Picks and Pans Review: Wannabe: a Would-Be Player's Misadventures in Hollywood
He'll never work in that town again, but Everett Weinberger, 31, who spent nine months trying to break into the glamorous world of Hollywood movie producing, doesn't care. As he describes in this hilarious tell-all, the movie business is populated with monsters—and pretentious monsters at that.
Here's an average encounter during Weinberger's job search: Having looked up Peter McAlevey, production VP of Stonebridge Entertainment, through the alumni records of their shared alma mater, Columbia College, Weinberger makes an appointment to see him. When he gets to McAlevey's office, the executive says he has to leave immediately; Weinberger can, however, accompany him to his car. As they walk across the parking lot in silence, Weinberger, feeling his opportunity slipping away, blurts out, "So, how'd you like Columbia?" McAlevey races to his black Jaguar and replies, "You don't ask that kind of question when someone's about to get into their car. You say to them, 'Nice car—can I have a job?' "
McAlevey didn't hire Weinberger, nor did actor Alec Baldwin, who was—and then wasn't—looking for a personal assistant. (The actor told Weinberger that it would be awkward to fire his then assistant, who had worked previously for Sly Stallone.) Having exhausted his leads for a permanent position, Weinberger tried becoming a "power temp." His luck didn't change. Placed in the office of David Kirkpatrick, at that time head of production at Paramount Pictures and a man who spent his life on the phone, Weinberger was fired when he put a call for his boss through to the wrong person.
Just when things looked promising at Disney, he was ousted, he says, for having the temerity to ask to leave an hour early one night. (He notes the company's workaholic code: "If you don't come to work on Saturday, don't bother coming in on Sunday!") At Leonard Nimoy's production office, the big event of the day was when "Spock" called in for messages; otherwise nothing ever happened.
Weinberger did land a four-month job crunching numbers at Miramax Films Corp. for the powerful Weinstein brothers, Harvey and Bob, who have distributed such films as The Crying Game and The Piano. According to the author, they "thundered through the office slamming doors and yelling and cursing at each other and at employees throughout the day."
Weinberger finally closed the door on show business for a more genteel life, where greed and ambition don't seethe quite so intensely. He's now working as an investment banker in New York City. (Birch Lane, $17.95)
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