From Distribution Insights to Creative Ventures: Gregg Sharp’s Triumph in the Entertainment Industry
Getting to know a man like Gregg Sharp will keep you on your toes. His talents, entrepreneurship, and creativity have brought him a range of successful careers. Over the last 30 years, he’s owned a construction company, but even as a staple of his success, it was never his end-all be-all. Eventually he expanded his portfolio in the health club industry. Then what he considers the most interesting and fulfilling career move is the one in the entertainment industry.
This year Sharp turns 53 years old. He grew up in E. Patchogue, New York, Attended Cornell University while studying Chemistry and Economics, finding himself living in Syracuse until 2002. Syracuse is where he thrived as an entrepreneur and got his start in the entertainment world. He partnered with two other businessmen to be the first and only Bally Total Fitness Health club franchise. During this time, he met and cultivated a film relationship with one of the members of the clubs who happened to be a stunt extra in films. After taking some time to create the right synergy, they put together a plan to work together on several scripts that he had already written.
“We did a few films starting in ‘98 that never got released and never went anywhere. We did try to distribute them via national chains but it didn’t work out,” he reflected on his experience. “The world of distribution 25 years ago was a completely different ball game.”
Sharp went on to explain that back in the day, you had to search for opportunities to get into levels of distribution. “There were no streaming sites like Tubi, Netflix etc. It was a really hard game,” he said.
When he left Syracuse in 2002, he made his way to San Diego where buying health clubs and construction were the main parts of his career. Doors soon opened for entertainment too during this time, which led him to some short movies but none that were “of any creative value or listed on IMDb”.
It was in 2011 when he finally opened a company called Xplode Fight Series, XFS, which turned one of his flagship health clubs, that was a traditional fitness and wellness health club, into an MMA fight school. “To be honest, we led the charge into fitness to MMA facility conversions. Up until that point there weren’t any full Health Club Facilities that offered the level of fitness membership and fight training that we did.” He started promoting combat sport events and quickly became one of the largest regional promoters in the United States. He had a great relationship with the matchmakers for the UFC, Bellator, and King of the Cage which helped young fighters working with him find their way to the largest fighting platforms! It was a fun endeavor for Sharp, especially because the majors worked well with him. Sharp/XFS took the promotion business as far East as Iowa as it became a very lucrative and fun endeavor.
His journey in entertainment did not slow down either. He worked in the creation of a movie called In the Cage with director Menetie Ejeye. It was independently distributed but it wasn’t a blockbuster movie. The relationship with Sharp and Eyeje has continued through the years as they still work together from time to time. During the XFS timeline he published a magazine called “Collateral Damage MMA” and had a very successful YouTube channel that showcased the XFS fight series. More movie endeavors came to him, but at that time those weren’t projects he felt were worth his energy. Meanwhile, Sharp had dreams of breaking into the entertainment industry and figuring out how he can help others do the same. There had to be some way to distribute films etc. that weren’t as challenging.
By 2013 his kids were entering into high school, his son in football and daughter in cheerleading. He enjoyed being a dad and going to their events. To focus more on his children, he downsized selling his 6 health clubs and would go and support at all their games. Almost a decade later, he got the “entertainment bug” again as he called it. “I wanted to learn why people were unsuccessful in entertainment. You always hear about directors, producers, etc. and why these folks didn’t make money,” Sharp said. “Too many people shoot ‘proof of concept’ type movies, and few people found distribution and had a plan to get their product out there before even filming. I had friends who would do movies and bring them to Paramount, Sony, Disney, all major companies and still couldn’t get their product out there.”
Sharp was ready for success. He decided to find distribution and understand where he could place a product, what that product could do with revenue, look at the final numbers, and create budgets that would make sense and make money. Through his experience within the private business world, he had learned to do this successfully. In 2021, he started to get back into the entertainment industry starting with The World Series of Armwrestling (WSA). With an opportunity landing roughly at the same time he engaged in his time and resources in a movie project as well called Born 2 Hustle! Suddenly opportunities clicked and it became a steady flow of creative work in the world of entertainment.
What’s next you ask? For Sharp season 2 of the World Series of Armwrestling kicks off in Dallas, then heads to Bayshore NY, Riverside CA, and Roy Utah before finding its way to the finals in San Diego, CA!
This while currently shooting:
The Biohacker MD Release Spring of 2024 (In Production)
Bikini Showdown Release Spring 2024 (In Production)
The Best of Xplode fight series volume compilation is set to air this August 2023 on Tubi
Chef Latinos Release Spring 2024 (In Production)
Got U – Post Production Spring 2024 Feature Movie
Psychological science fiction thriller – Trapped
Working in entertainment has become much more than a hobby to Sharp, he calls it a “lifestyle and passion…with value”. “We look to bring real entertainment content to the streaming platforms through our independent wherewithal in an industry full of corporate giants. We know our lane and work well within the parameters that we have availed to us, with the intent to grow into a larger player in the years to come! I’m super excited for the future!”
We wanted to know what contributes to his success. Sharp says, “Good business ethics and foundations are why I’m able to be so successful. You can’t expect that it’s going to happen on its own.” He also pointed out that he never lets other people outwork him! While he makes it a point to spend time with family, he also stays working constantly during every available moment. “The one thing I can control in business is how hard I work.”
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