Brantley Dunaway

Director and Actor

A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Brantley Dunaway is an actor, director, and producer with over 25 years experience working in the music, film, and theatre industries. During his career as a creative leader, Mr. Dunaway has worked on a wide range of projects, including production touring, network television, feature film, branded entertainment, and Broadway. Dunaway has worked in the greater Los Angeles area; London; Vancouver, BC; Atlanta, Georgia; and many other international hubs of the entertainment industry.

Brantley Dunaway has worked extensively in intellectual property acquisition. Among the works he has been a part of, are such titles as I Am Charlotte Simmons by award-winning author Tom Wolfe. Mr. Dunaway has also worked with many well-known musicians from a wide variety of genres, including Ben Harper, Dave Matthews, Joan Baez, Third Eye Blind, and Dave Grisman. Included in his additional credits, are ABC’s Criminal Minds, Army Suicide, America’s Most Wanted, and General Hospital.

The production career of Brantley Dunaway has involved numerous well-known and acclaimed works such as Gone with the Wind as directed by Trevor Nunn; Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks starring Uta Hagen and David Hyde Pierce, with Polly Bergen and Mark Hamill; and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s production of Bombay Dreams. Additionally, Mr. Dunaway has worked as a producer on the film adaptation of Nobel Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera, starring Javier Bardem and written by Oscar winner Ronald Harwood.

5280 Magazine named Brantley Dunaway as one of the Top 22 People to Watch. Additionally, he was profiled in Today’s Man and NFocus magazines. Dunaway has recently launched Company B Entertainment, a new intellectual property development and film finance fund in Atlanta, Georgia. Beyond his busy professional life, Brantley Dunaway is a pilot and outdoor sports enthusiast.

Where did the idea for your career come from?

It came from my Grandfather. Alfred Barnette Brantley, he was in the Navy, a loving father, a true gentleman, with a wicked sense of humor. “Brantley” is a family name that has been endowed to several members of my family. And as an homage to him and his dedication to the US Military…the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

It’s never the same day twice. Having a very strong drive for work and maybe a touch of ADD…I have to follow a routine and define a specific work space especially given the times of COVID. AND….never forget to play tennis or flying…it’s my physical and intellectual outlet.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Collaboration, Listening, Exploring, and Reflection. It’s never about one person and always about the team around you.
It might sound a little cliche, but embracing the idea that there are no bad ideas in brainstorming. If you allow that editorial mindset to overrule the creative process, you’re going to have an extremely difficult time getting any projects off the ground. If you have ever worked in any improv setting, one of the key things is not to say “no.” That will stop the sketch, or creative process, dead in its tracks. As a producer, I have the responsibility of making the final decision, but it is a team effort for sure.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I want to say “V” neck shirts…but that’s not true in my wardrobe. Uhmmmm….Dad Bod? Just kidding.
On a more serious note, I would say that as a producer and someone especially interested in content creation, I find the exponential growth in outlets and perspectives in media over the last 10+ years is very exciting. If you look historically at the small number of studios and lack of diversity among writers and actors to where we are today, that is a very encouraging sign. And although we can all agree there is a long way to go here, with each new voice that is being heard, it makes it that much easier for the next one to break through. That trend continuing is going to be the best way to see some really new and interesting content.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Listen with a purpose. Focus, focus, focus on listening. Listening well is as powerful as talking well, and the true key to understanding in all relationships. Relationships are extremely important as an entrepreneur and especially in the entertainment industry, so to be an effective entrepreneur I have to be a focused and effective listener.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Be patient, Don’t let work or peoples opinion define you, take the high road…there is less traffic up there. And remember, people always tell you who they are, just listen. Just like I mentioned above as a key to being productive, it is a key to long term growth and success to listen with a purpose. If you go into a conversation with your mind made up, you are failing yourself and the other person. I would add that it is very valuable to ask probing and clarifying questions. A lot of people can come in with a great pitch, but what is behind the bullet points and buzzwords is where the true value comes out.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

A President’s true impact isn’t truly seen until he or she leaves office. It takes time…release the need for instant gratification.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Never forget where you came from and the people around you. We don’t do it alone. Just as it is important in the process of bringing ideas to life, it is important in general to reflect on where you are and where you started. By thinking more about others, you will get a better sense of self and a better idea of your direction forward.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I don’t know if I would call it a strategy or just a necessity to grow in the entertainment industry, but networking is crucial. From day one in your career, you start networking and you never stop.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

As an entrepreneur…you will have many. Get up, dust off, and go again. The world is full of good ideas…success is in the execution.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Here is an idea…. why isn’t there an IMDB for the performing arts and craftsmen? There is loads of math, money, and data to be had. Reach out…I’ll give you the insights and we can both make millions.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

A simple gift for my daughters. Using a tool to teach them independence, managing money and recognition/validation for a job well done.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I like to use Slack for organizing team projects. It makes it easy to communicate, share ideas, files, or content, and to keep everything organized.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller. Its application can go far beyond a marriage. We joke about being married to work…read between the lines. It has some applicable advice to both worlds.

What is your favorite quote?

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Martin Luther King

“Believe nothing that you hear and only half of what you see”. – Edgar Allan Poe

Key Learnings:

  • Listen with a purpose. Focus, focus, focus on listening. Listening well is as powerful as talking well, and the true key to understanding in all relationships.
  • The key to bringing ideas to life is through Collaboration, Listening, Exploring, and Reflection. It’s never about one person and always about the team around you.
  • As an entrepreneur…you will have many failures. Get up, dust off, and go again. The world is full of good ideas…success is in the execution.