Photo: Petar Fabijan


Creative director at CBS and one of the key people of Super Bowl

The Adriatic is my muse, my inspiration. Almost 70 per cent of the ideas I’ve used in my work were conceived while I was in Croatia.

For Americans, the Super Bowl is the most important of the least important things in the world. The end of the American football season has the status of an unofficial holiday. The match is watched by millions of people, and advertisers spend millions of dollars on commercials that are aired during the breaks. One of the most important people in creating this sports spectacle is Pete Radovich, creative director at the CBS television network. He is a multiple award-winning producer and director, who has received 37 Emmys in his career. The son of Croatian immigrants, he grew up in New York and started working on television in 1994. And it was practically by accident.

In your lectures, you always mention a key moment in storytelling that will encourage viewers to react emotionally. What was the moment in your career?

It happened on the very first day I came to television. I’ll always remember that. As clichéd as it sounds, it was love at first sight. I was doing my practice while at university. I entered the editing room for the first time; it was the first time I had anything to do with television. I just watched the producers bring out the best parts of the story. At the same time, I was thinking about what details I’d bring out as the most important and emotional ones. In most cases, what I was thinking corresponded with what the producers were saying to their crews. That’s when I felt that was it! That I was born for this job. That was the moment – the moment that would change my life. I’d only gone to university because of sport. If it hadn’t been for sport, I wouldn’t have got a degree. I’m one hundred per cent sure of that. I struggled. I worked as a waiter and construction worker. I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life, and I just happened to get this practice on television. I didn’t ask for it. I studied marketing, and a friend of mine knew someone on TV. I knew I had to do practice for my degree and it was just like lottery where I drew the winning number. I found myself in the right place at the right time. I always say, I got luckier than I deserved. It’s as if I made the whole thing up: sport, creativity, challenge…. And I got to it through my own work, as a child of Croatian immigrants, no less.

Both the audience and the members of the profession loved Teasing John Malkovich, resulting in many professional awards. How did you come to work with John Malkovich?

It was the easiest thing in the world. I emailed him the script, and he replied: “Looks good, see you on Tuesday”. The shooting in Boston took only four hours – from the moment John arrived to when he left. The thing I’m most proud of is that it was done so quickly, and so are my bosses (laughs). Although the prevailing view is that we at CBS have huge amounts of money for filming, the reality is a bit different. Budgets aren’t astronomical, but that, on the other hand, makes you more creative and innovative. When I get a very big budget, I won’t know what to do with it.

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