Super Bowl XXXVIII opener with Arnold Schwarzenegger? What
about that infamous "Towelgate" teaser, where
Nicollette Sheridan dropped her towel for Terrell
Owens? If so, you have producer Matt Brady to thank.
Brady is an
old-school Hollywood success story--a sweet kid from
the suburbs arrives in La-La Land hoping to make it
big...and actually does. A former celebrity
assistant and location scout, Brady, 30, is the head of
MRB Productions, a television production company
that's become known for its openers, spots, and
teasers for such clients as ESPN, the ESPY Awards, and
Monday Night Football. Brady has been nominated
for four Emmys and won two, and he's made his
name amid the sweat and testosterone of the locker
room--not exactly the most likely spot for a gay
producer. But forging fresh ground with little inhibition is
one of Brady's fortes.
So tell us a bit about how you got started. Growing up on
the East Coast, what made you want to work in Hollywood?
I grew up in
Connecticut. And by the time I got to college, in Virginia,
I was all "small-towned" out. I decided I was
going to move to L.A. for the summer, and so I called
every company I could and sent my resume to
every entertainment temp agency in town. I came in on a
Monday, and on Wednesday I interviewed to be a
personal assistant to Randy Quaid. That was my first
job. It was supposed to be only for a week, but it ended up
being a year and a half. It was fun; it was like boot camp
for the Hollywood uninitiated. It wasn't a
sit-back-and-relax job, but I learned so much and I
learned firsthand. It wasn't like being a [personal
assistant] in an office where you're on the 25th
rung. Randy and his wife were producing, working on so
much stuff, and when you work for a celebrity,
you're the direct liaison. So I had big agents and
big managers calling me. It was a trial by fire. On
the other hand, I moved here on a Monday and a week
later was the Mission: Impossible premiere, and
Randy and his wife gave me their tickets. I remember being
on Rodeo Drive searching for an outfit for the premiere and
just thinking, I can't believe it!
I'm really here! I instantly thought,
There's no way now I'm ever going
home. People might think I just got lucky somehow,
but I planned it and I worked my ass off.
And from there, how did you end up getting so involved in
the world of sports programming?
I started working
the opening segments for the ESPYs and the ESPN short
films, the pre-tapes that air during the show. One of the
main bosses left and went to Monday Night
Football, and he asked me to come on and produce
all the short format--which was amazing because there
are all these celebrities involved and a huge
viewership, and every week it was something new.
Twenty million people are watching. It's been great
and it honed my producing chops very
quickly--you would find out the talent and the
location and then, a few days later, it was on the air.
It seems an unlikely world to find you in. Have you
had any problems being out in a world where
that's somewhat unusual?
I have been so
lucky; I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. I feel
like I'm the token gay in a lot of those situations,
because it's not unfriendly by any means, but
it's not a very gay environment. I mean, some
of the shoots tend to lean that way because of the hair and
makeup and stylists, but when I'm at ESPN in
the football meeting, [there are] definitely not a lot
of other out men in the room. I try to be...I
don't know if "role model" is the
right word, but a lot of people just don't know
any gay people, and that's the issue--like
"I don't have any black friends."
I want everyone to think, He's so cool, and
so maybe that other gay guy is cool too. I
haven't had any bad coming-out experiences.
I'm also not making out with guys on set in a
pair of chaps. I'm definitely not the Norma Rae of
the gay producing world, but if I do a good job and
everyone likes me, maybe things will change at least a