For every winning idea such as the Client Stock Index, how many innovations have you introduced at kbs+p that simply slipped through the cracks or didn’t pick up steam?
Since you returned to Hearst last year as president of the publisher’s magazine division, you created a position called head of content extension. What does that mean?
You’re in charge of [advertising agency] Rooster’s branded entertainment, among other creative duties. It sounds like you’ve retained the voice you had at Vice magazine. Rooster hasn’t restricted you?
Leading up to the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Newlyweds, you extensively tweeted about its limited budget, $9,000. I get the feeling you like shoestring budgets. I absolutely love it. I had sort of a blessing in that my most successful film, critically and commercially, was The Brothers McMullen, which I made for $25,000 with a three-man crew and nonprofessional actors. Quite honestly, I didn’t know how to make films. I was learning how to act on the fly. And, so, I’ve always viewed that as like having a secret weapon. It’s a hard business getting independent films made and even harder making them with the studios. But if they ever kick me out of the club or they throw me in director’s jail, I can always find $25,000 to make a new film. Is working fast on a tight budget a skill set that directors of big blockbusters have? It’s a completely different skill set. And while I’m probably not the guy to hire for the $200 million Captain America film, the guy who made that is probably not the guy to hire to do the $9,000, run-and-gun, shoot-in-available-light New York indie film. Your movie Purple Violets premiered exclusively on iTunes. Did the experiment work? Yes it did work, but up to a point. What we found was when we took Purple Violets out to the marketplace, we got a distribution offer, but it was sort of this new style of distribution offer that you were getting from the specialized distribution companies where they were doing no-advance acquisitions. The back-end deals were much more favorable, where you would do a 50-50 split after they recouped their costs, but they weren’t giving you any advance on the movie. Listen: I’m not the first guy to complain about Hollywood bookkeeping, but you never see any of the profits. And the other thing happening was specialized films were dying on the vine theatrically.
While hosting friends at his Montreal home, Sri Lankan-born Duleepa “Dups” Wijayawardhana struck upon a novel idea for a website. Similar to the grand epiphany that inspired Facebook, the revelation came several six-packs into what would become a very boozy night.
When is an advertising agency not an advertising agency? What is a shop that makes ads, but isn’t principally interested in selling products? Actually, in addition to ads, it often makes documentaries, Web series, builds sites and apps, and pitches reality shows. Still, it’s not just a production house, nor necessarily an interactive agency.