As a long time fan of producer David Brown's films “The Player,” “Jaws” and “A Few Good Men,” I was happy to read his “Lessons From a Life in Showbiz” in Variety magazine. I've had this clipping over my drawing board for 6 years now.
Since he recently died at age 93, I feel its appropriate to pass on these pearls of wisdom. I myself have only been in showbiz 25 years, a small fraction compared to David Brown, yet I agree 100% with all of his lessons.
There are 28 lessons all together, but that's too many to digest in one blog so I've broken them up into 4 parts, thus:
8.Never be mean, chintzy and ugly to your secretary or she'll write a book.
9.Verbal pitches rarely make it to the screen and are frequently forgotten in the passage.
10.Nobody but the filmmakers can be trusted to form a valid opinion of a film by seeing a rough cut or reading a script. Especially marketing people. Show them the finished movie only and even then, their opinion is suspect.
11. Enthusiasm is the fuel of show business, especially unwarranted enthusiasm. Without it you can't go to work in the morning.
12.The larger number of executives in a production department, the poorer their movie. Bureaucracy dilutes the creative process – and slows decision making to a pathetic trickle.
13.This is from Darryl F. Zanuck. Interesting subject matter of a movie is more important than brilliant execution. I'd rather have a fair script on a provocative subject than a brilliant one about the sex life of an earthworm. I've had both.
14.Being a waiter, book salesman or a dealer in a casino is better preparation for a producing career than four years in film school. The best producers often are rogues and super salesmen.