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Spotlight on IFP Resident: Brendan Spiegel Co-Founder of Narratively

Each week we are highlighting a new IFP Resident organization with an interview with their founder or an employee. Up next is Brendan Spiegel of Narratively.

What is your company/organization and what do you do?

Narratively is a media platform and production company that celebrates the diversity of humanity through authentic storytelling, including longform writing, videos, animations and podcasts. We publish stories on our own website, Narratively.com; produce branded-content projects for clients; and develop TV, film and podcast projects.

If you could describe your career path in three sentences or less, what would it be?

I got my start as a political reporter and editor for Congressional Quarterly, then freelanced for many years, primarily writing food and travel articles for The New York Times, Washington Post and other publications. Then I teamed up with Noah and the rest of the Narratively gang to launch this company in 2012.

Why are you passionate about what you do and what inspired you to start your business/work on the projects you work on?

We launched Narratively because we were passionate about telling colorful, slice-of-life stories about ordinary people, and there were so few places to tell them, since so much of the media is focused on celebrity, politics and breaking news. We just wanted a place to tell these kinds of stories and the business model grew from there.

What is your priority project right now (individually or as a business)?

We’re extremely excited about the TV, film and podcast projects we have in the works –including multiple projects that are inspired by the stories we’ve published on our site, and will soon be coming to a screen (or earphones) near you.

How do you as a company/organization/individual handle crisis and what do you during these times to stay inspired and to inspire your team/collaborators?

We’re all juggling a lot in terms of parenting, caring for family members, and staying well ourselves while working 100% remotely. In addition to our virtual meetings for work, our team has a weekly Zoom that is specifically for non-work talk – just to check in with each other, make sure everyone is OK, see each other’s babies/puppies/etc…It’s a simple thing but it really helps to brighten the day and remember that we’re all in this together.

What exciting projects have you recently completed, are currently working on, or have in the pipeline?

Our video team has been hard at work on the latest video in a branded content series we’ve been producing for a financial client. They had to completely pivot and move from a travel-centric production concept to one that is all about how people are living, working and staying well right now. We’ve cast a variety of talent around the country, and will be capturing video via Zoom, then editing it into something beautiful. It’s been quite a hustle to make it happen, but it’s also really exciting and inspiring to see our video team figure out how to adapt their storytelling and production techniques for this unprecedented moment.

If you could give one thing to the greater Media Center/IFP community, what would it be?

Antibodies for everyone!

How did you find out about IFP/Media Center?

We’ve been here forever! I think six years now. We saw a news item in a local Brooklyn online publication about the media center opening. We were working completely remotely up until that point and it just sounded like a perfect fit. Now you can’t get rid of us. 🙂

What have you gained from your membership?

We’ve collaborated with several other members and freelancers on video productions, graphic-design projects, and more. It’s been invaluable just to meet so many smart, creative people who we can team up with.

What unique media center offerings have you taken advantage of and have found the most rewarding?

We love the happy hours. Especially since they moved over to the incubator space, which seems like a very small change but just makes us that much more likely to stop working, get up and actually participate. Really wishing we could do one right now!

Be sure to check back next week for another IFP Resident Spotlight.