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Hello, Lied the Agent: And Other Bullshit You Hear as a Hollywood TV Writer Hardcover – September 1, 2006
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Watch as half-wit executives pick up shows for their originality and freshness ... and then round off each sharp corner, each distinction, each spike until they end up with bland hamburger ... which they then pass on or cancel if it makes it to pilot and first season.
Gasp in horror as our hero plays a game where the rules are vague, the financial rewards extraordinary and crushing defeat is just a phonecall away!
This book really does show you just how mad the entire television (and Hollywood) system is: a seething hyper-rumour mill where good ideas go to die.
The author, Ian Gurvitz, also spikes the entire American culture for its obsession with vapid culture, for the choice of Entertainment Tonight over real news, for the more-of-the-same production line that says it wants new but really wants same ... oh and those endless fat oaf and mean shrew sitcoms like Everyone Loves Raymond get a serve too.
The only drawback of this book in Kindle form is that there are images of articles pasted here and there but they cannot be resized, cannot be zoomed in on and aren't normal text so you can't enlarge it or darken to read. As a result there are about 15 pages that are essentially unreadable. The publishers should have transcribed the text and put it as quote rather than pasting in the image for the Kindle edition. Hopefully they'll fix this in the future.
Don't let this one flaw turn you off though - the book is hilarious, dark and witty and even if you aren't looking to work in that field, it's a brilliant closeup look at madness that produces obscene amounts of money and a large chunk of our shared world culture.
Spoke to Amazon support. First person I spoke to suggested deleting the book and downloading it again. I tried that but the problem was still there. Second person I spoke to (after calling back) was very responsive but couldn't help as they were not too familiar with the Kindle so they transferred me to one of their Kindle 'experts'. I started to explain my problem and he hung up. Nice. I wasn't rude or aggressive, just wanted some help.
This book seems like a very entertaining and informative book and I would love to read it, but the Kindle version is screwed so that version only gets one star.
The writing style of this book is also interesting. It is a typical narrative description which sometimes reverts totally to the notes that he took at that time. This technique clearly illustrates his frustrations as he waits for very important meetings only to watch them cancelled time and again.
In closing the two year development deal leads down many roads where he thinks he is very close to closing many deals with exceptional earnings potential. Basically, it's feast or famine. He goes from no business to multiple deals and writings required back to nothing. A very fascinating behind the scenes look that I strongly recommend.
Gurvitz's book features quotable lines on just about every page ("It's been said that in Hollywood, friends don't want friends to fail; friends want friends to die") and a comprehensive overview of the television landscape valuable to anyone who's ever wanted to know how shows - brilliant or execrable - proceed from concept to airing (or more likely oblivion).
Take it from someone who didn't write the book; it is a great read...
Most recent customer reviews
It is entertaining and informative. A must-read.