Brad Krevoy, co-founder of Motion Picture Corporation of America (MPCA) and a producer of hit Hollywood films, shared insider advice and anecdotes about working in the creative economy with more than 30 students in Scott Hall’s Guild Lounge on October 7.
The three-decade veteran of film and television production was hoping to inspire a new generation of writers, producers, directors, agents, and managers. He urged students — both undergraduate and graduate, School of Communication and beyond — to seek out someone they admire in the industry to secure an internship or apprenticeship and learn the business.
“IMDB or Google the person, say you are a fan and a student at Northwestern and that you’d really like to meet or interview him or her,“ Krevoy advises. “Write a well-written letter to someone you idolize — no email — and befriend the secretary if need be.”
“Show your interest and find a mentor,” he adds.
During his informal, hour-long presentation, Krevoy covered pitching, financing, producing, marketing, and distributing films and television programming. He showed clips from some of his blockbuster comedies such as Dumb and Dumber and Kingpin, as well as the made-for-TV drama Taking Chance. He ended his presentation answering questions and talking with students one-on-one. The event was part of a series sponsored by the School of Communication’s office of External Programs, Internships, and Career Services (EPICS), which offers seminars, workshops, and panels that connect students with industry leaders.
“It all comes down to creativity,” Krevoy says, adding that most of his career triumphs have come from sniffing out originality in scripts, direction, or in young actors on their way up — sometimes in the unlikeliest of places.
“You never know where a creative idea will come from,” he says, recalling how he was handed the script for Dumb and Dumber by its writer, who had stored it under a pile of dirty clothes in the trunk of his grungy car.
Among other tidbits Krevoy revealed were the top three film genres of interest to production companies: horror, comedy, and “urban films” focusing on African American or Latino lives. Additionally, he finds that the most explosive market for film right now is in China.
Krevoy, a Stanford University graduate who studied communications and political science, worked in government and practiced law before taking on Hollywood. It was a chance encounter with producer Roger Korman at a Stanford football game that prompted him to rethink his path. Soon after the meeting, he left his job in law to work in sales and marketing with Korman. To date, Krevoy says, his projects have generated more than $1 billion in revenue.
After he spoke, students lined up to speak with Krevoy. Daniel Dvorkin was among them. As a student in the Master of Science in Leadership for Creative Enterprises (MSLCE) program who has a background in theatre, Krevoy’s presentation was especially helpful to Dvorkin given his aspirations to be a television showrunner.
“I appreciated Krevoy’s breakdown of the genres,” Dvorkin says, “and the market information.”
“I can apply what Krevoy said about the television and film industry to the music industry,” Benjamin Levine, also an MSLCE student, says. “I really enjoyed his description of his ‘unwritten path’ to success.”
Rachel Greenhoe, who is pursuing an MFA in writing, says she was delighted to hear that there are jobs to be had in the entertainment business.
“He inspired me to get out there and kick some butt,” she says.