Gabriel Gornell

Entertainment Architect

A seasoned, results-driven, corporate-process anarchist—Gabriel creates disruptive strategies and solutions for artists and entertainment businesses by offering unconventional approaches to concept development, entertainment branding, 360° distribution, and production. As a passionately independent content creator—Gabriel is a Sundance winner, 2x Worldfest Gold winner, Adweek BestSpots winner, and a featured filmmaker at the MoMA.

As Executive Producer, Gabriel has worked closely with such entertainment brands as Discovery, HBO, History, Lionsgate, Marvel (including Avengers, Hulk, Spiderman, X-Men), Nat Geo, NBC, Scripps, Starz, and Turner—as well as with music icons including DeBarge/Bunny DeBarge, Doug E. Fresh, Il Volo, InnerPartySystem, Chris Isaak, Wynonna Judd, Alison Krauss, Tim McGraw, Oscar the Grouch & Anderson Cooper (Emmy duet), Dolly Parton, Smokey Robinson, Kenny Rogers, Lionel Richie, and The Rolling Stones.

In 2012, Gabriel was selected by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to be Executive Producer of “The 39th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards” (broadcast live on Turner/HLN) to reinvent the classic Emmy brand—overseeing every element of the event, production, telecast (distribution), and branding. Also in 2012, Gabriel served as Executive Producer along side Spike Lee on the music-themed hip hop horror movie “You’re Nobody til Somebody Kills You” distributed by Lionsgate. In 2013, Gabriel returned as Executive Producer of “The 40th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards” to record media impressions.

As a distributor, between 2011 and 2016, he acquired such pictures for sales & distribution as “For Greater Glory” with Andy Garcia and Eva Longoria, “Hotel Noir” with Danny DeVito, Mandy Moore, and Rosario Dawson, “Girl Walks Into A Bar” with Carla Gugino, Zach Quinto, Danny DeVito, Josh Hartnett and Emmanuelle Chriqui, “The Hot Potato” with Ray Winstone and Jack Huston, and “Roadie” with Ron Eldard, Bobby Cannavale, and Jill Hennessy.

Other executive credits include “Last Stand of the 300” (Top 10 Best Sword Fighting Movie of All Time, Star Wars Insider Magazine, Feb 2012), “Kenny Rogers First 50 Years” (GAC & BBC International 2011), “Tyrannosaurus Sex” (Top 10 Must List, Entertainment Weekly, 2010), “Battle BC” (3 of 4 Stars, People Magazine, 2009), “Journey to 10,000 BC” (History, 2008), “The Wire” (HBO, 2007), and “Rome Engineering an Empire” (Emmy Winner, 2005).

Branding highlights include roles as advertising Creative Director for Mudd Jeans from 2004- 2005 helping the brand peak in sales to almost $1 billion per year at retail. He was also Creative Director for The Rolling Stones overseeing their merchandising marketing in 2005-06 during the album and tour A Bigger Bang which delivered almost $250 million in merchandising sales. In varying agency and direct-to-client capacities, Gabriel has worked with such brands as Canon, Ford, Godiva, Hasbro, Shiseido, Starbucks, Mercedes-Benz, and more.

Presently, Gabriel maintains both indie and high-profile clients in music, television, and technology. Notable projects include developing NY Times bestseller “I’m with the Band” by Pamela Des Barres into a feature film and representing the highly acclaimed music documentary following the The Rolling Stones through South America and Cuba entitled Olé Olé Olé!: A Trip Across Latin America. Gabriel’s process and involvement directly led to the 2017 television distribution deal in the US.

Yahoo Finance 03/17/2015


March 17, 2015 6:00 AM

MARION, S.C., March 17, 2015  The Swamp Fox Entertainment Complex will be opening in Marion, South Carolina with The Swamp Fox Biker Bash, the ultimate east coast biker rally and concert series taking place May 8th through May 17th.

Bringing new life to Myrtle Beach Bike Week, The Swamp Fox Biker Bash is a rally and music festival unlike any other—past or present.

With the support of big name performers that include The Marshall Tucker Band and Craig Wayne Boyd (Season 7 winner of NBC’s The Voice) on Thursday, May 14th. Bret Michaels with opening act The Flaunt Girls (Biker Burlesque Troupe) on Friday, May 15th and Buckcherry on Saturday, May 16th —new excitement is coming to South Carolina during Myrtle Beach Bike Week.

But it doesn’t stop with the music.  Swamp Fox Biker Bash is hosting an entire rally of events on its massive 250 acre property including Campgrounds, Motorcycle Stunt Shows, Amazing Food, Daily Burlesque Shows, Mechanical Bull Contests, Panoramic Rides, Build-offs, Smoke-Outs, Body-Painting, and even Live Alligator Wrestling.  This is a one-of-a-kind event for bikers and music lovers to be a part of—with special ‘artist to fan’ experiences available as well.

What’s more, Swamp Fox is soon to be home to the World’s Largest Bar. The Swamp Fox Entertainment Complex will soon include a record-breaking bar extending over 800-feet.   For many, this attraction alone will attract the fans to the Complex.

Biker Emcee extraordinaire and often-voice of Harley-Davidson and Jack Daniels, Dumptruck, will keep fans at maximum-fun as the voice of the Swamp Fox Biker Bash. Expect lively attractions, all-day live music and “I’m With The Band” readings with Pamela Des Barres to complete the overall biker and rock ‘n’ roll experience.

“Swamp Fox Biker Bash is not your typical rally with music. We’ve created a concert series and music experience that caters to bikers but allows the music and fan experiences to come first,” says Gabriel Gornell, Executive Producer of Swamp Fox Biker Bash. “Rock and Country are a big part of the biker lifestyle so it’s a perfect fit, and our dedication to the fan experience is what makes PledgeMusic the perfect partner for this event,”

Named as one of “The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies of 2015” in Music, by Fast Company magazine for “helping artists and fans get what they want,” PledgeMusic and their direct-to-fan platform will give fans the AccessPass when they buy tickets, VIP access and merchandise through PledgeMusic. This pass will allow fans to receive updates that artists and the Swamp Fox Biker Bash crew will post about during the preparation for the bash.  This limited time offer will provide an exclusive never-before-seen experience for the debut biker rally and concert series.

“We’re opening the Swamp Fox Entertainment Complex to support the arts for two reasons: the first, by bringing quality entertainment and national artists back to South Carolina with a premier 20,000 seat amphitheater located only 45 minutes from Myrtle Beach. The second, to support the local economy with sustainable long-term jobs through the amphitheater and festival ground,” says Robert Hartmann, Founder and CEO of Swamp Fox Entertainment Complex. “This property is uniquely positioned to accomplish both these things and we couldn’t be more excited about kicking things off with the Swamp Fox Biker Bash this May.”

Tickets are currently available with “BUY 3 NIGHTS & GET 2 NIGHTS FREE” five-night packages starting at $256 and ten-night packages starting at $317 in Chrome, Silver and Gold, granting access to all shows, attractions and campgrounds. Basic and VIP tent rental packages are also available along with multi-night RV Parking.

I’m with the Band [current]

IWTB_PosterStatus: Development

Language: English

Rights: US – Available, International – Available

Writer: Pamela Des Barres

Producer: Gabriel Gornell

The acclaimed New York Times best selling rock & roll memoir is finally coming to the screen in this scripted feature adaptation.  As a young girl growing up in Los Angeles during the late 60s and early 70s, Pamela Des Barres (the “real life” Penny Lane from Almost Famous) followed, dated, loved, and genuinely beguiled the likes of Jim Morrison, Mick Jagger, Waylon Jennings, Jimmy Page, Gram Parsons, Keith Moon, and Frank Zappa to name a few.

This is the rollercoaster biopic of her life—written by Miss Pamela herself.  This rock & roll dramedy is a humorous, loving, and intoxicating Coming-of-Age story that takes place up and down the Sunset Strip—with the soundtrack of a lifetime, appealing to every age group. In the spirit of Walk the Line, Almost Famous, and The Doors, this kiss-and-tell-all will stand out as the perfect chronicle of rock ‘n’ roll’s most thrilling era.

Of the memoir that this film is based, perhaps the Led Zeppelin front man said it best. “I couldn’t have done it better myself. I will always love you, Miss Pamela, and again a thousand apologies for the premature ejaculation.” —Robert Plant

Top 5 List: International Pre-Sales

Originally Published on Linkedin:


As an EP/Director who has also been a partner with a sales & distribution company for several years, I’m often asked for my thoughts on distribution. Particularly, about international distribution in the form of pre-sales.

I hear this all the time…

“Do you think we can cover our budget from pre-sales?”

And this question is not coming from inexperienced producers. Truth is, many working producers really have no idea how it works. And it’s not their fault. The business, especially the TV business, has positioned itself to take a lot of the “producing” out of making content. So producers can go their whole career without being exposed to piecing the budget together from various sources—with international pre-sales being one of them.

Let’s be honest, many producers support themselves with “production commissions” in which they actually own none of the show or feature they produce. Therefore, they never take those shows to market—and so they never experience how international works.

Disclaimer… obviously TV and Film are different, but there are enough similarities between markets like Mipcom in Cannes and EFM in Berlin that some generalities can be made. Here we go.

Truth is, it’s HARD for an indie producer to pre-sell international. International isn’t the sure thing that many producers believe. Buyers are picky. MGs are down. And some countries just seem to be flat broke. Just because Tom Cruise films make money overseas regardless of their US performance HARDLY means your film or show will pre-sell overseas! For the record… I’m a Tom Cruise fan. The above example wasn’t a jab—it was actually a compliment.

Now… before we dive into International it might be easier to quickly touch on US sales as a point of reference. In my experience, there are five things you need to cover-off if you want to be taken seriously by US buyers before the movie is actually made. (Note: Once the movie is made, and buyers can actually watch it, throw most of this out the window!)

Top 5 List: Pitching Scripted to Domestic

1. Talent

2. Showrunner or Director

3. The Relationship With The Buyer

4. The IP as a whole—including the Writer attachment

5. The Script

Explanations…. #1 is Talent. So surprise. Can you see the talent’s face on a poster or billboard? I don’t really care if the talent acted brilliantly in the supporting role of a movie nobody saw. If you can’t see their face on a poster… your sale is that much harder.

#2 The Showrunner or Director. Gimme a safe track record, and selling the show or movie is much easier.

#3 The Relationship with the buyer. If you’ve never sold to a particular buyer before… guess what? Your chances are lower than the other EP who has. Relationships matter. Put someone on your team who has previously sold to the buyers on your hit list.

#4 and #5. The IP and the Script. Many may disagree with the order I put #4 & #5 in. But I think that if you wanna be taken seriously than you first need buyers to get past the synopsis—or the value of the IP as a whole which includes the writer attachment. Without this, the buyer may never even read the script. Basically, the creative concept has to have some merit in some way, shape or form.

Okay. So that’s the over-simplified foundation. Now we’re onto what this article is actually about: International Pre-Sales. Here are the five things you should try to lock-down if you wanna be well-positioned for International Pre-Sales.

Top 5 List: Pitching Scripted for International Pre-Sales

1. US Network or Studio

2. Talent

3. The Relationship With The Buyer

4. The IP as a whole—including the Writer attachment

5. The Script

Explanations… Now, most of these are the same as Domestic for the same reasons—just in a slightly different order. But there is one major exception and one major hiccup.

Exception first:

#1 is the US Network or Studio. We call this the “country of origin” rule. Basically, if you’re making an American movie with American filmmakers and American talent than you had better be able to demonstrate that at the very least—American buyers want it! Put yourself in the Italian buyer’s head. Why should he pre-buy this American content for Italy if nobody in America even wants it?

The day you can say “Our US partner is Warner Brothers” is the day you’ll be taken more seriously in areas of international pre-sales. The same is true for TV Networks. You gotta sell the country of origin first, or your International Pre-Sales challenge becomes very very very difficult.

Now here is the hiccup: #3 The Relationship With The Buyer. This is a hiccup because it’s hard. Think about how hard it is (as an indie producer) to have relationships with all the buyers here in the US—your own damn country! Now multiply that list by 80 countries, and factor in that many of these buyers speak languages that you don’t. Not to mention that it’s not as simple as hopping on the 405 to go see them for a drink.

#3 is the reason that an entire entertainment sub-business of international sales agents exist. These are people who’s primary business it is knowing the international buyers, and traveling to the various international markets several times a year to see them.

So in a nut-shell, this is LocoDistro’s over-simplified take on the 5 most important things you need to focus on when pitching scripted content for International pre-sales. By the way, the answer to that above listed example question… “Do you think we can cover our budget from pre-sales?” …is NO! But more on that in a future post.

Hope you enjoyed the article, and possibly even learned something!

Your art is just a product?

Originally Published to Linkedin Here:


DoIReallyHow creatively involved do you really want your business-minded producers to be?

A few weeks ago a colleague who I’ve done business with for years said something that I found shocking. I’ll refer to this colleague as Lana.
To put things in context, we’re soon to begin packaging a feature film based on a script from an interesting writer—and there are already some exciting elements attached. I’m wearing the hat of creative-producer and Lana is wearing the hat of business-producer. After a few weeks, I asked Lana if she’s read the script. Boom. I put it out there. Basically… Are you into this or not? To my dismay, Lana responded… “Nope. Have not read it. I’m not the creative producer. To me, it’s a product. I will read it soon however.”
It got me to thinking… a product?

Has Lana lost her sense of direction? Her sense of purpose? Has she forgotten why we do this for a living? Or, and even more troubling… did Lana maintain the perfect level of indifference so not to be emotionally driven in business-based decisions? After all… I’m dedicated to the creative, and perhaps Lana knows that I’ve got it covered.

Then I asked myself for the truth: As the creative producer, do I really want creative comments from Lana anyway? Or do I just want her to dig-into tax law, international compliance, and identifying the equity folks. Focus on what you’re good at Lana! I’ve got a whole circle of artists who I can discuss the creative with. Let’s be honest, Lana is not a creative person. And that’s why we love her!

Full circle. Hmmm.

Realization: Am I dwelling on this because Lana referred to the script as just “a product” to me? Holy shit. It’s my creative ego, isn’t it? How can something I’m a part of simply be “a product” in Lana’s mind? I thought we all agreed I was an artiste? Maybe this is my hang-up after all—and it has got nothing to do with whether or not Lana should or shouldn’t read the script.
So here are questions raised: How creatively involved do you really want your business-minded producers to be? And is your answer to that question driven by practicality or ego?

While nobody likes to hear that their art is just a product—Maybe that’s okay.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

Variety 4/8/2014

_Variety_4_08_banner Gabriel Gornell interviewed by Variety with regard to the state of Daytime and the Daytime Emmys—from which he stepped away in 2014 after overseeing the event in 2012 and 2013.



EKG / a Graffiti Photo Essay

EKG_Image_28If you’ve spent any time in NYC over the last couple years, you’ve probably spotted the pulsing orange wave known within the graf world as EKG.  There’s something both simplistic and therapeutic about his tag cause it’s easy to spot, clean, and seems to help whatever wall, door, dumpster or street sign it happens to be pulsing across.

Not to get to lofty about it.  It’s graffiti after all.  But the simplicity and consistency has definitely pushed me to be cleaner and simpler with my own work.

It goes beyond being a great tag… and is actually a great overall mark.  Let me put it into context. I’m a Keith Haring fan since the 80’s (before he died and shot to super-stardom) for the same reasons. Keith’s work is clean, simple, and instantly recognizable.  And I actually think I like the EKG simplicity even more than Keith’s work.

(Shout out to George Sewell for the same sort of reason)

Over a period of a couple months when I still lived in NYC, I started snapping pictures of the EKG every time I spotted one.   So here is my EKG photo collection.  A bunch have been Instagram’d already—but they’ve never been put up as a single bit. Hope you like them.

Also… if you like EKG’s work, here is a pretty recent interview (November 1, 2013) with EKG that I found in Nautilus.

Written by: Gabriel Gornell

Kenny Rogers “First 50 Years”

In celebration of Kenny Rogers’amazing 50 years in entertainment, Gabriel Gornell Executive Produced the television special overseeing all aspects of the production including financing, distribution, production, venue, and marketing.

The show included performances by Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie, Wynonna Judd, Chris Isaak, Sheena Easton, Tim McGraw, Smokey Robinson, Darius Rucker, Billy Currington, Alison Krauss, The Oak Ridge Boys, Billy Dean, Linda Davis, and the original First Edition.

The Rolling Stones (2005-2007)

In support of The Rolling Stones 24th US studio album A Bigger Bang, the greatest rock & roll band of all time hit the road for a landmark tour beginning August 2005 and wrapping August 2007.







Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts personally approved Gabriel Gornell to creative direct the merchandising program that delivered about $250 Million annually during the tour.  Over 200 officially licensed products were available by catalog, online, at retail, and on-tour that ranged from concert tees, to pajamas, to outerwear, to shot glasses, to high-end lingerie from Agent Provocateur.

Just before the advent of social media, the marketing elements included graphic design and identity systems, photo libraries, catalog design and printing, posters & signage, retail packaging including labels, hang-tags, sewn labels, etc., and branded video content.

Oscar The Grouch & Anderson Cooper [from 39th DTE]

Oscar the Grouch and Anderson Cooper perform at the Daytime Emmys.
Oscar the Grouch and Anderson Cooper perform at the Daytime Emmys.

For the 39th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, Gabriel made the creative decision to bring together two wildly different daytime genres (kids & talk) in a musical collaboration.

For this he paired Oscar the Grouch with Anderson Cooper in a musical piece that he produced with songwriters Adam Schlesinger (That Thing You Do, Music and Lyrics, Colbert Christmas) and Robert Smigel (SNL, Conan, Hotel Transylvania).