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:
15.Women are better judges of scripts than me, and 12-year-olds know more about casting.
16. The worst preview audiences are your friends and relatives. Don't invite them.
17. Fame and fortune are temporary and in time will go. Stars and tycoons eventually will be forgotten. The only legacy is your care and love for your fellow man (and woman). Remember Winchell's line, “Be nice to those you meet on the way up – they're the same ones you meet on the way down.” He wasn't – and discovered the truth of his utterance.
18.Scripts with camera angles and verbose stage directions are the signs of an amateur.
19. Booze isn't bad – in moderation. Smoking – even in moderation – is. Water is boring. When health clubs took the place of bars, the quality of movies suffered. So sue me.
20.Meetings are the bane of the business, along with voice mail. Between meetings and dailies, it's almost impossible to communicate on a personal level with studios. Nothing is decided except in person. Finding or hearing a live human being is all but impossible.
21. Never entrust a business manager with your discretionary power. Anyone who makes creative decisions can decide about his investments. It's easier. How you handle your money can be fun.