Oftentimes, we hear inspiring stories about overcoming hurdles or great achievements like going from rags-to-riches, and this is no exception. Imagine yourself in the one place you most wish you were right now. Imagine yourself being there and let it marinate for a little while. Then imagine your future self actually there. How much time and effort do you think it would take you to get there? Now imagine yourself down to your last $15. What would you do with it?
Erman Baradi has found his calling in life through persistence, balance and an unwavering, relentless pursuit toward a single goal: to make it onto the Red Carpet among nominated celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Sam Smith, who are both part of this year's nominees at The 6th Annual Hollywood Music in Media Awards. A Virginia Beach based Screenwriter, a member of The P40 Network and a representative of the Filipino community in Hampton Roads and LA, Erman will be a promotional partner attending this star-studded event on the Red Carpet! The HMMA is known to be a good indicator of winners in the music categories of the Oscars.
At a bustling coffee shop in the heart of Town Center in Virginia Beach, The P40 Network got a chance to sit down with the jet-setting writer and Founder of the LA based Rel/event Series to find out what makes him so driven and passionate about his work and how he landed onto the Red Carpet with only $15 to his name.
P40: Can you tell me what it took for you to get where you are today become a successful, young entrepreneur?
Erman: Everybody has that one story. You know how The Rock had a $7 story? I have a $15 story. It was the summer of 2012 and if I recall, it was actually the 15th of July. I finished my internship at Z104 for its music festival, and by this time I was well involved in No Malice's projects. But I still didn't have a solid income. With $15 left to my name I sent over 100 emails applying to Hollywood internships. Free internships. Two companies bit, I chose one, then I hosted music shows to fundraise using artists I met at the music festival. The internship in LA ended, I took up the social media name @Erman_LA so people thought I loved in LA. It worked. All these screenwriters and popular film blogs kept hitting me up. I locking in gig after gig after gig, all freelance, and after a certain amount of time I networked enough to make it to the red carpet. It all started with $15 and a dream. My first one was on the "Justified" season 5 premiere in LA. A year later I'm flying out to LA hosting/throwing my own industry events.
P40: What an inspiring story! How do you balance your social, personal, and professional life?
Erman: I treat it all the same. The effort I put into a Hollywood event is the same type of effort I give a girl, if warranted. For me, it's not about a balance of time but a balance of effort. Fortunately, everyone in my circle is aware of my career. Travel can come up out of nowhere and that's fine with them.
P40: What was the defining moment that propelled you into screen writing?
Erman: I sat in magnet school and didn't understand a thing the teacher or my classmates were talking about. So, I wrote in my notebook instead - chicken notes on storylines and witty one-liners and all that. All my English teachers loved me in high school and my screenwriting professor in college all gave me confidence boosts.
P40: What project are you most proud of?
Erman: My most recent Hollywood industry event, The Rel/event, was better than I expected. Some said it was the best panel event they've ever been to and that means a lot because I'm not even from LA. It's been over a month since and people still message me about it. I had the legendary casting director April Webster from the new "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" films and producer Lauren Shuler Donner of the "X-Men" franchise under one roof. Can't complain. I'll be the first in line for "Deadpool" and "Gambit." It's opened doors for me like attending the Hollywood Music in Media Awards on November 11th at Fonda Theater. I love red carpet moments and interview opportunities.
P40: What do you think it is about Hampton Roads that produces passionate individuals?
Erman: We are opposite coasts from LA so there's urgency I think to make it out. Pharrell, Chad Hugo, No Malice and Pusha T, Timbaland, Missy Elliott - it's not coincidence.
P40: Were your parents supportive of your decision to change your career path?
Erman: I was surprised in the beginning how supportive they were. As an Asian American I grew up going towards a career in medicine. I was worried about how they'd take it when I said I wanted to go to film school. I even went to a health and sciences academy for high school. Finally, it was time for college applications and I told them and they were like, "Cool." This whole time I thought they wouldn't take it well but they did. As long as I keep my promise of introducing my mom to Brad Pitt one day she's cool.
P40: What are some of the platforms you utilize on a daily basis to help you in your career?
Erman: I don't use my resume anymore. I use Twitter and Instagram. I'm on them everyday. A few big Hollywood players follow me on each so I strategically post in case they "happen to see them."
P40: What are some of biggest challenges you face working for yourself?
Erman: Money. Lol. Seriously, it's a good and bad thing. I don't have anyone telling me what to do, yet everything I've ever gotten I have to chase down myself. I self-fund a lot of things unless I get investors. Luckily, I've gotten free flights recently. Score.
-Scott Medina, Producer | HookedUpBeats.Com