You may know Dana Brunetti from his work producing “The Social Network” or more recently “House of Cards” but you may not know that he started as an assistant for Kevin Spacey. He claims he has built his career through learning by doing, trusting his intuition. He believes that “anyone can be an executive producer”.
Producing “House of Cards” is the perfect example of following intuition. He just knew that this exclusive Netflix series was going to be a game changer. When Spacey expressed initial skepticism Brunetti responded: “We’re doing this show. Trust me. I’ll explain it later.”
In a SXSW featured session “Are We All Producers Now?” Zuckerberg Media’s Randi Zuckerberg interviewed Brunetti on his career, artistic decisions, attention to social media and the content producing culture of today.
“Everyone has the ability to film and produce a video with their smart phone. It’s a fantastic time for content creators,” said Brunetti.
Brunetti encouraged aspiring producers to trust their gut, make movies (or content) that they would want to see and be mindful to the interests of their audience. During the casting process, he often looks at the actor’s followers on social media and is mindful of their niche community and how this compliments the film or show. He also made sure that everyone in the audience understood that star power isn’t everything. “You don’t have to have a star to make a movie; you just have to have a good story.”
Another common topic at the session was the decision to release the entire season of “House of Cards”. Two percent of all U.S. Netflix subscribers watched the entire season in one weekend following the release. When asked about how this affects the “water-cooler conversation” around a series and spoiler alerts, Burnetti responded by comparing the season to a good book expecting people to discuss the series as they would discuss a novel. He went on to say that a friend “spoiling the plot” is kind of a jerk. Zuckerberg then offered an interesting term “streamcheating” to the discussion. She described this as “cheating on your significant other by watching episodes in the stream without them.”
With any content there will be “lovers and haters”. Zuckerberg asked how Brunetti responds to “the haters”. Brunetti said “I like retweeting haters sometimes because it’s kind of funny […] If you can’t take what the [jerks] online say then this isn’t the job for you.” Consumers and users have a stronger voice today than ever before through social media and the internet. Reviews can make or break a product. Zuckerberg spoke to to this concept, saying “We are living in a world where our audiences now have audiences.”
The take-aways from this session were:
1. Anyone can be a producer
2. Trust your intuition
2. Know your audience