In an aggressive move by Media Inc Publishing, one of the longest running print publication companies in the Pacific Northwest with over 25 publications, General Manager of the group John Rusnak announced the appointment of Award Winning Film Producer and Indie Film business executive Scott A. Capestany to helm Media Inc Magazine as its new Editor-In-Chief.
Long before the internet, the publication began in the late 1980s as the sole media+film resource and news platform to complement the growing indie film scene in the Seattle, WA market and also to keep its readers up on film festival news, regional film productions and also help production crews members to find jobs. Over the years, the publication circulated among a regional footprint throughout the Pacific Northwest stretching from Seattle to Portland and Eastern Washington as a well known staple among cinephites.
Early in 2015, Capestany was commissioned by the publication to write a few editorials on the current landscape of Film/TV productions in the region. His cover story “TOP influential Women in Film and Media in WA State” gained the attention of Indie Film communities that quickly led to multiple partnerships with film festivals, businesses and organizations whose mission statements supported spearheading Women In Film, gender equality and diversity throughout Hollywood. “We are very excited to see Scott take this publication into the 21st century and look forward to seeing his new vision enhance the publications reach and growth”, said Rusnak. MI Publishing ownership said they were quite confident in Scott’s abilities to carry the torch of the magazine and has no doubt his choice as the successor will bring exciting new content, readers and partnerships around the world for the first time in the company’s history.
Soon after taking the reigns of the magazine, Capestany invited trusted film industry colleague, film financier and Producers Guild of America member ANNE MARIE GILLEN into the fold to further support him in his quest to promote and connect with emerging and high profile Women in Film. “Scott’s resilience and drive over the years and watching him grow as a reputable player in the business was more than enough to join his team.” Gillen said. “Scott is quickly evolving into one of Hollywood’s premier Impact Producers. His explosive energy, ability to quickly formulate partnerships across industry platforms and communicate with the new digital age filmmakers and players is impressive”.
We got a chance to sit down with our new fearless leader to share with us his vision for the future of MI Magazine.
MI: Congrat’s on your new appointment! Seems things are coming full circle for you as a writer and journalist.
Scott A. Capestany: Seems so. Having been a writer for many years, I’ve had the thought in the back of my mind that someday running a magazine might be something I could really get excited about. So when the ownership group approached me, the timing just happened to be perfect. I’m eager to focus my attention this year in building a new team that will support and stand behind the new branding of the publication including my ongoing advocacy for Women In Film and diversity within the creative space. Another component I’m excited about is adding a sports and artist lifestyle segment to the publication that highlights the explosive new media growth in the entertainment space. With the ambition to eventually offer more of an international publication online to compliment and grow our regional print publication from its original roots in the Pacific Northwest.
MI: So writing and reporting has always been in your blood.
SAC: Absolutely. It all started when my High School journalism teacher a million years ago recognized my love for writing that he recommended me to our local city newspaper to do a weekly editorial for them called “man on the street”. It involved me engaging with local town folk and asking them questions on current world affairs. During that time, I would spend many days after school in the photography dark room developing photos I took for both the towns paper and our own school newspaper as the schools sports editor. I wrote my first college editorial for the UW Daily in 1988 about the doping scandal of Ben Johnson of Canada in the Olympics that quickly got me phone call by the head track coach Ken Shannon to congratulate me on standing up for the sport. I thought I was getting kicked off the team when he called me in! lol Coming full circle to the last 10 years, I was the first Seattle based indie producer to create, host and produce a local TV sports show for local cable TV before streaming was available. Luckily for me it was a smash hit and found myself court-side at the biggest pro and college sporting events covering their “not so mainstream” athletes and unique stories surrounding the leagues and organizations. I call them the hidden jem stories. So yes, this appointment truly circumvents my full love and passion for people, writing, movies and sports.
MI: How did you get involved in the Film/TV business?
SAC: Well, shortly after attending a Sundance Film Festival around 1999, I found myself drawn to the energy of this extraordinary tribe of creatives called ‘Indie Filmmakers’. They all thought much like me…outside the box..bucking traditional ways of creating and presenting visual arts. I found a way to apply my business background I learned in my 20s and early 30s to this newly discovered world of brilliant creative artists. I knew that I had something to offer the indie film world both as a writer, creator and most importantly someone who could connect and educate these creatives on the ‘business’ components of the industry. Unfortunately, there is a very low number of indie filmmakers that know much about the business side of the industry. It’s mostly all about art and expression for them. So the timing was perfect for me when I arrived into the scene.
MI: How would you describe what is taking place in the current landscape of Film/TV production?
SAC: I call it the ‘Perfect Storm’ with the three most important components converging simultaneously and changing so rapidly. Technology, creativity and consumption. I’d say 80% of the people my age gave up in this business because of the lighting speed technology and the time it takes to develop and foster professional relationships. You can now pitch a complete stranger in a hotel lobby after a conference and within days they are investing in your endeavor and doing business with you. Technology has helped bridge the gap of uncertainty in our business. I’m glad I stuck around for this amazing moment in time. The growth curve for many these days is too much to stay on top of, thus they drop out and revert back to archaic business models that no longer work in the modern world. Thanks to getting my first computer in 1981 for Christmas, I’ve always been a “techie” kind of guy that’s had a computer and cell phone for 30+ years and stays on top of the new digital landscape. People laugh at me texting 40 words a minute with one hand on an airplane, but it’s they way the world works. I get more done on my cell phone and tablet in a few days than most can do in two weeks. Especially when it comes to engaging decision makers at the studio and network level as they mostly are in their 30s and grew up on their phones. So I speak their language quite well. Applying and harnessing the latest technology in my industry with at my fingertips daily allows me to navigate the terrain with ease and lightning speed accuracy. Today’s landscape of film making truly is a manifestation of what I imagined it could become when I was a kid and young business professional in the 90s. Most everything the imagination conceives in the story telling word can be produced on screen for worldwide audiences.
MI: What are some of your strategies you use as a producer?
SAC: For me, it’s about connecting with people first, building those relationships with integrity and transparency then providing a win-win scenarios for our investors, filmmakers and creative artists. Secondly, everything we touch and interact with now must be seamless among all parties involved using digital technology. I’ve always been a big “techie” and happy to say we’ve finally arrived in this industry to fully utilize the latest technology to streamline our work as creatives. As filmmakers, our industry is all about three things – relationships, timing and money. Understanding and applying these three vital components strategically have always been my cornerstones of my producing endeavors. The new look and feel of MI Magazine will reflect these dynamic changes taking place in the entertainment space and the world of storytelling from an Indie producers viewpoint. Our publications clients will be apart of all our new interactive events we will be hosting regionally, nationally and internationally in the coming years. We have partnered with numerous film festivals/organizations as their media affiliate that helps connect filmmakers with the world both digitally and through our print publications. With the current explosion of digital storytelling platforms that now allow everyone the equal opportunity to collaborate together in real time and express themselves creatively to the world, it’s literally a dream come true for me a filmmaker and journalist to be working in such an exciting time connecting the two worlds!
MI: What type of Producer are you? Creative or Business?
SAC: My approach to producing involves working on both sides of the creative process effectively and efficiently. Over the course of my professional career, I’ve worked in and around a wide array of industries I absolutely Love. I’ve worked in the communications, hospitality, sports and entertainment sectors both in front of the camera (as a TV Host), on a playing field (athlete) and in a boardroom orchestrating business deals. They all have involved me producing something that encompasses team building and leadership. Producing is all about captivating an audience of business professionals, being effective in the pitch and then ultimately getting things done. This requires a tremendous amount of courage and confidence. You have to be brave and a pioneer with your own vision and ambition. What drives me the most as a producer is that I’m curious about everything. I have always been one who comes up with quite profound and elaborate ideas and always seems to find a way to pull those thoughts and ideas together. That’s what a film producer does. He/she is the visionary and ultimate pitch person to the plethora of people and teams they mobilize. Making an immediate impact in the first 10 seconds of a pitch, presentation or conversation is the key to success as a producer. With the new digital age now impacting the entire scope and spectrum of the filmmaking process, I primarily refer to myself as an ‘Impact Producer’ with an Executive Producer credit on my projects.
“When Scott walks in the room to pitch and talk business it’s like an explosion of engaging ideas and business initiatives that all lead to intelligent and practical revenue and creative streams of brilliance”, Says his Producer Anne Marie Gillen.
MI: Define an impact producer.
For me, an Impact producer is someone who can successfully create, implement and execute an explosive campaign for individuals or a team (In my case – filmmakers) that needs to devise multiple audience impact strategies. Using a passionate spirit as the primary fuel cell. He/She is a master fundraiser and lead for these campaigns and can effectively secure key partners, affiliates and execute or oversee all the campaign stages simultaneously (social media, marketing, PR, fundraising, film festival tour and screenings strategies, etc.) and evaluating the level of overall audience engagement across all platforms. Before, during and after the project has been completed.
MI: What other projects are you involved in as a Producer now?
We are involved in multiple projects in a variety of production stages. Currently I’m involved as an Executive Producer on a very powerful documentary called THE LAST ANIMALS. The Director Kate Brooks brought me into the fold to help and enhance the social impact fundraising campaign that’s currently underway prior to going to international distribution.
I’m working along side Executive Producer MATT MALEK at Foxtail Entertainment who recently EP’d the indy film ‘To the Bone’ starring Keanu Reeves and Lily Collins which was nominated for the Grand Jury Award at Sundance this year.
Capestany Films is also in the development stages of a very exciting action/adventure film THE RAINFOREST and a magical family film MY SILENT VOICE that’s about a young deaf girl, her love for horses and her heroic journey to the equine winners circle.
My group and I are also working on an empowering + educational documentary about the Rainforest and a few other social issue genre endeavors. One of my personal favorites is an adventurous live action TV series titled THE ADVENTURES OF SAMMIE DRAKE that I’m creator and writer on. It’s a story about a young 9-year girl who just graduated from the 3rd grade and convinces her parents that she’s old enough to join the family treasure hunting business. If you remember the adventures of Pippy Longstocking and the illuminating moxy of little Punky Brewster (of the 80s) with a dash of Nancy Drew mystery, then audiences and especially little girls will quickly identify and connect with Sammie and become fans of her and the brave adventures she undertakes. Sammie’s bold and brave spirit allows her to do everything just as good and even better than the boys highlighting our support and advocacy of gender equality. We are also developing both an APP and VR interactive products with this series similar to the Dora the explorer brand.
MI: Having a current look at your pallet of films you have on the go, it seems most revolve around themes of empowerment, the environment, wildlife, hero journey’s and social issues.
SAC: Without a doubt! We are all about telling stories that uplift, inspire, educate and empower others into action. Capestany Films was founded on these principles and believe that creativity has no discrimination (age, gender, disability, etc.). We also feel that films produced, created and directed by women and members of marginalized groups in particular deserve equal treatment in the press and equal opportunities in the entertainment space. Which leads me to share another big initiative we have in 2017 for the magazine as a whole (if I may). Beginning in 2017 this year, 50%+ of the content will be dedicated to projects, stories and events featuring women in front and/or behind the camera + members of marginalized groups. I was raised by a strong, resilient, outspoken and brave mother that always encouraged us boys to be fair, treat people with dignity and also be transparent. Not to mention required to include the neighborhood girls in our childhood adventures and activities. So I have a very special place in my heart when I see or create stories that touch on these themes and are told from a females perspective. Women and African Americans and other groups (LBGT, Disabilites, etc.) have been fighting for equality in Hollywood for decades not to mention in the everyday workforce. so I’m very pleased to say we’ll remain on the front lines supporting these creatives from all aspects of collaboration and press coverage. I’ve never been one to see gender, race, age, disability or whatever when collaborating and conducting my way of life personally or professionally. I’m the type of guy that just simply sees the best in everyone and especially if they’ve overcome radical odds to achieve their goals. Everyone in the world has a unique story ready to tell.
MI: Tell us about your vision and new direction you are taking with MEDIA INC MAGAZINE.
SAC: We are currently laser focused on re-branding the publication and designing effective “Impact” campaigns for our new generation of readers, influencers and strategic partners. We’ve already partnered with multiple film festivals as their media affiliate providing coverage and connecting with indie filmmakers to help them promote their projects with solid press coverage. It’s one thing to get a write-up on an unknown blog and another thing to get a write-up in a regional magazine print publication and have a professional digital link coming from that legitimate digital source. One of the first things we jumped on was the social media platform that this publication had very little exposure on. We’ve grown our twitter, IG and FB pages 500% since taking over and still primed for fresh new engagement daily. So being a fresh new print publication in the digital world has worked to our advantage growing our communities and engagers. We are already becoming a well known media publication outlet both Nationally and Internationally within the Indie film world. We have already covered or been invited to cover Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca and Cannes Film Festivals this year. Which is allowing us to expand our coverage in new markets. We are also very excited to add two new segments to the publication; SPORT and ARTIST LIFESTYLE focusing on stories of artists outside their creative lives and also sports stories that are intriguing and original. Not typical sports reporting, but rather overview of how their leagues and organizations work together to engage the general public through new media.
MI: What is the current distribution, circulation and frequency of the magazine?
SAC: We are a FREE quarterly publication circulating around 5K+ print magazines throughout the Pacific Northwest and West Coast Cities (Portland, LA, etc.) We are strategically planning to expand circulation and take the publication to other creative markets through partnering with domestic and international film festivals, industry organizations and entertainment organizations.
All photos, images, soundbites and writings of Scott A. Capestany are COPYRIGHTED and protected under US Copyright laws.
Scott is represented by Beverly Hills lawfirm Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman, LLP
For Scott’s full Biography – IMDB
Press: RAINFOREST – Peninsula Daily News