Sleepless in Hollywood: Tales from the New Abnormal in the Movie Business Hardcover – Jun 11 2013
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"[A] fascinating memoir-primer on the movie industry….A great read that illuminates what is really shaping today's movie business.” (The Wall Street Journal)
"[A] witty and wise new primer" (The Washington Post)
“[A] must-read on the ever-evolving movie industry…accessible and entertaining…Obst pulls back the curtain on an industry built on lies and illusion, allowing readers to get in on the ongoing joke.” (Publishers Weekly)
“From her unique perch as a maker of real movies—not sequels, prequels, or reboots—Lynda Obst explains why the movies we all loved growing up don't get made anymore. With her sharp wit, she gives an inside account of how the industry has changed but also offers hope that Hollywood will meet the challenges of the digital age and the global marketplace. If you love movies, this is a must read.” (Arianna Huffington)
"A useful primer if you haven't quite figured out why so many blockbusters take place in China these days.” (Forbes)
"A real pro—Lynda Obst—has written a realistic book about making film into reality in these days of extremes....She describes what might, may, will happen...A wonderful text book full of mysteries, loss and longing. I just couldn't stop reading it, even though I have never had movie-making impulses." (Liz Smith, Huffington Post)
“If you find yourself reaching for any excuse not to walk into a movie theater these days, here's producer Lynda Obst to explain why in her wildly readable X-ray of contemporary Hollywood. A must read for anyone wondering what happened to the movies we used to love.” (Peter Biskind, author of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls)
“Written in warm, conversational prose, Obst’s tales from the movie front together offer an engrossing look at the state of the entertainment industry today.” (Booklist)
“Obst...casts a sharp eye over recent developments in Tinseltown. Depth of detail and shrewd illustrative examples make this a must-read for anyone interested in the movie business.” (Kirkus Reviews)
About the Author
Lynda Obst, author of the bestseller Hello, He Lied, was an editor for The New York Times Magazine before entering the film industry. She has produced more than sixteen feature films, including How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Contact, The Fisher King, Adventures in Babysitting, Hope Floats, and two films with Nora Ephron, Sleepless in Seattle and This Is My Life. She is now producing television as well.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Lynda Obst was an editor at the New York Times in the 1980's before moving to Los Angeles and getting into "the business", first as a script developer before working her way up the ladder to movie producer. Note the "movie" part; most of her career was spent developing movies - smallish movies about "people" rather than huge movies about...everything BUT people.
These huge epics were turned into "franchises"; sequel after sequel. And they played well outside the United States. It became harder to get the financing in the 2000's to make small movies; deals were cobbled together between small companies all willing to finance a share of a movie in hopes of having a modest success. (Or a huge success, as sometimes happened!). Look at the next art-type film you go to. In the beginning of the movie are all the companies who have banded together to get that picture made. Sometimes eight or nine company names appear on the screen. It's pretty amazing, actually.
As the 2000's progressed, movie making was changing at every level, from the "pitch" to the "screening". The blockbusters were being made and the local Cineplexes were showing them but there were fewer people in the seats. Where was the viewing public? At home, in front of their computers, where able to download movies and television shows both legally and illegally. The WGA strike in 2007 and 2008 hurt both movie and television show production.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I had hoped to get some insight into the transition of Hollywood, how it has adapted to the radical changes taking place due to all kinds of pressures (the Internet, internationalization, demise of DVD, bigger budget movies, etc). There is some of that to be had, but it is presented as a personal rant against this change (no more two martini lunches! the world is coming apart!). The author comes across as incredibly entitled, provincial, and naive. You think world hunger is bad? You have no idea, Hollywood is now being run as a business! The nerve!
There is an entire chapter dedicated to a hyperventilating, name-dropping personal rant about corporate governance and her inability to understand what it means and to deal with it. This is not overly harsh, the author herself is quick to point out that she doesn't know how to deal with it (other than take a Xanax) and runs from big name to big name (look at who my friends are!) to ask them to explain what is going on. This is one person's he-said, she-said version of events, a transcript of a particularly nasty corporate water cooler discussion where you don't know who the players are. You are listening intently and nodding your head but mentally thinking about all that laundry you need to do.
There are some offensive bits here, which the author rattles off easily (Kaliningrad might be in Poland, Hollywood can be like a pogrom descending on a Jewish ghetto) . This was a fairly brazen show of ignorance or lack of sensitivity. If the New Abnormal marks a change here then I am all for it.
In this book she examines the trends that are changing Hollywood and not to the better for people like me. Maybe the most salient fact is the percentage of foreign viewership going from 20% to over 50% so character stories where the dialog doesn't translate well are very difficult to get made in this environment given the high cost to produce movies. Another subject touched briefly but well is the trends in financing movies and the micro movie trend.
Also interesting is her move to television producing as she sees her movie job disappear. This is followed by great dialog about her relationships as an on site producer at different studios. Just look at the great and popular series being done on TV like "Breaking Bad" to see where some talent is now being directed.
Overall, this is the ultimate current book about the movie business, the good and the bad. I couldn't recommend this book higher.