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TOUGH MONEY: Entertainment

Are You A Player?

Take This Quiz to See How Well You Know How to Navigate Hollywood

March 24, 1997|JAMES BATES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

For God's sake, don't do lunch. Nobody has done lunch in Hollywood in a decade.

And please don't hang out at Morton's on Monday night, or have your people call my people.

The old cliches will result in automatic rejection if you are serious about trying to become a player. When it comes to prestige in Hollywood these days, a good severance package matters more than a good table.

So if you want to be a player, you have to work at it and know the subtleties to navigate Hollywood. Take this 10-part test to determine your progress and find out what areas you may need to work on:

1. The most impressive line on your resume reads:

a. "Former executive vice president, The Walt Disney Co." (too common . . . minus 1 point)

b. "Former top film executive, Sony Pictures Entertainment. (even more common . . . minus 3)

c. "Former president, The Walt Disney Co." (3 points)

d. "Once worked on a construction crew in Arkansas with Billy Bob Thornton." (6 points)

2. On one of the annual Hollywood "power lists," you are:

a. Sandwiched between two actors you had never heard of a year ago, who are on some hot Fox series and who are old enough to be your kids. (3 points)

b. Three spots above Michael Ovitz. (4 points)

c. Right behind the head of some obscure division of the company that owns the magazine that puts out the Power List. (5 points)

3. You are entirely convincing when you say the following:

a. "I passed on 'Waterworld.' " (1 point)

b. "I passed on 'Titanic.' " (2 points)

c. "Hollywood releases too many films each year." (3 points)

d. "I warned Michael not to hire Ovitz." (4 points)

e. "'George Lucas calls me daily for advice on the prequels." (5 points)

4. If there were one possession you would rather die for than give up, it is:

a. Your friends and family. (1 point)

b. Sequel rights to "Booty Call." (minus 3)

c. The cigars Ronald Perelman gave you that are stored in a humidor in the Grand Havana that you can reach without a ladder. (3 points)

d. The Laker season tickets you nearly gave up. (3 points . . . add 2 more when Shaq returns to the lineup)

e. Stock options. (5 points)

f. The towels and ashtray you took from the Lincoln Bedroom. (6 points, but subtract 10 if you ever get a subpoena from a Senate committee or special prosecutor)

5. For lunch you order:

a. Grilled vegetables. (1 point)

b. Swordfish. (1 point)

c. Chicken salad, but hold the chicken because you don't believe in hurting animals. (3 points)

d. A martini. (3 points)

e. A dish only you and the waiter can pronounce. (4 points)

6. Within the last two weeks, someone has been quoted in print as saying the following about you:

a. "A talented filmmaker." (1 point)

b. "Passionate about movies, the filmmaking process and character." (2 points)

c. "The Thalberg of this generation." (3 points)

d. "A moron," said anonymously. (4 points)

7. You are on a first-name basis with:

a. Ralph, but pronounced Rafe. (3 points)

b. Leonardo. (3 points)

c. Barbra. (3 points)

d. Steven. (5 points)

e. Rupert. (5 points)

f. Frank. (100 points)

8. As part of your experience in Hollywood, you once:

a. Worked for Peter Guber and Jon Peters. (0 points)

b. Made a movie that got a bad review from Jeff Craig of the "Sixty Second Preview." (minus 3)

c. Represented Sylvester Stallone as an agent within the last two years. (0 points)

d. Had as your waiter one of Hollywood's hottest young stars. (5 points)

9. You feel you are in danger of failing to become a player because:

a. Your invitation to the Allen & Co. mogul retreat in Idaho is lost in the mail. (minus 2)

b. Ted and Jane still haven't committed to a date for the fly fishing trip. (minus 2)

c. You've stopped caring about what Barry Diller is up to. (minus 3)

d. You still think David Helfgott is one of the great pianists of the 20th Century. (minus 4)

e. You signed an agreement to move your offices to Playa Vista. (minus 7)

f. You haven't received a "lifetime achievement award" within the last year. (minus 10)

10. The biggest step you've taken recently toward becoming a player is:

a. You've started referring to Spielberg as "Steven" even though you've never met him. (1 point)

b. Hiring a personal publicist within the last six weeks. (2 points)

c. Moving up three slots on the waiting list for a Gulfstream V (3 points).

d. Firing your personal publicist within the last six weeks. (4 points)

e. Playing yourself in a "Larry Sanders" episode. (4 points)

f. You got a five-year deal at the studio that gives you a bigger title, a bigger paycheck and strips you of all authority and power you once held. (5 points)

g. You've been fired by a studio, been rewarded with a multimillion-dollar production deal and put out an announcement saying the decision was yours because you've always dreamed of making films. (10 points)

Scoring:

40 points: Logical heir to Eisner.

30 points: Studio job offer pending

20 points: Need to float rumor immediately that DreamWorks may hire you

10 points: Give it up and go do lunch.

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