I’ve worked in the entertainment industry for over 15 years, and throughout my career, I’ve cast or talent-booked countless projects.
I've worked on everything from host-driven shows to reality series to scripted dramas and comedies. And every time, without fail, this process has been riddled with egos, drama, contract issues and deadlines, along with a litany of contradicting opinions on who should be hired and why.
Not until I talent booked my own book “Hire Me, Hollywood!” with my co-author Mark Scherzer did I learn how amazingly positive, effortless and even fun this process could be.
We were tasked with having to find 30 uber-successful people from a cross-section of the entertainment business. We promised each subject their own chapter dedicated to their career path and how they found success in Hollywood.
Mark and I compiled a list of the people we admired and started outreach.
It was the most liberating experience of my career.
We had total and complete creative freedom to pursue the people we wanted. The first five we booked were Sam Trammell, who stars in "True Blood" for HBO, David Janollari who runs programming at MTV, showrunner and executive producer Tammy Ader Green, puppeteer and creator and voice of Elmo, Kevin Clash, and comic-book legend and all around swell guy, Stan Lee.
I had never gotten so many yeses in my life.
We were cold-calling people and emailing publicists, and one after the other they were lining up. Of course, there was some rejection.
I met Channing Tatum on the street in NYC one day and asked if he would like to be featured in the book.
He couldn’t have been nicer and he said he would love to be included. He told me I would flip when I heard his story.
We shook on it and he gave me his PR rep's contact information. When I called to set up the interview, she quickly shot me down. I learned that before movies like "G.I. Joe" and "Dear John," Channing was a male stripper — a point in his career I assume his PR team desperately didn’t want encapsulated in a book.
We had a few generic ”thanks for your interest, but at this time we are unable to participate in your project,” from people like Robin Roberts of GMA, John Lassetter of Pixar, actor/comedian Simon Pegg and Director Kevin Smith.
Maybe we’ll re-approach them for “Hire Me, Hollywood II.” Sadly we had actress Jill Clayburgh confirmed, but she became very ill and ended up passing away after a long battle with leukemia before we were able to interview her.
As much as I would like to attribute our success to being charming, I think I have to acknowledge that people in Hollywood would be hard pressed to turn down being featured in a book that is praising them for being successful and allowing them to talk about themselves in a positive light!
Learn more about “Hire Me, Hollywood!” at www.hiremeguys.com.