Closing case bigfoot motivation

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Closing Case Bigfoot's Motivation

Bigfoot Entertainment, distributor of such diverse films as Midnight Movie (a horror flick) and 3 Needles (about the worldwide AIDS crisis), was founded by German serial entrepreneur Michael Gleissner. Gleissner is in some ways a model for the sort of creative and motivated people that Bigfoot likes to back. He was certainly the model for the hero of Hui Lu, a 2007 Bigfoot film that Gleissner wrote and directed about a highly successful young entrepreneur who sells his company but finds himself pushed to the edge despite his millions. "What was I going to do," Gleissner replied when asked about his unusual career move, "buy more boats, buy more houses? I discovered there's a creative side in me." Indeed, Gleissner is personally motivated by a variety of different things.

Gleissner was an e-commerce pioneer in Germany, where he founded Telebook, Germany's number-one online bookstore, and WWW.Service GmbH, the country's first, and one of its most successful, Web-hosting companies. He eventually sold Telebook to Amazon.com, where he served two years as a VP before cashing in and moving to Asia as a base for a new round of entrepreneurial activities in 2001. When he bought Bigfoot, it was an e-mail management firm, but Gleissner quickly recreated it as an international entertainment company whose main business, according to its mission statement, is producing and financing "innovative entertainment content, including independent feature films, television series, and reality shows." As head of Bigfoot, Gleissner served as executive producer on Midnight Movie and 3 Needles, as well as on Irreversi, his second effort at writing and directing, and on Shanghai Kiss, in which he also tried his hand at acting.

Bigfoot maintains offices in Los Angeles and a small production facility in Venice, California, but the centerpiece of its operations is Bigfoot Studios, which opened in 2004 on the island of Mactan, in Cebu, home to the second-largest city in the Philippines. The state-of-the-art facility features six large soundstages, fully equipped editing suites and sound-mixing studios, and the latest in high-tech cameras and other equipment. Gleissner's goal is to turn Cebu into a destination of choice for filmmakers who want to cut costs by shooting and finishing movies outside the United States, and when Bigfoot Entertainment finds a film suitable for financing and development, the deal usually requires the director to do some production work at the Cebu facility. By the time the studio opened, the Philippines was already an attractive location for animators looking for cheap post-production help, but the pool of talent available for work on live-action films was quite limited. Gleissner's solution? He founded the International Academy of Film and Television (IAFT), not only to staff Bigfoot Studios but to train what executive director Keith Sensing calls "the next generation of global filmmakers." IAFT, says Sensing, looks for creative people who "have a desire for adventure" and "an education that will set them apart from people who have a strictly Hollywood background." They also want hardworking, dedicated, and highly motivated students.

IAFT enrollment is currently 60 percent international and 40 percent Filipino, but "all of our students," says Sensing, "have the opportunity to participate in real projects going on at Bigfoot Studios.... Many IAFT graduates," he adds, "have gone on to write, produce, and direct their own films" and often follow in Bigfoot's steps by finding distribution for their independent features on the international festival circuit. Three recent graduates landed jobs on Gleissner's most recent project, a Philippines-set thriller revolving around a female diver. Gleissner not only co-wrote and directed Deep Gold but drew on his experience as an underwater photographer to shoot key scenes in Bigfoot's specially designed, 170,000-gallon Underwater Studio.

In order to bolster its ability to get its films into theaters (most of the company's features have gone straight to DVD or were sold to cable TV), Bigfoot has also become the largest shareholder in Carmike Cinemas, the fourth-largest theater chain in the United States. It also purchased the historic Majestic Crest Theater in Los Angeles. The acquisition, says Andrews, goes hand in hand with Bigfoot's purchase of Ascendant: "We wanted a great theater to showcase our films-not only ones we produce but ones we plan to acquire. Everyone knows the Crest," she adds. "It gives us a lot of prestige."

Case Questions

  1. What factors motivate Michael Gleissner? How has that motivation factored into his decision making?
  2. What factors motivate people to seek employment at Bigfoot or to enroll in IAFT?
  3. Compare and contrast how Orpheus, Bigfoot Studios, and IAFT motivate people.

Reference no: EM131069511

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