(Three Rivers Press, 274 pages, $14)
By Lawrence Turman
The question "what does a producer do?" is probably best answered by someone who has actually gotten films made. In So You Want To Be A Producer, Lawrence Turman, the force behind The Graduate, shares some lessons learned. Using his own experience, Turman, who has shepherded dozens of films and is the Endowed Chair at USC's Peter Stark Producing Program, lays out the responsibilities of his profession. A producer, according to Turman, is someone who starts the ball rolling, and keeps it rolling on the path he has in mind. (Like Jewison's memoir, this one includes recollections of working with the erratic Judy Garland, in Turman's case producing her in I Could Go On Singing.) He is kind to directors, bemoaning the age discrimination that keeps older, pedigreed names from working. He's highly reverent of Mike Nichols, whom he hired to direct The Graduate. An entertaining, point-by-point case study of that film closes the book. Turman also relates a humorous, embarrassing anecdote in which Nichols delivered an acceptance speech for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the DGA Awards dinner when his name had merely been the first read from the list of nominees. The next year, Nichols actually won for The Graduate, and Turman accepted for him, relishing the chance to pass on Nichols' regrets with the quip, "But it doesn't really matter because all of you already heard his acceptance speech last year."
Review written by Robert Abele.