Viacom Hosts Inaugural INSPIRED HERE Speaker Series with Brian Grazer

A packed crowd looks on at Viacom HQ as CEO Philippe Dauman prepares to speak with Brian Grazer.

A packed crowd looks on at Viacom HQ as CEO Philippe Dauman prepares to speak with Brian Grazer.

Curious about the phenomenal accomplishments of Brain Grazer? He’s probably curious about you too.

Last week, Academy Award-winning writer and producer Brian Grazer was the inaugural guest at Viacom’s INSPIRED HERE Speaker Series to discuss his new book, A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life. The series brings some of the most notable innovators and creators inside the company to share their stories, insights and unique perspective. Grazer joined long-time friend and our CEO Philippe Dauman for a conversation with an important theme: curiosity can be a powerful tool in getting where you want to go.

Grazer recalled his humble beginnings to a packed crowd in Viacom’s New York headquarters, describing his first job in Hollywood delivering documents for Warner Bros Studio:

“I decided I’m not going to just deliver paper to an assistant or some barrier between the paper and Warren Beatty, or the paper and Mel Brooks. I was going to say, I need to give it to them directly,” said Grazer. “So I started to create a constellation of dots, or people, that I had these pure conversations with. And ultimately I was able to connect those dots in that world.”

Grazer’s constellation of people and knowledge lead to his first blockbuster in 1984, Splash. The movie – directed by Ron Howard, who would become Grazer’s career-long business partner – earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay.  For the next 30-plus years, Grazer would continue having “curiosity” conversations with hundreds of people who he found interesting, leveraging their experiences to drive ideas and creativity.

“Every two weeks, for as long as I can do it, I’m going to meet someone who is an expert in science, politics, medicine, religion, every art form, unimaginable different professions, and I’ve done this religiously for 33 years, ” said Grazer.

Grazer credits curiosity with playing an enormous role in his creative process as well. Speaking to many Viacom creators who were in the room, he had this advice to offer:

“When you’re having a one-on-one conversation with someone, and you’re in that zone, something biochemical happens, there’s a molecular quality to it,” said Grazer. “ And when it really happens, it’s like your first and best date you’ve been on in your life. It can create real inspiration which can lead to creative breakthroughs.”

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