Bill Viola Jr. is an award-winning producer of live events and film. For over 20 years, he’s worked across all mediums of the entertainment business. As an industry veteran, he’s worked with Academy Award winning talent as an accredited Producer, Executive Producer, Associate Producer, Actor, consultant, and scout on major motion pictures. He established is own production company in 1999 – Kumite Classic Entertainment. Signature work includes: the self-titled Kumite Classic (one of the largest action sports events in the country) and the SHOWTIME Documentary film based off his book – TOUGH GUYS. He has been a member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and American Federation of Television and Radio (AFTRA) since 2000.
He has worked with some of the biggest stars in Hollywood both in front and behind the camera. Bill’s passion project was based off his book TOUGH GUYS which was basis for the SHOWTIME Documentary film.
In his own words:
How did I get into the production game? It all started with a BANG Car CRASH. A careless driver in a box truck literally rear-ended my dreams — Fractured neck (summer of 1999). It was earth-shattering. In my early 20’s I had just graduated from the university of Pittsburgh and was the defending Gold Medalist National Champion at the USA Karate Federation. I had Olympic Aspirations and just coming into my prime. Fighting was the only life I knew. Now my new uniform was a neck brace. Diagnosis from the doc, “Don’t fight anymore.” My heart sank into my shoes and the walls closed in. I had never looked past karate — ever. To complicate things, I had to have surgery on my esophagus. Years of stress had caught up with me and I needed a fundoplication. I was at the world, and needed a reboot. So I followed an old saying, “Go West young man.”
I took a leap of faith and moved to Los Angeles to learn the entertainment biz . What?!? I wanted to be a promoter just like my father. You see, my dad invented the “sport” of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in America, long before the UFC. I grew up around “lights-camera-action” and it planted a seed. I thought Hollywood was the ticket. My degree was in Political Science, so my friends and family were skeptical to say the least. I borrowed my dad’s swagger and walked in like I owned the place. I had instant success. Confidence is contagious, there is no other explanation. SAG card in hand, I worked with A-listers; everyone from Britney Spears to Arnold Schwarzenegger, and all along the way, despite my decision, no one was prouder of me than my father. I knew a conventional job wasn’t for me.
I went to Hollywood , crushed it, and came back a new man. I missed my college sweetheart (and future wife), my family, and dojo. I set up my own Production Company in Pittsburgh and so began a new chapter. I refused to let this car crash define me. What should have “broke me; woke me.” It took some Califor it to sink in.