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The Mailroom


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About the Author

David Rensin is the coauthor of show business legend Bernie Brillstein's widely lauded memoir, Where Did I Go Right, as well as Olympian Louis Zamperini's World War II survival saga, Devil At My Heels and composer/performer Yanni's memoir, Yanni: In Words. Rensin also co-wrote Tim Allen's #1 bestseller Don't Stand Too Close To a Naked Man and Allen's follow-up bestseller, I'm Not Really Here. He has co-written bestsellers with Chris Rock, Jeff Foxworthy, and Garry Shandling, and co-authored a groundbreaking humorous sociology of men named Bob, called The Bob Book. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son.


Rensin (coauthor, Don't Stand Too Close to a Naked Man) captures the ambition, manipulative plotting and hustler mentality of a few Hollywood mailroom employees in this series of raunchy, realistic interviews with some top agents who started out in the mailroom. As with any entry-level gig, "the hours are long, the pay... abysmal." Star mailroom grads from the William Morris Agency, Creative Artists Agency, ICM and others voice conflicting views, making Rensin's book an uncompromisingly truthful tell-all of what it takes to make it in the movie biz. William Morris's Norman Brokaw recalls, "I made it a point to develop relationships early on," while Bernie Brillstein's a bit more blunt: "I kissed ass." Most of the agents admit opening up private correspondence and packages, insisting, "everybody did it." Rensin also exposes affairs with secretaries to learn company secrets, fights over use of phones that led to wrestling matches, and homophobia. Sam Haskell, William Morris's worldwide head of television, offers a different take: "Your primary power is your character and your integrity." Rensin furnishes fresh anecdotes about an embarrassed novice who didn't recognize Judy Garland, or another who believed in Marilyn Monroe despite a casting specialist calling her "just another blonde." Clashing views of Mike Ovitz, from "a superb leader" to someone who preferred "style over content" and to whom "appearances were everything," help explain Ovitz's meteoric rise and massive collapse. Most notably, Rensin shows that the road from mailroom to mogul is a rough one. The stories are amusing, intriguing and sometimes horrifying, but Rensin, to his credit, never dilutes sordid details. (On sale Feb. 4) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

"Entertaining, instructive, and irresistible . . . Readers will feast on plenty of name-dropping . . . and hair-raising accounts of backstabbing."
--Variety "A TERRIFIC BOOK . . . Loaded with great stories, unusual insights, and laugh-out-loud humor. You will love this one."
--LARRY KING "FASCINATING . . . A bracing lesson in the acquisition and exercise of power . . . with a big emphasis on the maxim that what doesn't kill you will make you stronger."
Los Angeles Times "THE MAILROOM IS A BLAST TO READ. This is the way Hollywood operates--the fun, the giddy high, the espionage, and the wrenching twists of luck and disaster. David Rensin is a master at eliciting the truth nobody else captures."
--CAMERON CROWE "SHAMELESS SCHMOOZING, casting couch know-how, plotting and hustling are all detailed in The Mailroom."
--The New York Post (Required Reading) "FASCINATING . . . [THE MAILROOM] REALLY DELIVERS."
--US Weekly "This is indeed Hollywood history, more specifically a cogent account of how talent agencies have evolved since [William] Morris was ruled by executives in size 36-short suits. Rensin's clever use of personal memories as mosaic pieces, arranged in patterns to form an industrywide portrait, is history for grown-ups."
--Variety "Coming from the William Morris mailroom as I have, [I found] this book [to be] the truth of what I experienced. . . . It's hilarious, a bit crazy, and it should make anyone wonder why people put their careers in the hands of these idiots . . . and remember, I'm one of them. If you have a child, make sure he or she reads this before starting at the bottom--anywhere."
Founding partner
of Brillstein-Grey, WMA 1955 "A riotous history of all the Hollywood movers and players who came into the industry through the mailrooms of the big talent agencies."
--The Globe and Mail (Toronto) "A worthy successor to Studs Terkel, Rensin delivers not only a riveting history of one of the most powerful springboards in Hollywood but a must-read for anyone with grand ambitions."
Author of The Case Against Lawyers

--The San Francisco Examiner "Here is the quintessential Hollywood Roshomon. . . . David Rensin has impossibly and heroically channeled Studs Terkel and Harold Robbins all at once. This is a pinball machine clanging secret truths that move and careen as brashly as the movers who blurt their guts onto every shockingly entertaining page. And the best part is that we learn that people who are now very, very rich were forced to do very, very humiliating things to achieve such. What a refreshing equalizer for all of us."
Author of The Way You Wear Your Hat:
Frank Sinatra and the Lost Art of Livin' "David Rensin's book offers a fascinating look at some of the most powerful people and institutions in Hollywood. It's packed with entertaining anecdotes . . . cautionary tales, and survival tips for those who dare to try their luck in one of the world's most unpredictable businesses."
Author of Keys to the Kingdom "As the maven of the mailroom, David Rensin puts forth an often-hilarious glimpse of life at the bottom."
Editor in Chief, Variety

"Rensin captures the ambition, manipulative plotting, and hustler mentality . . . in this series of raunchy, realistic interviews . . . making [the] book an uncompromisingly truthful tell-all of what it takes to make it in the movie biz. . . . The stories are amusing, intriguing, and sometimes horrifying, but Rensin, to his credit, never dilutes sordid details."
--Publishers Weekly "An oral history of a crucial Tinseltown institution, related by some folks who make Machiavelli look like a pussycat . . . Edgy, frenetic, and entertaining reports from the room that launched a thousand deals."
--Kirkus Reviews

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