April 15, 2011

A View from the Top

Fox CEO and Co-chairman Jim Gianopulos Visits SCA

By Ryan Gilmour

Fox co-chairman/CEO Jim Gianopulos speaks to students

Jim Gianopulos is the co-chairman/CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment and has had unprecedented success by greenlighting Avatar and Titanic. Along with longtime business partner Tom Rothman, Gianopulos was named Premiere magazine’s most powerful man in Hollywood but, as he told a group of School of Cinematic Arts students on April 12th, he would happily go back to school.

“I would trade places with you [students] many days. To sit in this place and to learn what you guys have access to,” said Gianopulos. “Don’t waste this opportunity. Make sure you get as much out of it as possible. Take the time to learn the business as much as you can. Not because you need to do the business. You are the artists of the future and the filmmakers of the future, but it’s important to know how to finance a movie. How to get a your film made. How to get over the hurdles. What a suit like me is looking to hear.”

Associate Dean and Endowed Chair Larry Auerbach interviewed Gianopulos. The two of them covered topics ranging from piracy, Chinese distribution, getting jobs in the entertainment industry and what it takes to get a project greenlit. A theme Gianopulos returned to frequently is that storytelling trumps all other aspects of the entertainment industry.

“The sum of all of this [technology] is the ability to realize what you see in your head,” said Gianopulos. “Now, the trick is the storytelling. Now, it’s just a camera. It’s just a way of putting a moving image on the screen. Ultimately, it’s going to be about the story. If it’s not there, the other stuff doesn’t matter.”