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Blatt preaches ‘Film 101’
If you’re awaiting movies like “Inception,” “The Town,” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” to hit store shelves, you should thank Bruce Blatt when they do.
The Quinnipiac Film Society and the School of Communications sponsored “An Evening with Bruce Blatt” on Nov. 16 in Buckman Theater. Blatt provided insight on film producing, marketing, and tips on how to transition into the film industry, in the seminar he called “Film 101: From Can to Screen.”
As Branch Manager of New York’s Warner Bros. Pictures, Blatt has worked in the film industry nearly 32 years and is responsible for distributing over 500 films.
He works with a team who specifically markets and distributes Warner Bros. Productions to nearly one-third of America.
“We are not considered talent, but we are certainly just as important,” Blatt said.
Blatt originally hoped to work as an engineer or cameraman. He went on to intern at the Metropolitan Opera, where he met the associate producer of the CBS Evening News. He was called for a job interview, and a fellow Brooklyn College alumnus conducted the interview.
Blatt got the job and began working in the mail room. Despite menial tasks, the mail room proved to be a good place to learn valuable industry lessons.
“Don’t assume crap when it involves your future,” Blatt said. “Do what you got to do to get a job.”
Blatt started at the bottom and worked his way to the top after many hours and long days, running errands for actors and helping with casting productions.
Today, Blatt holds a managerial position at one of the major film studios in the country.
As for Quinnipiac students who want a thriving film career, Blatt attributes success to three things: luck, talent, and genes.
“Create a legacy for yourself,” Blatt said. “Your best resources are right here in this theater.”
Blatt stressed how the film industry is based on relationships and networking, which students can start to do with their peers at Quinnipiac.
“Don’t be embarrassed to rely on others,” Blatt said.
His passion for his career while speaking to those in the audience was truly remarkable. Blatt said he loves to help students develop in the industry, especially in the marketing and distribution fields.
Blatt even voluntarily mentors five to six young filmmakers, meeting with them every couple of months. For no compensation, he passes on his knowledge to those he helps.
One young filmmaker Blatt helped is Miguel Aviles.
Aviles is a writer, director, and film school graduate, who has been in the industry for eight years. Blatt allowed Aviles to speak toward the end of his presentation.
“Creating art is one thing … But this industry is a business,” Aviles said.
He highlighted the importance of relying on marketing and distribution methods and well as doing one’s “homework,” to not be taken advantage of.
Aviles won the Tribeca Film Festival last year for “Best Screenplay,” as a writer for his film “44.”
It is evident he learned a great deal from Blatt about how marketing and distribution can make or break a movie’s success.
President of the Quinnipiac Film Society, Caitlin Goldberg, said she was very pleased with the event.
“Bruce Blatt passed along all types of advice, from constantly being aware of your content and the legalities of the work you are creating, to the sincere necessity of networking,” Goldberg said. “Bruce made it apparent that this industry is about personal talent and creativity, knowing people, but also understanding the business in every aspect.”
Goldberg said she values the distribution and marketing information he passed on to students as well as Blatt’s emphasis on using assets readily available to students.
“We need to use each other all the time, and build a friendship and a working relationship in all ways possible,” Goldberg said. “Having Bruce was a tremendous experience and the Quinnipiac Film Society is planning on sponsoring more guest speakers like Bruce in the future.”