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 DirectorExecutive Creative DirectorExecutive ProducerHead of Original ProgrammingHead of VideoVice President

Summary

I’m currently Head of Video for GOOD | Upworthy, creating original and branded video to uplift people and encourage positive social change. Our content has to be powerful to reach large audiences.

At Discovery, I developed and produced special digital projects and produced a television series for the DIY Network. I was the media team lead and a digital innovator for a strategic communications group in the US government. I managed a public access station on Cape Cod. And I’ve been an adjunct college professor, teaching courses on video production and film history.

I’ve always had my eye on what’s next. I developed a mixed media experience for Animal Planet called “Whale Wars: Blood and Water.” This interactive episode, the first of its kind for Discovery, was nominated for an Interactive Emmy and won two Webbys. When I became head of video for Upworthy, Facebook announced its algorithm change the same day. But I was able to pivot and grow views 47% and watch time 114% during my first 10 months. Our organization went through a massive resource reduction while the Facebook algorithm bottomed. Those forces shuttered other digital publishers, but we grew video time an additional 8% and engagement has grown 25% through 2019.

For the people I worked for, they have a right-hand leader who always finds the best ways to get to a yes. The people who work for me know that I’m a clear communicator who always gives the direction and the space needed to get the job done. I advocate for my teams and am a trusted mentor for the people who need instruction on how to produce the highest quality video at the lowest possible cost.

Experience

  • 2018 - 2021
    Upworthy

    Head of Video

    I'm responsible for the video operations and strategy for GOOD | Upworthy, a social publisher with over 14 million followers, focused on social progress. I manage all productions, staff, licensing, partnerships, and audience development for our original and brand video studios. • I took over original video just as the Facebook algorithm shifted in January 2018 but grew video views 47% and watch time 114% in 10 months. In August, we had a massive layoff eliminating much of my team just as the Facebook algorithm was about to bottom out. These circumstances shuttered other digital publishers but I’ve grown our video view time an additional 8% and engagement by 25%

  • 2013 - 2015
    Discovery

    Producer

    I developed, launched and managed tentpole digital programming for some of Discovery’s biggest properties: • I developed a mixed media experience for Animal Planet called “Whale Wars: Blood and Water.” This interactive episode, the first of its kind for Discovery, was nominated for an Interactive Emmy and won two Webbys. After it was greenlit because of my pitch, I was a producer and editor on the project. • When I discovered that Discovery’s audience was searching for Dinosaur content, which Discovery had stopped producing years prior, I developed, produced, and programmed a Dinosaur YouTube channel using legacy Dinosaur footage. The channel currently has 450 million views and includes the most viewed dinosaur video on YouTube. • I produced digital original content for three Shark Weeks: A shark YouTube channel in 2013, a digital series in support of "Shark of Darkness: Wrath of Submarine" in 2014, and a digital series in support of the Finbassador program in 2015 • I was the series producer for season 6 of DIY Network’s "I Want That." • I was a producer on "TLC’s Toddler Bowl," wrangling and directing 30 toddlers (and their parents).

  • 2017 - 2017
    University of the Arts (Philadelphia)

    Senior Lecturer, Video Production (FILM-124)

    Taught 3-credit video production course

  • 2013 - 2015
    Northern Virginia Community College

    Adjunct Professor, History of Film (ART-150)

    Developed and taught a 3 credit history of film class

  • 2004 - 2012
    ManTech/ TASC

    Media Team Lead

    I established and lead a media team to created content for a strategic communications division servicing a government contract in the Intelligence Community. We reached 80,000 personnel with vital information regarding our nation’s security. (I worked on this contract 2004-2006 and 2007-2012). • I established the Intelligence Community’s first digital content and distribution studio. • I developed and managed the creation of interactive training tools and media portals. • I developed, produced, and hosted an internal podcast. • 2008 and 2010 Icy Media Excellence Award winner for best government video; two-time 2009 Icy Award finalist for video; 2010 Icy Award finalist for video and finalist for branding. 2011 Icy Award finalist for video.

  • 2006 - 2007
    Falmouth Community Television

    Station Manager

    FCTV is a vibrant, active government and public access channel on Cape Cod. I managed operations, trained citizen producers, and produced live and live-to-tape field and studio programming. • I established the stations first digital video operations. I trained our producers on how to use this new thing called social video as well as distributed station-produced programming.

  • 2002 - 2017
    self

    Independent/Freelance Producing Projects

    • "What to Expect" 5 part WebMD digital series (producer/ director/ editor, 2015) • "CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley" and "CBS This Morning" (editor, 2013) • "Under the Bourbon Moon" short fiction film (Assistant Director, 2013) • "Surviving Death: A Paranormal Debate" Documentary shown on PBS stations and distributed by Celebrity Home Entertainment (Producer/Director/Editor, 2012) • "Saving Mr. Yamamoto" short fiction film (editor, 2012)

  • 2018 - 2023
    Upworthy

    Executive Producer, Brand Video

    I established our brand studio in early 2016. In that time, it’s earned a quarter billion views, is a critical revenue driver, and earned 27 industry honors. • 2019 Shorty Financial Services Nominee (Capital One) • 2019 Shorty Storytelling Nominee (SNAP) • 2019 Cynopsis Social Good Winner: Best Use of Social Media (Capital One) • 2019 Cynopsis Social Good Finalist: Awareness Campaign – Education (Capital One) • 2x 2019 Cynopsis Social Good Finalist: Information Spot and Use of Social Media (SNAP) • 2019 AVA Digital Awards Gold: Long Form Sports Video Production (The CW) • 2018 PromaxBDA North America Gold: Long Form Branded Content (State Farm) • 2018 PromaxBDA Global Bronze: Long Form Branded Content (State Farm) • 2018 PromaxBDA North America Nominee: Mobile/Social Digital Video (Minute Maid) • 2018 Cynopsis Social Good Winner: Branded Social Media Campaign (L\'Oreal) • 2x 2018 Cynopsis Social Good Honorable Mention: Branded Campaign for a Digital, Broadcast or Cable TV Series and Series with a Social Good Theme (L\'Oreal) • 2018 Shorty Best Branded Series Winner: Audience Honor (Starbucks) • 2018 Telly Gold: Branded Content Social Campaign (L\'Oreal) • 2018 Telly Bronze: Social Video Series, Food & Beverage (Minute Maid) • 2018 Telly Bronze: Branded Content, CSR (State Farm) • 2018 Shorty Best Branded Series: Bronze (Starbucks) • 2018 CINE Golden Eagle Finalist (New Orleans) • Fast Company 2018 World Changing Ideas Awards Finalist (Starbucks) • 2018 Digiday Nominee: Best Branded Content Program (L\'Oreal) • 2018 Cynopsis Film Festival: 3rd Place, Single Entry Branded Content(Cricket Wireless) • 2017 Webby (Robin Hood Foundation) • 2017 Digiday: Best video publisher partner for brands • 2017 Tubular Labs #VideoAce for Brand Partner Facebook Video (146.9MM views/ top .01% of all publishers) • 2017 Brandtale Best of the Week: Starbucks Upstanders • 2017 Shorty Social Good Finalist: Video (Cricket Wireless) • 2017 Shorty Social Good Finalist: Social Justice (Verizon)

  • 2015 - 2016
    Upworthy

    Development Producer

    I developed original video series for Upworthy\'s video studio. • I developed and oversaw production of 10 original series pilots. • Executive produced video content in collaboration with Facebook for the #LoveEarth campaign for the Paris Agreement.

Education