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The Mailroom: Hollywood History from the Bottom Up Paperback – February 3, 2004
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“A TERRIFIC BOOK . . . Loaded with great stories, unusual insights, and laugh-out-loud humor. You will love this one.”
“FASCINATING . . . A bracing lesson in the acquisition and exercise of power . . . with a big emphasis on the maxim that what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.”
—Los Angeles Times
“THE MAILROOM IS A BLAST TO READ. This is the way Hollywood operates—the fun, the giddy high, the espionage, and the wrenching twists of luck and disaster. David Rensin is a master at eliciting the truth nobody else captures.”
“SHAMELESS SCHMOOZING, casting couch know-how, plotting and hustling are all detailed in The Mailroom.”
—The New York Post (Required Reading)
“FASCINATING . . . [THE MAILROOM] REALLY DELIVERS.”
“A-LIST HONCHOS . . . DISH ON THEIR RISE FROM PEONS TO POWER PLAYERS.”
“This is indeed Hollywood history, more specifically a cogent account of how talent agencies have evolved since [William] Morris was ruled by executives in size 36-short suits. Rensin’s clever use of personal memories as mosaic pieces, arranged in patterns to form an industrywide portrait, is history for grown-ups.”
“Coming from the William Morris mailroom as I have, [I found] this book [to be] the truth of what I experienced. . . . It’s hilarious, a bit crazy, and it should make anyone wonder why people put their careers in the hands of these idiots . . . and remember, I’m one of them. If you have a child, make sure he or she reads this before starting at the bottom—anywhere.”
of Brillstein-Grey, WMA 1955
“A riotous history of all the Hollywood movers and players who came into the industry through the mailrooms of the big talent agencies.”
—The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“A worthy successor to Studs Terkel, Rensin delivers not only a riveting history of one of the most powerful springboards in Hollywood but a must-read for anyone with grand ambitions.”
Author of The Case Against Lawyers
“A THOROUGHLY ENTERTAINING ORAL BIOGRAPHY OF A TINSELTOWN INSTITUTION.”
—The San Francisco Examiner
“Here is the quintessential Hollywood Roshomon. . . . David Rensin has impossibly and heroically channeled Studs Terkel and Harold Robbins all at once. This is a pinball machine clanging secret truths that move and careen as brashly as the movers who blurt their guts onto every shockingly entertaining page. And the best part is that we learn that people who are now very, very rich were forced to do very, very humiliating things to achieve such. What a refreshing equalizer for all of us.”
Author of The Way You Wear Your Hat:
Frank Sinatra and the Lost Art of Livin’
“David Rensin’s book offers a fascinating look at some of the most powerful people and institutions in Hollywood. It’s packed with entertaining anecdotes . . . cautionary tales, and survival tips for those who dare to try their luck in one of the world’s most unpredictable businesses.”
Author of Keys to the Kingdom
“As the maven of the mailroom, David Rensin puts forth an often-hilarious glimpse of life at the bottom.”
Editor in Chief, Variety
“Rensin captures the ambition, manipulative plotting, and hustler mentality . . . in this series of raunchy, realistic interviews . . . making [the] book an uncompromisingly truthful tell-all of what it takes to make it in the movie biz. . . . The stories are amusing, intriguing, and sometimes horrifying, but Rensin, to his credit, never dilutes sordid details.”
“An oral history of a crucial Tinseltown institution, related by some folks who make Machiavelli look like a pussycat . . . Edgy, frenetic, and entertaining reports from the room that launched a thousand deals.”
From the Inside Flap
- Item Weight : 13.1 ounces
- Paperback : 464 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0345442350
- ISBN-13 : 978-0345442352
- Dimensions : 5.4 x 0.97 x 8.3 inches
- Publisher : Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (February 3, 2004)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #310,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Many industries have a proving ground. In investment banking we put them on as a trading or sales assistant hoping they will pick up the lingo and learn on the fly. But the agency mailroom seems to be about feeding egos of senior agent's with much more screaming, yelling and attention paid to personal chores. They do mention many of the nice agents as well as the agents who were best at teaching the mailroom guys. My favorite stories are about CAA because it is next door to my favorite hotel the Peninsula and because of the Mike Ovitz aura. Mike doesn't come off particularly well in the book but partner Ron Meyer does come off as a particularly sharp and nice guy.
The positives and negatives of the mailroom run from taking your bosses stool sample in the doctor to having nude actresses answer the door. I also enjoyed the stories of the CAA mailroom which had a particularly high level of paranoia. I had met media mogul and former agent, Mike Medavoy so it was interesting seeing his son's quotes who was eventually fired due to information leaked to his father.
If you have any interest in the business side of Hollywood, you'll like this book. Other books of interest would be "Wannabe" about an MBA's attempt to succeed at the low levels of Hollywood, and Lynda Obst's book "Hello, He Lied" about her journey from journalist to producer.
Top reviews from other countries
Don Simpson / Hollywood Producer, and found i read through those quite quick.
The Mailroom was good too, just found it a little slower, different, and not meant as a knock
on the book.
It is very detailed, and humorous in parts, and has lots of familiar hollywood names.
Good for a beach read is the best description i can think of.