Brian Koppelman’s Career Capital

Supported by Greenhaven Road Capital, finding value off the beaten path.

If you want to snuggle into something longer, here’s a brief tour through Brian Koppelman’s career. Three choices available; save for later or pdf or ebook ($4.99 at Amazon).

If you want to snuggle in and have it read to you, that’s also available.

I can’t say what drew me to Koppelman, we’ve written about him before; Brian Koppelman and Brian Koppelman and David Levien but this was fun to put together. Here’s the introduction if you’d like to see the flavor.

Brian Koppelman’s career as a filmmaker is like his first movie; Rounders. He wins with good hands. He loses with bad hands. He loses with good hands too. He bellies up to the table, gets a break, and shows up the next day.

Life, wrote Scott Adams, is like “A reverse casino. In a casino, if you gamble long enough, you’re certainly going to lose. But in the real world, where the only thing you’re gambling is, say, your time or your embarrassment, then the more stuff you do, the more you give luck a chance to find you.”

Koppelman was the guy that studied poker odds and won a big pot. He worked on Rounders, Knockaround Guys, and The Illusionist. Then he lost or broke even on a bunch of hands. In a sense that’s all that could have happened when you finish a movie like Oceans 13 which starred Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, and George Clooney. When Runner Runner came out, Koppelman told his friends not to see it. When his role on the television show Vinyl fell through he was gobsmacked. When he gets stuck writing Solitary Man he gets really stuck.

Then, he starts Six Second Screenwriting Lessons on Vine. He starts podcasting. He starts writing Billions.

Koppelman’s film career mirrors a successful poker career. Don’t blow up. Play games you can win. Get back to the table. Ditto for how Billionaires make actual billions. Just like financial capital, Koppelman has compounded career capital due to small investments; in projects and with people.

David Levien is Koppelman’s best friend (since he was fourteen). He’s a crucial supporting character here. Part of the reason this is about Koppelman and not both is because Koppelman puts out so much material while Levien does less. Ditto for Amy Koppelman. Brian gives her a lot of credit for the initial nudge and continuing support. When asked for advice, Brian’s first suggestion is to marry someone who supports you.

Brian Koppelman will be our subject but he hasn’t done it on his own.

One programming note; all unattributed quotes are from Brian Koppelman.


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