Stories and insight in the world of showbiz and beyond.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


I seem to keep veering away from my Rock & Roll roots on this blog. You have to remember, The Lloyd Thaxton Show represented 10 years of my TV life. I spent 18 years producing and directing Fight Back-with David Horowitz on NBC, which was partially responsible for my latest career as co-author of a self-help book.

The book Stuff Happens - and then you fix it (originally titled Shit Happens, cleaned up as $#&@ Happens before Stuff won out), was published by John Wiley and Sons in 2003. It was co-written by John Alston, a remarkable motivational speaker (and remarkable motivational friend). My very own personal copy is enclosed in a glass case on my office wall with the words, "IN AN EMERGENCY-BREAK GLASS." I have been tempted many times.

Right after the book was published, Donald Rumsfeld made the title immortal when he used it to explain away the uncontrolled looting that went on at the beginning of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. I sent him a copy of the book, but never heard back. This was foolishness on Donald's part because the book would have told him how to fix it. It's a fact that stuff happens to everyone every once in a while and, according to one of the book's Reality Rules, "It's not what happens to you that's important, it's how you respond to what happens." Rummey (sic) did not respond very well and, as you know, he is history. He should have broken the glass. Had he done so, he might have been King of Iraq by now.

The reason I bring all of this up is because of a marvelous book, I'll Be In My Trailer, written by feature film director John Badham (Saturday Night Fever, War Games, Stake Out, Point of No Return, Nick of Time) & Craig Modderno. John called the other night. Wow, John Badham calling me? No! He was calling my wife Barbara. Barbara worked on two Badham films and he was calling from the set of a film he was doing in Canada just to say hello. HELLO!

John’s book, I'll Be In My Trailer - The Creative Wars Between Directors & Actors is fantastic: a must-read for anyone who is considering a career in the movies, either as a director OR as an actor. It explains how a director deals with the endless joust between director and actor for control, recognition and respect? This is something that isn't taught in film school. And, with all the great behind-the-scenes stories experienced by John Badham, it's also a fun- read for anyone interested in how movies are made. That certainly includes me.
Check it out. I’d love to hear from all you cinemaphile cliquers on what you think of it. You’ll find me in my trailer.

And, while you're in the Mouse Cliquer mode, check out Stuff Happens - And Then You Fix It.

It was written by two other nice guys.

Lloyd Thaxton & John Alston

Question of the day: If you were the director of a movie, how would you handle an actor that wouldn't take your direction?

Stay tuned.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heir my 2nd choice.

6:22 PM

Blogger Jake Hollywood said...

I actually got my copy of I'll Be In My Trailer... almost a year ago. Signed by none other than Badham himself.

It's a damn fine book, about a mile and half better than The Devil's Gude to Hollywood by Joe Esterhaus.

12:15 AM

Blogger Mike Barer said...

Wow? I would imagine that an actor's salary has skyrocketed in ways that a director cannot comprehend.
It is a real battle of egos and in this day in age, you wonder if an actor actually can survive without the director. It seems like movies are personality driven more often than story driven. A suck up director could actually flourish in that environment. I mean, how long has it been since you have seen a movie that you would remember the week after? Quite a while for me.

2:57 PM

Blogger By Ken Levine said...

See the other name listed as author? Craig Modderno. He, uh...actually WROTE the book.

11:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I directed an actor who refused to get with the program, I'd sue him/her for breach of contract and any productions costs incurred (this would be written in their contract), then replace them very quickly.

Actors that are "stars", are ridiculously overpaid. There are lots of hungry actors who would love to work.

Let's face it, their job ain't that hard. If an actor wants a hard days work, get up at 5am, drive yourself to work and do some ditch digging in the freezing rain, or any hard, manual labor.

I've heard several complain how tough their job is - puleeeze! Waiting around, isn't hard labor. Gimme a break...and their salary. I have little sympathy for spoiled brats.

9:11 AM

Blogger Lloyd Thaxton said...

Hey Anonymouse:

Have you any idea how cold the actors were while making "Fargo?" Talk about not wanting to come out of one's trailer.

Brrrrrrrr. A little sympathy here, Anony.


P.S. Tell us what you REALLY feel about actors.

2:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never understood why any actor worth his salt, thought he or she had to be an ass hole to be respected. Oh wait! ... they don't. There's a lot of actors and actresses out there that go to work and do their jobs day to day, then go home just like any other normal person. Unfortunately we only hear about the ones that act up and cause trouble on the set, because it sells newspapers.

In the show biz world today, if a production company doesn't put a conduct clause in their contracts, is asking for trouble on the set.

Let's take Marlon Brando... Geez how in the world did anybody ever think he was a great actor. His whole success reminds me of the Hans Christian Andersen story of the Emperor's New Clothes. Where everyone goes alone with the idea that the new close are beautiful. Because they didn't want to be seen as different, or be an out cast. I go long with the little kid that spoke up to say "HE'S NAKED!" There are a few others that fit into their own set of new clothes.

As Stan Freberg said to Jessie White in Payola Roll Blues. "Have you heard of talent?" Jessie says, "No, who does he record for?" Real talent doesn't have to be obnoxious to be great. Those that do.... well it sort of explains itself.

A great example of a person that has the talent and the skill to be a great person too is.... Uncle Lloyd. I worked with a lot of different directors and producers in my career at NBC ... Lloyd was one person I enjoyed working with over and over again.

Robert V.

11:10 AM

Blogger Lloyd Thaxton said...

Thanks Robert V (A.K.A. Anonymouse):

I enjoyed working with you. A wonderful editor and a nice guy to boot (even though I didn't have to boot you very often).

Thanks for the compliment. I really appreciate it.


10:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved watching you. I remember your show and Boss City with Sam Riddle. But you were the best. You had that "special" personality. Is there any way we can view the great tv shows of our youth? I would love to look back when the world was more innocent. Thank you Lloyd , we miss you.


9:15 AM


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