At BuzzFeed Motion Pictures we are creating a new kind of media practice that is deeply different from what you will find elsewhere in Hollywood. This is a practice where we commit to the development of our employees and to collaborating creatively. There have been a number of conversations recently about what it means to be a BFMP producer, both in terms of your relationship with BuzzFeed and in relation to each other. I’m writing today to reaffirm what we think this relationship should be, what it means for your non-BuzzFeed work, and why we think our model is a unique and valuable opportunity.
Every project you work on at BFMP has been informed by people all across the organization — people you work with today, and people who have developed our ways of working since BuzzFeed started in 2006. The way we think about content, social values, identity, and formats has evolved from years of work. That work has taught us how to publish, how to build tools, and how to understand data, and has built an audience base that allows our work to spread widely.
What has allowed us to grow so quickly has been our ability to apply what we have learned in the past to an ever-changing world of new opportunities: new platforms, new technologies, new audiences. Our best work is created through collaboration and free-flowing movement of ideas throughout our organization by a diverse set of people who have curiosity, are fluent in the production process, and understand how to tap into the people and resources available.
This model requires different ways of thinking about employment and the creative process. More concretely, it requires BuzzFeed to invest heavily in its producers and in the things that make them successful: the space and equipment you need to experiment, training processes and classes to help you develop — and tools that help us ask questions of the data we collect. We take this investment seriously. As full-time producers, in addition to salaries and health benefits, BFMP employees working in our LA studios currently receive the following:
* Paid time off (including for vacation, sickness, parental leave, jury duty, bereavement, and birthdays)
* A 401k with company-matching
* Stock options
* Life insurance
* 30,000 sq. ft of production space, pre-dressed sets, cameras, lights, and props
* Access to a global audience of several hundred million people on BuzzFeed’s site, apps, social channels, and distribution partners
* Access to more than 50 internal classes on subjects ranging from creating social content and production techniques to leadership development
* The opportunity to build on the work of your colleagues, share ideas, and benefit from input from peers that makes your work better
* Access to data, tools, and analysts
* Opportunities for career growth and development
* Your best work translated into multiple languages and promoted in countries around the world
* Holiday parties, events, movie screenings, and many other perks
We're investing heavily in you, and we do ask for a real commitment in return. Concretely, this means that the work you do while you're on BuzzFeed's staff belongs to BuzzFeed, and that you can't work for other productions without our permission. Being a part of BuzzFeed is a full-time job, with many benefits and opportunities, and as with any full-time job you are expected to be fully committed to your work and collaborating with your colleagues while you are here. These are, it's worth noting, standard features of being an employee at any media or tech company — but we realize they're different from the freelance Hollywood models, and wanted to explain each. We ask for the following:
* Ownership of Content. The work created by you and the collaborative teams you're a part of while at the company is owned by BuzzFeed. As is standard across tech and media companies, BuzzFeed owns the work that you, our employees, create. It enables us to create a culture where ideas are easily shared and adapted, and where we can use our successes to grow our business and fund new areas of experimentation.
* Exclusivity. You cannot work for anyone else while you work for us unless you ask permission for an exception. An approval process allows BuzzFeed to assess whether the proposed outside work will interfere or compete with your work at BuzzFeed. In addition, you cannot work on personal projects outside of BuzzFeed that impact your ability to work for us.
Our most significant achievements come from the work all of you do within this model of inspiration and collaboration, not from pitches or scripts or characters that were developed elsewhere. This can cause conflict when someone wishes to use our platform mainly to advance their outside career instead of building themselves while helping to build BuzzFeed. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be individually successful. We recognize that for many people BFMP will be a stepping-stone in a varied and exciting career, and working here does create an immense amount of exposure. But while you are here we want you to participate earnestly in what we are building. It is unique and special.
BFMP is less than four years old and we are constantly evolving. BFMP is a system we have built together, and I’d welcome feedback on it — the way we work together is itself a collaborative project, and one that has been deeply shaped by input from many of you. I'm excited for the next four years and can't wait to see what we will create together.