Barbara Glazer on her brilliant career in entertainment marketing

Barbara Glazer began her career as a film editor and worked on documentaries. It was through this job that she met Tony Silver and eventually transitioned from documentary to full-time for Tony editing trailers and TV spots. Her early work includes the trailer for Oliver Stone’s Oscar-winning film Platoon. Glazer continued to hone her creative skills to become managing editor, then producer, and finally partner at Silver/Glazer Films.

In 1991, Silver/Glazer relocated from New York to Los Angeles, where the company spent the next several years working on prestige publications such as Sense and Sensibility, Little Women, Seven Years in Tibet, Boogie Nights, and The Remains’ recognition reaped the day.

In 1997, to broaden her creative and business horizons, Barbara transitioned from Silver/Glazer to partner with Mike Greenfeld as co-founder of Ant Farm. In less than five years, it became one of the most successful creative agencies in film marketing. Overseeing 160 employees, Glazer nurtured and cultivated editorial talent, motivated and inspired those around her, and worked tirelessly and passionately to produce the best materials for every campaign she worked on. With her intuitive understanding of the viewing audience, she became known as a producer who combined strategic thinking with creative instinct. Their campaigns are as diverse as The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Sixth Sense, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Pearl Harbor, Sideways, National Treasure, Love Actually, The Trilogy ” Pirates of the Caribbean and Kill Bill.

In 2002, while still on Ant Farm, Glazer, Greenfeld and some of their competitors formed Picture Head. Capitalizing on the need for a high-end, quality mailroom specializing in short-form marketing collateral, Picture Head continues to grow and thrive. Success allowed the owners to expand into more specialized areas of post-production, opening Formosa Sound in 2013 and Picture Shop in 2016. The three companies work together in all areas and formats of post production and currently have a worldwide presence.

Glazer left Ant Farm in 2007, staying for five years after the company was sold to DDB. She has advised studios over the years and produced marketing materials for the 2020 presidential election. Much of her time is now devoted to community service for A PLACE CALLED HOME, an organization whose mission is to empower and improve the lives of at-risk youth. Glazer has served on the APCH board of directors for nearly 10 years and recently stepped down from her role as chairman of the board. She is currently a member of the Motion Picture Academy.

Earlier this week, Barbara was named a 2022 Lifetime Award Honoree by Clio Entertainment. She will be honored at the Clio Entertainment Awards in LA on November 15th

We spoke to Barbara for our backstory series, where we talk to people in the entertainment industry about her creative inspirations and more.

Barbara, tell us…

Where you grew up and where you live now.

If you hear me speak, you can pretty well guess that I’m from New York. I was born in Brooklyn, grew up on Staten Island and fled to Manhattan when I was 18. I lived in the East Village in the ’80s, the hippest and trendiest place in town, home to artists, misfits and rebels. I fit right in.

By 1991, most of the studios’ marketing departments had relocated to Los Angeles and it became apparent that to stay in business I would have to relocate as well. I moved to Venice (loved it!!) and stayed there for 10 years. Now I live in the Hollywood Hills and that’s pretty awesome too.

Your first job in the industry.

When I graduated from film school, I got a three-month unpaid apprenticeship at a documentary film office called Valkhn Films. I went from apprentice to assistant to editor in a rush, because I was cheap and learned quickly. And I was obsessed. While I was working there, Tony Silver was working as a client on a documentary called Style Wars. He also produced trailers to help pay the bills. In 1982 he brought the trailer for The Dead Zone to Valkhn and I was hired to assist the owner Victor Kanefsky. I ended up editing the Dead Zone trailer myself on a Moviola desk, on film…a very different world from digital editing. For the next three years, Victor rented me out to Tony. Eventually I joined Tony and became his editor-in-chief, then producer, and finally partner.

A breakthrough in your career.

I tend to think of my career in two parts. Part one is my success as an editor in New York. The encouragement I received for cutting the platoon trailer was so gratifying. We were awarded a Clio before Clio bought the Key Art Awards and really got into the entertainment marketing business. Walking into the awards ceremony felt like I had finally arrived in the big time. To be honest, I wasn’t aware of what was happening on the west coast.

Part two begins when I left Tony Silver after 15 years and joined Mike Greenfeld to start the ant farm. Every moment of building the ant farm felt like a small breakthrough, but I think when I got the call to go to New Zealand and meet up with Peter Jackson to work on The Lord of the Rings, I knew that I really did it.

Three films you couldn’t do without.

Any question that asks me to rate movies is really difficult. This is why I have a hard time voting for the Academy Awards.

But here it is… my guilty pleasure film is The Proposal. I don’t even know if it’s a good movie but it makes me smile and laugh every time I see it and I’ve seen it many, many times. To me, Betty White and Sandra Bullock dancing in the woods is pure genius. The strip club!!!!! I could go on like this and yes I have a crush on Ryan Reynolds.

Then you pick almost any Quentin Tarantino film, but I think if I really had to focus on one, I’d say Pulp Fiction. It completely changed storytelling and is so perfectly woven with seamless changes of tone.

I feel the same way about Boogie Nights and Magnolia. Paul Thomas Anderson is an exciting, masterful storyteller and both have such interesting characters, incredible acting and amazing soundtracks.

Your favorite movie quote.

Of course, every line from every film I’ve ever worked on is stuck in my head… I find myself quoting many of them unconsciously. But one movie and one line that I love and can relate to is from Postcards from the Edge, which unfortunately I didn’t work on. Meryl Streep’s character says, “Instant gratification takes too long.” … Yes, I can be impatient!

Your favorite movie trailer or poster.

It’s almost cliche to say this now, but like many people, I think the Alien teaser is still one of the finest pieces of creative advertising. When I started Tony Silver it was still an active piece on his role and I watched it endlessly. The concept, the editing, the music, the editing. Everything perfect. Special shooting teasers were very big back then. I’m not sure if testing killed them, but it was a great opportunity to be wildly creative.

A classic tv show and a current tv show you loved.

I loved all Norman Lear shows. Soap, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and of course All in the Family and Maude. They were groundbreaking, and after 100 years, Norman Lear still has 93 projects in development. Pretty inspiring.

What am I not watching? That’s the beauty of not being active anymore. Plenty of time to stream. As I write this, I love Bad Sisters. It’s a great dark comedy that gets pretty serious and emotional. All the characters are really individual and well drawn.

A project you’ve worked on and are proud of.

When we got The Sixth Sense, no one at Disney could have predicted what a hit they would have. Art Mondrala cut an exquisite pendant, and when the studio saw it, they knew they had gold. I feel like we developed the M. Night Shyamalan brand with our work on The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs. All three of these campaigns make me really proud.

Someone else’s project that you recently admired.

I was blown away by the TÁR trailer that Giaronomo produced. The sense of mystery and excitement. How uncomfortable it makes you. The use of music and sound design. Every once in a while I see something and wish I had. This is one of those times.

One thing about the evolution of entertainment marketing that excites you.

For me, it’s about the people doing the work. So many different voices have their say and influence. Especially the presence of women on both the agency and studio side. When I started out in this space, I never imagined there would be a group like Soapbox Women. Of course there is still work to be done, but this business is so much more inclusive than it was 15 years ago.

What you would have done if you weren’t in entertainment marketing.

Well I would still be living in New York and I suppose I would have pursued the documentary world. Documentaries and trailer making have so much in common because most of the time the story is created in the editing room. It wouldn’t have been as profitable, but it would still have been fun, interesting, and challenging.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *