SXSW: Dana Brunetti Talks 'House of Cards' Phenomenon

2:30 PM PST 03/09/2014 by Natalie Jarvey
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Dana Brunetti

The producer of the popular Netflix show tells Randi Zuckerberg, "A lot of people thought we were nuts."

Nearly a month after the premiere of the second season of House of Cards, producer Dana Brunetti sat down with Randi Zuckerberg to discuss how the Netflix series exemplifies the convergence of Silicon Valley and Hollywood. 

But before they could dive in, Zuckerberg addressed the elephant in the room. Brunetti was a producer on The Social Network, which follows the story of Zuckerberg's brother Mark Zuckerberg during the early days of Facebook. "It was totally factual in every way," Zuckerberg said to laughs from the crowd. 

Brunetti, also a tech investor and entrepreneur, spoke about the early days of House of Cards and how the industry's perception of online shows has changed. 

"A lot of people thought we were nuts. They didn’t understand what we were doing," he said. "Everybody gets it now. The same people who thought it was crazy sit in my office now and say, 'How do I get my show on Netflix?'" 

Brunetti also discussed at length the growing importance of crowdfunding in the making of films, calling it "a genius idea that's gotten a little out of hand." His point was that crowdfunding is helpful for small independent films or short films, but shouldn't be used for feature films. 

"I think it’s wrong when people like Zach Braff or Spike Lee utilize that same service to fund their films when they already have access," he added. "I think it overshadows the little guys who actually need the funding."

He also used the panel -- in front of a packed audience that included girlfriend Kristin Chenoweth -- as an opportunity to promote the startups that he's invested in or advised, including Stageit, a platform for musicians to connect directly with fans, and Dissipate, a secure document transfer system that acts like Snapchat for large files. 

Looking to the future of television, Brunetti predicted that the industry will be very different in five years. 

"I think it’s dead the way we know it now," he said. "Digital distribution is where it’s at. The next new networks, that’s where it’s going to be fun.… You see these wars with Comcast and others. It’s just going to be noise a few years from now because that’s how you’re going to get your content." 

 
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