Damien Navarro


[ 00:00:19 ] Well I never thought that I would be in advertising. I was one of those kids that definitely wanted to tell stories. I’ve been telling them my entire life video was obviously a perfect medium for that. So I went to film school.

[ 00:00:32 ] And shortly after finishing there was a group of us that decided to start doing small commercials local commercials but really we just wanted to you like really cold doc here and script the content. And 15 years later that grew into a pretty successful digital agency. So we were bluechip agency of record for State Farm Scottrade NBC Universal Disney. All those fun places and it was really we were getting hardcore and attack and software and my business partner at the time wanted to dive headfirst into that world which I understood and I wanted to get back to content and kind of find into what I’m doing now.

[ 00:01:27 ] What you’re literally catching me I’m a month out of my month anniversary so not so much has changed. Adam RIDO at the panel here it may be who is our chief creative officer. I gave a little bit of a way of some of the changes that I’m hoping to implement from a business practice in the coming months. Visby started as a publisher right alongside Vice in-vivo and creating music and arts and street content from all over the world. They established an incredible. Filmmakers network that goes well beyond simply wringers but are truly part of our family and they’re in over 80 plus markets. Mark Burnett came in and partnered with envy and with that partnership brought us into a really unique content space of leveraging that incredible network of market scale. As well as commercial quality to develop probably some of the successful retail campaigns in history. One of them being Wal-Mart in which we were delivering you know anywhere of 270 packets of content from these film makers from all over 80 plus markets for commercial production broadcasting and the like. So we’ve been really really successful at doing that. And one of the things though if you look at the success of great big story obviously BuzzFeed and and Sicily’s publisher models. Were really interesting over the years of schooling over the years. We have continued to develop original content with these filmmakers as just test case studies. We are literally sitting on hundreds of hours of vaulted content that has never before seen. And so obviously with not only that operation.

[ 00:03:18 ] But with that vault content it makes perfect sense for us to get back into the publisher space. So in the coming months.

[ 00:03:25 ] We will see more of that so similar to BuzzFeed we give a lot of autonomy to filmmakers within what we refer to as Bimby nation which is is an incredible family of embedded community filmmakers from all over the world. With that we co-developed stories and many of them are stories of obviously human interest. And passion dueting everything that we’ve done for brands.

[ 00:03:57 ] But we really want to see what with the chops of these these kids family members and and what we refer to as our predators are right these predator prey producer writer editors directors some are more on that tour side and some of them are definitely more on like the shorts short docu series side.

[ 00:04:15 ] The story is that although we’ve been able to cultivate our ones of compassion of innovation entrepreneurship many stories from the heartland specifically that just haven’t been told. We talk a lot about the disconnect that media and entertainment in broadcast has with middle America. And have seen the outcome of that even as recent as the most recent election. And one of the things that Bimby is really excited about as we are sitting on gems of content that would really help us connect more effectively with those people because you can’t help but listen to their stories. And because the embedded filmmakers from those communities and we get access like you’ve never before seen. So what we’re hoping for is working with not just brands but with other publishers where white label for a number of large publishers and looking at opportunities in which we can distribute these stories through specific channels that make sense. So two ways in which publishers can work with and be the first is to simply task US was finding really incredible stories stories and which make perfect sense for for their media their publishing point of view their worldview.

[ 00:05:40 ] The other side though is legitimately turning that publisher’s editor in chief you know scale a network and putting them layering them directly over our filmmakers network where they can actually test for specific stories. The ability for any major story break to be captured from the lens of so many different perspectives and as little as 24 hours at times is very attractive to a lot of major publishers that are responsible for being that responsive in really intricate ways. So what we’re hoping to do is to create more of those relationships. The other thing that’s kind of the major differentiator is that obviously broadcast news has been able to capture stories on a dime using a very complex network of stringers and affiliates. But one of the things that we feel is lacking is the authenticity of those stories as well as the commercial quality of the stories both of which we’re really attempting to solve with our approach.

[ 00:06:54 ] Brands and publishers have very limited insight into the network. Or should I say control. All of our producers out of headquarters in Los Angeles are really the intermediary. So they are responsible for obviously isolating the threads the stories in which either the brands or publishers are interested in telling. And then I can tell you the war rooms and the white Portie sessions they go on. I’ve identified the perfect filmmaker for those stories. And then we co-produced those stories with that individual filmmaker. So we helped them cast we help them find talent. We helped them find a common thread. But from that point forward they get a tremendous amount of autonomy. So what ultimately the brands when they get it and the publishers really enjoy is that these are authentic stories that they have that they can do like a seal of approval of authenticity.

[ 00:07:58 ] So the beauty of India is we actually have very little overhead and our margins are probably the best I’ve seen in recent years.

[ 00:08:08 ] It took a lot for me to come out of retirement. It took something very special somebody that had proven this ability to scale at a significant value for both our partnerships our publishers our brands as well as ourselves. When you have a company that’s getting back into publishing that usually means that something went right because all of a sudden you know you’re taking on more risk. The fact that this has been happening all along should tell you that we’re doing considerably well. The way that we do that is through these again very special relationships we have with our creatives. It typically was that if you wanted to get into journalism or film or documentary filmmaking scripted commercials you had to move to one of the big cities which is where all the AOR is of course exist. The fact that these these incredible talent can can live in their hometowns can stay where they are and still work on incredible projects is a huge value for them. So there’s an inherent loyalty that exists without having to carry them on the bench when work isn’t coming in. And that works Conversely as well. So they’re coming to us with incredible ideas of stories and potential clients. So there’s a symbiotic relationship between us and these filmmakers and especially when they’re in other countries because they just don’t get that kind of American brand projects that you would see that you don’t see overseas.

[ 00:09:53 ] We likes to say that we follow the sun. We’re able to 24/7 have filmmakers that are going live per se in their unique markets and because they are provide the same type of autonomy that many of BuzzFeed filmmakers are. There is no top down guidance. We have done everything we can to support training cultivating the relationships in their own community showing them how we do it. But at the end of the day we don’t have a heavy hand in that at all. So the ability for us to turn on an international partner is the hardest part is finding those right people.

[ 00:10:36 ] It takes a special type of blood and insight in view in order to work with us. So the majority of our overhead and time is spent on identifying and finding these unique individuals. But once we have them once once they are unboarded they get to work at their own pace. They get to work on their own projects. We dont force feed them anything. They can thing they can come to us with idea or if its a huge massive global campaign we’ll push it out to them and they literally get the opportunity to raise their hands. But that’s that’s as far as that relationship essentially goes as well as as far as our pocketbooks are necessitated or necessary necessitated to support them.

[ 00:11:22 ] They get to have their own lives.

[ 00:11:30 ] When you have such a powerful tool as these embedded community filmmakers it would behoove us not to start to listen to them in their stories. So often in the broadcast world of journalism and publishing. We see things so ethnos actually from our metropolitan worlds and I think the future is leveraging a scalability of of community members who we have empowered to have a voice as equal of the metropolitan markets. And that’s a really interesting space to be in.

Thought Gallery Channel:
Backstage Conversations
Backstage Conversation Season: 2017