From flexibility to timely execution to “realness,” indie producer Brandon Killion, President of Bright Bay Creative (Droppin’ Cash), offers insights on breaking through in a cluttered media landscape.
Be a Solution Service Provider For ALL Buyers – Proficiency in all content areas including short form, long form, scripted, branded, live streaming and so forth is essential to maximize business opportunities today. In this market, I don’t believe niche positioning is as important as it once was. The single strength formula is tantamount to self-editing, and it just leaves too much work on the table. For mid-sized, privately owned companies like Bright Bay, it’s essential to have a range of expertise, offerings and solutions, from higher price premium content to lower cost repeatable programming. The ability to deliver quality content across all genres and formats is key going forward for creators. To grow is to build new relationships, and to build new relationships is to be able to say yes to new opportunities.
Make Promises AND Deliver on Them – The ability to deliver on what is promised or sold is obviously essential to the success of the series, but too often there’s a gap between concept sale and execution reality – quality and timely execution is a superpower. Every salesman can make promises, but delivering on them in an impactful way takes a producer. My time at Original Productions with Thom Beers taught me that. Thom is a great salesman, sure, but he’s also a producer, a real producer, and he delivered, which is integral to the success and reputation of his company and certainly a core value for us at Bright Bay. I am also an attorney, so I put an enormous amount of consideration into the way our deals are structured and am hands-on in moving them forward.
Challenges of Being an Independent Producer – Given the massive shifts in all things content over the past few years, I think the biggest challenge as an independent producer is the slow speed of change on both the seller and buyer sides. I’d like to see more risk, trust and partnerships. We’re all chasing talent, formats, views, and ad dollars, and everyone wants lightning in a bottle. But when you really take a look around the current landscape, you realize it’s gotten harder to pin down. We’re in a major moment of growth and innovation, and yet the business processes haven’t really kept up with the speed and generation of the creative. This is a unique and amazing industry, but it inherently comes with risk. Trying to eliminate it, as opposed to embracing it, delays the creative leaps necessary to grow with and deliver for our audiences.
Benefits of Being an Independent Producer – A simple concept done well will always perform better than a complicated one. As an indie production house, we have the ability to be nimbler in our approach to programming. Where many prodcos and studios are under pressure to check a bunch of boxes to get to a final product, we come at development with the perspective that a good thing done simply is better and more efficient for everyone involved. Season two of Droppin’ Cash, our Netflix series, just dropped on Wednesday and is a great example. We took the idea of following a “day in the life” of celebrities spending big money, and sourced a broad pool of breakthrough talent (such as Fetty Wap, Bella Thorne, Deandre Ayton and many others), and packaged it so that it is engaging, fast-paced and also reflects premium production quality.
We’ve built an incredibly talented, aggressive and resourceful team at Bright Bay, which has allowed us to remain celebrity friendly and creatively flexible. We prioritize creating situations that are organic and allow subjects to tell their own stories, and that perspective has helped us secure great, collaborative relationships with talent across music, film, sports and more. Whether we’re following car expert Tyler Hoover obsessively buying and flipping vehicles on Car Issues (FYI), or the NFL’s top talent buying over-the-top gifts for the people who have supported them on Play It Forward (Yahoo! Sports), “realness” and passion are critical in our development process. We ascribe to the idea that using a lighter touch, choosing titles that tell the audience exactly what they are getting and making authentic content will always drive eyeballs, and most importantly make it easy and enjoyable for viewers to consume.
Survey and Adapt to Where the Business is Going – In time, all businesses go to commodity and the content distribution business is already doing so in its own way. Whether through disruption, or via merger and acquisition, platforms like Netflix, Disney+ and HBOMax are becoming the NBC’s, CBS’s and ABC’s of the post-cable age. Good content is good content no matter where you watch it, and we see the influx of platforms as just more opportunity to do business, and to tailor the right content for the right buyer.
Timing is everything and as a producer you have to constantly strive to stay ahead of the curve and adapt both quickly and strategically.