Will Packer, Producer and founder of Will Packer Productions

In this episode, Kevin Goetz and acclaimed producer Will Packer engage in a thoughtful conversation about success, diversity, and the importance of working hard. Will Packer, known for his extensive credits in the film industry, including producing popular movies like Girls Trip, Ride Along, Think Like a Man, and Straight Outta Compton, brings his wealth of experience to the discussion. They highlight the value of diversity, both behind the camera and in front of it, as a driving force for creativity and success. Additionally, they touch on the challenges of education and the crucial role of equal access and opportunities. Throughout the episode, the conversation underscores the power of embracing diversity and making a positive impact on society.

Beverly Hills Cop and Packer’s early influences

Packer fondly recalls the impact of watching movies as a child and how they served as an escape and source of inspiration. He cites Beverly Hills Cop as a significant movie that made him realize the power of representation and humor, featuring a charismatic black lead who became a hero on screen.

From an engineer to a DIY filmmaker

Will explains that his analytical mindset, combined with his creative inclinations, gives him a unique perspective in the industry. Packer shares the story of his persistence in securing a screening for his first film, Chocolate City, at a second-run theater, where the film garnered an enthusiastic response from the audience. The movie resonated with viewers, as it portrayed a world they could relate to.

Creating inclusive movies with universal themes

Packer discusses how movies in the past were often exclusive, designed for specific audiences. However, his aim is to create inclusive films with universal themes, featuring black characters but accessible to all.

The audience said, this movie speaks to me. This movie is for me. And they were passionate about it. It wasn’t just a choice; it was a must. It was…I am invested in this project because it was a world that they knew and could relate to.

–Will Packer

Diversity leads to success

Will and Kevin emphasize the value of diversity in the business world, stating that having more voices in the room leads to increased success. The pair agree that a creative industry thrives when there is a variety of perspectives and experiences represented, giving one an advantage over competitors.

Diversity means money. When you have voices representing different personalities, different characteristics, different ways of life in the conversation, it makes for more fruitful, more interesting, more successful anything.

–Will Packer

Creating content that people love

Kevin and Will discuss the importance of creating media that people love, not like, love. Will stresses creating movies that people like is not enough in this oversaturated media market. He focuses on creating movies that people are passionate about and will rush to tell their friends about.

In an oversaturated content environment, you have to have content that people are invested in, that they are passionate about…like is so 10 years ago. Vanilla.

– Will Packer

Producing the Oscars and the “slap heard ‘round the world”

Will talks about his experience producing the 2022 Academy Awards, a production that earned him an Emmy nomination. Will goes into the challenges of producing the Oscars, and how Chris Rock saved the show.

Tune in to hear Will Packer’s journey in the industry, starting from his early influences and his passion for storytelling, to his contributions to the entertainment industry and his commitment to championing underrepresented voices. Packer emphasizes the importance of diversity and inclusivity in creating inclusive movies with universal themes. The conversation touches on the importance of creating content that people love in today’s oversaturated media market. Packer also shares his experience producing the 2022 Academy Awards and the challenges involved.

Don’t Kill the Messenger, hosted by movie and entertainment research expert Kevin Goetz, brings his book Audienceology to life. This bi-monthly podcast takes a peek behind the filmmaking curtain as Kevin talks with famous filmmakers, studio executives, stars, and other creatives about movies, filmmaking, audience test screenings, and much more.

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