David Petro is an entertainment producer with almost forty years of industry-related experience.
He appeared on Broadway and National Tours in the shows CATS, Cabaret, Fame The Musical, and work extensively with the Walt Disney company. In 2006 he launched his feature film, television, and Broadway casting office. His expertise led him to expand his business in 2012 to offer elite casting services to corporate events and private parties. For almost two decades, his success is attributed to the relationships he has built and his ability to immerse himself in the complete understanding of his client’s mission and goals.
Mr. Petro has served as a casting director for many Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, television pilots, and series for NBC, FOX, USA Network, Nickelodeon, ABC, and CBS. His feature film work includes casting for New Line Cinema, Warner Brothers, Paramount, and Universal Studios. With an impressive track record for success, Mr. Petro has produced over $450M in talent for corporate events, private parties, film, and television productions and has worked with some of the industry’s biggest stars such as Elton John, Carrie Underwood, John Legend, and Jennifer Hudson. Mr. Petro’s unique ability to align exceptional talent with impeccable brands makes him one of the most sought-after event talent producers.
What is your position with your company?
I am the President and Executive Director of my company. I produce celebrities, keynote speakers, and Broadway stars for corporate events and private parties.
What inspired you to specialize in the Events Production Industry?
After nearly forty years in the entertainment industry, I made connections in television, film, and Broadway. C-Suite executives and non-profits constantly asked if I could bring a star to perform or Broadway cast members to sing at an event. I recognized that there was a gap in the events industry. We’re not talent bookers picking random talent based that didn’t match the brand, company or their mission. We are a completely different firm.
We are a creative casting company that becomes fully immersed in your brand. Many companies will book talent but don’t take the time to ask the right questions, such as, Who is this company? What are they trying to accomplish? What’s their mission? How are the leaders seen on social media? Having this knowledge assures us that we can align the perfect talent with the right brand. It is that synergy that transforms the event into an unforgettable experience. We select the perfect person who will elevate the message and make it resonate in a way that no one else could. We strongly believe that producing the perfect person to properly tell your story will grow your business and create brands that people love.
What keys to being productive can you share?
First and foremost, I’m a big list maker. I need to see the list in front of me, to organize, prioritize, and be realistic about timeframe fulfillment.
Two is to stop multitasking, which is very hard for a lot of individuals. Multitasking serves as a distraction and is not a good strategy. Focusing on the task at hand will be finished much quicker, and you won’t have to go back to fix mistakes.
Third, turning down the noise is huge for me. We have so many communication channels and input sources. It’s really difficult to focus when your attention is pulled in so many different directions. I use, do not disturb on my computer and phone, and I have noise-canceling headphones to eliminate excess noise.
The last one is to create a morning routine for yourself and stick to it. When I wake up, I perform a lot of stretches in bed just to get my body moving. Next, I do a ten-minute guided meditation to get my mind into a set place ready to take on the day. It is about a forty-minute process. As they say, how you start your day may define it.
Can you share a long-term career goal?
It’s no secret that we face many challenges globally. Inspired by the many civil, medical, and financial tragedies, I recently launched The Movement Events. Our mission is to connect people through their stories so we may move forward together.
Our focus is to produce real-life stories of civil unrest, minority struggles, poverty, hunger, addiction, and disabilities, the list is endless. Our world experienced unimaginable obstacles and incomprehensible losses. It is time to come together through our shared experiences of grief, sorrow, triumph, and joy. My goal is to create paid speaking opportunities for all guests. Additionally, we will provide donation pages for the speakers or their affiliated charities. I believe this will be life-changing, one story at a time.
How do you measure success?
I’ve had clients for twenty years. That’s so special to me and so unique in the events industry. Long-term relationships are a sign of great work, but more importantly, proof of immense trust. Nurturing our long-term relationships while helping our clients and their brands to develop, grow, and flourish is what I consider success.
What would you consider the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through the course of your career?
The most valuable lesson is to understand that you will keep learning new lessons every day. Just when you think you have read every book, listened to every podcast, and watched every workshop, a whole new set and source of information comes your way. Learning that the learning never ends is both empowering and exciting.
What advice would you give to somebody else who might be aspiring to become an Events Industry Producer or a Casting Director?
I would tell everyone to read; I am a voracious reader. Books are to me like water for fish. Reading and gaining knowledge from multiple sources is life-changing. Continue reading, remaining curious and hungry for knowledge is my best advice to everyone personally and professionally.
What are some of your favorite things to do outside of work?
I’m obsessed with restaurants and eating out. I love the whole experience of it. I’m fortunate to have grown up in a home where there was always so much food. There were three or four entrees with appetizers, soups, and salads. I enjoy the entire dining experience. Engaging in great conversation while sharing incredible food is the ultimate enjoyment. It is glaringly evident that food is love.
And how do you maintain a work-life balance?
Work-life balance? My business is my baby. I’m truly fortunate to have incredible friends who have been in my life for decades. My friends are an incredible group of the most intelligent, hilarious, passionate, inspiring people. Between stepping outside of my friend group in the professional world, and traveling and meeting stars, I prefer being home and be with my friends more than anything else. They make it very easy to step away because the time that we have together is so special.
What is a piece of technology that helps you in your daily routine?
My cell phone is my right hand. It holds my schedule, my lists, my mediations, and my camera, and connects me to my team and everyone else. Hustling around loud cities makes music with my noise-canceling earbuds essential. Another reason my phone is my lifeline.
What is a piece of advice you have never forgotten?
I grew up as a kid actor and I was told very young, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken”. I had so much personality, that I was suffocating everybody else. I thought that being myself was more like a life sentence rather than a daily mantra. There was a lot of me. Fortunately, my sense of self grew as an anchor to my personality. But, it wasn’t until I became a business owner that I truly understood the meaning of those words. You can’t be a leader, empowered, or a star in your field until you become the main character of your own life and your own business.