IFH 553: How to Build a Production Company with Michael D. Ratner

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Today on the show we have entrepreneur and filmmaker Michael D. Ratner.
Michael founded OBB Pictures in 2016 and under his leadership the company has grown into OBB Media, an award winning production company and studio with divisions in film, TV, digital, podcasts, branded content, and social good.
In addition to running OBB and expanding the business, Ratner continues to act as a multi-hyphenate leading creative on OBB’s marquee projects. Ratner recently directed and executive produced the Amazon Studios Justin Bieber: Our World film.
Justin Bieber: Our World takes viewers backstage, onstage and into the private world of the global superstar as he prepares for a record-breaking New Year’s Eve 2020 concert. After a three-year hiatus from a full concert, Bieber delivers an electrifying performance on the rooftop of the Beverly Hilton Hotel for 240 invited guests —and millions of fans across the globe watching via livestream. Produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker Michael D. Ratner, the94minute documentary follows Bieber and his team for the month leading up to the show as they rehearse and construct a monumental stage set. The film also captures personal self-shot moments between Bieber and his wife Hailey through the artist’s own lens.
Earlier that year, he directed and executive produced the critically acclaimed SXSW 2021 opening night headlining film Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil.
Demi Lovato holds nothing back in this powerful four part documentary series exploring every aspect that led to their nearly fatal overdose in 2018, and her awakenings in the aftermath. Director Michael D. Ratner is granted unprecedented access to the superstar’s personal and musical journey during the most trying time of their life as they unearth prior traumas and discovers the importance of physical, emotional, and mental health. Far deeper than an inside look beyond the celebrity surface, this is an intimate portrait of addiction, and the process of healing and empowerment.
Prior to that, the Justin Bieber: Seasons docuseries, which broke the record for YouTube Originals as the most-viewed premiere ever globally. These projects focus on helping to normalize and foster dialogue around mental health, conversations around self worth, and supporting causes for social good.
Ratner is also the creator, showrunner, director and executive producer of Cold as Balls, the comedy series starring Kevin Hart, which has garnered over 1.8 billion viewers to date and just wrapped its fifth season, and is available on Peacock. Ratner executive produced and directed on &Music for Quibi, and executive produced The Harder Way for ESPN+.
He directed and produced Justin Bieber’s music video Intentions, which featured Bieber and Quavo highlighting the stories of 3 Los Angeles women’s struggles, and launched the Intentions Fund. Ratner also co-directed the music video for Dancing With The Devil, alongside Demi Lovato, which was the lead single from their last studio album. Both music videos were nominated for VMAs.
Prior to that, Ratner served as executive producer and director on OBB’s Historical Roasts for Netflix. Ratner has also produced and/or directed a number of films that have premiered at Sundance, Tribeca, and SXSW, including Gonzo @ the Derby for ESPN’s acclaimed 30 for 30 series, which followed Hunter S. Thompson’s trip to the Kentucky Derby and is narrated by Sean Penn.
Ratner has been recognized by Variety Hollywood’s Creative New Leaders list as well as Forbes 30 Under 30 Hollywood & Entertainment. Prior to that, Ratner graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania and went on to receive a Master of Fine Arts in film directing, writing, and producing from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Enjoy my inspiring conversation with Michael D. Ratner.

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