Hollywood Producer Prepares for Sundance Debut
When Matthew Brady couldn’t find the job he was looking for in Hollywood, he created his own.
Brady started MRB Productions, a production company in Los Angeles, in 2001, after years of working on sets all over L.A. His time spent learning the ins and outs of TV and film production helped him realize there was a need for a new kind of company: one that catered to directors who knew what they wanted to create but needed help getting it made.
Brady’s company quickly became a go-to production agency for directors in Hollywood and beyond. Starting out with commercials and promos, Brady and his team have won two Emmys for their work on the NFL’s "Monday Night Football" teases and have been nominated for multiple Emmys for their work on opening segments for the NFL and the National Basketball Association.
MRB is also behind the popular Web series “The Confession,” starring Kiefer Sutherland, as well as Stephen Gyllenhaal’s 2012 biopic “Grassroots,” starring Jason Biggs. Most recently, Brady worked as the producer on the set of “Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes,” an independent drama starring Jessica Biel and Kaya Scodelario, which will screen Friday (Jan. 18) at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
Brady says the secret to his success has been simple. “The company I have now, I created based on a need. I had never heard of it and I never read about it in a book. I create synergy with my clients because we provide a service that they don’t want to do,” he said.
As it turns out, there are quite a lot of things directors don’t want to do and Brady does well. On any given day, you might find him managing post-production on one project, traveling to the set of another, and attending a party for a third, he said. He does this while simultaneously making phone calls, scouting new locations and paying taxes.
Fortunately, Brady says, he’s excellent at multitasking.
“I am able to jump from one thing to another with ease,” he said, “and that’s a good quality with this type of work.”
Even while juggling several projects at once, he and his team are able to enjoy themselves.
“I want to be the type of company that people want to have dinner with, not the type where you never want to see the people again once you finish the project,” Brady said.
This positive attitude seems to go a long way for Brady, who gets new jobs on a regular basis through a bevy of established clients. For instance, Brady met Francesca Gregorini, director of “Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes,” through Jamie Babbit, a director he’d worked with while producing commercials. And he met Gyllenhaal through his attorney.
In a town where word of mouth is king, maintaining professional relationships is good business, and it keeps Brady moving from one gig to another at lightning speed.
With a large overhead and no consistent schedule, MRB pins its success on the ability of Brady and his team of producers to keep moving from one project to the next. Brady says he likes the breakneck pace.
“What we do is something that begins, shoots, and ends in a specific amount of time. A year later, you are never dealing with the same thing, which I love," he said. "But this type of environment is not ideal for someone that appreciates steadiness and reliability.”
Certain jobs do require him to slow down. His recent foray into the world of film means bigger projects to finish and much longer production times. In movies, he said, production is never-ending.
Despite the change in pace, Brady is enthusiastic about MRB’s ventures into film.
And where he is today is a very good place to be. His company's two Emmys come on top of two Webbys and an International Broadcasting Award. Of equal satisfaction to Brady is that his company's output is viewed by millions of people.
“The film and TV business is amazing because people get to see and admire your work, and since some of my biggest clients are sports networks, sometimes 20 million people see our work,” Brady said.
“Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes” will start out being seen by a small but elite audience Friday at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
Brady is thrilled that the film was selected over so many contenders for screening at the festival.
“It’s so nice to work so hard on something and have other people recognizing it,” he said.