Entrepreneur Jim Jannard says he's getting out of the spotlight. On Monday, he announced he was stepping back from Red, his company that makes the digital high-resolution movie cameras used to film The Hobbit, The Great Gatsby, and other pictures. Before launching Red in 2005, Jannard previously founded sunglasses-maker Oakley, which he sold for $2.1 billion.
In his recent quest to develop cheaper, higher-quality movie cameras, Jannard has become a polarizing figure in Hollywood. "As Red's many fans see it, Jannard's journey is a classic tale of an entrepreneur building a better mousetrap," wrote David Freedman in the May issue of Inc. Magazine. "In this Hollywood version, Jannard is a nimble, daring Zorro carving R's (for Red) in the backsides of the big, complacent camera companies, shaking up the industry for the good of the people.
"But others in Hollywood grumble that the Red camera isn't quite what it's made out to be, and they see Jannard as a hype-happy braggart and obnoxious self-promoter. Some go so far as to say that Jannard and his nifty camera are degrading the art of moviemaking."
In typical Jannard fashion, he announced he would no longer be the face of Red via a post on the company's online message boards. In the post, which Jannard published at 3:03 a.m., he praised Red's new ultra high-def sensor, Dragon--and made one last rant about his critics.
"I read on [Cinematography Mailing List] and other idiotic forums, that I [am] a hypester, a scam artist," wrote Jannard. "I just have to wonder what these guys are smoking. But I have to say... they have gotten to me. I don't need this. I don't deserve this. Life is short and I am tired." Jannard also expressed regret at not throwing a punch at one of Red's critics, British cinematographer Geoff Boyle.
Red's president, Jarred Land, will now be the public face of the company, says Jannard.