miércoles, octubre 5, 2022
InicioTechnologyErich Bergen Discusses His 6W Entertainment Company

Erich Bergen Discusses His 6W Entertainment Company

Spotlight is a series of ComingSoon interviews with obscure and/or up-and-coming talents in the TV and film world. Our goal is to draw attention to the various positions that make the entertainment you love possible, rather than focusing solely on actors and directors.

Jeff Ames of ComingSoon had the opportunity to speak with the actor, singer, writer and producer. Erich Bergen about his company 6W Entertainment.

Bergen is best known as Blake Moran in popular drama. madam secretary, which aired on CBS for six seasons and is currently streaming on Netflix. He is also known for his critically acclaimed performance as Bob Gaudio in the film. Jersey Boys, a role he previously played on stage in Las Vegas and the Tony Award-winning musical’s national tour. Recently on Broadway, Erich starred as Dr. Pomatter in the hit musical Waitress and is currently reappearing in a CBS drama. BULL.

As a producer, Erich has produced over 100 projects for television, the Internet and personally for his production company 6W Entertainment. Since its inception in 2020, 6W has worked with the likes of President Barack Obama, Clive Davis, Michael Kors, John Legend, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Chance the Raper, Bruce Springsteen, Bette Midler and many, many more.

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Jeff Ames: What led you to form 6W Entertainment?

Erich Bergen: In fact, it kind of created itself, and I decided to just continue with it. In March 2020, the day Broadway was announced to be closing due to COVID-19, I immediately thought of my community, the theater community in New York, and how hard it will be financially for those who work in the theatre. At the time, we only thought that Broadway would be closed for a month, but I knew that something had to be done to send funds to the Actor’s Fund to help those affected by the Broadway shutdown. My first thought was to call Rosie O’Donnell, who has always been such a champion of Broadway, and after a few messages back and forth, I thought about relaunching her classic 90s talk show for a one-night stand. I made several calls to people I thought could help, including Laurie McCreary, who was the producer of the television show Madam Secretary, which I was on for several years. With

he and her producer partner, Morgan Freeman (yes, that same Morgan Freeman), were connected to YouTube and put me in touch with the right people. After talking to them and listening to their thoughts, I contacted my friend Paul Wontorek, Editor-in-Chief of Broadway.com, to see if we could do it on the Broadway.com YouTube channel. He immediately said yes, and the two of us set to work figuring out the technical mechanics, the creative direction, and how it all came together. With a string, a few gummies and a prayer, we made it and it was a very important evening for our community and it was the very first of the virtual celebrity fundraisers that have sprung up in the midst of COVID. .

The next day, hundreds of emails, voice messages, and text messages came in – all very laudatory, with many asking, «How did you do that?» One of those calls was from my old friend Benj Pasek, author of Dear Evan Hansen and The Greatest Showman, among many other things. He had an idea for a project that would bring the Passover Seder into the virtual world. After a few minutes of talking, we went to the horse races, and so the Shabbat Evening Seder was born, raising millions overnight for the CDC Foundation.

After these two events in a row, incoming calls and emails doubled, and suddenly I was hired to host fundraising events for everyone from UNICEF to Democratic Party candidates.

So I started recruiting a team of people I thought were smart, talented, and fun to work with, and somewhat by accident, 6W Entertainment was born. We are on the eve of our 2nd anniversary and fundraising events are just a small part of what we produce. We have grown at an incredible pace.

Tell us about some of your favorite projects. Do you have a favorite anecdote or behind-the-scenes story?

There are a million stories behind the scenes, most of which I will take with me to the grave, because I would like to continue working. But I can tell you that one of my favorite stories was when we hosted Hold The House, a 4-part virtual fundraiser for Democratic House candidates led by Speaker Pelosi and John Legend. President Obama joined the event, which was broadcast live, and at some point, shortly before we went live, I realized that the President was not sitting in the best light in his house, from where he was broadcasting. I thought to myself, “Am I going to tell the president right now that he needs to find better lighting? Like… will I be that guy?” I was not so much nervous as I did not know what protocol was. But suddenly I realized that if I was him, I would like to be told if I was sitting in bad lighting, so I turned on the sound for myself, gave it a setting that it accepted, and that’s it. In that moment, I realized that no matter who you work with, when you are a director, your job is to make everyone look good. So I did!

What was the most difficult thing about creating hybrid and virtual projects with 6W Entertainment, and how did you handle it?

That I have no idea what I’m doing! I’m relatively smart and I like to think I have good ideas, but as Stephen Sondheim said, «Just a vision is not a decision, it’s all about execution.» The «how» is so important, and I didn’t know much about the «how». However, I have been smart enough to surround myself with people who are smarter than me in this regard, and I have learned not to be afraid to ask those who understand what has been done. I think another difficult aspect that I’ve come across a lot over the last 2 years is working with clients who feel «stuck» when their project had to change due to Covid.

Much of our initial work came from non-profit organizations that needed to transform their in-person events into virtual ones. A virtual event has limitations – all of which can be overcome with creative thinking – but you must be willing to adapt, change direction, and come up with other ways to achieve your goals. Sometimes a client was so fixated on their mindset because they had run their event a certain way for 20 years or more that they would look at me (on Zoom) like I was speaking a different language – and to them I was! It wasn’t their fault, they were thrown out of nowhere and they trusted me to keep their event from falling to the ground. So, to answer your question, the hardest part for me was learning how to communicate with clients who lived in fear and get them to trust me even enough so that we could cross the finish line.

For Michael Kors, what did you like the most about this production?

I have had the opportunity to work with Michael Kors several times over the past 2 years. I have twice hosted the Heart of Gold Awards for God’s Love We Deliver, first as a virtual event and second as a personal gala. Michael chaired both of these events, so we got to know each other while working on them. In between these events, Michael wanted to do something special for his Spring 2021 40th Anniversary fashion show, which was scheduled to take place in New York’s theater district.

So I came up with a fun idea to celebrate Broadway, Michael’s passion, and luckily he loved it. He hired me to make a short film and used it as the opening of his fashion show. I’m so happy with how it all turned out. This was my first time personally directing a film crew! We have to make this little short film with special effects, real cameras, lights, fog and everything! A complete dream come true for me. Michael is so kind and lets me come up with creative ways to help him tell the stories he wants to tell and nothing beats collaborating with people like that.

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Tell us more about your team. Who helps you to perform all these impressive performances?

I want to scream their names from the tops of the mountains! Aimee Billion, Michael J. Moritz Jr., Adam Culbersh, Blake Drummond, Garrett Kafchinski, Mark Johnston, Khaled Tabbara, Jeremy Leiner, Stephanie Silvera, Andrew Nilsson and Hannah Lyons. I refuse to talk about them anymore, because I do not want them to be poached and taken from me, but I just know that they are miracle workers. All of them.

Tell us more about your plans for the future with your company. What types of projects are you looking to move forward with?

This year is very exciting because we’re continuing a lot of the work we’ve done, including working with several nonprofits throughout the year on content and marketing, and we’re moving into screenplay space. We are developing a few projects for television and a few for the theater – all of which are very interesting for people like me who live and breathe it. I think I’m most attracted to projects that give me the opportunity to work with my friends. I was lucky enough to be in a community of artists who are now recognized as some of the best in their fields, and if I can work with them to create something great, what could be better?

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