Have been reading “Who is Michael Ovitz” over last few weeks. He was the founder of CAA and one of the most influential & powerful people in Hollywood for many decades, shaping & reviving umpteen celebrity careers.
The most eye-opening thing for me in the book has been how the careers of almost all Hollywood legends, from Dustin Hoffman & Paul Newman to Bill Murray & Martin Scorsese, have been riddled with the following:
- Extreme highs & lows
- Frequently getting typecast in a tough-to-break image
- Being considered only as good as your last movie box office performance
- Making critical choices just based on “who” they wanted to support/work with
- Finally, being written-off many times
Remember seeing lot of these elements also play out in Andre Agassi’s outstanding autobiography “Open”, which btw is a must-read. Just goes to show the frequent mistake we all make in seeing lives of legends in a “post-facto” way, rather than understanding what went on behind the scenes. These post-facto perceptions get even more played up by the media, which loves binary narratives to generate eyeballs (someone is either a straight-line genius, or a complete loser who lacks any ability whatsoever).
Personally, I now consciously strive to peel the onion on such narratives (had written a post earlier on how Silicon Valley narratives fool us). Helps me maintain my sanity, as I build Workomo and Operators Studio :).