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The Hollywood Assistants Handbook: 86 Rules for Aspiring Power Players Paperback – May 7, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"As a former assistant myself, I know well the dirty little secret of Hollywood ... all knowledge resides with the Hollywood Power Player's assistants; they are the ones who know how to get things done. The only danger in reading this book is that if you become too good an assistant, your boss will never let you go on to bigger and better things. Read this book—it will tell you what to do!"
—Laura Ziskin, producer, Spiderman 1, 2, and 3 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

It's the assistant, and here at last is the essential book for how to get a foot in the door and begin your exhilarating climb to Hollywood Power Player. The Hollywood Assistants Handbook is the ultimate insider's guide, packed with practical tips, unwritten rules (#37: Please don't touch the celebrities), quizzes, industry secrets, humor and advice ("Giveaways are never given. They're traded. Most likely for your soul…") All of it priceless knowledge for anyone who's ever dreamed of making it in la-la land.
Been there, done that, kept notes:
• Minimum-wage workplaces to put you in the path of HPPs
• Perfect that resume
• Homework: the must-see movies, the must-read books
• What to wear to your first interview
• Boss genres and personality types
• The 18 favorite insults
• How to roll calls
• Swag!
• To gift or not to gift: the holiday dilemma
• Why there is nothing better than interns
• The 20-10-10 trick to reading a screenplay
• Your very own entourage
• Appropriate company party behavior
• Fail up
• Knowing when to quit
• Rolodex management
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company; annotated edition edition (May 7, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761147462
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761147466
  • Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 0.5 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #226,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a production assistant, I found some of the material useful. I think it's more for a development office or an agent's desk.
It's a good book to help people decide if they really want to enter the entertainment industry.
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This was actually the first book I had ever read when preparing for my career search in the talent agent realm. There were a few reasons for this. First of all, I knew so much that this was a beginning stage of breaking into the career (if not the mailroom, of course). Second, it's an easy read. A concise 208 pages broken into 86 separate chapters. I love reading books like that because it's easy to feel accomplished when you crack away at 5 chapters in a day in your spare time! Third, it seemed like a good way to get a broad perspective on what it's all about being an assistant, or the agent itself. Finally, and most importantly, I found myself in a situation where I could put these rules to use, which made them much easier to comprehend and capitalize upon.

The book is broken into 5 major parts that serve to lead you to situations as they would (supposedly) happen in your actual career. As we know, nothing is predictable. I did find some of the lingo to be interesting and good to know, though I'm not sure everything they say is important in the book really is.

A lot of the content itself is nothing shocking, but it does allow you to consider whether this is something you really want to consider as a starting point of a career. Look, you might not love it, but it's temporary, as long as you stick to it and give it your all at least.

Mostly, just keep conscious of the lessons and take notes on what you really need to. That's subjective to everyone, of course. For me, I was unfamiliar with some of the terminology used on occasions, so I made a point to note that. However, I already know how to deal with certain personalities, and I don't get star-struck, so those sections I breezed by.
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Format: Paperback
Manages to strike the balance of fun and informative that makes it a great gift for a college grad pondering a career in the entertainment biz.
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I found the information to be very helpful in understanding the worlds of working in the entertainment industry. Having insider information on the Hollywood industry should provide guidance for people deciding if this is the work career place they want. I got the book out of curiosity about the industry that provides the public with amusement products. The information is well arranged and easy to understand. The publication does not hold back from warnings about making mistaken moves while working in Hollywood.
It comes across as a very useful workplace guide.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I didn't care for this book. Didn't finish it. I had to read it for a class at film school. Overall most of the advice was fine (if a little basic) but it was written in such a snarky, I'm-more-clever-than-you tone that it was hard to get in to. (I had the same problem with Snyder's "Save The Cat") I'm sure if you can get passed the style, there is information to glean here. But I just couldn't do it.
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Not only was it an interesting read, but it provided very helpful and essential tips for surviving as an assistant in Hollywood. When I worked in LA, I found myself seeing a lot of truth to what Peter Nowalk wrote in this handbook. Definitely worth picking up!
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Like other reviewers have said, this book is condescending and not very helpful. Half the time when reading it I couldn't tell what was a mocking joke and what was supposed to be presented as advice. And while I can't speak for being an assistant at a talent agency, celebrity personal assistants/high-powered executive assistants would never tolerate the way the author says "all assistants" should expect treated in this book. Hollywood is losing much of the theatrics (at least at this level) because harassing and demeaning employees and assistants has not and never will be effective at getting things accomplished. Many of my close friends are celebrity assistants and they have a professional, working relationship with their employers, as every assistant should. Even when things get hectic and stressful, my friends would never just accept a loud insult-fest from their employer like this book implies they should expect on a routine basis. While some of the tips in this book are helpful, you can find much better information in other books (look at Bonnie Low-Kramen's book on being a celebrity assistant, for example) that are far more worth your money. This book sounds as if it was written by someone who was angry they never made it past the assistant level and just wants to discourage anyone that doesn't have an ego as big as they do that this isn't the job for them. While being an assistant is an incredibly complex and difficult profession, it certainly should not involve verbal abuse and temper tantrums from an employer--and for the vast majority of assistants, it doesn't. This book will try to convince you otherwise, but that's just not the way the industry works.
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Format: Kindle Edition
So there I was, happy, married, moving forward in my life, even being published. (By a corporation that paid me, not one I had to pay to publish.) I started out as an assistant and secretary, and yes, it is hard work. However, I was having a hard time with the jumpy incomplete writing style and started skimming. Then I found, much to my surprise, that I have "freakishly large feet", as decided by a personal assistant that told her story in the book. Wow. I never knew that! I have no trouble finding shoes, although I live in a mid size city. I am almost 6 feet tall, and little feet would make me fall over, so I always thought I was proportioned correctly. Was I ever wrong. Personal degradations are not something I thought I would find in a career advice book. At least other women who wear size 10 shoes now know not to attempt Hollywood where only smaller shoes are welcome. Thanks so much, Peter Nowalk, and Hillary Stamm, for making sure I know I have not just large feet, but FREAKINGLY LARGE FEET, I will remember you two, you can be sure.
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