About BJ Barretta
Industry Branded EntertainmentDigitalMediaTelevision
Sector Audience DevelopmentBranded ContentBranded EntertainmentDevelopmentOriginal ContentSocial ImpactSocial MediaStrategy
Preferred Job Title CCO (Chief Content Officer)CCO (Chief Creative Officer)Creative DirectorHead of VideoVice PresidentExecutive Creative DirectorExecutive ProducerHead of Original Programming
I live and breathe at the intersection of storytelling and strategy where I have produced and/or programmed over 2 billion views across YouTube and Facebook. I’ve developed digital originals for linear networks, established an award-winning digital publishing branded content video studio, which I still lead along with running an original video studio. I have also produced for television.
I develop digital content and strategies that find and grow audiences. My diverse experience is the result of technology evolving and platforms emerging while I grew as a storyteller. I always took advantage of the newest tools and methods available to find the biggest audiences.
Today, I’m finding those big audiences for Good Media Group (Upworthy and GOOD) as Head of Video. My expertise in emotive storytelling has grown our video audience as well as helped dozens of Fortune 500 companies win the war for attention and connect with consumers on a deep, memorable, and emotional level. Prior to GMG, I was a producer at Discovery Communications where I developed and produced digital original content spun off of tentpole television programming that included Shark Week and Whale Wars.
More information about me, as well as my digital media insights and examples, can be found at bjbarretta.com
I look forward to meeting you!
American University School of Communications, Washington, DC
Courses taken: COMM-574: TheBusiness of Television This course gives students a macro look at the prime-time network and cable television business and investigates the various players in the business including studios, networks, producers, agents, and advertisers. It examines the different roles and relationships in the development and production of television programming, including what makes a good idea for a television series; the role of the studios; the various economic models; the showrunner executive producer; how an agent works; why advertisers are so important; what the rating mean; and the future of television. COMM-557: Visual Storytelling Offers students a comprehensive approach to envisioning and communicating visual stories through storyboards. This course applies to narrative films, documentaries, historical re-creations, commercials, and public service announcements. Anyone interested in learning to storyboard for visual media pitches, concept approval, film production, blocking shots, directing, envisioning re-creations, adapting creative works to visual media, will benefit from this course. This course is also appropriate for marketing and advertising students COMM-535 NEW MEDIA PRACTICE/TECHNIQUES This on-line course provides a survey of contemporary new media practices and techniques, which are being applied through broadcast, web, and mobile devices such as pod movies. From Saul Bass to Hillman Curtis, students study the methodology and apply what they learn to their new media projects. Students also engage in contemporary reading by new media makers in the field. This course is oriented to any student in the school of communication who is interested in learning new media language and applying it to their own work. Students blog, smash, mash, and apply the techniques to a production-oriented main project within their selected field. COMM-601: Legal Aspects of Communication A survey of the critical legal concepts for producers of film and video including copyright, intellectual property, life rights, contracts, releases, and more. COMM-550: Financing and Marketing Independent Productions An in-depth look at the nonfiction market with particular attention to PBS and the cable networks. Also looks at the special interest market for educational and advocacy videos for nonprofits and NGOs. Topics include development, distribution, marketing, and secondary markets. COMM-682: Writing for Visual Media Discusses the elements of story-telling with both fiction and nonfiction films including plot, character, and conflict. Also presents the industry standard formats to fiction and nonfiction script writing. COMM-513: Producing for Film and Video An in-depth look at the fiction film market including underlying property, development, financing, distribution, ancillary markets, and marketing. Focuses on the studio and the independent film worlds.
2015 - 2019
Head of Video, Upworthy | GOOD Philadelphia, PA - Jan 2018-present • Manage all productions, staff, freelancers, licensing, and partnerships for Upworthy’s original video studio • Personally selects every video (5-plus videos a day) that runs on Upworthy platforms • Took over Upworthy original video just as the Facebook algorithm changed and despite massive layoffs and budget cuts, grew audience watch time over previous year and maintained over 1 billion views • Have grown audience every month since the September 2018 algorithm adjustment despite very limited resources Executive Producer, Brand Video Studio, Upworthy | GOOD Philadelphia, PA - Oct 2015-present • Manage all productions, staff, and freelancers for Upworthy’s brand video studio, which I helped establish • Annually execute over 1.5 million dollars worth of productions on schedule and on budget • Upworthy’s brand video studio had the 22nd most branded video views on all of Facebook in 2017, ranking in the top .01% of all publishers
2013 - 2015
Producer/Editor, Discovery Communications Silver Spring, MD - Sep 2013-Aug 2014 and May-July 2015 • Created original digital and social videos for hit series to include: Shark Week, Deadliest Catch, River Monsters, Through the Wormhole, Alaska: The Last Frontier, Next Great Baker, Big Giant Swords, Call of the Wildman • Associate Producer/ Editor for Animal Planet’s first ever interactive, online episode: Whale Wars: Blood and Water
2014 - 2015
Fog Edge Media
• Produced season 6 of DIY Network’s I Want That - a top performing show for a network in over 58 million homes • Wrote scripts, researched content, reviewed footage, reviewed and approved cuts, field produced
2013 - 2019
Discovery Digital Networks
Developed and programmed four top performing YouTube channels using an effective SEO strategy
2013 - 2013
• Developed treatments and proposals for online video content strategy, original web series, digital spin-offs and tent pole/ special projects, to include the groundbreaking Whale Wars: Blood and Water.
2012 - 2013
Edited news packages for CBS Evening News and CBS This Morning
2017 - 2017
University of the Arts (Philadelphia)
Taught 3-credit video production course
2013 - 2015
Northern Virginia Community College
Developed and taught a 3 credit history of film class
2007 - 2012
Managed award-winning team of video, graphic design, and web professionals for a strategic communications office in the United States Intelligence Community
2006 - 2007
Falmouth Community Television
• Managed operations for Falmouth’s public access channel • Developed, produced and directed live and live-to-tape studio productions
2004 - 2006
Video producer for a strategic communications office in the United States Intelligence Community
2003 - 2004
Developed, wrote, directed, edited, and distributed studio and field productions (at Fort Beloir) for United States Intelligence and Security Command
2002 - 2003
Department of Defense: Defense Security Service
Conducted background investigations in the interest of national security
2002 - 2015
• "What to Expect" cancer survivor digital series for WebMD (writer, producer, director, editor, 2015) • TLC's "Toddler Bowl" (writer/producer, 2015) • "Surviving Death: A Paranormal Debate" Documentary shown on PBS stations and distributed by Celebrity Home Entertainment (Producer/Director/Editor, 2012). • "Under the Bourbon Moon" short fiction film (Assistant Director, 2013). • "Saving Mr. Yamamoto" short fiction film (editor, 2012). • "Never Dream...The Beginning" short fiction film (editor, 2012). • HGTV’s "National Open House" (Pie Town Productions, videographer for 4 episodes, 2007). • "Fate Date" blind-date-reality show pilot for The University Network (producer/director 2005).