Erman Baradi is a blossoming filmmaker, screenwriter, and host from Virginia Beach, Virginia, most noted for founding Hollywood networking platform, Ermantourage. In 2016, at just 26, Erman was featured in “The Huffington Post” as “a top networker in Hollywood.” Erman Baradi has an extensive background in hosting and producing film, television, and music panel events that have taken place in Los Angeles, New York City, London, Chicago, Miami, Toronto, and Virginia Beach. Erman co-founded The Film Empire (formerly MixKnowledgy and The Rel/event), which, in addition to events, offers a series of film and screenwriting mentorship initiatives featuring notable names in film and television. Erman’s passions as a storyteller include bridging entertainment and humanitarian efforts, in addition to being a voice for Asian Americans in cinema. In 2018, Ermantourage began spotlighting and giving back to special causes, such as mental health/suicide prevention endeavors, cancer prevention, and children’s art programs. In 2021, Erman launched his “32×32” initiative, a short-form series where Erman impacts 32 lives by his 32nd birthday. Erman has been featured in “The Huffington Post,” “The Hollywood Reporter,” “The Manila Times,” and more. Erman is managed by Emagine Content and strives to write, produce, and direct original content. Erman currently resides in Los Angeles.
Erman’s early days within the industry consisted of bartering, free work, and crashing on couches. Erman lived the stereotype of living off of cold pizza and leftovers. Erman explained that some people see him now and think he’s made it, but Baradi considers himself far from it, to be honest. What you see on his Instagram is a selection of his highs. You don’t see the constant nights of waking up at 2 AM trying to figure out how to pay rent. You don’t see the rejections he gets from the industry and the next day having to smile in front of a packed room. What you haven’t seen are the moments where he had to power through over-the-counter spam so that he can save up on dinner money for the rest of the week. Erman would host an event headlined by some exec at some big Hollywood or music company to go back to a little mattress in the corner of the room that night. “No one sees how much effort I put into an event with the best Hollywood lineup he could put together, and only two people buy tickets.” “For years, I’ve been known as the “networking guy.” Everyone knows me, and I know everyone, but that doesn’t immediately translate into a paid gig. Now that’s what it’s like to be in entertainment,” said Baradi. Will this all mean something more significant in the end? It seems that way. Erman has the charm, wit, and grit that it takes. Also, for Baradi, every rejection is a step in the direction of where you should be. Rock bottom may end up being more of a bounce-back up to the surface. He’s 31 and is now a part of a production for a TV film.
When Erman had a free moment to talk, he sat down with Gemma Magazine.
He’s very kind and is immensely talented. He could only talk about the film in bits and pieces but it definitely sounds interesting. Erman did say that it involves robots and possibly and it takes place in a post-apocalyptic world.
Have you always wanted to be in the entertainment industry?
First off, thank you so much for wanting to interview me! I’m no expert at anything, but I love sharing my personal experiences in hopes they do touch someone out there. The thing about entertainment is it can inform and provide an escape. Tons of original ideas swarm around in my brain, and I intend on getting these words out to the universe. Admittedly, grammar and structure aren’t my strong points, but my teachers loved the stories I told throughout my school days. Remember that one movie you’ve seen where your entire world just shifted? Whatever you felt as you walked out of the theater, that’s the feeling I hope to give you one day. But also on a deeper level, one of my goals is for the industry to be more open to diversity in thought, not just diversity in culture. Hollywood shouldn’t be a club where you have to believe one thing or be one way to find a home.
Are you enjoying being Associate Producer of the film?
I’m not at liberty to say exactly what the project is, but I can say it’s connected to a network that sounds like the WiFi Channel. It’s harmless fun, especially for those familiar with the network’s brand. For my first TV credit, it’s a challenge! Mind you, I went to film school like ten years ago, but it’s nothing compared to the real world. I’m a writer thrown into the fire of production. They’re two different monsters.
What was the casting process like?
Yes, I was also involved a bit in the casting process towards the end. There’s no more fulfilling emotion than seeing an actor’s face when he or she lands a gig. Of course, casting doesn’t get the final say, but it’s gratifying to give someone that chance, especially those who are on a feature for the first time.
When can we see it on t.v.?
Let’s just hope sometimes this year. I just can’t wait to see my name in end credits. It’ll be a cool feeling. Also, the project may or may not involve a famous fighter.
How did you get involved in the film?
It’s April right now. Literally in March my buddy Matt calls me and goes, “Doing anything in April?” I’m like, “No, not really.” He’s all, “Okay, cool, you’re on a feature with me in Atlanta.” I’m craving more on-set experience, especially as a writer. See the production side of things, I think, opens my world up more as a writer. I get to see firsthand how what we write impacts a budget, the importance of writing with locations in mind, pulling off an elaborate, and there’s plenty of more respect for cast and crew on a project. This isn’t easy. It’s fun, as it should be, but it’s work. I’m going to bed at 12 A.M., getting on set at 7am or so, and I’m “just” an Associate Producer. Imagine how my world will be as a Director or Producer or Actor.
You are hosting a fundraiser on Saturday for such an important cause (Suicide Prevention).
Have you worked with this organization before?
We’ve hosted benefits for them before! This is our first live industry event in over a year. The past twelve months I’ve pulled off hosting duties via Zoom. It’s chill to connect with folks from all over the world, but there’s no greater experience than making a connection in person. If I can briefly mention this with all due respect to this individual’s family, last April my entertainment community lost a member to suicide. The lockdowns really got to her. This was someone who attended my virtual industry events. While I never met her in person, other circumstances that I won’t get into made this loss really personal to me. What I like to tell people from time to time is that every day is a day forward. Hey, what you’re suffering right now could be something you’re brushing off a year from now. So for this event, we’re networking, enjoying each other’s company, and hanging out with special guest Charlene Huang, music production executive at Netflix. You’ll also enjoy a Q&A with me! You can register at ermantourage.ticketleap.com.
How do you feel about it being the first in-person event in over a year?
People are just excited to see each other again. Whatever your political beliefs are, we all understand this concept of needing human connection.
What can we expect from Saturday?
You get to hang out with Erman? How could you miss it? In all seriousness, like I said before, there’s nothing like sharing a drink or a memory with a good friend or a new friend. Expect to leave with new collaborators and just feeling good about life.
We thank Erman Baradi for the fun and informative interview. We will be watching him.
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