Co-founder of F360, he spearheaded commercial production for leading brands, including Nike and Lucasfilm.
by Charity Shumway
A Life in Film
Today, Peter Friedman ’72 is one of the leading veterans of the production world. Co-founder of F360, an integrated content studio,he has blazed a trail from the era of broadcast television to today’s multimedia universe, working with PGA Tour Productions, Nike and many other top global brands along the way. But during his years at Adelphi, he was just a kid who loved his camera.
“There wasn’t a film department when I was at Adelphi,” Mr. Friedman says. “But Professor Paul Pitcoff offered a course where you could go across the country working on a film. I was pre-law and my wife Lynn [Class of 1972] was a dance major, but we both signed up for the course.”
After a few months of writing, shooting and editing, Mr. Friedman had made his first film. “It was dreadful,” he says, laughing. “But that was it, I was hooked on filmmaking.”
After graduation, he started his career as a runner for CBS, and quickly realized he loved advertising. In particular, he was intrigued by the role of producer. “I loved pitching ideas. I loved meeting face-to-face with clients,” Mr. Friedman says.
“As a young person, it’s not just figuring out what you want to do, but what space you want to live in, where you’re most comfortable,” he says. “I loved pulling everything together. “Being a good producer is being able to anticipate everything before it happens. That’s still what I do now.”
By 24, Mr. Friedman was the head of a department, and after making a name for himself, more opportunities came his way. In the late 1980s, George Lucas recruited Mr. Friedman to create a commercial production company, and Mr. Friedman spent five years building that business. A few years later, he was recruited again, this time by Nike to become the global head of commercial production. From there, he became the global head of broadcast production for the advertising agency network McCann Worldgroup.
In the early 2000s, before the Internet and mobile devices became the dominating force they are today, Mr. Friedman worked to push McCann beyond traditional broadcast TV advertising. “People looked at me like I was nuts,” he says, “but the world wasn’t going to exist in a 30-second format anymore. It was my crusade to get people to understand the potential of digital technology.”
His passion for multiplatform production led him to another opportunity, this time as the general manager of PGA Tour Entertainment. “Rather than being a vendor, we wanted to be a leader, creating content that people would want rather than waiting for them to come to us.”
Now, as the head of his own company, F360, Mr. Friedman is still pushing into new territory, producing everything from flash mobs to interactive video. Among its many projects, the company consults on the Samsung Fanboy campaign, which included a commercial in this year’s Super Bowl. A Life in Film“The Super Bowl ratchets up everybody’s expectations,” Mr. Friedman says. “There were hundreds of people who worked on that ad—directors, agencies, editors, all the imaging, mixing, music. Hundreds of people for 60 seconds, but everyone was very happy with the results.”
Above all, Mr. Friedman says, it comes back to lessons he learned at Adelphi. “Paul Pitcoff taught me something,” he says. “The only way you’re going to be great at something is to do it and do it and do it. There are no gimmes. You do good work, and it begets more good work.”
With decades of good work behind him, Mr. Friedman is looking forward to the future. “Platforms are converging. Everything is going to be streaming,” he says. But the fundamentals remain the same. “There are always new stories to tell.”
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