Netflix has been the most nominated studio at the Academy Awards by far with 60 nominations in the past two years, winning seven Oscars won last Sunday, April 25.
The media giant has a Wildcat alumnus at the helm.
Meet Scott Stuber, Head of Original Films at Netflix. His division is responsible for producing what might be some of your favorite films. Think, Marriage Story, Spenser Confidential, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, Extraction, and more.
Stuber recently joined fellow School of Theatre, Film & Television alumni Brad Slater, senior partner at William Morris Endeavor (WME), for a conversation about the entertainment industry.
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Growing up in Los Angeles, California, Stuber was exposed to the entertainment world, but he never truly felt that he belonged in it. “I grew up in L.A., but the movie industry was as obscure to me as it was to someone from Iowa or Oklahoma. It was this intangible thing,” he said.
He came to the University of Arizona hoping to be the next baseball star, but after not making on the team, he turned his attention toward the film program at the School of Theatre, Film, & Television.
“I took a lot of screenwriting classes, history of film classes, and a lot of film theory, so I came into the industry with a knowledge base that a lot of people don’t have. I understood how to tell a story.”
Stuber said that his University of Arizona education has been invaluable as he has gone through his journey in the film industry.
“What my education did was teach me how to do the jobs I’ve done,” he said. “My education got me there. It got me a seat at the table.”
He says that everything we do revolves around one key factor: storytelling. Storytelling is at the helm of everything that we see on screen, on stage, and even on the mini-TVs that we keep in our pockets.
“I’ve been a producer, I’ve run film studios, and really those jobs are indicative of storytelling,” Stuber said.
In a year where everyone stayed at home … and it front of their TV sets … Netflix took over. With movie theatres closed or just now opening with limited capacity, people around the world are getting almost all of their storytelling fix from streaming services.
“Limited series like The Queen’s Gambit have really taken off,” Stuber said. “You are getting to watch a six-hour movie. It’ll be called a limited series, but you’re basically watching a six-hour film.”
Stuber says that students should be prepared to take the time and challenge themselves. The everchanging industry demands it.
“The advice I would impart to all of you is to take the time and do the work. I know every movie star who’s a good actor and who needs multiple takes to be a good actor. And so, whatever it is that you’re doing and that you care about, take the time to learn it. Learn about film, learn about screenwriting, learn about psychology.”
Stuber believes the future looks bright.
“I have a lot of enthusiasm about what is on the horizon,” Stuber said. “I think this will be the generation that helps evolve the world through storytelling, and really at the end of the day, it’s the same storytelling it’s always been.”
When Stuber began to make his mark on the film industry, he inspired another Wildcat.
Brad Slater, surprisingly enough, was also a baseball hopeful when he enrolled at the University of Arizona. Stuber was a recent graduate when Slater began school.
“I heard about a guy named Scott Stuber who had done it. He came out of U of A and had a really great job,” Slater said. “I thought, if that guy can do it, I can follow his path, and that’s the truth.”
Today, Slater, who represents LeBron James and Dwayne Johnson, and Stuber, Head of Original Films at Netflix, regularly keep in touch. (How’s that for Wildcats sticking together?)
“Scott and I are texting each other every day about Arizona sports and the school as a whole,” Slater said.
Sporting his Arizona jacket, Stuber said, “I love the school. Every time we hire a new coach, we tell that coach, we will throw him an Academy Award party, if he can just get us a Rose Bowl.”