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Hello, He Lied -- and Other Tales from the Hollywood Trenches Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (September 2, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767900413
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767900416
  • Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 3.4 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #395,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Hollywood producer Lynda Obst (Flashdance, Sleepless in Seattle) recounts her own battles in Hollywood's trenches--from her beginnings as a journalist to her current role as the maker and breaker of careers. Like other "classic" Hollywood books--Hollywood Babylon by Kenneth Anger and You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again by Julia Phillips--Hello, He Lied is saturated with sleaze and proves, once again, that most of Tinseltown's stars are seriously lacking in the upstairs department. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In her first book, movie producer and former New York Times Magazine editor Obst creates a peculiarly Hollywood kind of hybrid, a memoir/survival guide that describes what it's really like to get a movie made while still managing to say something nice?or at least benevolently neutral?about everybody in power. Obst left a dream job at the good gray Times to become a "development girl" (scouting material and overseeing script writes) for hyper-ambitious studio head Peter Guber. From Guber she learned that success means never going to a meeting (or doing anything) without a strategy. Her strategy here is to portray herself at work, describing how she has learned to handle tough situations and tough people. Thus, supermogul David Geffen, who once mused during a meeting that she should consider collagen shots, is praised for his personal manager-like interest in his employees' lives. Obst distills her experience into a coda for survival. She knows not to buck major trends ("Ride the Horse in the Direction Its Going," reads one chapter title). She knows when to put projects on the back burner ("Putting It on the Roof"). Above all, she understands the "Tao of Power," as explained in a chapter that reads like a contemporary Hollywood version of The Art of War: "The secret that all powerful people know is that no one else gives you power.... With power, there is no permission to be granted. Permission must be seized." At times, the writing is awkward: "The latent energy that makes imploding friendships so dangerous is the fact they are playlets of this familial struggle." But there are gems in the gravel. Obst's rundown of the difference between an arty "fuzzy girl" as opposed to an Armani-wearing "crisp girl" is worth the price of admission. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 11, 1999
Format: Paperback
As this book proves, Linda Obst is obviously intelligent and well-educated. She must have gotten A's on all of her term papers in school. Yet her technical skills as a writer expose her complete lack of emotional depth and put "Hello, He Lied" right up there with "The Kid Stays in the Picture" as two of the most self-serving autobiographical whine-a-thons ever written. At least Robert Evans had some interesting war stories to tell. Obst droning on about "One Fine Day" just gets tedious. This book also bears a strong resemblance to "You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again," in that Obst lets her confessional veer into vagueness whenever details might cast her performance as a producer (or human being) in a bad light. This book's primary function seems to be to deflect blame. Most of the stories here have been told before, the ones that haven't aren't all that interesting and, as other reviewers have mentioned, there are better books on producing out there. Pass.
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44 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Richard Thurston on October 30, 1997
Format: Hardcover
While Lynda Obst certainly knows her way around Hollywood and has survived and even prospered in an arena where megalomaniacs, narcissists and pathological liars abound and indeed make the rules, her book is most useful in describing why good business makes for lousy art. Obst again proves the observation that 'Hollywood is high school with money'.
Ambitious and driven (and obviously intelligent) though Obst may be, the deal-making she painstakingly describes is the art form, the pictures themselves mere adjuncts.

Shopping witless scripts to a tiny group of hugely overpaid stars and directors insures a steady stream of 'product' and little beyond the most common entertainment and certainly rarely anything approaching art. Sheer persistence overcomes all. A project moves forward only when the right people are 'attached'. Risky, personal pictures do not fit into this equation and subsequently rarely get produced. Instead the motion picture audience receives a steady stream of generic diversions, soulless to the extreme, dull, predictable and adolescent, near perfect reflections of their creators.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Ashlie Crooks on October 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
I happened across Hello, He Lied in a used bookstore, and seeing as I'm obsessed with movies and movie-making, I thought I'd give it a shot. The book is smartly written, and very funny. I read it in two sittings.
The best thing about this book is that it is written for women by a woman. It has a lot of ideas and tips I haven't seen in other "how to make it in Hollywood"-type books. Most tend to ignore the sexism that still exists there. However, Linda Obst is honest and straightforward.
Read this book, whether you want to make it in Hollywood or if you're just a huge movie fan. It's a great read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robi Ganguly on April 1, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well written, entertaining and easy to read, this book is a fun exposition of Hollywood culture, politics and the personalities involved. Despite not really being in the Hollywood business, I found this informative and something I just had to finish. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JoyNiles on February 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
"Hello, He Lied" is a Hollywood book that bridges the gap to become a mainstream read. I originally picked it up to learn more about the reality of life in Hollywood, for women and otherwise, but I got an easy-to-read Hollywood book that tackles general business and life issues in an amusing way.

Obst tone is that of a Hollywood outsider with insider information. She has a sense of humor about the nature of her work, her business, and her industry associates. When she tells stories of her experience, she has a sarcastic wit that gives people hope that not everyone in Hollywood has lost touch with reality. In fact, her family life remains one of her utmost priorities.

In sum, her book was what I wanted it to be: A light-hearted, insightful look at producer's role with life and business gems a long the way.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Reynolds Potter on June 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
Ms. Obst has written a delightful book filled with many lessons about how to get complicated projects completed, something she's expert at accomplishing. This book has applications for most complex business projects, and also for building a career. Obst knows how to get over hurdles, deal with interference, hang in for the long haul, and keep the project moving along despite all the difficulties that come with big dollar, competitive deals.

It's one of the few excellent business books I've ever read (including the ones I had to read in business school). Even though it's centered on the movie business, the author has shared many nuggets that are relevant to all kinds of endeavors. Very high recommendation! Plus it's quite entertaining from start to finish.

P.S. The negative comments of some reviewers are a mystery to me. Complaints about "Hollywood movies" (whatever that stereotype means), and unsettling business practices are common enough feelings, but these feelings are not sufficient as critiques of Hello He Lied. If you truly want to learn more about how big deals are done, read this book.
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18 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Rosemary Bailey Brown on February 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
This isn't a memoir so much as it is a guidebook for ambitious women (and men) in high powered businesses. There are useful tips on how to deal with other people, how to pitch deals successfully, how to partner with others.... But most of all there are great tips and illustrative stories on how to deal with stress, let go of failure and move on to "Next!" when it's time. Plus a great chapter on Chix in Flix that helped me better understand male/female dynamics in any high powered industry.
This really is an older sister's or a mentor's book, passing on the wisdom to the next generation. It's more selfless than self-serving, and anyone who doesn't get that is, well probably jealous of Ms. Obst's quite genuine success in life.
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