Glenn Gainor, Sony Pictures Screen Gems exec on what makes a great story

What’s the Story? is a storytelling video series dedicated to learning what truly makes a great story, told through the lens of the world’s talent and practitioners of the craft in entertainment, marketing and beyond.

As head of physical production at Sony Pictures Screen Gems, Glenn Gainor is tasked with thinking about the big picture and the little things related to creating exciting films.

With #1 hits under his belt like No Good Deed, Think Like a Man and Friends with Benefits, he constantly considers how the studio can win both in and beyond the box office. Innovation is happening in the entertainment industry, and Gainor and his team have consistently been on the leading edge, especially related to lowering the studio’s environmental impact. In fact, Sony Pictures Screen Gems has over 10 years of sustainable practices under its belt.

It’s more than just being green, however — these techniques have helped expand storytelling opportunities. Using smaller cameras and LED lights, for example, can vastly improve accessibility to locations that otherwise would be tough using more traditional methods — saving resources, including budget. For example, the horror thriller Cadaver, set for 2018 release, is being shot on consumer-level Sony cameras costing around $3,000 each.

“By thinking differently, we’re also able to inspire our partners to widen their scope of production as well,” Gainor told IndieWire in January.

These smart decisions never get in the way of the story, and good stories are something that Gainor has been helping to tell throughout his 25 years in the business.

In his mind, what makes a great story is something that captivates and audience and gives them a sense of urgency as well. The best story Gainor has ever heard? It’s hard to say, exactly because he believes that every story and every film is truly special.

What’s most rewarding to Gainor, and the best story he’s ever told, is the one that helps a director see their vision through film — and his work with Nicolas Cage in the film Sonny was one of his favorites. Though it didn’t necessarily make a huge splash at the box office, Gainor’s contributions helped Cage realize his directorial debut, which is something that he believes makes a difference to great talent.

What's the Story? is sponsored by Branded Entertainment Network (BEN), the first global network for branded product integration in the entertainment industry, across all media, including the influencer space.

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Doug Zanger

Doug Zanger is the Americas editor for The Drum. He leads the Americas editorial team’s content activity in the growing region. Based in Portland, Oregon, he is committed to sharing the most meaningful stories that benefit the global industry and its people. A Minnesota native, Zanger has covered a wide range of brands, issues and personalities, including Aloe Blacc, Seu Jorge, Wendy Clark, Susan Credle, Dan Wieden, Jeff Goodby and more. Fiercely dedicated to diversity, equality and talent, he has interviewed several women in leadership roles through his Exceptional Women of the World podcast.

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