Rebounding from failure is the key to success.
Born in Newark New Jersey, Joel Shapiro graduated with honors from Rutgers University, and then received his MBA from the Rutgers Graduate School of Management. Before producing feature films, Joel was a very successful Investment Banker and Financier, and was one of the youngest ever to be appointed as a Senior Trader and principal of a Wall Street film.
Currently residing in New York, Joel is a serial entrepreneur, who has led or consulted with entertainment, fashion, retail, and technology companies domestically and overseas. Joel now serves as Chief Executive Officer of Bluegrass Pictures. Recent films produced by Joel Shapiro include NO MANS LAND, starring Frank Grillo and Andi MacDowell, Dear Dictator with Michael Caine, Katie Holmes, Jason Biggs and Seth Green, and the recently released Killerman, starring Liam Hemsworth.
Where did the idea for Bluegrass Pictures come from?
I was filming RIVER RUNS RED, starring John Cusack, Luke Hemsworth, and Taye Diggs in Louisville Kentucky. I fell in love with the history and character of Kentucky, and therefore named the production company after the state’s famous bluegrass.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I read a new script submission every morning. My afternoons are spent speaking and meeting with other producers, talent agents, directors, and writers. When in prep and in production, I am generally on set overseeing many different aspects of the project.
How do you bring ideas to life?
As a producer, my job is to help bring the Director’s vision to life. I view myself as being in a support role, working for the creative team to give them the needed tools and resources to best execute their craft.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The ability to finance and distribute feature films that are written and or directed by women and people of color.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
My Wall Street background has given me significant training in financial analysis and modeling. I have applied this skillset to what is an inherently creative industry. One of the keys to financing and producing feature films is to make the right movie for the right budget.
What advice would you give your younger self?
The Key to success is never giving up and learning the business from the ground up. The education gained by starting at the bottom is priceless when you are at the top.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
The Three Amigos movie gets funnier and funnier every time you watch it.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Due diligence, research, and taking time to make decisions before reaching a conclusion.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
My film projects have been in several genres, such as horror, thriller, action and comedy. The one thing they all have in common is they are talent driven. By working with the biggest most talented actors and actresses in the industry, we are virtually guaranteed great performances on screen. My goal is to stand on the shoulders of such greats.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I am a huge Teddy Roosevelt fan. He was a strong figure, who after an assassination attempt during a speech, finished his speech, and then went to the hospital to deal with his gunshot to the chest. I am very inspired by his Daring Greatly quote: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
You have to make a plan and stick to it! Hard work will pay off!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 that I spent recently was on groceries, and cooking for friends and family. I enjoy cooking, and love spending time with the people that are important to me.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use IMDB, a web service for film professionals’ multiple times a day. I am also addicted to the online version of the NY Post Page Six.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“True Confessions of an Economic Hitman” by John Perkins. It demonstrates how far governments can go to mislead their citizens, and that there are many factors in play in world politics that we are never
What is your favorite quote?
Daring Greatly quote: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
- Rebounding from failure is the key to success
- It takes great courage to try
- Family and friends bring the most joy
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.