End Users '20 under 40' 2015—Matthew Slatoff

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Matthew Slatoff, 38

VP, global security and content protection, Marvel Studios

Burbank, Calif.

Matthew Slatoff covers physical security for Marvel Studios, part of the Walt Disney Company, from film production to content protection to pre-release screenings. Sets and props—and fending off paparazzi drones—all fall under his purview.

He started his career as an intern in a district attorney’s office. “That opened my eyes to different angles on investigations,” Slatoff said.

He then moved on to a private security company in Los Angeles, focused on threat investigation and assessment, including stalking incidents, workplace violence and protecting high-risk individuals, he said.

He’s been at Marvel for five years, working his way up. “I got in and learned the job. I do better as a manager if I’ve actually done the job. I am a hands-on manager. I try to be as knowledgeable as I can about technology,” he said.

Temporary filming locations pose a challenge, he said—he’s always on the lookout for equipment that he can redeploy later and elsewhere. He relies on a combination of technology and guard forces. Cameras, alarm systems and access control play a big part, he said. Securing against production equipment and copper theft also is a factor.

“We’re like a traveling city in some cases,” he said. “How can it be cost-effective but not in a permanent way?”

His newest challenge, in the past year or so, he said, is the drone.

“There is interest from both sides of the game. It can be a great tool for us on the security side, but on the content side it’s about how those are being used by paparazzi,” he said, referring to the theft of content when Marvel films outdoors. Also, he said, on a multimillion-dollar film set, “you don’t want one of those things crashing.”

Drones will continue to pose a threat in coming years, as will the use of personal mobile devices on set that can steal content, he said.