BlackHippieChick’s Interview with author Anne Strick
BHC: Tell us a little about yourself.
Anne: My family background and early history are a bit theatrical. One of my uncles was a theater and film director and his wife, my aunt Gale Sondergaard, received the Film Academy’s created-just-for-her, Best Supporting Actress Award for her work in the movie ANTHONY ADVEERSE. I myself, at the age of thirteen, won a scholarship to a children’s acting school and studied there for three years. I met my future husband, Joseph Strick, at the age of fifteen, in a professional play we appeared in together. He became a film producer and director, with whom I intermittently worked. So it’s not surprising that I ended up, for rather a long time, in the movie business myself. And that I wrote two books about it: ALLTHE DOORS TO HOLLYWOOD AND HOW TO OPEN THEM, and the steamy rival to SHADES OF GRAY – THE REBEL PRINCESS.
BHC: Did you plan to be a writer or did it just happen?
Anne: I never actually “wanted” or “intended” to be a writer – just found myself having done it, in one form or another, for most of my life. From high school on.
BHC: What are your favorite non-writing pastimes?
Anne: My favorite non-writing pastimes are: reading, movies and friends.
BHC: When did you decide to take the step that made you a published author?
Anne: I was in my twenties – when my first short story was published in SEVENTEEN. I’d tried a number of jobs – social worker, Congressional speech writer, the re-write desk at a news service – and felt at home in none 0f them. So I fell back on my old familiar – writing.
BHC: What is your greatest challenge to over-ride discouragement?
Anne: My greatest challenge is to over-ride discouragement –when the ideas aren’t coming, when the words aren’t selling. Then I summon good old seat-of-pants-to-seat –of- chair.
BHC: Are you a full-time writer?
Anne: For me, writing is my full-time job: five/six days a week, morning till late afternoon – and sometimes beyond.
BHC: Can you give us a summation of your book?
Anne: A summation of the book? “A first-ever guide to unknown, high-paying jobs in film and television. And to a life you never imagined.”
BHC:What inspired the book?
Anne: My fascination with the behind-the-screen wizards who make movie magic actually happen, and with whom I worked fo some twenty years – and the wish to reveal the insider skinny on how movies are really made: gritty, grinding, tunnel-vision labor, hearty comradeship, exhilarating moments, and travel and world-wide adventure on someone else’s dime.
BHC: Which character was your favorite?
Anne: Since this is a book of interviews – I truly enjoyed all of them – each for a different reason. I love each speaker’s creativity, enormous enthusiasm for what they do, and the wonderful stories they tell.
BHC: Which character was the most challenging?
Anne: The biggest challenge EACH of these interviewees describes, is how – with each new movie job – there is a new problem to solve. The work requires ingenuity, imagination, resourcefulness and a taste for constant change. Boredom isn’t in the picture. Each time. And each time, the characters succeed. Read, and you’ll see!
BHC: Can you give us a preview of your book
Anne: It’s a series of interviews with some of those anonymous behind-the-scenes magicians without whom there would be no movies at all. They tell what they do, how they do it, how they got their first jobs, celebrities they’ve worked with, and some adventures they’ve had. There’s also a list of the unions to contact for reader follow-up job information, with phone numbers, websites and e-mail addresses.
BHC: What’s the message of your book?
Anne: “Discover the REAL Hollywood – the one you never knew existed! There are great stories – and possibly a job – waiting for you!”
BHC: What’s your favorite scene in the book?
Anne: My favorite scene in the book is Jack Nicholson’s hilarious misadventure.
BHC: How does the book relate to real life?
Anne: Every word in the book reflects real-life experiences – including my own story in the Introduction!
BHC: Which character was hardest for you to part with?
Anne: I hated parting with ALL of them. But not to fret . There will be a second volume of this book. I haven’t BEGUN to reveal all the movie secrets there are!
Anne M.Strick has spent over twenty years in the movie industry. She has worked for Universal, Warners, Paramount and EMI, as a Unit Publicist, Project Coordinator and National Publicity Director, and with such Hollywood legends as Jack Nicholson, James Earl Jones, Sean Penn, Arnold Schwarzenegger, David Lynch, Sting and Dino De Laurentiis, among many others. She has published theater reviews, articles in Parents Magazine , Frontier and The Nation, and six books: two novels, two self-help books, one memoir (a best-seller in Italy); and a non-fiction, scholarly critique of our adversary trial system. (”remarkable”) . Born in Philadelphia, and educated at Bennington College and UCLA, she lives in Los Angeles.
Some time ago, I needed a job. I had spent six years finishing a book, living on and finally totally depleting my savings. At last, I found employment with a start-up corporate public relations firm, worked there for six months, was fired for insubordination, refused several apologetic hire-back offers, and was on the scramble again. But in those six months, I had learned the publicity game. Several friends suggested I try the movie business. I put together a resumé, and on my third interview, was hired as publicist for the movie The Border with Jack Nicholson. The fun began.
Most of us – perhaps you – have an almost insatiable interest in all things Hollywood. Often we fantasize – secretly, perhaps – about being part of the film business ourselves. But being so seems impossible.
What actors and stars do, what producers and directors and writers do, seems light-years beyond our reach – despite all the advice books telling us how to make the rareified leap. We lack, we believe, the talents, the training, the connections, the youth and physical perfection, the long grinding grit and sheer gumption necessary to break in. Even, possibly, the luck.
But we have other abilities. Abilities rarely associated with film-making, but ones that stand behind the screen and make the magic possible. Abilities without which there could be no movies at all. The high-profile professions, so excessively publicized, so glamorous and brightly lit, are not the only doors to Hollywood. There are other doors – many doors – doors we walk through, without a thought, every day – to professions absolutely necessary to the Hollywood show’s going on.
This book tells you what those other doors are.
On these doors, most of us – ordinary people in every city – nurses, carpenters, teachers, first-aid workers, journalists, electricians, photo lab and metal workers, secretaries, sketch artists, plasterers, makeup artists, cooks, hairdressers, model-makers, truck drivers, photographers, seamstresses, accountants, and so many more – need only knock. We will, of course, probably have to knock more than once, as for any job. Nor is ultimate employment inevitable – as for any job.
But if the doors open, we will be extremely well-paid. We will take great pride in our skills and enjoy the camaraderie of our colleagues. We will be delighted with our union benefits. And we will have, for all of our lives, wonderful behind-the-scenes stories to tell.
These are some of the doors; this is how some people have opened them. And these are some of the adventures they’ve had.
Perhaps you’ll do the same. I did.