While the name Erman Baradi may not be a household name at the moment, it’s only a matter of time. The Virginia Beach native has worked with local and national talent in a variety of entertainment fields to help catapult their careers to another level, while simultaneously studying and perfecting his own craft. In the midst of working hard behind the scenes for a diverse and impressive array of clients, this budding aficionado is carving out a lane all of his own. 757 Lifestyle caught up with the busy mogul in the making to discuss his background, career, and his latest venture, Three Cities Fest. Check out the video below of Erman chatting with our writer DJ and read on for his Q & A about Three Cities, set to launch this May. Get familiar…
757 Lifestyle: What is Three Cities?
Erman: I write and interview for a digital celebrity interview outlet called Vents Magazine, which features an array of industry professionals from music to television to film both in front of and behind the camera. This year, we decided to create an inaugural entertainment event branded by the magazine. While the concept of a digital film festival has been done before, we wanted to implement live-streamed panels as well to give those who cannot attend the panels in person an intimate experience from behind a computer screen.
757 Lifestyle: Where is this event taking place/ how can one attend?
Erman: As the name entails, we have three venues involved. We will first be in NYC on May 16th, then Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (Vents’ founder’s hometown!) on May 19th, then we will end things in Los Angeles on May 23rd. You can purchase tickets online on the official conference site at www.threecitiesfest.com.
757 Lifestyle: What is the purpose of this event and what can people expect to take away?
I’m a firm believer in not letting location hold you back from achieving goals. I’m from Virginia Beach, which is the complete opposite coast from LA. After networking for so long via working events in LA and NYC and interviewing celebrities and knowing their reps, or be it odd jobs I’ve done that have connecting me to industry professionals, it only made sense to use these connections as best I can. My ultimate goal is to be a screenwriter. My friends ask me all the time, ‘You know Hollywood agents and managers. How are you not a signed writer yet?” For me, it’s about building these rapports first. So, for me to say I’ve done this and I’ve done that before ever getting signed, think of it as me trying to break in from the “inside out.” Hopefully, that makes sense. It came to a point where I’d see a row of movie posters or heard a song on the radio and realized I have a one, two, three degree of separation from someone who worked on it. I just had to act on having this network of people. Yeah, there’s plenty to learn from these selected panel discussions, but the message itself for me is you can get stuff done from anywhere (while it’s still important to be a part of circles in cities like NYC and LA). Thanks, internet!
757 Lifestyle: Is this strictly for those interested in film, or who else might this benefit and how?
Erman: We have different panels topics right now that correspond to certain niches. For example, you could be a musician who’s interested in how to get your song featured on a television show or maybe you’re a YouTube star trying to figure out how your millions and millions of views can turn into a major career move with a Hollywood talent rep. The interests vary. There’s a screenwriting panel and even a panel on content creation in film, TV, and digital. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon are killing it right now. Your interests can probably even crossover a lot of these, so you can attend one panel and stick around for another. On the film festival side, it’s a digital film festival so you can have eyeballs across the globe watching your submission instead of just the audience attending a major film festival far away from you.
757 Lifestyle: What kind of topics will be discussed + why do we need to have this conversation?
Erman: I think the topic of “breaking in” is tried and true. It’s basically discussed in any entertainment panel. Why? Because the answers change every year. The industry changes by the month it seems, whether you’re a filmmaker, actor, or writer. We have to keep up with technology and what it allows us to accomplish. A lot of the panels are meant for the aspiring (fill in the blank). So, we have a Screenwriters panel where you can hear from working writers. Same with the Music in TV & Film, as well as the PR panel. We have a publicist panel! I don’t think entertainers quite know the significance of having a publicist. People interested in becoming one, that’s for you, too. The same goes with the Literary Representation panel. It’s asked all the time: how do I as an aspiring writer find an agent or a manager?
757 Lifestyle: Who created Three Cities and how long has it been around for?
Erman: Three Cities is a collaborative effort between Vents’ co-founder, Rafa, and I. He knew I worked entertainment events and between the two of us we know a lot of reps, especially publicists thanks to all the interviews. He came up with the online film festival idea, which I think is very relevant and fresh. And I thought it’d be cool to gather amazing speakers that audiences would be interested in learning from. This is our first year!
757 Lifestyle: Tell us about the program and speakers lined up….
Erman: Right now the schedule itself is constantly being tweaked but here’s a list of our amazing speakers so far for the LA series. We are still working on NYC panel. I’m sure a week from now this information will be different:
“Rain” (2016) executive producers/writers Chris Collins (“Sons of Anarchy,” “The Wire”) and Marc Abrams (“Entourage”)
J. Miles Dale, Producer, “The Strain,” Executive Producer, “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World,” Executive Producer, “Carrie”
Ben Fielder, Senior Account Executive, Media and Entertainment at Twitter
Micho Rutare, Director of Development, “Z Nation,” “Sharknado” franchise
Michael Rousselet, 5 Second Films
Nic Oleksiw, Director of Development at Reel FX (“Book of Life”)
Megan Spanjian, VP of Scripted Television at The Weinstein Company
Jake Wagner, Head of Management at BenderSpink
Heather Weiss, VP of Much and House PR
Siri Garber, President of Platform PR
Melissa Keklak, Owner of MMK PR
Mary Beth Sales, Strategist/PR + image expert
Erin Dillon, Music Licensing Coordinator,” Empire,” “Power,” “Agent Carter”
Emmy-nominated T.O.N.E.-z, FX Network’s “Justified”
Charles “Chizzy” Stephens, “Black Ink Crew,” Lifetime’s “Bring It”
Maria Gonzales of Yard Noise, “Manny” Pacquiao documentary soundtrack
Ryan Engle, “Non-Stop”
Gloria Calderon Kellett, “iZombie,” “How I Met Your Mother”
Leigh Savidge, “Straight Outta Compton”
Ian Edwards, “Black-ish”
Lewaa Nasserdeen, “The Goldbergs”
Kelsey Reinhardt, “Transparent”
757 Lifestyle: How can passionate people get involved with the next Three Cities Fest or will there be another one?
Erman: We’ll see how this one goes first! Lol. I’m all about connecting with new people so anyone interested in being part of this can contact me directly at Erman.Baradi @ gmail.com. My social media pages are all the same: @Erman_LA.
757 Lifestyle: Why those locations?
Erman: LA is pretty self-explanatory. That’s the home of all the speakers! I almost went with Virginia Beach but moved that panel to NYC instead said it’d be easier to acquire speakers and a venue. Plus, I already have some sort of a foothold there thanks to a previous panel event I co-produced two years ago. Plus, I’d like to master this thing before taking it to my hometown. Then, Santo Domingo is ideal to host a Spanish-speaking centered panel.
757 Lifestyle: Any additional information?
Erman: Keep updated at www.threecitiesfest.com!