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Monday, June 25, 2012

I've been dipping into Peter Bart's INFAMOUS PLAYERS. It's the story of Peter Bart's tenure at Paramount. He was hired solely on the basis of being a smart New York Times reporter, at a time when all the old rules were being thrown out and no one seemed to know what audience wanted.

Bart, who later headed up Variety, is willing to own up to his mistakes -- fiascos he saw coming and didn't stop, or didn't see coming. He also takes some credit for some major good calls, like pushing LOVE STORY when no one wanted it.

It's a book of war stories. I don't know that anyone actually needs to know what Hollywood was like in the 1970's. But if you're in the biz, you're expected to be able to talk about the old days, even if you weren't there for them. It shows respect to the culture of the industry. It also reminds you that every movie legend has his share of flops and bad calls. And everyone in showbiz experiences ridiculous amounts of frustration over their career.

That last is worth dwelling on. I got a "no" from a funding agency this week, and went around in a blue funk for a day, even though it's been a banner year so far. I had to remind myself how many famous movies started by bouncing around unwanted from studio to studio. A book like this one helps you remember just how much of a mess everyone else's career was, if only you knew it from the inside.

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2 Comments:

Hi, so interesting to read about the trials and tribs of working in the industry. Or what was the industry. I have a shameless plug for an ebook I wrote available on kindle at http://www.amazon.com/dp/b008ciehla or just search the title. I used the "nom de novel" Arpy Beck because it's fun, but I make no secret that I'm Rebecca Parr Cioffi, a sit com writer in the 80's and 90's until I alienated everyone, became too expensive and remained female. This book is fiction but if you worked with me, you might just see yourself in it. Or at least identify with the stories. And it's just a fun read.

By Blogger Rebecca Cioffi, at 2:29 PM  

I'll check out a sample. What made you choose $3.99 as a price?

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 3:02 PM  

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