Conversations with My Agent

Rob Long, Author
Rob Long, Author Dutton Books $15.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-525-94222-1
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
Mass Market Paperbound - 180 pages - 978-0-452-27713-7
Hardcover - 112 pages - 978-0-571-17607-6
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Amusing and insightful, this is a deftly sketched portrait of life inside the Hollywood ""development deal,"" that limbo in which writers get paid generously to create something new for a notoriously fickle set of bosses. Long and his writing partner, still in their 20s, had risen to become coproducers of the popular TV series Cheers before it expired; they were rewarded with an office, long lunches and many meetings at which to try to pitch their ideas. (No, their new shows never took off.) Long makes the story entertaining by rendering many scenes-especially those involving his nameless, genderless agent-in sitcom form (dialogue, stage directions, etc.). ""People in this business love their souped-up vocabulary,"" Long writes, and he affectionately skewers Hollywood pretension (""I love a quirky love,"" says one exec). Long doesn't tell us much about himself or his relationship with his writing partner, but the story skitters along fast enough for that to be forgivable. And when one reviewer calls their pilot ""snappy"" and another denounces it as ""without snap,"" you can sympathize if well-paid creative types think the world wretched. Unfortunately, the book's charm and verisimilitude are vitiated by Long's contradictory admissions that it is ""half true"" and ""mostly true."" (Jan.)
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