earn a place on both Forbes’ and Fortune’s “100 Best Places to Work” lists.
Since 2010, he has been committed fulltime to education and training, serving as a graduate level professor and Head of Industry Relations for Carnegie Mellon University’s Los Angeles-based Master of Entertainment Industry Management program. In 2014, he launched his Boomer Reinvention® career coaching program to support older workers in prolonging their careers past traditional retirement, and addressing the entrepreneurial challenges and opportunities of the digital age. He is the author of the Amazon best-seller, Boomer Reinvention: How to Create Your Dream Career Over 50. In 2017, he was named a Top Influencer in Aging by PBS/NextAvenue.