• List Price: CDN$ 29.99
  • You Save: CDN$ 14.63 (49%)
FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25.
Only 8 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.ca. Gift-wrap available.
Sleepless in Hollywood: T... has been added to your Cart
+ CDN$ 6.49 shipping
Used: Good | Details
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Our books ship from the USA and delivery time is 2 to 3 weeks.  Ex-Library Book - will contain Library Markings. Minimal damage to cover and binding. Pages show light use. With pride from Motor City. All books guaranteed.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Sleepless in Hollywood: Tales from the New Abnormal in the Movie Business Hardcover – Jun 11 2013

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Hardcover, Jun 11 2013
CDN$ 15.36
CDN$ 4.68 CDN$ 0.06

Unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping for Six Months When You Try Amazon Student
click to open popover

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (June 11 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476727740
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476727745
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.8 x 21.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #273,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

Product Description


"[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

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See the customer review
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

By Jill Meyer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on June 17 2013
Format: Hardcover
is on the machine you're reading this review on. Or say says producer Lynda Obst, in her new book, "Sleepless in Hollywood: Tales from the New Abnormal in the Movie Business". This book is Obst's second; she previously wrote, "Hello, He Lied", also an excellent look at world of entertainment from a producer/insider's view.

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 ›
2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars 72 reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, not great Aug. 12 2013
By talktobrent - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The first third or so of the book is pretty much a nice explanation of the new international economics of big budget movie making. The rest for the most part is a personal narrative, with, as other reviewers have noted, way too much name dropping and gushing endorsements of her allies to keep track of. A more accurate title might be: The crony capitalism of the old Hollywood versus the data driven marketing machine of the new Hollywood. The book is done in a somewhat gossipy fashion, with name dropping and mentions of lunches and meetings at trendy LA spots. Probably more entertaining if you are truly fascinated by the egos and politics that run, or at least used to run Hollywood. In the end the author comes to the proper conclusion that change is inevitable, but throughout the book, I wasn't so sure she would realize that. Her warm reminiscence of the good ol' days, (the 80s and 90s, when insiders like herself got together and pitched movies to their allies among catered lunches and upscale hotels) comes off as disconnected... The studio system has never been good at churning out "good" movies, it's just that now rather than throwing a lot of darts at the board and hoping for a bullseye, they spend a lot of money ensuring the few darts they throw hit the bullseye... In the end, the studio system, the agents, all the other over-paid middle men of dubious value will likely be filtered out in the new economics of filmmaking, which is why "Hollywood" only really makes giant blockbusters now, because the scale of such movies is the only mechanism that really finds all these players relevant anymore.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars She was a writer first, you can tell, then a producer Aug. 1 2013
By MickeyMcLane - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Excellent writer, out of the New York Times. Media-speak in L A is hard to escape (example: some reviews have that tone of advertising). Refreshingly, mercifully, Obst writes in creative-speak. There's an entertaining scholarship in her writing that goes beyond the subject. This book's about business and art and society and culture and relationships, all humorously, elegantly, eloquently observed. I had a list of fun parts but it's too long. The very wording is a charm. The story about Titanic's opening in Russia is a lesson in the American character. Thanks, Ms. Obst.
27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The sad truth about Hollywood's decline from an insider July 1 2013
By Todd Bartholomew - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Lynda Obst has pretty impressive credentials, from starting out a in development with Geffen going on to produce some very notable films from the 1980s up to fairly recently. She now serves as the Executive Producer on "Hot in Cleveland" and that show's sensibilities about Hollywood give some knowing nods as to how Obst feels about the entertainment industry. With "Sleepless in Hollywood" she provides a concise synopsis of what's going wrong in Hollywood, a change she saw unfolding over the past decade, and how those changes are fundamentally altering the entertainment business. As online and streaming video have gained a greater share of the market, along with piracy and file sharing, the DVD market has collapsed just as it did with CDs for the music industry. As the studios lost this stable and predictable revenue stream it created huge problems for them. As a result studios opted to be more cautious, skewing towards known quantities: remakes, sequels, prequels, rehashing television shows as movies, reboots, origin stories, and the like. And since a significant portion of revenue now comes from overseas ticket sales films had to be dumbed down and the humor made more broad so as to appeal to a broader swath of viewers in different societies. Smart, witty, urbane comedies are out, relegated to the realm of independent outlets, the big studios started making fewer films, and the pressure was on to make sure every film was a hit through relentless marketing, tie-ins, and product placement. The result is we don't get great original movies like we used to years ago and the industry is starting to slowly commit suicide on an endless repetitive cycle or rehashing old ideas. Obst lays bare why this is a path to oblivion and irrelevancy, some of which is obvious (most of these almost never make as much money as the originals), some not so obvious (marketing costs for these go up exponentially even though they're pulling in less box office), and something unexpected (much of the creative talent is drifting off to other ventures, leaving the less talented behind). Obst herself is a great example of that last one. Ground down by Hollywood's relentless desire to rehash the past she opted to move to television instead. And sure, studios did produce some really good movies last year like Lincoln and Argo (2012), but if you look at the Top 10 grossing movies it was almost entirely sequels, the only notable exception being The Hunger Games [HD] which itself is start of a series. You can certainly argue about the relative artistic merits of those Top 10 films but I only bothered to see three of them because I was sick of having seeing certain "franchises" being rehashed to death. After a certain point there's very little "new" that you can bring to these sequels/reboots except perhaps a new generation that wouldn't be impressed by decade old (or older) special effects. Movies have become disposable where once they were daring, provocative, glimpses into the human character, thought provoking, or inspirational. It may not be long before studios opt for "Casablanca II: Victor Laszlo's Revenge" just to make a buck. Obst points out what may come to pass for the studios if they don't move away from this pattern. But from my perspective Hollywood is crying all the way to the bank making crap I don't care to see, but which a lot of folks in the lucrative 18 to 35 demographic DO want to see. So long as there are a few quality films out there for me I'm fine. Once consumers vote with their wallets and their feet Hollywood will respond...they always do. People's tastes change as they mature in both senses of the word and that's likely what led Obst away from Hollywood to other fields. And honestly, when I view some of the movies I loved as a kid and a young man, some of them just make me cringe as they look and sound really dated now. Sure, I may get a warm feeling, but then again, maybe movies really are a disposable commodity after all. Obst's prose and conversational style of writing is what sold me on the book and it is a lively, thought provoking, and timely read!
27 of 35 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly disappointing, a People magazine article gone terribly wrong Aug. 7 2013
By Todd Breslow - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this after hearing an interview with the author on NPR. The book gets off to a rocky start and goes downhill from there. I feel strongly enough to write a review (this is the second review I've written and the first negative one -- in both cases I was moved to action by extreme quality -- good or bad). I forced myself to finish the book purely so that I could write this review as a public service. :)

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.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading to Understand Hollywood Sept. 16 2013
By Rick Spell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
it's really frustrating as a movie lover to have so many weekends with nothing for me to see. This happens to many as they age and don't care for the youthful, tent pole, special effects movies that are now offered. The movies that are created to spin off sequels. THIS BOOK EXPLAINS THIS TREND! And it does it from the point of view of a very bright successful producer, Linda Obst who previously wrote another fascinating book, "Hello, He Lied" which I strongly recommend.

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.