When video killed the radio star, Sharon Oreck was calling the shots.
Video Slut takes an irreverent look behind the scenes of the music-video industry during its eighties heyday. Oreck, one of the top producers of all time, bluffed her way into the business with no experience whatsoever and went on to produce more than six hundred video shoots with Madonna, Sting, Mick Jagger, Prince, and several members of the increasingly unstable Jackson family―not to mention a cadre of delinquent caterers, deranged interns, self-absorbed record executives, and malfeasant animal trainers.
Oreck also shares the at turns hilarious, biting, and poignant story of her origins as a single teen mother, disowned by her middle-class parents, and of her journey from welfare to kung fu movie sets to film school. She approaches her own delinquency and that of the superstars she encountered with humor and candor. The result is an acerbic but sympathetic account of the outrageous effects of fame, power, and money on people in the entertainment business. No one is spared, especially herself.
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Sharon Oreck is a film, video, and commercial producer. Between 1984 and 2000 she was the owner-operator of O Pictures. She is an Academy Award nominee and the recipient of a Grammy Award, two Women in Film Awards, and several MTV Awards.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Sun Comes Up
Itâ€™s December 12, 1988, and Iâ€™m just finishing up lunch with an egregiously hairy, three-hundred-and-forty-pound Geffen Record Company executive whoâ€™s swaddled in an immaculate knee-length white silk Indian kurta that turns out to be a precise color match for the pearl-handled revolver that he whips out of his size ninety-nine dhoti pantaloons while weâ€™re waiting for the parking valet to roll up with his Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud.
â€œEt voilÃ !â€¯ Rod Stovington snorts through his two-inch plank of Santa-Christ facial hair, which is currently flecked with spit, tomato skin, and tiny bits of lacto-vegetarian nut loaf. â€œI always carry a .357 Magnum, just in case Axl Rose stops taking his lithium and tries to, like, fuckinâ€™ impale me with a machete again.â€¯
Since he has immediate access to a loaded handgun and has recently awarded me two rock video contracts worth a quarter of a million dollars, I elect not to mention that Rod looks like a deranged three-thousand-year-old Norse deity after a six-week crack binge before I jump into my battered, bird shitâ€“encrusted forest-and-black Saab convertible and wave bye-bye. Then I roll approximately 2,050 feet to the threshold of O Pictures, my hip, happening, totally eighties rock video and commercial production boutique, conveniently located at the ugliest, most architecturally incoherent end of East Melrose Avenue, between Paramount motion picture studios and the Hollywood Theatrical Car Painting Center.
â€œIâ€™m lucky I was too terrified to eat my truffled risotto at lunch today, because now Iâ€™m still thin enough (if I only drink watermelon juice for the next three days) to wear that size-four, lime green, fancy French mermaid dress that I just bought to wear to Madonnaâ€™s surprise party this weekend for famous movie star Warren Beatty at her recently redecorated, super-sophisticated, white-on-white Bel Air pied Ã terre!â€¯ I muse to myself. â€œIâ€™m also super lucky that I bought my $800 outfit with a postdated company check because itâ€™ll bounce like a lowrider on Saturday night if anyone tries to cash it before next February!â€¯
Although I own a (purportedly) successful, top-tier, totally professional rock video and commercial company that takes in (a rumored) $20 million a year, I am actually poised at the gaping abyss of bankruptcy and shame, due to questionable insurance claims, catastrophic production overages, and the kind of insanely outsize workersâ€™ compensation suits that are always being filed by the kind of overly litigious methamphetamine addicts who we always hire to be rock video extras because theyâ€™re the only kind of people whoâ€™ll take $50 for a seventeen-hour workday.
Since Iâ€™m a (ridiculously) optimistic kind of person, I joyously ram my nonluxury vehicle into my undersized parking space and strut with (false) pride and (faked) confidence toward my (utterly bitchinâ€™) silk-screened double doors just as they fling open to disgorge a large, scary clutch of disgruntled twenty-five-year-old women who all happen to be sporting suspiciously similar faux-platinum hair bobs and chocolate-brown Sophia Loren fuck-me slips.
â€œWell hello, adorable and athletic fake-Madonna stunt double applicants!â€¯ I recognize them immediately. â€œThanks so much for what Iâ€™m sure were your amazing auditions, which I unfortunately missed, due to an important preexisting appointment with a renowned recording industry sociopath! I hope your experience at my company was pleasurable all the same!â€¯
The stunt doubles glare at me with an unsettling degree of aggression before they stomp off into the smog, like bleached-blonde lady Spartans exiting a successful peace conference.
â€œNot. Fucking. Amazing.â€¯ Their spokesperson barks at me while attempting to trap my head in the door. Although stunt doubles are psychologically sensitive, like actors, theyâ€™re physically insensitive, like athletes, with a strong desire to slam you into a wall and fuck you exactly where you never wanted to be fucked just because your company declined to hire them.
I run away, fast, up the new fake-marble stairwell that leads into the old brick-and-stucco photographerâ€™s studio that used to look like a decaying New York slum right before we borrowed fifty thousand bucks to make it look like a peeling Caribbean tenement instead. The complex, love/hate affair with money and privilege that defines the late 1980s has led my company to a bold, pseudopoverty design statement that unequivocally declares that weâ€™re living in a shit-hole because we can afford to live in a shit-hole and not because we have to live in a shit-hole.
â€œJeepers!â€¯ I scream with joy as I hit the second floor landing and unexpectedly encounter a teeming mass of tall, well-built young black men, suggestively garbed in the scanty, tattered robes of ancient Christian martyrs. I guess there is a God after all, and itâ€™s not the one my fathers shed their foreskins for.
Then I remember that today is casting day for the â€œLike a Prayerâ€¯ video and that what appear to be hunky holy men are actually handsome Hollywood hopefuls who are preparing to vie for the role of Super-Studly African American Iconographic Saint â€™nâ€™ Super-Vixen who will get to simulate sex with Madonna on a down-at-the-heels church altar in order to end national racism, encourage world peace, and promote the ultimate salvation of the universe until the end of time.
â€œWelcome to O Pictures, handsome gentlemen!â€¯ I greet the dude-a-ciples. Hey, maybe this will turn out to be a nice day after all!
â€œHi, lady producer!â€¯ They greet me back, patting me fondly as I make my way toward my office. â€œLove your place! What a great set up! Nice digs!â€¯
â€œOh gosh, thank you,â€¯ I reply. â€œYou are so, so sweet!â€¯
While I am utterly convinced that anyone who hates O Pictures is a lying, scabby child molester, I always believe it when anyone says they love O Pictures, even if theyâ€™re obviously just trying to butter me up so they can get hired to have rock-video sex for money with a molten-hot pop-music superstar.
â€œI want O Pictures to offer a colorful, larger-than-life, joy-filled artistic refuge, with a street-ish, fun-factory kind of gestalt,â€¯ I remember telling my savvy team of (purportedly) homosexual decorators without the slightest edge of irony, which might help to explain the green-and-gold fake-marble reception area that prominently features a gilded three-thousand-pound fax machine, a giant, gold-embossed prop clock from an old Boz Scaggs video, and my steadfast and good-looking male receptionist, Fred Rick, who really is practically perfect if you donâ€™t count the constant bids for attention, the steroid abuse leading to occasional temper tantrums and the grotesque temporary speech impediment due to improperly sterilized tongue-piercing equipment.
â€œOg Biditchas!â€¯ (O Pictures). Fred is answering the phone while madly blowing me kisses. â€œOw cran I whelp du?â€¯
I wave to Fred gaily, because he is so, well, gay, and continue striding into the yellow-and-blue fake-marble bullpen, a huge, loft like space where all the full-time workers and all the freelance workers and all those adorable, absolutely-for-free film interns perform the valuable preproduction labor thatâ€™s necessary to create a successful rock video. Yes, this is where the magic happens, and itâ€™s currently happening at full freak-out capacity, on account of a Madonna video, a Metallica video, a Tracy Chapman video, and a commercial for a smelly, disgusting German zit soap.
â€œDid you cut your hair?â€¯
â€œDid you get a facial?â€¯
â€œLove your boots!â€¯
My company is always packed with fluff y dogs and unwashed children and groovily attired, perfectly coiffed hipster chicks who are always telling me how cool I am and how great I look. Also uniformly present is a scattered handful of sycophantic, sexually ambiguous young gentlemen who sit at long, Formica-covered tabletops, making phone calls, working on gigantic Macintosh computers, and furiously jotting away on yellow legal pads. Because, in many ways, O Pictures is exactly like Paradise Island, the mythical Amazonian home of Wonder Woman and her foxy superheroine sisters, who all live in a bucolic feminist utopia with their obedient man-slaves in perfect harmonyâ€”except that O Pictures isnâ€™t an island, some of the men are women, and the slaves donâ€™t do anything I tell them.
â€œGuttenfuckenzee! Youâ€™ve got to be joking me out!â€¯
The glamorous blonde lesbian with the cool haircut who is screaming inexplicable phrases in an unidentifiable accent is the (real) executive producer of O Pictures, Hildy Inigborgasson. Itâ€™s her job to monitor all of our productions, mentor all the line producers, make sure that nobody goes overbudget, and tell all my directors how smart and cute they are, especially when theyâ€™re stupid and ugly.
Just kidding. As the owner and (not real) executive producer of O Pictures, itâ€™s my job to remind the directors that theyâ€™re intelligent and successful, especially when they wet their pants like big, fat babies because their lives are so hard and they have to work thirty days a year so they can afford a top-of-the-line shiny new convertible so they can finally get with some real models, and not just those stupid video extras again.
Once again, I am obviously just kidding. Everyone knows that rock video directors always try to fuck the extras, because they hardly ever press charges.
Meanwhile, next to Hildy is Diana, a striking, twenty-five-year-old woman whoâ€™s securing the Fort MacArthur Air Force Base as a location for the Madonna â€œLike a Prayerâ€¯ video.
â€œI will not tolerate this reeking bullshit for one second longer, do you hear me?â€¯ Diana is saying.
My heart sings! Diana has been here for only eight weeks and she has already evolved into exactly the kind of competent, hard-driving hottie bitch that O Pictures is famous for. At our company, brutal management is to great production what wire foundation is to surgically unaltered bosoms.
Next to Diana is Veronica, whoâ€™s dressed to kill in a secondhand early-sixties, navy blue Dior suit jacket with pearls.
â€œExcuse me,â€¯ Veronica is saying, â€œbut we need to have a remote, soundproof setting where we can turn the volume way, way up, because the band is so completely deaf that they couldnâ€™t hear a Concorde jet if it was landing between their legs.â€¯
Veronica, whoâ€™s the most fashionable, good-looking, naturally skinny person Iâ€™ve ever met, is attempting to find an appropriate location for â€œOne,â€¯ the very first music video from the platinum-selling thrash band Metallica, which my brand-new husband, Bill Pope, is going to direct. My good pal Robin Sloane, whoâ€™s in charge of creative affairs at Elektra Records, says that Metallica is different from other super-successful thrash bands because theyâ€™re â€œbrilliant iconoclasts whoâ€™re way too cool to make a video,â€¯ but Rod, the psycho Geffen A&R Dude with the gun that I just had lunch with, claims that theyâ€™re more like â€œhomicidal, alcoholic shit-birds whoâ€™ve been too drunk every minute of the day and night since the late seventies to get anything done.â€¯ To be fair, Robin is a genius and the Geffen Executive has been in a druginduced stupor since 1969 and doesnâ€™t actually work with Metallica. Still, the relationship of the band to alcoholic beverages is so mythical that Veronica has written on the budget in huge letters: â€œFINAL BUDGET DOES NOT INCLUDE BEER.â€¯
Next to Veronica is Hunter, Hildyâ€™s heartachingly young assistant, who has buttermilk skin and bright blue eyes and a mindboggling physique that make certain bosses wonder if certain lesbian executives would ever hire a beautiful person just for her buttocks. On the other hand, as the daughter of a famous rock star and his famous model wife, Hunter has an unusual pedigree for meeting unreasonable demands of overentitled celebrity brats.
â€œ. . . I hear what youâ€™re saying about â€˜the Presidentâ€™ and â€˜forever,â€™ but I need a system thatâ€™s guaranteed to keep at least two dozen crosses burning for a week!â€¯ Hunter is shouting at the chief caretaker of the JFK Eternal Flame at Arlington National Cemetery. â€œI mean this is a major, major Madonna video!â€¯
Kennedy, Schmennedy. Weâ€™ve recently experienced some ugly glitches with an underground gas line that might have been illegally dug on an American military base for the â€œLike a Prayerâ€¯ video and itâ€™s Hunterâ€™s job to keep the fires burning, literally. Slated for production early next month with my rock video best-director-friend-forever, Mary Lambert, at the helm, â€œLike a Prayerâ€¯ is the biggest, most badass video production of my whole life. On the other hand, itâ€™s also the biggest, most bad ass nightmare of my whole life. The script is endless, the budget is a ballbreaker, and I get twenty threatening phone calls per day from Eddie Grimstein, the head of Creative Affairs at Warner Records, who has been personally determined to crush my soul, spirit, and spinal column ever since Madonna told him in front of me to â€œshut up, fuck off, and get out the room so the girls can get some real work done.â€¯
Hereâ€™s a free career tip: when a rich and extremely powerful female sex goddess symbolically crushes the (metaphorical) testicles of an extremely powerful man who can in any way affect your future, it is very important that you do not in any way acknowledge, approve, or applaud that action until he is out of the room, way down the hall, and, hopefully, driving home on the Santa Monica Freeway.
Moving on to the next desk, we find Joy and Lauren, who are putting together a reshoot for Matt Mahurinâ€™s latest John Fogerty clip after an official MTV video rejection caused by a semierect penis that was wrapped in five layers of plaster, mud, and medical gauze.
I can still remember Jeff Ayeroff, former vice president of Warner Records, yelling at me over a satellite phone thatâ€”because of early-eighties technologyâ€”was still the size of a Montana moose, just because I called him from the set and mentioned something about â€œa very grainy, out-of-focus shot of a very talented modern dancer.â€¯
â€œWhatâ€™s this talented dancer doing that needs to be out of focus?â€¯ Jeff asked, instantly suspicious. Although Jeff was always supportive of my artistic license, he was annoyingly prescient about my outright bullshit.
â€œUh, heâ€™s, like, not, er, wearing any, what do you call themâ€”pants?â€¯ I put forth tentatively.
â€œSharonâ€”â€¯ Jeff barked tenderly, â€œif I see a dick in ...
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Descrizione libro FABER FABER, United States, 2010. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. When video killed the radio star, Sharon Oreck was calling the shots. Video Slut takes an irreverent look behind the scenes of the music-video industry during its eighties heyday. Oreck, one of the top producers of all time, bluffed her way into the business with no experience whatsoever and went on to produce more than six hundred video shoots with Madonna, Sting, Mick Jagger, Prince, and several members of the increasingly unstable Jackson family--not to mention a cadre of delinquent caterers, deranged interns, self-absorbed record executives, and malfeasant animal trainers. Oreck also shares the at turns hilarious, biting, and poignant story of her origins as a single teen mother, disowned by her middle-class parents, and of her journey from welfare to kung fu movie sets to film school. She approaches her own delinquency and that of the superstars she encountered with humor and candor. The result is an acerbic but sympathetic account of the outrageous effects of fame, power, and money on people in the entertainment business. No one is spared, especially herself. Codice libro della libreria BZE9780865479869
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