We had the good fortune of connecting with Bryan Thompson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bryan, how does yous business help the community or world?
Miami Web Fest is designed to connect a new kind of filmmaker to a new kind of viewer. As technology has changed the industry, viewers interests have changed too! We help web series creators find their market. Since there is so much content on the internet, it is often hard for web series creators to get noticed amidst the multitude of options people have to watch on digital platforms. We offer them the opportunity to showcase their content to live audiences, creating a shared experience between the art-saavy Miami community and the creators of this unique episodic content. We have also added a component of the festival in which we give free tickets to middle school students in order to expose them to potential mentors in the field of filmmaking and provide them with opportunities to learn from experienced creators. This is particularly important in disadvantaged communities where access to filmmaking technology in public schools may be limited or nonexistent.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a filmmaker and the founder of a film festival. I have produced and direct a total of seven films of which six have been features. All of my films are distributed on platforms and almost all of them have been financially successful. This is likely what I am most proud of because I came into the industry with no experience at all. Basically, I created my own opportunities out of nothing. Even when I founded Miami Web Fest, I had no investors and no mentors to guide me. It wasn’t and easy road. That is probably what makes it so incredibly rewarding to be where I am today. The way I overcame my challenges was through creativity. For example, I didn’t have the money to provide certain services, but I recognized that what I needed wasn’t the money, but the services. So, I decided that my job was not necessarily to raise the money, but to figure out how to provide enough value to those vendors that they would provide what I needed in exchange for that value, even if it was not dollars. The other way I overcame it was simply to find some help. The key to my success: “Say what you do…Do what you Say” I used to miss the first part a lot. I would forget that people need to literally hear you clearly articulate what you bring to the table before they will believe in you. The second part “Do what you say” is critically important. Whatever you claim, always back it up. Whatever you promise, always deliver. And if you can’t deliver, that must be the exception and not the rule. If you ever fail (and you will) people should be surprised and see it as contrary to your reputation, not consistent with it.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
People who visit me in Miami always want to go to the beach and the club. but they don’t realize that there is so much more to do than that. I usually take them on a driving tour the second day (after they get the beach out of their system) I like to take them to my Alma Mater, “The U”, so they can see the beauty of the campus, then cruise through Coral Gables. From there, we have to hit up Brickell City Center and then head over to Calle Ocho. That’s where we stop to eat. After that, I’m taking them across the bridge to South Beach and I’ll show them whatever venue I am hosting Miami Web Fest that year. Then we will hit Mango’s, the Clevelander, and then (later) head north to Club Liv. Depending on what time we leave Liv, we may ride up A1A with the top down until we get to Burgers and Shakes. If they’re not tired by then, I will hand them my car keys and take a taxi home because I will be exhausted!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My shoutouts for today go to Doug Schwab and LaVerne Daley. LaVerne Daley is the CEO of L Global, an executive mentorship and business development agency. After becoming the Board Chair of Miami Web Fest, LaVerne used her considerable contacts to help Miami Web Fest evolve into a more philanthropic entity, which led to my receiving the Key to the City of Miami. Here tireless work at key strategic moments in the history of the organization have amounted to an invaluable contribution. Doug Schwab is the CEO of Maverick Movies, the distribution partner for the last five (5) feature-films that I directed and produced. In this industry, nobody believes in you until everybody believes in you. However, one key strategic partner who believes in you at the right moment in history can open the door to exceptional future opportunities. Since partnering with Maverick, my value in the industry has risen substantially. That’s why Doug Schwab, and everyone on his team deserve a huge shoutout.