Christopher Gallego is an award-winning producer living in Hollywood. He has worked for some of the world’s most prominent TV stations including TNT, NBC, CBS, STARZ, Showtime, and Fashion One.
TDL Magazine: Thank you for taking the time to chat with us today! Describe your path to becoming a producer.
CG “I was born in Kealakekua, Hawaii and grew up in Honolulu. Music was my first love; I started with the piano, violin, and cello in elementary and middle school. In 7th grade, I held a spot on the Big City All-Star Dance Team, performing alongside future Janet Jackson choreographer Gil Duldalao. In 8th grade, I mentored as a DJ under the Rock Steady Crew chapter in Hawaii while saving my paper route money to buy my first pair of Technics turntables. Serving as student council Vice President my sophomore year of high school gave me the opportunity to emcee school wide assemblies. I was an All-State baseball player and University of Hawaii at Manoa walk-on; and a part of the internationally-acclaimed KTUH college radio program”.
“After graduation, I earned two Associates Degrees, one in Digital Audio Technology and another in Music Business, from Phoenix College in Arizona. I spent a number of years working as a DJ and music producer, until returning to college during the recession at Arizona State University. While at Arizona State University, I won two arts entrepreneurship grants from the university, presided over the largest expansion of the ASU Film Association as President, and graduated with honors, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Film and Media Production”.
What is a typical day like for you?
“There is no typical day because everyday as a producer is different, especially when working with amazing talent in music, film, and television. On the music side, I’m usually advising artists on publishing administration, distribution, and marketing. Sometimes we’re in the studio tracking new music, or doing photo shoots to help keep up with the never ending demand for content. When it comes to film and television, I’m managing projects in different stages. A lot of my time is spent negotiating collaboration agreements with talent early on to secure the rights to a story or world of characters so I can turn around and pitch that to networks and distributors. Then there are days that are production-heavy: we are shooting new tape constantly. Because I can shoot and edit, a lot of short-form content gets pumped out with a quick turnaround. Of course, maintaining a work-life balance is crucial so lately I’ve been making sure to add a gym workout in somewhere, and take the time to call family and friends to keep me grounded. But flexibility is important for me day to day in order to take advantage of all the great opportunities I’m blessed with”.
What are you working on right now?
“Right now is the busiest moment of my career. I just got hired by a company in Las Vegas called MagicFlix. It’s exactly what it sounds like: Netflix for magic content. I’m shooting and editing everything from performances to lessons and interviews with the world’s best magicians. Additionally, I was also asked to form a new production company with legendary professional sports gambler Bill Krackomberger whom just appeared on Showtime’s 4-part miniseries “Action.” Sports gambling is the biggest growing segment in sports media, and we’re developing content for premium tv as well as wrapping up a documentary. Lastly, on the scripted side, I produced a fun short that’s an 80’s period piece on the ecstacy drug trade with some very talented actors and crew. We’re prepping a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to finish it and cover festival submission costs. In fact, if it goes extremely well we’d love to keep shooting and turn it into a feature-length film. We’ve got the talent to do it!”
How does your background as a performing artist and DJ help you as a producer?
“I think my background as a performing artist in different disciplines lets me connect with talent in different areas, so communicating with artists specifically is an advantage. I like to be the bridge between art and business, so when talent has questions about the business side I make myself available as a resource to them. This earns me their trust, and to me that’s the most valuable thing a producer can ask for”.
What have been some of the highlights of your career?
“I was selected as a Time-Warner College Associate and worked at TNT/tbs Originals in Burbank. This was a unique experience because their program took us through every department of the cable network to get a complete idea of how the business of television works. We even spent time in business affairs and learned how to negotiate complex contracts for writers, producers, actors, and licensing. I also got to sit in on pitches at a television conference with the execs, then get their insights as to why a certain pitch or project was good or bad. I think those two things are the basis for my ability to jump into the industry as an independent producer at a relatively young age. I’ve won three awards so far – the PTA National Award of Merit in Music Composition (1 of 3 awarded annually), the PAVE Arts Entrepreneurship Grant, and the EAP Entrepreneurship Grant”.
What brings you the most joy in life?
“Spending time with family, traveling to new destinations, exploring new music, museums, art galleries, Hawaiian food, cooking, dancing, reading history/politics/philosophy, getting to know a room full of strangers”.
Who is your biggest inspiration right now ?
“I’m getting a lot of my inspiration from the magician Rocco Silano. He is deeply spiritual and it shows in his performances. For example, in one of his illusions he turns water into wine then into grapes. The obvious allusion to Jesus aside, his faith is suffused into everything he does. We’ve gotten to know each other pretty well and now we’re prepping a feature documentary together. What inspires me most about Rocco is how he inspires people with his ethos. Rocco is a bringer-of-light, and his impact upon the world as such makes him revered in the world of magic. I hope to one day have an impact like that, too”.
Learn more about Christopher Gallego at www.cgallego.com