Media Money with Julia Boorstin

Hollywood's Halloween Poem

Hollywood Sign
Gary Minnaert

It's been a pretty scary year for Hollywood — massive reorganization, layoffs, and a general streamlining of the industry. And while the box office so far this year is up nearly 7 percent from last year, the specialty film divisions at the major studios have all but disappeared and financing for independent films has dried up.

Now rumors of potential M&A activity has development execs quaking in their Prada loafers.

So this year when a group of young industry executives who share a house in the Hollywood Hills started writing the e-vite to their annual bash, they had plenty of 'scary' material to draw upon.

Below is the e-vite to a popular Hollywood Hills Halloween party, inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven."

I take no ownership of the opinions presented below, I just think the witty poem gives remarkable insight into the angst and issues that are top of mind in Hollywood.

The hosts work for the major studios, and spend their time, when they're not schmoozing with other "creative executive" types, obsessively reading piles of scripts trying to find a winner. They're acutely aware of the inner-workings and drama between agents (Ari Emanuel is referenced in the second paragraph) and the moguls. Note the fear of the change and the industry's continued shift to produce commercial fare based on existing intellectual property.

Take a read:

Once upon an October's eve nearly... 4 years ago it was nothing but merely,
Laboring over quaint and curious scripts of forgettable bore.
While we nodded, clearly napping, suddenly it started happening,
As of the sound of Wall St. crapping, crapping at our industry's door.
"Tis some revenue loss," they muttered, "ruining our second quar.
Only this and nothingmore."

Ah distinctly I remember it was only last November,
That the economy dismembered and left the congloms feeling sore.
Eagerly I wished for '09 - vainly I had thought we'd be fine.
But instead the year was unkind, unkind to 1 of the agencies' big 4.
For the rare and radiant company whom the agents named William Morr.
Nameless to Ari, forevermore.

And the silken, sad, dress rehearsal for the pending takeover of Universal,
Chills me - kills me to think that studio name soon might be no more.
So that now for my next job to keep eating I stand & practice my repeating,
"Welcome visitor, to the brand new Comcast Studios Tour!
And Comcast Studios Horror Nights - you're sure to see some gore!"
Ah, we'll miss the Lew Wasserman lore.

But it's October again, my soul grows stronger, hesitating then no longer,
"People," say we, "and moguls. Truly your attention we implore.
Cause the fact is we're having a party, whether or not the economy's hearty,
and it won't take Sherlock or Moriarty to realize this is nothing to ignore.
That annual Halloween party, featuring those huge bouncers at the door.
Yes. This is it. An invite to Halloween party 4.

Deep into this email peering, you sit there wondering, fearing,
Should I go? Will it be overcrowded like two years ago before?
Then you look around, script pile unbroken, you stop to wonder what you're smoking. You ask yourself, "Who am I joking," of course I'll be there for number 4.
"So drag thee to hell, you terrible spec, you'll never cause a bidding war!"
Stop thy reading and enjoy our Halloween decor.

Back into the office sighing, "who needs these specs? No one's buying."
But then in steps a stately being unlike anything from days of yore.
No pages was he made of, and yet I was still afraid of,
This creature who simply called himself a 'brand awareness whore.'
Mumbling something about Clue & Battleship, he perched upon a Ouija board.
Perched and said, "Properties, fool, that's all you need to look for!"

So just embrace it and stop the reading, and you too will start succeeding, Finding mere titles for movies as studios shrink from 6 to 4.
That'll leave more time for drinkin so you won't have to do much thinkin,
but instead with glasses clinking just enjoy our Party four.
Good times forevermore

Questions?  Comments?