Trigger Street Productions: the Secret Force Behind Your Favorite Shows

Posted on Posted in Cable Television, Film Business

 

Logo retrieved from triggerstreet.com

Much like Kevin Spacey’s character in their most iconic property, House Of Cards, Trigger Street  Productions has quickly risen from the obscurity to become a household name. However, instead of political sphere, like Spacey in the show, Trigger Street is a rising star in the entertainment industry. Trigger Street Productions is a diverse company that has found success in everything from television to film to podcasting. Since being founded by Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti in 1997, the company has  gone on to garner critical acclaim in both film and television. (triggerstreet.com)

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Founder Kevin Spacey
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Co-founder Dana Brunetti

The head of the company is still Spacey, serving as chairman as well as starring in, writing and producing much of the company’s content. (triggerstreet.com)  Directly below him is co-founder Dana Brunetti. Dana Brunetti is the president and CEO of Trigger Street in addition to having produced many of the company’s films, like The Social Network. Brunetti’s executive assistant is Alex Barnes, who previously worked as a Director. (triggerstreet.com) The final executive is Paul Rowe, the head of development for Trigger Street. In January 2016, Trigger Street was purchased by Relativity Media, who is now the parent company of Trigger Street. (Jr, M.F 2016) It is estimated that they have fewer than 10 permanent employees. (LinkedIn.com)  Even though they frequently collaborate with the same individuals and companies, they are contracted out, rather than employees of Trigger Street. (imbd.com)

Trigger Street Productions’ biggest asset, more so than any IP, is Kevin Spacey. Spacey is an actor, writer, director and producer has has won two Oscars and a Golden Globe. (imdb.com) Spacey’s movies have grossed over one a half billion dollars worldwide. (boxofficemojo.com) Besides Spacey, the company owns the rights to a few valuable pieces of IP. In 2012, it was announced that it would be producing an adaption of E.L James’ number one best seller 50 Shades of Grey.(Jr, M.F) The film has grossed over $166 million worldwide and has spawned two sequels. (boxofficemojo.com) Perhaps the most acclaimed piece of Trigger Street Productions’ catalog is House of Cards

Director David Fincher acquired the rights to adapt the British series. He hired Kevin Spacey as his lead, and with Spacey came Trigger Street. (Sepinwall, A. 2013)

Trigger Street’s business model is that it finds talent for and funds creative projects. They do not have any publicly available information on their business model, so it can be assumed that the company would follow the model of other companies like itself. Their business model would then involve seeing a creative concept from its inception to its distribution through the hiring of contractors. (Zipin, D. 2017) In most cases, they themselves would be hired by one of the major conglomerates. (Zipin, D. 2017) However, this works differently depending on the medium. For example, for the film Captain Phillips, Sony Pictures Entertainment bought the rights to the novel that the story is based on.

Promotional artwork for the film Captain Phillips

(Jr, M.F) Sony then hired Trigger Street as one of three production companies to produce the film. (imbd.com) Trigger Street, with the other companies then coordinated all the various aspects of production.(imbd.com)  This includes everything from hiring visual effects studios to coordinating the use of the U.S.S Truxtun. (imbd.com)

An unconventional part of Trigger Street’s business model is its Jameson First Shot competition. The competition asks aspiring writer/directors to submit their screenplays, with three winners being chosen each year. The winners then get funding to direct their films, with an A list actor as the lead. (jamesonfirstshot.com) This novel idea ends up benefiting Trigger Street in multiple ways. They can make money off it, through traditional means (the films are screened at a gala then posted online) and because of the Jameson sponsorship. It also provides a means for them to discover more talent, talent that could go on to become an asset to the company.

The revenue model Trigger Street uses is dependent on the medium. Their podcast service, Triggla Podcasts, relies on advertising sponsors. (trigg.la) This is contrasted with the more multifaceted revenue model of their other media. Like its business model, Trigger Street’s revenue model is not publicly available. However, it can be inferred that it is similar to other companies of its type. Depending on the nature of their contract, Trigger Street could either be paid a fix flat fee, like with House of Cards, where the company was reportedly paid over $100 million for the show by Netflix, who outbid other networks. (Andreeva, N. 2011) With some films, they may get a cut of things like ticket sales or merchandising, but that is dependent on the contract.(Zipin, D. 2017)  Because film budgets are usually quite deceptive it is  near impossible to see the specifics for any of Trigger Street’s film projects. (Zipin, D. 2017)

Trigger Street, with its access to extraordinary talent, like Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti, who are capable of producing extraordinary content, like House of Cards or Captain Phillips, has quickly become one of the most influential production companies in the entertainment industry. So, when the next Emmy season comes around, keep an ear out. Chances are you’ll see a few of Trigger Street’s properties among the nominees.

 

By Adam Nitzberg

 

References

Andreeva, N. (2011, March 15). Netflix To Enter Original Programming With Mega Deal For David Fincher-Kevin Spacey Series ‘House Of Cards’. Retrieved September 14, 2017, from http://deadline.com/2011/03/netflix-to-enter-original-programming-with-mega-deal-for-david-fincher-kevin-spacey-drama-series-house-of-cards-114184/

The Anti-Rent Movement – Hindsight Ep. 1. (n.d.). Retrieved September 14, 2017, from http://trigg.la/tag/podcast/

Company Credits. (n.d.). Retrieved September 14, 2017, from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1535109/companycredits?ref_=tt_dt_co

Fifty Shades of Grey (2015). (n.d.). Retrieved September 14, 2017, from http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=fiftyshadesofgrey.htm

Jr, M. F. (2012, July 09). Mike De Luca, Dana Brunetti To Produce ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’. Retrieved September 14, 2017, from http://deadline.com/2012/07/mike-de-luca-to-produce-fifty-shades-of-grey-297917/

Jr, M. F. (2016, January 07). Relativity Media Acquires Trigger Street; Sets Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti To Run Studio As It Emerges From Chapter 11. Retrieved September 14, 2017, from http://deadline.com/2016/01/relativity-media-kevin-spacey-dana-brunetti-trigger-street-1201677412/

Jr, M. F. (2011, March 15). Tom Hanks Poised To Play Capt. Richard Phillips In Somali Pirate Saga. Retrieved September 14, 2017, from http://deadline.com/2011/03/tom-hanks-poised-to-play-capt-richard-phillips-the-man-who-offered-himself-to-somali-pirates-to-save-his-crew-114186/

Kevin Spacey. (n.d.). Retrieved September 14, 2017, from http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000228/

Kevin Spacey. (n.d.). Retrieved September 14, 2017, from http://www.boxofficemojo.com/people/chart/?id=kevinspacey.htm

Productions, T. S. (n.d.). About. Retrieved September 14, 2017, from http://triggerstreet.com/about

Sepinwall, A. (2013, January 29). ‘House of Cards’ director David Fincher on making 13 hours for Netflix. Retrieved September 14, 2017, from http://uproxx.com/sepinwall/house-of-cards-director-david-fincher-on-making-13-hours-for-netflix/

Trigger Street Productions [us]. (n.d.). Retrieved September 14, 2017, from http://www.imdb.com/company/co0148949/

Zipin, D. (2017, May 22). How Exactly Do Movies Make Money? Retrieved September 14, 2017, from http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/093015/how-exactly-do-movies-make-money.asp

Jameson First Shot – Short Film Competition. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.jamesonfirstshot.com/about