Fireside chat with Jerry Bruckheimer

If you could hang out with one famous person who would it be? 

For us, it would be Jerry Bruckheimer – legendary, iconic, and world-renowned film and television producer. Perhaps the most successful producer of all time, Jerry Bruckheimer’s productions include the monumental films Pirates of the Caribbean, National Treasure, Bad Boys, and Beverly Hills Cop franchises, Black Hawk Down, Pearl Harbor, Remember the Titans, Armageddon, The Rock, Crimson Tide, and Top Gun – just to name a few.

In a career spanning 40+ years, Jerry’s projects have been honored with 43 Academy Award nominations, 6 Oscars, 8 Grammy Award nominations, 5 Grammys, 23 Golden Globe nominations, 4 Golden Globes, 140 Emmy Award nominations, 23 Emmys, 36 People’s Choice nominations, 15 People’s Choice Awards, and numerous MTV Awards, including one for Best Picture of the Decade for “Beverly Hills Cop.” 

For those reasons and more, we couldn’t contain our excitement when Skillz CEO Andrew Paradise hosted a special fireside chat with Jerry Bruckheimer for all Skillz employees. Jerry and Andrew discussed Skillz, gaming, entertainment, and what it takes to make a blockbuster hit.

Here is a snapshot of their conversation: 

Andrew: Can you give us any lessons that you’ve learned throughout the years? Is there a formula for the success you have achieved?
Jerry: I think if there was a formula, every one of the pictures I made would have been a hit, and they’re not. It’s about finding the gem. There’s always a gem there somewhere in that story. Whatever you want to tell – be unique, be different. Make things better. Do whatever you’re doing better than the next person, and you’ll succeed. And if you put the time in, you get rewarded – you always get rewarded. Success breeds success and hard work is always the way you get there.

Andrew: Do you ever feel nostalgic when you see any of your earlier films?
Jerry: You know, what’s interesting is that I never look at them again unless I am being asked to. It’s because I always see things I want to change, and I think, because they’re already out, that’s difficult. I always feel you can make something better. It’s never good enough anytime.

Andrew: What’s your favorite TV show or movie that you didn’t work on?
Jerry: That’s hard to say, I couldn’t even answer that question to be honest. There are so many great TV shows and movies that I would have loved to have been a part of, but you can’t make them all. There are still so many actors and directors that I would love to work with.

Andrew: What’s your biggest piece of advice for someone who wants to start their own production company?
Jerry: I think that you have to understand what everybody does. You gotta start at the bottom and work yourself up and understand what everybody’s job is. You have to understand how they do it, why they do it, and what makes them as skillful as they are. That’s what I did. Starting out, I worked in a mailroom and eventually became an associate producer. I figured out what everybody did and that’s how I learned. So really, that was my schooling.

Andrew: How do you pick which movies to work on?
Jerry: I ask, “Do I want to see it?” If I want to see that movie, I’ll try to get it made.

Andrew: Jerry, what is your life mantra?
Jerry: Always look forward, never look back. You know, we had this big success, and I’m always worried about the next one. We’ve done it, we climbed that mountain – and I’m looking at the next mountain right now.

Andrew: Thanks for joining us Jerry. Any parting words?
Jerry: Thanks for having me. You’re very lucky to be working at skillz. I think Andrew is somebody who’s going to do it again, and he’s done it before – building these companies and making huge successes. When I first met Andrew, I thought he was a real disruptor – somebody who would come in and build a company, which he already has, and make it fantastic, which is exactly what he’s doing. I hope you achieve everything you want to achieve and that you have fun while doing it. You got to have fun – that’s what it’s about. We have fun making movies, and TV shows. We always find ways to have fun at work – so enjoy it.

If you’d like to join Skillz on our journey to build the future of competition check out our careers page for more!