It takes a whole lot of people to make a movie happen. It takes a whole lot of (non-Hollywood) stars to align to make it great. The task list is never-ending when it comes to making a movie get off the ground, and even more work to make it a hit. Movie producer Richard Iott should know, he was Executive Producer on many successful movies including “Insight” which he co-produced with GC Pix as well as “Happily After,” “Separation Anxiety,” and “Glass City” which he collaborated with Glass City Films. As founder of Braeburn Entertainment, producer Rich Iott knows that in order for a movie to be successful, it has to be marketable. “If you want to make it big in the movie industry, you have to convince other people to finance it, if not, you might find out it’s not such a good idea after all,” says Rich.
A movie involves various locations, actors, costumes, music and so many other things. But one of the key ingredients of making a movie is passion. Without it, the hard work can’t really be justified and it makes it harder for the team to keep going. Making a movie takes long hours on a day-to-day basis, which can equal months or even years before it appears on the silver screen. Without passion which leads to motivation, it’s practically impossible to make it happen. Passion is required from the movie producer, the movie director, the actors and other people that are supporting the endeavor. “Making a movie is truly a team effort. Every person relies on another individual. The actors can’t do their job if the writers don’t do their part. The director can’t implement his vision if the actors don’t do their job and so on,” says Executive Producer Rich Iott. “It is the ultimate team sport.”
Great acting, of course, is another crucial part of making a great movie. Great acting means the audience can’t really see or feel that the actor on screen is actually performing. The “act” feels real, allowing the audience to believe the dialogue, monologue, story and reactions of other characters involved. “For a little while, the audience forgets that what they’re seeing on the screen is a story for the sake of entertainment. If the acting is great, to the audience, everything that’s happening is real,” says founder of Braeburn Entertainment. Think of Heath Ledger in the “Dark Night” and his portrayal of madness. He truly epitomized “being crazy.” He did not “act crazy”, he just was. Great actors are truly invested in their roles, sometimes having to learn and acquire new skills to really play the character. This includes performing their own stunts (to the dismay of the insurance companies), learning new skills or even a new language or accent. There are ‘players’ and there are ‘actors’. Think John Wayne versus Johnny Depp. They were/are both extremely good at what they do; but what they do is totally different.
We all know about the powerful entertaining abilities the movies have, but did you know how much impact it could really have? Take for example the latest blockbuster hit at the movie theater, “The Hunger Games.” In it, the heroine named Katniss played by Jennifer Lawrence is said to participate in the televised series also by the same name and travels to The Capitol to train for the games. Her training consisted of archery, rock and tree climbing, combat, running and yoga. Thanks to “The Hunger Games” archery has become more popular overnight. The staff at Bass and Pro Shop in Olathe, Kansas City say fans of the book and movie are flocking to see them to learn how to perfect their skills with the bow and arrow. Members of archery associations such as Independence Bow Hunters are now making appearances at schools and youth functions due to the increases interest in the sport.
“It’s fascinating for someone like me who’s in the entertainment industry to see how a blockbuster hit has a ripple effect in other areas, from small businesses to sports, even locations, says Executive Producer Rich Iott. “Thanks to ‘The Hunger Games’ archery clubs and retailers across the nation are reporting unprecedented interest in the bow and arrow sport.” There are reports of over a 230% increase in archery equipment alone. Even the soundtrack of the movie was popular, making Taylor Swift an even bigger star thanks to her “Safe and Sound” song. It reached number one on the iTunes charts in just 12 hours. “The album debuted at number#1 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart, selling 175,000 copies in its first week. It was the first since Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” to debut at #1,” says founder of Braeburn Entertainment Rich Iott.
Another after-effect of “The Hunger Games” includes the abandoned mill town where the heroine, Katniss, of the movie lived. It’s part of a 72-acre parcel which the owner hopes will sell now for $1.4 million. This slum that’s about 60 miles northwest of Charlotte has been for sale for several years, but is now getting so much more attention because of the popularity of the movie. “I learned the owner was trying to sell for two years and a half, for about $400,000 with no success,” says movie producer Rich. The abandoned mill town has 20 vacant houses and a general store. In 1905, this village was home to a cotton mill, a general store, a boarding house and 35 homes for mill workers and their families. “Seems like ‘The Hunger Games’ was right on target, says founder of Braeburn Entertainment Richard Iott.
Unless you were living under a rock, you must have heard about “The Hunger Games” by now. This science fiction film is based on the popular novel written by Suzanne Collins. It stars a bunch of young actors such as Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks and many more celebrities. The movie has taken the number one spot at the box office for quite some time now, slowly making these actors Hollywood’s new it-celebs. “It’s even making some of the shooting locations famous in their own right,” says producer Rich Iott. The founder of Braeburn Entertainment is referring to the abandoned mill town where the heroine of “The Hunger Games” lived which is part of a 72-acre parcel the owner hopes will sell now for $1.4 million. This slum that’s about 60 miles northwest of Charlotte has been for sale for several years, but is now getting so much more attention.
Producer Rich Iott says “This is the second movie based on a novel that’s done very well in the past few months, just like ‘The Artist’ that won Best Picture at the Academy Awards.” “The Hunger Games” takes place in a post-apocalyptic future in the nation of Panem which includes a wealthy city known as The Capital and 12 poorer districts. As punishment for rebelling against the government, the Capitol initiated the Hunger Games. These Games are a televised event where a boy and a girl from each of the districts are to fight in arena until there’s one remaining winner. “I heard ’The Hunger Games’ set the record for the third best-opening weekend box office sales of any movie with $152.5 million in North America,” Richard says. There are reports that say even archery has become more with plenty of movie fans trying the bow and arrow sport.
As producer of his own entertainment production company, Richard has his own opinion on the movies being produced these days.” The ability to digitally create everything from special effects has somewhat numbed our imagination,” Rich says. The founder of Braeburn Entertainment, also a Drama college major, produced a few of his own successful movies. “Insight,” a thriller which he co-produced with GC Pix, was directed by Richard Gabai, as well as a few co-produced with Glass City Films including “Separation Anxiety” and “Happily After.” Even Rich’s daughter is in the entertainment industry, acting, writing working in movie production services. “Yes, just like some of our other businesses and hobbies, movie-making is another family affair,” says producer Rich.
When looking at Richard Iott’s career and personal life, it’s clear that this former politician likes to keep busy. The lifelong Ohio resident has held various titles and still does, from grocer and volunteer firefighter to deputy commander and parachutist to scuba diver, race car driver, pilot and so much more. Rich took over the family business and became Chief Executive Officer of Seaway Food for a few years before he retired in 2000. He’s held every other imaginable position within this regional supermarket chain since the age of 15 years old. Richard has also been part of the Ohio Military Reserve since 1983. These days he’s focusing on his true passion: film. Rich Iott is founder of Braeburn Entertainment, producing movies and collaborating with other production companies.
Throughout his years with Seaway Food Town, Rich has been a very big part of his community. “I grew up with the guiding principle of giving back,” he explains. There’s even an Iott Foundation supporting Catholic education. “I attended many fundraising galas, was on the board of countless organizations and was always involved in local activities such as the Toledo Welcome Home Parade during the First Gulf War. During his career at Seaway Food Town, Richard Iott co-hosted many events as well as television shows such as the Easter Seal Live Telethon. “I co-hosted ‘Town Talk’ which was Toledo’s #1 Saturday morning radio talk show for six years,” Rich explains. The former politician was also Food Town Supermarkets’ spokesperson from 1990 to 2000. He also co-hosted two live television telethons for the Easter Seal Society.
So what does it take to be a good TV co-host? Besides keeping up on worldwide news, local issues and community events, there is more to hosting a show. For one, you have to be comfortable in front of a camera and of course, people. “You have to be interesting and engaging. Personal style has a lot to do with it as well. You have to have an ease with keeping the conversation going and be relatable to people,” Rich explains. On camera, you have to come off relaxed, keep a good, confident posture and think on your feet. That’s why being at ease and present is crucial. You have to be able to organize your thoughts and share them as you go. A great sense of humor always helps, especially if you’ve made a “mistake” on air. Its “live” television and things never go 100% as planned. Having a sense of humor about it, helps you put it behind you right away and continue the conversation. “In a way, you define the voice of the show…you are the voice,” Rich explains.
There’s no doubt that co-hosting requires great communication skills, along with some personality and the ability to use your voice as a tool.
“There’s an old filmmakers’ axiom that says ‘you should always make films with other people’s money’. While at first it may seem a bit crass, when one really analyses the statement, there is a lot of truth and sound logic in it,” says founder of Braeburn Entertainment Rich Iott. For the former President of Seaway Food Town, if you want to stay in the business for a long time, your films have to be marketable. “If you can’t convince other people to finance it, maybe it’s not such a hot product after all,” explain Rich. “And if you as a producer think it’s so hot, then you’re thinking about your personal investment may be clouded and biased.”
Having produced many successful films including “Insight” and “Separation Anxiety” and worked with plenty of production companies such as GC Pix, Rich Iott knows there are exceptions to this rule. “There are exceptions like for example Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ”, but they are just that, exceptions,” Rich explains. This 2004 Mel Gibson film was about the last twelve hours of Jesus of Nazareth’s life. Mel Gibson directed “The Passion of the Christ” and co-produced it with Bruce Davey and Steve McEveety. “My daughter, Devon, also passionate about the entertainment industry, was fortunate to have interned with Gibson’s Icon Productions , where she had the opportunity to meet him.” Rich says.
For the President of Braeburn Entertainment, the process of deciding whether or not to produce a movie involves shopping the project around to acquisition agents at different distributors to get their take on it. “It isn’t very often that they’ll commit to purchasing it, but they have a good feel for what sells,” explains Rich. “Occasionally they’ll agree to a ‘Minimum Guarantee’ (MG) which means they’ll buy certain rights: foreign sales, domestic television or worldwide DVD and so on for an agreed upon amount, possibly half the production costs.” Knowing that half the costs are covered makes it easier to raise additional funds. The MG though isn’t paid until the production of the movie is over and the product is delivered, so that can also create additional challenges to make the movie come to life.
For Executive Producer Richard Iott, the entertainment industry was always his passion, having majored in drama in college. Today, he shares that passion with various production companies including GC Pix and Glass City Films. This year, Rich is working on a movie called “180” starring Lacey Chabert and Amanda Schull and also has production credits on a film titled “The Closing Broadcast.” “Show business is great. I’ve always loved it. Even in high school, I was creating short films,” Rich says.