How I Broke into Hollywood: Success Stories from the Trenches

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9780060789640: How I Broke into Hollywood: Success Stories from the Trenches

Hollywood's survivors share their secrets to success -- where, they came from, how they made it, and how you can too

In a heyday of reality television and overnight stardom, it's easy to forget that most players had to work hard to make it big. How I Broke into Hollywood brings together dozens of Tinseltown's greatest success stories, from legends Sydney Pollack and Lalo Schifrin to rising starlet Erika Christensen to über-producer Gavin Polone. Icons of their industry -- writers, actors, directors, designers, cinematographers, executives and more -- they were once outsiders themselves, and their beginnings have all the grit and glamour of the best Hollywood films. Among the figures profiled:

  • Comedian Bernie Mac, whose earliest stand-up shows were on subway cars and at funeral parties.

  • Actor Charles Dutton, who was convicted of manslaughter at age seventeen, then went on to the Yale School of Drama and a brilliant career on stage, screen, and television.

  • Actor Peter Gallagher, who suffered a crippling bout of stage fright moments before leaping onstage as Snoopy -- but whose jitters moved him to a performance that brought the audience to its feet and launched his career.

  • Superagent Jay Kanter, who started out as a mailroom guy -- before nabbing Marlon Brando as his first star client.

  • Producer Caryn Mandabach, whose first job was making beer runs for the production guys at the Olympic Auditorium -- but who paid attention and soon was developing such hits as The Cosby Show, Roseanne, and That '70s Show.

  • Director John Landis, who hunted down his first job as a production assistant by buying a one-way ticket to London, then hitchhiking and hopping trains all the way to the set . . . in Yugoslavia.

How I Broke into Hollywood shares the voices of nearly fifty Hollywood survivors as they revisit the highs and lows of their careers in their own words, dishing dirt and imparting the wisdom they gained along the way. We learn what drew them to the industry and what made them stay, what inspired and appalled them, and what secrets propelled them to professional stardom. (Hint: a good attitude -- and an unflappable ego -- don't hurt.)

The road to success is a bumpy, angst-ridden, star-studded thrill ride -- but for these insiders, at least, it was worth every pitfall and lesson learned. Often hilarious, always instructive, How I Broke into Hollywood is an irresistible read for anyone fascinated by those who've made it big . . . and for people everywhere hoping to make it big themselves.

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About the Author:

Pablo F. Fenjves has been writing movies for twenty years and has had deals with everyone from Universal to Warner Bros., from ABC to HBO. His latest feature, Man on a Ledge, is expected to go before cameras this year. A collaborator on three New York Times bestsellers -- including two number ones -- Fenjves lives in Los Angeles with his son.

From Booklist:

For the uninitiated, the upper echelons of the Hollywood stratosphere look nigh impossible to reach. But, as authors Fenjves and Lang highlight with the 47 interviews they conducted, everyone had to start somewhere. Actor Charles Dutton discovered his passion for theater in the most unlikely of places, prison, and upon his release, he went on to pursue theater, first in Baltimore, then at Yale, and eventually in L.A. Producer Michael London was dead set on a career in journalism and was practically dragged away from his L.A. Times job by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer. David Hayter was hired by Bryan Singer to be his assistant and ended up doing so many rewrites on the X-Men script that he got a sole writing credit on the movie. Although their stories vary greatly, all the Hollywood talent in this book share several things in common: a love of the movies and a dogged determination. With helpful and hopeful advice offered at the end of each interview, Hollywood hopefuls will find this an inspiring and enlightening read indeed. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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