Creativity 50 2015

Creativity 50 2015: Steve Golin

Founder, Managing Partner, Anonymous Content

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Steve Golin
Steve Golin Credit: Courtesy Anonymous Content

Steve Golin, founder-managing partner of Anonymous Content, has had an enduring career steering some of the finest storytelling in both advertising and entertainment. In Hollywood, Mr. Golin's credits feature more than 50 film and TV projects, including critically acclaimed films such as the Golden Globe-winning "Babel," "Being John Malkovich," "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and "True Detective." In advertising, his company has produced landmark ads including Nike's "Write the Future" and Procter & Gamble's "Best Job."

But 2015 also proved to be a truly banner year for Mr. Golin and Co. Anonymous was behind standout work such as Yoplait's unusual campaign starring manly man Dominic Purcell, and AT&T's disturbing safety ad "Close to Home." Mr. Golin executive-produced the breakout TV hit "Mr. Robot" as well as outstanding films "The Revenant" and "Spotlight," both contenders for the 2016 Oscars. He cites his team's collaboration on those projects as his proudest achievement.

"One thing remained consistent and that was the outstanding writing, producing and direction executed across the board," he said. "The team pushed themselves, and they pushed me, to reach even higher. Their commitment was contagious and inspired me every day. I'm so proud of what we were able to accomplish and the greatest reward is seeing how that commitment has paid off in the audiences' reaction to the films and TV show."

Ad Age: Your name is consistently attached to some of the best entertainment out there—from cinema to TV and, through your company's commercial division -- spots. What do you think is the most important lesson you've learned in terms of creating a truly entertaining story -- whether it be in film, tv or advertising? Is there one thing that holds true for all?

Steve Golin: Truly entertaining storytelling requires the right story and the right people who can tell that story in way that compels an emotional reaction from audiences. Finding partners who share a mutual vision and passion for a project is critical, whether you're telling a story through the medium of film, TV series or advertising. It's the team's unwavering desire to see a project through from start to finish that ultimately determines its success.

Ad Age: What's your biggest fumble of the past year -- and what did you learn from it?

Mr. Golin: We don't see fumbles, we just see opportunities to improve, evolve and learn. We have lots of opportunities, both big and small on a daily basis, and each one of them makes us better.

Ad Age: What's the biggest challenge for you in terms of creating entertainment that's unique yet widely embraced?

Mr. Golin: Creating content that is both unique and widely embraced is a tall order -- finding it is like striking gold. We're constantly hunting for great material, meeting with great creative minds, pouring over scripts to find that compelling story that we can confidently attach our names to and advance to the next level. This is the most challenging and also the most important part of producing memorable films and television. I'm fortunate to have an incredible team that has a sixth sense when it comes to finding great material, and for that I'm grateful.

Ad Age: What's your definition of creativity?

Mr. Golin: Creativity has various definitions, existing on multiple levels and manifesting in many different ways. Creativity varies from role to role, which is to say that writers can be creative in adapting content or conceiving an original idea while producers are creative in how they match that material to the right filmmakers-actors, and then actors express their creativity in how they portray the characters in these stories and so forth. Having the eye to see things through to the "grand finale" is a creative talent in its own right, which is one of my personal manifestations of creativity that keeps me focused on the big picture.

Ad Age: What are you most inspired by today?

Mr. Golin: At every level and in every department, we've built a world-class team here at Anonymous Content who I have the privilege of working with every day. They are what inspires me and gets me out of bed each day. Without them, none of this would be possible.

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