It is pressure-packed, inspiring, impromptu and thrilling all at once. Daniel Ariano described it as a job where everything can and will happen.
“To be a producer for reality TV,” he said, “you have to be aware that everything is possible. I have to be ready to face an unexpected challenge every day. You have to be calm, easy going and most of all, you have to love it.”
It’s that passion and formula for success that Ariano has subscribed to, which has made him one of Brazil’s foremost film and TV producers. Specializing in the reality genre, Ariano has produced for hit shows such as Brazil’s “Ídolos,” “O Aprendiz” and “TUF Brasil,” which are his home country’s equivalents to the states’ “American Idol,” “The Apprentice” and “The Ultimate Fighter.”
Through it, he’s developed and refined the tools of a seasoned producer – leadership, enterprise, communication, management, problem solving and creativity. Ariano has taken on leadership roles as a producer that demand high-ranking responsibility, shifting challenges and his close collaboration with top talent who went on to compete in front of national TV audiences.
Ariano’s rise to producing prominence began with his initial inspiration and love of media. While growing up, his friends had dreams of becoming lawyers, doctors and engineers. But it was Ariano’s love of music and movies that guided his heart toward a career in film and TV.
Influenced by legends such as Woody Allen, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard and Jerry Bruckheimer, Ariano said, “All of those and more did something that made me watch and think, ‘I want to do that.’ I want to do something people will admire and watch.”
From there, it was a matter of taking the idea of what he wanted to become and putting it into action. While attending high school, Ariano, of São Paulo, worked as a music teacher. When he assimilated into college, he worked for Jovem Pan, the biggest radio station in Brazil.
His mind was still set on TV though, and the foot-in-the-door opportunity materialized. Ariano was invited to do some camera operator work and parlayed the experience into a production assistant position on the São Paulo-based “Amaury Jr. Show,” a talk show covering celebs and luxury. After learning TV production from the inside for a half a year, another opportunity arose.
“I received an invitation that changed my life,” Ariano said. “It was to be a part of the “Ídolos” production crew, my first reality show and it was a music one. After that, I knew I wanted to produce for the rest of my life! I fell in love with the storytelling and the big productions.”
Ariano began producing for “Ídolos” Season 4 in 2009. The show, created by the 14-time Emmy nominee Simon Fuller, is headquartered in São Paulo and distributed by Rede Record. Pop singer-songwriter Saulo Roston won Season Four and signed with Warner Music Brasil.
“I had the responsibility to deliver to the show and all the outside shoots with quality and with the proper storytelling,” said Ariano. “The big challenge was the winner was there in the middle of the crowd. And we had to have him since the start of the process.”
The contestants being vetted were voluminous, many with marked talent and merit for the televised competition. Ariano estimated he’d listened to thousands of hopeful voices positioning for musical glory on “Ídolos.”
“I’ve seen so much talent, so much really good singers and really good people with amazing histories,” he said. “The Idols have to have talent. This is the most important thing we look for – talent. But the story behind the talent is something that brings the Idol closer to the audience. Brazil is an enormous country filled with talented people. I just wish all of the good ones could make it.”
Ariano returned to produce “Ídolos” Season 5 in 2011, and Season 7, the show’s final run, in 2012. He also produced in 2012 “Ídolos Kids” Season 1, which followed the same premise, but searched for talented kid contestants.
In 2010, one year after Ariano’s inception into “Ídolos,” he expanded his producing career and joined the show, “O Aprendiz,” for Season 7. In the hour-long Brazilian apparent to the Donald Trump-hosted “The Apprentice,” contestants compete for employment contracts with leading companies such as the WPP Group or for investments. The show was created by five-time Emmy winner Mark Burnett, longtime producer of “Survivor” and “Shark Tank.” It was hosted by Roberto Justus.
“The Apprentice” was the most challenging job I ever had,” Ariano said.
Ariano worked in producing “O Aprendiz” for Seasons 7, 8, 9 and 10. Contestants ranged from college students to entrepreneurs and celebrities. The production traversed Brazil-wide and traveled to shoot in Orlando, Washington, D.C., South Africa, Italy, Turkey and Colombia. With it came droves of producing duties for Ariano.
“When you give the contestants a task, and time to do it, you never know where will they go and what will they do and it’s up to you to be ready to face everything,” he said. “Working on the show taught me everything is possible. It opened my eyes to the infinity. There is no limit. What we see on TV is just the tip of the iceberg. The production is the entire Arctic.”
Also in 2010, Ariano would produce for a season of the Brazilian version of “Artzooka,” a Gemini Award-winning kids TV show that was produced in Toronto, Canada. The series guided parents, teachers and daycare providers how to create art projects using recycled materials. It was broadcast in Brazil on Discovery Kids and featured Ariano producing in a rare role.
“I loved to do it because it got me into working with a Canadian crew,” Ariano said. “I do believe that this was a unique opportunity in life, that just a few people got the chance to do. I was the only Brazilian producer for the show, so I had a really big responsibility to make it great.”
“Artzooka” host Daniel Granieri said of Ariano, “Without him, “Artzooka” wouldn’t be able to happen. He was vital to the project. He has a look in his eyes all the time, like, he is thinking further, like he is always producing! He is an easy guy to work with and to deal with. He is very professional and very intelligent. You have to have someone like him in your production crew, if not just him. There’s a few people in the world who has an ability to deal with production like him!”
Ariano has served as producer for other shows such as Latin America’s “The Amazing Race,” HBO Brasil and for the Season 2 of “TUF Brasil” (The Ultimate Fighter Brazil), which was distributed by Rede Globo. The latter producing taught Ariano much about the globally popular UFC world, while also showing him a different side of the fighting-based programming.
“It’s talented fighters, focused on their dream and working hard to do it,” he said. “This was different than any other reality TV. It is about how do you control your body and how do you make it do the extraordinary. I loved the experience and it made me admire even more this world of art that is UFC.”
Continuing his producing prowess, Ariano is attached to work on the forthcoming debut season of “X-Factor Brasil,” and he is attached to produce writer-director Albert Dabah’s “Extra Innings,” a coming of age feature baseball drama film set in 1960s Brooklyn.
“He can do everything. I got a nickname for him: “Superman,” Dabah said. “Besides having a good eye for production and being very organized, when the time comes, he is up to everything! He can be an addition in every department. It’s hard to find someone like him, and I’m glad I found him.”
Of “Extra Innings,” Ariano said, “I’m hoping that the movie can open eyes of people about real problems of life that is there around us, in our family, in our lives, and we don’t realize it or we pretend it doesn’t exist. I think the screenwriting is perfect. I know it’s going to be a big hit.”
For more information on “Extra Innings,” visit: http://www.extrainningsmovie.com/
Check out Daniel Ariano on IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm8028896/