Jason Blum wasn't an outsider like the lawyer turned football coach Mike Leach, but rather an insider who thought like an outsider like football coach Bill Belichick.
Blum’s father was an art dealer. Blum attended Vassar. He met people headed to Hollywood. After college Blum wanted to make a movie but no one would read the script. Fortunately his dad knew Steve Martin who read the script and wrote Blum a note about how much he enjoyed it.
Blum couldn't ask Martin to act in it, but the note provided a stamp of approval. Blum tore off the cover page and started to share the script with Martin's note leading the way. That project became Kicking and Screaming.
His first year after college Blum sold satellite television packages. His first year after that he got his realtors license. At night he worked on Kicking and Screaming or at the Malaparte theater company in New York.
It was this work that solidified Blum's approach. Satellite sales, real estate, and theater production were all commission based jobs. Blum only got paid when people bought something.
At Blum's early jobs at Miramax and Paramount Productions he saw the commission model inverted. "I hated everything about that job", he said about working on The Tooth Fairy.
Blum's created a model which reversed the compensation timeline. Instead of earning a lot of money initially everyone involved in a movie can earn a lot of money eventually. How do they do this?
"Few locations, few speaking parts, and we shoot 90% of our movies in Los Angeles. It's twenty to twenty-five days and everyone works for the least they're amount to be paid from the union."
Blum will joke to actors, writers, and directors that their trailer will be the same size as his—and he doesn't have one.
Blum sounds like famous value investor Warren Buffett, though less homely. There's been shelves, maybe even libraries, written on Buffett and countless copycats. Why has no one tried to copy Blum? We'll see tomorrow.