For movie producer Rich Iott, the Academy Awards have become somewhat irrelevant. “They’ve become terribly politicized, a bunch of millionaires patting each other on the back,” he says. As the founder of Braeburn Entertainment, there’s no doubt that for Rich the entertainment world is first a passion, then a business. “I use to create feature films when I was in high school and in college I majored in drama,” Rich recalls. Eventually, Rich took on the family business and made a career for himself with Seaway Food Town, a chain of 75 supermarkets and drugstores. He was elected President in 1989, elected Chief Executive Officer in 1997 and retired in 2000.
The Entertainment industry however was his first passion. So the recent Academy Awards were something movie producer Richard Iott is definitely opinionated about. The former political candidate thinks the Oscars are no longer really in synch with the viewing public. “ ‘The Artist’ as Best Picture? It was a novel. Well done and a bit of a risk, but Best Picture?” Rich wonders. For this movie producer the quality of movies coming out of mainstream Hollywood has declined. One movie that does stand out for Rich Iott is the latest to hit the theaters, called “Act of Valor.” “It’s an excellent movie,” he says.
The founder of Braeburn Entertainment found the “Act of Valor’s” story a little predictable, but the fact that the six main characters were real active duty SEALS made up for it. “Several actual missions that Spec Ops has done in the past few years were woven into one story. All of the action and stunts in the movie, were things that these guys really do in real life,” Rich explains. “All of the high-tech wizardry is real, current-day, operational Navy hardware in action, not some screenwriter’s fantasy,” he continues.
These days Richard finds that many of the successful movies hide behind fantasy worlds and computer graphics. “In some respects, the ability to digitally create everything from special effects to entire, populated worlds has numbed our imaginations and grossly inflated our expectations,” he explains. With his successful movie-making company, Braeburn Entertainment, Rich was able to produce films he’s very proud of… with great stories, complex characters and wonderful collaborations in the production world. He produced a thriller in 2011 called “Insight” with actors Sean Patrick Flanery and Christopher Lloyd and co-produced it with GC Pix. Richard Iott also produced “Separation Anxiety.” This successful movie appeared in significant film festivals including 2011 Columbus International Film and Video Festival (Honorable Mention) and the 2011 Grand Rapids Film Festival.
On Sunday, February 26, millions of people sat in front of their television, at the edge of their seat, in anticipation of the Academy Award winners revelations. Millions watched as one by one of the nominees paraded their red carpet fashions, gave interviews and waited (also in anticipation) to hopefully pick up their Oscars. 2012 was the Academy’s 84th year recognizing the best of the best in the entertainment industry. This year, stiff competition took center stage as George Clooney and Brad Pitt were nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role, creating even more buzz for Hollywood’s biggest night.
In the end, it’s newcomer Frenchman Jean Dujardin who won Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of George Valentin, a silent film star who was unwilling to make the transition to talking movie pictures. This year’s was Jean Dujardin’s first Academy Award nomination. This wasn’t the only award for the “The Artist.” The film also took the Best Picture Title, making Producer Thomas Langmann a very happy man. Show business is a family affair for now famous Producer, just like for Executive Producer Rich Iott who shares his love for the movies with his a daughter who’s also in the entertainment industry.
For Producer Richard Iott, the entertainment word was always his passion. In 2008, the former Chief Executive Officer of Seaway Food town founded Braeburn Entertainment. Rich has been backing remarkable movies ever since, including the thriller “Insight.” “We had the wonderful Movie Director Richard Gabai on Insight and worked with GC Pix,” Richard says. Braeburn Entertainment also produced “Separation Anxiety” with the help of Glass City Films which appeared in significant film festivals including the 2011 Columbus International Film and Video Festival (Honorable Mention) and the 2011 Trail Dance Film Festival (Best Director).
Thomas Langmann’s father was Claude Berri , an actor and producer of some of France’s finest films including “Jean de Florette” and “Manon of the Springs.” It has been well-publicized that Thomas Langmann borrowed money and sold his house to make “The Artist” come to life. Then he met Harvey Weinstein and, as they say in show business, the rest is history. “We did this movie as a tribute to Hollywood,” Thomas was quoted saying. This silent, black and white movie was up against stiff competition: “The Descendants,” “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” “MoneyBall,” “War Horse,” “The Help,” “Hugo,” “Midnight in Paris” and “The Tree of Life.”
The stars delivering their acceptance speeches weren’t the only must-see moments of the night. Who can forget Cirque Du Soleil’s once-in-a-lifetime magical performance. There were over 50 artists, acrobats and aerialists showcasing their talent with movie clips from “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “Titanic” and “North By Northwest” as backdrops. Their flips, stunts and tumbles were a reminder to all why the Oscars are Hollywood’s biggest night.
Executive Producer Richard Iott has been in the entertainment industry for quite some time now, enjoying every moment of it. Even his daughter Devon is in show business. She graduated with a degree in Cinema Production from the University of Southern California during which she interned with Icon Production, under the tutelage of Mel Gibson. She has also acted and today has her own production services company, so producing movies is definitely a passion they both share. “I don’t have any technical skills per se, but I’ve re-worked move scripts, helped manage productions and am really passionate about the movie production world,” explains film producer Richard.
After being a successful Chief Executive Officer of Seaway Food Town, a chain of 75 supermarkets and discount drugstores, Rich decided to go back to his first passion: the entertainment industry. In 2008, movie producer Richard Iott founded Braeburn Entertainment. This motion picture investment company has been the force behind many successes including 2011’s “Insight.” This thriller is about an emergency room nurse, Kaitlyn, psychically connected to a young murder victim that she’s taking care of. She turns to a detective on the case for help on solving the case and eventually discovers the brutal truth as well as unexpected lessons about life, love and sorrow. “Insight” features film star Sean Patrick Flanery and Christopher Lloyd. “Insight was directed by Richard Gabai and co-produced with GC Pix,” Rich Iott says.
“Separation Anxiety” is another movie produced by Braeburn Entertainment. This movie was co-produced with production house Glass City Films. It’s about three childhood friends in their twenties, Bailey, Quinn and Jess, who come to terms with their relationships as they grieve over the loss of their best friend and the mystery behind the death. The movie stars Tyler Seiple, Kiana Harris, Corbin Jones, Emmy winner John Wesley Shipp and Drama Desk nomine Polly Adams. It has appeared in significant film festivals including the 2011 Alexandria Film Festival, the 2011 Trail Dance Film Festival (Best Director), the 2011 Columbus International Film and Video Festival (Honorable Mention) and the 2011 Grand Rapids Film Festival.
This year, Rich is working on a film called “180,” with the help of production house GC Pix starring Lacey Chabert, Ethan Embry and Amanda Schull. Executive producer Rich also has production credits on a film called “The Closing Broadcast,” about a young overnight news producer who experiences a horrible nationwide attack through the police scanners in her office, all the while facing the truth about her crumbling relationship. “My life as a grocer was somewhat predestined, movie production and the entertainment world is truly my passion,” Rich says.
Show business, or showbiz if you ask those in the know, consists of all of the aspects of the entertainment industry including both the business and creative side. So showbiz includes managers and agents as well as actors, technicians and executive producers like Rich Iott. Richard is President of Braeburn Entertainment, a movie-making business that has been the force behind numerous films including “Insight,” “Glass City,” “Happily After” and “Separation Anxiety.” “The movie business is a great industry to be in. I always loved it. In fact, even in high school, I was producing and creating movies. In college, I majored in Drama,” Rich explains.
The movie-making business is complex as it involves such different skills depending on which end you’re in. Are you more concerned with the bottom-line and box office dollars? Or are you more interested in the artistic craft of it all? To be successfully films need to generate hundreds of millions of dollars to cover expenses, make profit for both the studio and theaters. Movie theaters typically get a percentage of the sales of the movie tickets and the longer they play a movie, the higher their percentage gets. So for example, the first week a movie runs the studio makes 70% of the cut, the movie theaters only make 30%. But by the third and fourth week of its run, they’re equally splitting the profits, thus the importance of the popularity.
Acting is also part of show business. An actor requires a wide range of skills from vocal projection to physical expressivity to improvisation, and of course a well-developed sense of imagination. Professional actors work in film, on television, on stage, and if they’re lucky, they become celebrities with huge paydays. Many actors, after numerous years in the entertainment industry, decide to cross over to behind the camera. They take on other roles such as film directors or executive producers, which is another way for them to share that passion for show business. “To be good producer, you have to have passion for the film you’re making. You have to be involved and hands-on with every aspect of it,” says Executive Producer Rich Iott.
For Executive Producer Richard Iott, coordinating, taking care of the business and legal issues, being hands-on on a movie set is what he thrives on. “There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get from investing in something you believe in. It’s really magical to see something develop right before your eyes,” he says. Braeburn Entertainment, Rich’s production company, also co-produced “Separation Anxiety” with the collaboration of Glass City Films. “Separation Anxiety” is a film filled with emotional turmoil directed by Cole Simon. It’s about the unlikeliest of friends, twenty-somethings Bailey played by Corbin Jones and Quinn played by Tyler Seiple. Currently, Rich’s movie producing company is in post-production with GC Pix on a film called “180” and has production credits for “Closing Broadcast.”
Richard Iott has always been interested in the entertainment world, since high school when he produced numerous films with the help of a few dedicated friends. These days, he’s taken the hobby to whole new level. Rich founded Braeburn Entertainment where he acts as Executive Producer. On specific films, besides being the financial force behind the project, movie producer Rich is more hands-on and involved in various aspects of actually making the film.
There’s a lot that goes into producing a full-length feature film. A movie producer oversees a film project ensuring the integrity, voice and vision of the movie. Some movie producers, like Rich Iott, sometimes also invest their own money to make the project happen. They are actively involved in the entire process, from the movie’s humble beginnings to its final stages before it makes it onto the silver screen. Richard Iott knows a thing or two about being a good film producer. “There’s a lot of effort that goes into producing a film, a lot of planning, coordinating, and reaching out to other investors to help complete the picture,” he explains.
Rich took a more serious plunge into the movie business when a friend was looking for an investor for what he called his directorial debut. “I was excited about getting involved,” Richard explains. “During the film shoot, I met more people in the entertainment business which led me to more investing.” The rest is Braeburn Entertainment history. – Richard Iott founded his production company to produce the first full live-action (no animation or computer graphics) family movie to be shot in 3D. Since then, Rich has served as Executive Producer on numerous films including “Insight” (available on DVD Feb. 28th) which he co-produced with GC Pix. Braeburn Entertainment also co-produced “Glass City”, “Happily After” and “Separation Anxiety” with the collaboration of Glass City Films. “I have no technical skills. But I’ve reworked scripts, helped cast actors and enjoy the business side of the movies,” Rich explains. Presently, Rich’s movie producing company is in post-production with GC Pix again on a film called “180” and has production credits for “Closing Broadcast.”
Executive Producer Rich Iott says, “Organization is key to being a good movie producer. If you take the time to plan ahead and keep things on track, it makes it easier to manage all of the moving parts.” Those various parts can include anything from getting required permits and legal agreements to renting various equipment, even shutting down a busy main street and having to hire police to direct traffic to keep everyone safe. Negotiation is also a big part of film production. There are so many opportunities to “get a better deal,” that this skill is crucial especially around tight budgets. Decisions about how much to pay for equipment, actors, on-set crew, even location, becomes an exercise in negotiating. Fast decision making is another great skill required on this end of the entertainment business. The environment and other factors can change at a moment’s notice, so being able to think on one’s feet is a great asset to have. “Just think of the weather changing suddenly. You have a ruined shot or worst… a ruined day, possibly costing you thousands of dollars,” Rich explains.
But the most rewarding part of producing movies, Rich says, “is going into a store and seeing your movie on the shelf. You know that you have had a hand in creating something that will entertain people over and over again for decades to come.”