Networking in Hollywood’s circle — everyone says it’s crucial to making it in the entertainment industry. However, what if the “connections” became more about a sense of community and creativity. Well, that’s what Hollywood’s top networker, Erman Baradi, has managed to do. Erman Baradi is a passionate storyteller who brings people together by bridging entertainment and humanitarian efforts in addition to being a voice for Asian Americans in cinema. It’s an exciting niche and one that Erman does beautifully. Erman embodies an innate ability to connect others within the entertainment industry while learning about the business as well. It might look effortless — however, it takes discipline and dedication.
Erman’s first gig in the entertainment industry was working with No Malice of the Grammy-nominated rap duo The Clipse. He would then intern at Jimmy Miller’s Mosaic Media Group. In 2016 (and at just 26), he was featured in “The Huffington Post” as “a top networker in Hollywood” due to his extensive background in producing film, television, music panel, and Q&A events which has taken place in Los Angeles, New York City, London, Chicago, Miami, Toronto, and Virginia Beach. Additional cities will be announced soon. Erman also co-founded The Film Empire, which in addition to events, offers a series of film and screenwriting mentorship initiatives featuring notable names in film and television production, writing, and representation. In 2018, Erman launched Ermantourage for film, television, and music events and initiatives that spotlight and give back to particular causes, such as mental health/suicide prevention endeavors, cancer prevention, and children’s art programs, all the while connecting people. Erman is managed by Emagine Content and strives to write, produce, and direct original content.
When Erman had a quick moment, he chatted with Gemma Magazine about past projects and what’s upcoming for 2020!
I know you started in events (and still do it). What made you put a different spin on it? You have social mixers combined with Q and A’s as well as Speakers.
I would view the entertainment scene as an endless amount of creative people, but everyone is in his or her world. The industry is competitive, but I believe in community over competition. My goal was for people to find that sense of community, to rise with others while pursuing their dreams. If people are experiencing low times in their lives, I hope people are there for them in support. In terms of the events themselves, rather than just listen to people speak, I like to keep things minimal yet immersive. For example, I used to have red carpets and media interviews, but the glamour of it took away from the heart of the events: knowledge and networking. Photo opps are nice, but I don’t want distractions from what we’re there for in the first place, to make connections and get industry insight. But we still keep the energy high. We have DJ’s and performers at our events to maintain good vibes.
What makes you good at connecting others?
This goes far beyond networking but also in your personal life. Humility is vital. People in my position could try to flex and look cool standing next to this or that person. You take a pic next to a Lambo because you want an immediate response. That’s not me. I’m a very accessible human being. I don’t mind taking a picture of the couch I’ve slept on for a year while chasing my dreams in Los Angeles. I think others find my relatability attractive. I don’t pretend to be something I’m not. I’m just like anyone else. You can shake my hand and get my number.
Tell me a bit about The Film Empire?
I had a previous Hollywood event series back in 2015-2016, and Brandon, my partner at The Film Empire, had flown in with his wife to an event I produced. We met, hit it off, and really vibed because of our tastes in cinema. So, we launched The Film Empire together, which is an extension of the type of events I do, but in addition to that, we put on film and script mentorship initiatives. A lot of contests out there offer prize money. That’s fine. What we do is we provide opportunities for winners to establish relationships with our mentorship lineups. In the past, we’ve had mentors from Marvel Studios, Warner Bros., Sony Television, among other studios and companies.
Can you please expand upon LLC Ermantourage and its vision?
This is where I get to have fun while giving back. Back in 2017, I put on an event that was just like anything else I’ve ever done. After it was over, an actress walks up to be with the biggest smile ever. She tells me that she had given up on acting after her mother and grandmother had passed away from cancer in a short amount of time. But my event had inspired her to act again. That got me thinking, “What if my platform was still fun for the entertainment scene, but we could give back to the world?” So, my events through Ermantourage spotlight specific causes that could range anywhere from mental health and suicide prevention to arts programs. We aren’t Comic-Con, so it’s not like we can give away tens of thousands of dollars. But we do what we can with what we have. The smallest impact is still an impact. In 2020, so that we further establish community among my audience, we’ve become membership-based offering unique perks.
Do you currently have films in production?
I signed my first option agreement in 2019, so that was awesome! While my more significant projects are still being written and are in the early stages of development, this year, I am honing in on creating various types of content to get my creative wheels rolling. So you’ll see some short films, skits, etc. I want people to get a sense of my voice this year. Also, at the Sundance Film Festival 2020, I am one of the sponsors Filmmatic’s annual mixer! So catch our team on Monday, January 27th on Main Street. Visit www.mondayonmainstreet.com to register for the free event.
Your home base is in Virginia. Do you find that works better for than an LA or NYC base?
Let’s be honest. No one wants to pay LA rent. Luckily, my work is something that can be done behind a laptop. In Virginia Beach, I can relax with family and not have to worry about where to get my next meal. But if you want to make money, you have to spend money. I have to be in LA to be at the heart of it all, to produce and to take meetings. As someone trying to be in the film business, I have to be in LA most of the time.
Would you consider yourself to be a creative entrepreneur? You have a sharp business sense with innovative ideas.
I like this term because it encapsulates different aspects of who we are as creatives. Nowadays, you can’t just be a writer or an actor or a Hollywood event producer. You have to know the industry and the market. I’m not going to lie and say everything I’ve done has been spot on. A lot of things I’ve done in the last few years have not worked. I can admit maybe 90% of the things I do fail, but I learn from them and move forward. You have to have that toughness when pursuing a career in entertainment. Doors are constantly slammed in your face, but if you stop today, you’ll miss out on the big break tomorrow. My creative side, I think, is not just my pursuits in a creative industry, but how I came about those pursuits. I told myself that I’d know at least one person from every major film and music company.
I honestly think talent isn’t everything. You can be the most talented person, and no one knows you exist. You have to brand yourself starting now. You ever see people on screen or heard a song on the radio and think, “Wow, I’m way better than that person.” Well, guess what. That person figured out a way to stand out in a sea of a million people trying to break in.Erman Baradi
Honestly, how do you balance it all?
I love this question because this is something I try to tell everyone. You know how people would throw dating to the side while trying to build their brand, or how people will give up their professional dreams for love and family? I believe balance is possible. If you put off dating now because you want your business to take off first, well, imagine what happens when your business does take off. You’re only going to get even busier with success. You’ll have even less time to build a foundation with someone. So, why not plant the seeds now and watch all aspects of your life grow. Imagine hitting 40, and you finally made your dreams come true, but you turn around and realize all the friends you had and the romantic prospects you had are all gone. Setting time aside for people and fun is still relevant. You don’t want to drive yourself crazy by working all the time. We live in a grind culture that frowns upon rest, but rest can do so much good for you.
What do you do to decompress
I love creative writing! So whether I am writing poetry or lyrics – all for fun – I am continually trying to get my creative juices flowing. I volunteer at church every Sunday at the host team lead in the AM services at Hillsong LA. Of course, I binge watch shows like the rest of the world. I keep up with the trades and see what’s hot in entertainment. I wouldn’t say I’m a foodie, but I like trying out new places.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into the entertainment industry?
I honestly think talent isn’t everything. You can be the most talented person, and no one knows you exist. You have to brand yourself starting now. You ever see people on screen or heard a song on the radio and think, “Wow, I’m way better than that person.” Well, guess what. That person figured out a way to stand out in a sea of a million people trying to break in. My strategy just happened to be through events by connecting others while connecting myself. It’s not a gimmick, but it was an in for me. So you have to find you’re in, find something about yourself you can use to stand out.
On behalf of Gemma Magazine, we would like to thank Erman for chatting with us. We will be looking for him and cheering on his accomplishments. We also thank Erman for his insightful information. To follow him on social media: