Comic-Con wasn't the only place to be last night. Trigger Street President and film producer Dana Brunetti
(THE SOCIAL NETWORK, 21) spoke at Talenthouse
in Palo Alto, CA. The event was sponsored by the Palo Alto Intl Film Festival and moderated by Scripped
Co-founder and CEO Sunil Rajaraman
Sunil Rajaraman and Dana Brunetti (Photo courtesy of Malte Goesche)
Brunetti is best known as a producer of successful films and being part of the latest buzz in the TV industry (Netflix’s first foray into original series, David Fincher’s “House Of Cards
”), but the attractive Silicon Valley audience was just as interested in how he get started in the film / entertainment world.
The tenacious Brunetti met Kevin Spacey 13 years ago while working at a startup cellphone company. The two hit it off and Spacey asked Brunetti to join him on a project in England as his assistant. A few years later he convinced Spacey to launch TriggerStreet.com
, an offshoot from Spacey’s production company. The website continues to serve as a platform for feedback and exposure for undiscovered writing and filmmaking talent.
Kevin Spacey, Ben Mezrich and Dana Brunetti (Photo courtesy of The Accidental Billionaires:Facebook page)
An eye for which he has himself. While working in Las Vegas, Brunetti took a liking to blackjack and how to win. There was local talk of how MIT students took down the casinos. As chance would have it, Brunetti saw Ben Mezrich’s
article on the topic in WIRED magazine. Not knowing Mezrich had written an entire book (Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions
) he Googled Mezrich in hopes to contact him about making it into a movie.
A cold call and Mezrich’s own Googling of Brunetti later, the two began talking. The new found partnership led to the making of 21 and THE SOCIAL NETWORK (based on The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal).
THE SOCIAL NETWORK (Columbia Pictures)
When asked how he chooses his projects, Brunetti replied he makes films a guy like he would like to see. “I won’t make EAT. PRAY. LOVE,” he joked.
In a play on the popular “Chick Lit” genre for women’s literature, he refers to the Mezrich’s work as “Dick Lit”: books about guys doing amazing things that guys like to read. Brunetti said he and Mezrich’s partnership works so well, there is no written agreement between them. The two are planning on making Mezrich’s next book (Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History
) into a movie too, according to KCRW’s The Business
The room’s interest turned to Brunetti’s perspective on Netflix distributing their own series, “House Of Cards”
(starring Kevin Spacey in a remake by Media Rights Capital of the BBC series) and Silicon Valley’s role in creating content vs. Hollywood. He didn’t mince any words.
“Silicon Valley should take over Hollywood. Silicon Valley should start making content,” Brunetti proclaimed. “Netflix creating original content is a game changer."
Dana Brunetti (Photo courtesy of Sandra Ponce de Leon)
When asked about Netflix’s success at quantitative analysis and if he has access to it, Brunetti responded that he hasn’t, but that he’s sure Netflix would analyze the value of talent such as Fincher and Spacey in a series to their subscribers and base their deal on the data.
Brunetti feels Amazon, Hulu and Fandor will join Netflix and produce their own content forcing networks the likes of HBO to be offered a la carte in the next 5 years. Or so he hopes.
Not if the cable industry has anything to say about their tiered system. We shall see.
In keeping with the Bay Area locale, Brunetti likened another show he is developing will be for Silicon Valley what “Entourage” was for Hollywood. The details are not announced yet. (Correction:
ODW mistakenly connect Brunetti to Media Rights Capital’s
other new series "iCON" with fledgling network Epix
. "iCON" is a satire by Larry Charles also set in Silicon Valley.)
Living here, I’ll want to watch both, but if they makes Silicon Valley more like Hollywood, I’m not sure that is a good thing. (Bring the talent, but please leave the velvet ropes in LA).
I also wonder how upstart distributors and series will be received by the TV industry. Will the Emmy’s® acknowledge them the way the Oscars® welcomed THE SOCIAL NETWORK? The TV establishment is more insular. It’s not all about awards, but it sure helps (see AMC’s “Mad Men”).
Brunetti encouraged would-be filmmakers and creatives to be passionate about the projects they choose in Talenthouse’s apt venue. He certainly came across as someone who embodies this philosophy. Did you know in addition to everything else, he is creating a podcast network, making him a triple-threat?
This is definitely not the last we’ve heard of Dana Brunetti. Whether in Hollywood, Silicon Valley or his work on the screen, however you watch TV and movies these days.
Dana Brunetti (Photo courtesy of Dana Brunetti tumblr)
The Bay Area welcomes such hard working innovators. Hopefully we’ll see more the likes of Dan Brunetti move and create here and not just visit. And maybe as soon as the inaugural Palo Alto Intl Film Festiva
l (SEP 29 – OCT 2).
- Britt Bensen
Britt is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-founder of On Demand Weekly. He is the former head of Affiliate Marketing and VOD for Sundance Channel. Prior to Sundance Chanel, Britt worked for Miramax Films and BMI.
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