Saturday, September 02, 2006

Ovitz - Inside Story of Hollywood's Powerbroker

For the past year, I really have been interested in the power of being interconnected and how what we do can influence others.

I was visiting our local library and they had a table with a few books for sale. One of the books was on Michael Eisner of Disney and the other was about Michael Ovitz.
As much as I was familiar with Michael Ovitz as an "agent". I picked up the book "Ovitz" - By Robert Slater (McGraw Hill) to learn more about how he came be become one of the most powerful forces in Hollywood.

This book resonated with me on many levels. It is about taking risks, overcoming seemingly insurmountable hurdles (not taking no for an answer), empowering others to reach for more than they thought possible. It also can be distilled into some basic facts that are the building blocks of my other background in CRM or customer relationship management - making the sales by focusing on benefits to the other party and completely keeping the customer(in this case actors, directors, screenwriters, movie moguls) by asking "How can I help you?" or by "showering gifts" upon them they they will deam valuable.

Ovitz had a vision and a plan. He early on did not try to power his way to the top by buying people off. He powered his way tot the tip by an equal partnership with 5 other agents from William Morris who could complement his skills and provide some level of a client base. He had been a "natural" leader by providing an uncommon vision and then working harder than the others to become the "leader".

He empowered people to think beyond of what they could accomplish on their own. He did this by buiding relationships and being meticulous. He also worked on setting up systems including redundant systems to manage the work flow so he could be out of the office, but still maintain levels of control.

He is tenacious on getting deals done and providing the "chemistry" for some of the most successful movies and television shows of our time. Rob Reiner, Sidney Pollack, Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Bill Murray, Sean Connery became some of his early clients. He was able to reignite careers or provide more spark to some of those careers who needed a 2nd act such as Paul Newman and Sean Connery.

I have found this biography to be surprising, inspirational and intelligent on so many levels. Turns out to be great read.