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“People who think they work seven days are lying to themselves” With Tyler Gallagher & Evelyn Watters

People who think they work seven days are lying to themselves. If you don’t unplug, do something different, PLAY, change your mindset, you won’t bring much to the table when you return back to work on Monday. I had the pleasure of interviewing Evelyn Watters, an executive producer in both the entertainment content and advertising […]

People who think they work seven days are lying to themselves. If you don’t unplug, do something different, PLAY, change your mindset, you won’t bring much to the table when you return back to work on Monday.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Evelyn Watters, an executive producer in both the entertainment content and advertising worlds. She co-founded The Golden Trailer Awards with her sister in 1999, creating an award show to recognize the best in film trailers. Now in its 20th year, the show receives thousands of entries from around the globe competing for awards in 106 categories spanning all facets of filmed entertainment promotion. As a commercial producer, Evelyn has worked independently and in collaboration with top creative agencies and many iconic brands, developing a long-standing reputation for getting jobs done on time and under budget.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?

VUniverse was born out of my frustration in finding something great to watch on streaming services, as it was so needlessly time consuming and difficult. Running the Golden Trailer awards for the last twenty years, I am keenly aware that there is more phenomenal content existing in the world than I could see in several lifetimes, so I should never find myself at a loss, or staring blankly at my screen with nothing to watch. It was never an issue of content, just the navigation and recommendation systems had yet to be created. When that hit me, it was like I was struck by a lightning bolt. I shared the idea with my sister and GTA co-founder who was experiencing the same issues. We both agreed that we can do this: We can launch a product that doesn’t exist yet, that will address a point of great frustration for so many viewers. We had been working with independent producers and major studios since launching the Golden Trailer Awards in 1999 and we found we had the ideal scenario; the right idea, the right team, a huge problem/market, the right contacts, and the right timing.

Can you share one of the major challenges you encountered when first leading the company? What lesson did you learn from that?

Don’t go overboard in analyzing your competition or worrying about future competitors. You will psych yourself out of playing full out. An early version of VUniverse was called “Daily Trailer,” which we started pitching to a handful of investors. The concept was before the dawn of the streaming wars, and thus ahead of its time. We knew we had a great concept, although looking back, I feel I was overly concerned that I would put the concept out to the world only to have it copied by other companies. You won’t get a product launched with that mentality, you are merely ‘‘winking in the dark’.

What are some of the factors that you believe led to your eventual success?

Having thick skin and being resilient. We learn from our mistakes, improve ourselves moving forward, and don’t beat ourselves up. We also don’t listen to self limiting behavior and negative influences.

Having a great team by our side is also a huge advantage when building a product at the right time to take it to market. Plus, working in a building with plenty of dogs running around the office naturally helps reduce any type of stress.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO”? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Don’t think you need to know everything. If you have a truly great idea, you only need to know how to get the airplane off the ground. You don’t need to know how to land the plane or actually know how to fly the plane. If you are a brilliant starter, chances are you aren’t also the ‘finisher,’ as they require different skill sets.
  2. Be sure to hire employees who are entrepreneurs at heart. If they are entrepreneurial, they are self starters and will understand that every moment counts. And missed opportunities can be deadly. People who don’t have that background can cost you time and money and anxiety.
  3. You are always pitching, you are always representing your company.
  4. When pitching; if you ask for money, you get advice. If you ask for advice, you get the money. Often, those who you think will invest, won’t, and those you don’t think will invest will, so keep asking, ask everyone. If you are not getting a YES, don’t force a NO, just move those people to a quarterly newsletter.
  5. All feedback is good to hear. Take the good throw out the bad because you never know where a good idea will come from.

What advice would you give to your colleagues to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Let yourself enjoy some semblance of a weekend, or you will burn out.

People who think they work seven days are lying to themselves. If you don’t unplug, do something different, PLAY, change your mindset, you won’t bring much to the table when you return back to work on Monday.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I would say my father would be my biggest influence. My dad would always say that he heard more brilliant million dollar business ideas sitting at the dinner table with my mothers’ large family, but they never acted on them. Maybe they were too grounded in the mentality that one needed a ‘proper’ job and go to work everyday. My father would say, if you have a great idea, and you feel compelled to pursue you. You pursue that idea!

Founding father John Adams wrote in a letter to his wife Abigail Adams, “I must study politics and war, that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.”

I always thought my father felt he studied civil engineering and dedicated his life to building large infrastructure projects so his kids could be authors, writers, filmmakers and entrepreneurs. I always loved that quote. Funny that John Adams turned out to be my 10th Great Uncle!

What are some of the goals you still have and are working to accomplish, both personally and professionally?

One personal goal I’m working towards is to get back into playing soccer at least once a week.

What do you hope to leave as your lasting legacy?

I have a long way to go before any thoughts on legacy — ask me this question again in thirty years!

….

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would enhance people’s lives in some way, what would it be? You never know what your idea can trigger!

I care about the well-being of all animals, dogs in particular! I’d love to see the concept of an alternative to 1. nursing homes for the elderly, and 2. shelters for unwanted senior dogs. By combining two marginalized entities: elderly people and shelter dogs, you can create a more humane environment for both. Everyone wins.

I was saddened to learn that some people get rid of dogs when they get old. Nothing is more loyal than a dog who gives his person his love and loyalty forever, and it was heartbreaking to learn that old dogs are dropped at shelters once they become “inconvenient” for some people.….

How can our readers follow you on social media?

https://www.linkedin.com/in/evelynbradywatters/

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