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October 7, 2015

Trendsetters in Entertainment: July 2010

Scott Elias, Seth Schachner, Shelly Berg

Mike Vogel | 7/1/2010

The Music Man

Scott Elias
Random Act Records
Founder / Orlando

Quote: “I had parents who were incredibly supportive and wanted me to do something I loved and where I could make an impact.”

Pittsburgh area native Scott Elias played keyboards in clubs five and six nights a week in high school. But in his mid-20s, he moved into film. His long credits include location manager on The Rainmaker, Nell and My Cousin Vinny and co-producer or associate producer on Hugh Grant’s Music and Lyrics and Sandra Bullock’s Miss Congeniality 2 and Two Weeks Notice. “The film side took over from the music side.”

In Orlando since 1998 — his wife, Anna, is from Ormond Beach — he relies on film work for his main source of income, but music is making a comeback. Last year, he and Anna founded Random Act Records to bring jazz musicians such as UCF professor Jeff Rupert to a wider audience. The label name derives from “random acts of kindness” — a 10% “artistic tithe” goes to non-profits. Label artists have made top 10 and top 50 jazz charts.

Anna, 45, actor Don Johnson’s assistant on “Miami Vice” before becoming an award-winning short-film maker, created film company Random Acts Entertainment with Scott, 52, in 2008. They hope to shoot Bones of the Master, based on author George Crane’s account of his unlikely journey with a Buddhist monk returning to China. “Now I’m the guy who goes to investors and says, ‘I need $40 million for this.’”

The Sound of Music

Seth Schachner
Sony Music Entertainment
Vice president digital business Latin region / Coconut Grove

Early music tastes: Elvis Costello, The Clash, Cheap Trick, The Pretenders

Enjoying: Spotify, a Swedish music service popular in Europe
In 2004, Seth Schachner pitched Sony executives to let him develop the company’s Latin America digital business. Sony’s digital and mobile business in the Latin region is well over 10 times larger than when he started thanks to products such as full-track mobile downloads and partnerships — one involving Ricky Martin reportedly generated sales of more than 1 million mobile handsets.

A Columbia undergrad and MBA, Schachner, 47, started in entertainment in California with 20th Century. As a financial analyst, he once stayed up late running dozens of financial projections for True Lies. In 1995, he became AOL’s first business development executive for music. In 1999, he joined Sony. “I had to build my career through lots of sequential opportunities,” he says.

Schachner is on the Florida Film & Entertainment advisory council. He’s dedicated to boosting the music, digital and mobile industries here. “I’m always interested in growth.”


All that Jazz

Shelly Berg
After recruiting the Henry Mancini Institute to the University of Miami, jazz pianist Shelly Berg, 54, UM music school dean since 2007, continues to expand opportunities. He expects groundbreaking within two years on a $40-million home for the Patricia Frost Center for Experiential Music, a new core immersing undergrads in ear training, theory, technology and business. His book, “Jazz Improvisation: The Goal-Note Method,” is regarded as among the most influential texts on the subject. He has performed with artists as diverse as Steve Miller, KISS and Ray Charles and written music for TV, film and orchestras. “The world is not as monolithic as it was. There’s more opportunity than ever, but you have to find it. There are more nooks and crannies.”

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