07 April 2008

Bringing Down Ben

This is Ben Mezrich.

This is Ben Mezrich on Hollywood.

Any questions?

There should be.

Like about Ben's answer to this question:

tbc: You got the movie deal even after exposing Hollywood's tracking boards in your Wired piece?

BM: That worked in a positive way. They like any kind of publicity. I didn't say anything people didn't already know: that Hollywood is a big game.
Actually, what he said in that piece were things like:
If the rumors are true, it means that the fix is in: major collusions between studios, arbitrary blackballing, a system that mocks any standard of fair play.
Opinions are one thing. But collusive behavior, or manipulative lies - like the pumping and dumping on an Internet stock board - these are more complicated issues. With no regulation, there's just no way to know how dirty the system really is.
I've seen how the system works, and can no longer pretend that projects are considered purely on their own merits. I am an insider now, reeling from a week that started in Utah, passed through LA, and ended in Sin City. I'm not starstruck anymore. I'm angry.
Guess schmooze, booze and flooze have a way of taking the edge off.

3 bleats:

Matthew Lickona said...

My personal private very special opinion? He's being honest now, and he never was all that angry then. He just knew that anger was an attitude that would sell in Wired. Because techpeople like resenting the system. I mean, did anyone ever imagine that there was a standard of fair play in Hollywood? Sounds like something they'd tell you in East Mechanicsville Film School.

Anonymous said...

They like any kind of publicity.

Damn right they do. Which is why they let him on the inside of this thing in the first place. Didn't you catch that his first source (the one with oil-slick eyes) talked to him "as a favor to Brunetti"? Where do you think he heard those "rumours" about the boards in the first place, the rumours that "brought him to Utah"? The whole "expose" was bullshit. Like the man said, he didn't tell anyone anything they didn't already know: Hollywood is evil. And they're proud of it. Which is why they don't care if you know just how bad they are.

Mark Thomas said...

Anon (I or II?), nice to hear from you (again?). You and Matthew should visit often.

I think y'all may be right. This guy apparently wrote six (crappy) novels before turning to non-fiction. In other words, he looks to me like a story-teller at heart, not a reporter--somebody who would be willing to fudge facts (not to mention add extra sauce, e.g., moral outrage) for a ripping yarn.

Here's a (tiny) fact-fudge: Ben writes that he wrote an article called "Hacking Las Vegas" and the next thing he knows he's being approached to turn the article into a movie starring Kevin Spacey...but that article was adapted from his book Bringing Down the House, so surely triggerstreet.com was looking to option that. (Reminds me of Matt's point about playing to the dweeb's anger at "the system" that "excludes" him: Hey! Wired boy makes good! Maybe somebody will discover you! Keep checking your blog!)

So perhaps we can't take Mr. Mezrich as a "reliable narrator." Not that reporters or documentarians don't tell stories, but there's obviously a difference. (We call them by different names, don't we? QED.)