Leadmego

Quotes by Brian Grazer

Quotes by Brian Grazer

A movie has to get good reviews, high grosses – it has to beat expectations. The same thing with television and the ratings. But being curious isn’t like that. It’s not a public thing. It’s private, and the test is a private one. You have to be on your toes.
A producer is supposed to generate an idea for a movie. And then they’re supposed to create the team, the group of people that are gonna make this movie. And within that team, the producer has to have a creative vision and a fiscal vision, and they have to adhere to both things.
Almost every person that I had a preconception of, I was wrong. With Edward Teller, I was right. He was an autocrat and a technocrat, with no feeling for humanity.
Artists, whether they’re Tom Cruise or John Waters or Ron Howard or Oliver Stone, you can empower them to become a better version of themselves, but you cannot change them 180 degrees to be someone they are not.
Asking for people’s help – rather than directing it – is almost always the smart way of doing things, regardless of the stakes.
Being interested in other fields and meeting experts outside entertainment – whether it’s a two-hour conversation with John Nash that turns into ‘A Beautiful Mind’ or talking to people in architecture or fashion, CIA directors or Nobel laureates – has given me a better sense of which ideas feel authentic and new.
By having a little bit of knowledge about many different things, it enables me to talk to people about a subject that they would not ordinarily think I could talk about. It’s a lever for me, I suppose.
Curiosity and creating ideas ironically are both democratized; they cost no money, anyone can do them, and it’s up the individual and the force of their personality to give life to them.
Curiosity at work isn’t a matter of style. It’s much more powerful than that. If you’re the boss, and you manage by asking questions, you’re laying the foundation for the culture of your company or your group. You’re letting people know that the boss is willing to listen.
Curiosity is the process of asking questions, genuine questions, that are not leading to an ask for something in return.
Everybody in Hollywood has to beat the ‘no’ – and if you write code in Silicon Valley, or if you design cars in Detroit, if you manage hedge funds in Lower Manhattan, you also have to learn to beat the ‘no.’
Hollywood is a land of style, a world where how you present yourself matters. Many of the people working here are so dramatically good-looking – that is their style. That’s not me, and I know that.
I don’t keep a list of people I want to talk to. It’s organic. But I’d like to interview Tom Brady. Someday I’d love to meet Vladimir Putin. I’d ask him how he sees the landscape of the world, what could make it better, how that could be done.
I don’t like to boss people around. I don’t get motivated by telling people what to do, I don’t take any pleasure in it. So I manage with curiosity, by asking questions.
I find rejection or failure to be a really interesting and valuable experience.
I know just how often people get told ‘no’ to their brilliant ideas – not just most of the time, but 90 percent of the time.
I like BBC news; I like some London news because you can get it earlier then anywhere else. I like Charlie Rose a lot.
I like challenges; I like excitement. I like entering different worlds and trying to succeed – not excel, but succeed.
I like learning stuff. The more information you can get about a person or a subject, the more you can pour into a potential project. I made a decision to do different things. I want to do things that have a better chance of being thought of as original. I do everything I can to disrupt my comfort zone.
I met Edward Teller. Everything he believed in and stood for was antithetical to what I believed in and stood for. I like running into that in life. I like extreme points of view, a level of commitment – and I certainly love mastery.
I only make movies that are interesting to me.
I probably should have a brand, but I think you can’t get the best artists to work for you if you’re branded. I get the trade-off, and I really would like to be more famous for my work, get more credit for my achievements.
I started in TV movies and then had success in my move to features with ‘Night Shift’ and ‘Splash’.
I think that we all absolutely have curiosity. It brings about knowledge. It’s energizing. It’s spiritually empowering. It makes us more interesting as people.
I think the global mass culture is either consciously or unconsciously sensitized to how vulnerable we are here on the planet.
I thought law school was more like the guillotine. I didn’t really think I would make it; I just thought this is one of the few ways to potentially get respect, to go to law school.
I try to be thoughtful when I speak but not edited. I make mistakes, but people like vulnerability.
I was 45 years old when I decided to learn how to surf.
I went to USC. I wasn’t a rich kid or anything like that, so I had to get a scholarship. Went to USC; my first year, I took 26 units, so I got to have a nickname. Everyone goes, ‘There’s 26.’ So I had a nickname. Having a nickname is a good thing because then you start to get popular, and you keep that going.
I worked for a couple of screamers in my early days in Hollywood. I don’t like being screamed at, and I am not myself a screamer.
I’ve been in, like, kids’ clubs… I’ve been in the Boom Boom Room in New York, and the kids are going, ‘Oh my God, you produced ‘Arrested Development?” They aren’t talking about ‘A Beautiful Mind’ or ’24.’ It’s like the only thing in my whole career was ‘Arrested Development,’ literally.
In Hollywood, people tend to have the same sensibilities, the same taste and values, and I didn’t want to spend my life that way. I wanted to have a bigger, more interesting life.
It’s a simple quality of human nature that people prefer to choose to do things rather than be ordered to do them. In fact, as soon as you tell me I have to do something – give a speech, attend a banquet, go to Cannes – I immediately start looking for ways to avoid doing it.
My world was small growing up. I never really left the three-mile radius of my tiny neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley.
No one in Hollywood really knows what a good idea is before a movie hits the screens. We only know if it’s a good idea after it’s done.
Nothing to me is unexpected. No disappointment is unexpected – whether it’s movies or people or relationships. I’m always ready for the punch directly between the eyes. So I get hurt, but I never get hurt. Happens all the time.
Now, I’m a pretty fast and avid reader. But you can’t learn the same things in a book or on the Internet that you can in a personal talk with somebody.
Technology has brought us further than man could ever imagine, and it makes all information available. But it might not do the same exact thing that one human being asking another human being might do.
The Porsche was just a vehicle to get to another place. I used it to change people’s perceptions of me. I had grown up really middle class. USC was filled with elitists, richies who would go skiing every weekend. So I pretended like I was part of that world – to be accepted.
The hair is part of my image, part of my persona. And the hair is no accident: I have to gel it vertical every single morning.
The physical effort of reading drains some of the pleasure I might take from whatever I’m reading.
There is evidence that people do want to watch shows back to back – that’s why DVR use is so high. When you’re able to DVR something, people will watch more than one episode.
They say that life is tough enough. But I guess I like to make things difficult on myself, because I do that all the time. Every day and on purpose. That’s because I believe in disrupting my comfort zone.
Under no condition can you teach curiosity.
When I am talking to someone, I can constantly see whether I am failing or succeeding. I am regulating what I am saying in terms of how I think I’m doing. I’m always searching for the truth of a subject or person, and I look at every meeting as a grand experiment.
When I first started out in the entertainment business, I made a list of people I thought it would be good to meet. Not people who could give me a job or a deal, but people who could shake me up, teach me something, challenge my ideas about myself and the world.
Where do I get the confidence to be different? A lot of it comes from curiosity. I spent years as a young man trying to understand the business I’m in. I have spent decades staying connected to how the rest of the world works.
You can get good at finding access in the entertainment business. But the ideas, the narratives themselves, they are the only things that are going to be of any value.
You have to know the weeds – to have lived in them – to delegate. I wouldn’t want to be a leader who had never lived in the weeds.
You have to trust yourself, not research. Not testing. Testing helps, but you have to trust your own taste. If your taste says something isn’t any good, don’t let research rationalize that out of its own truth.
You should not do everything in your power to make reviewers cranky before – right before they see your movie.

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