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In Conversation With Motion Picture, Television and Broadway Producer, Julian Schlossberg
Norm Goldman --  BookPleasures.com Norm Goldman -- BookPleasures.com
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Montreal, QC
Monday, February 13, 2023


Bookpleasures.com welcomes as our guest motion picture, television and Broadway producer, JulianSchlossberg. Julian has been in show business for nearly sixty yearsand has worked in various capacities as producer, director,exhibitor, radio and television host, and record executive.

 He hasrecently published his memoir Try Not To Hold It Against Me AProducer's Life.

Norm: Good day Julianand thanks for taking part in our interview. 

What is a movieproducer and how did you become involved in becoming one?

Julian: A real producerfinds the property, hires the director, raises the financing, isinvolved in the casting and the editing of the film and in charge ofthe marketing, publicity and promotion. 

These days one often seeslisted many producers but they may be a stars’ manager or lawyer.  They can be providing financing.  They may have written the bookthe film is based on. They are not a real producer but they may havecontributed something to its development.

The first film I producedI write about in my book, Try Not To Hold It Against Me.  I had this idea to bring back the old Sid Caesar comedy show from theearly 1950’s as a feature film.  

My friend Milly Shermanand I went to the producer Max Liebman to see if he had any copies ofthe shows.  He did and we, along with Sid Caesar, created TenFrom Your Show of Shows.

We played it theatrically and that wasmy beginning as a producer.

Norm: How does aproducer go about raising money for a film? Are there financialinstitutions that specialize in this kind of investing?

Julian: There are manyways to raise money for a film.   If it’s importantenough, a studio may finance it, or the various streamingcompanies.  

But many films are financed by wealthyindividuals.   That’s how I’ve been able to do most ofmy productions.  

 Also sometimes it’s done byselling the foreign rights before the film is shot. If there was oneor two ways to do it there would be many more films being done. And there is enough as there is.

Norm: When consideringa script, what do you look for?

Julian: I want to fall inlove.  If I am going to make a film, I really want to make thisfilm.  After all, in most cases, it may take up to two years ofmy life.

And I am interested inlikable characters.   There need to be a few men or womenin the piece that I would like to get to know.

It’s very personal. And I hope I have, in advance, a handle on how to sell it and to whomI want to sell it to.

Norm: How do you selecta director? Do you look for anything special in a director?

Julian: The script oftendictates what kind of a director you want.   Since I amprone to interesting characters, I want what is labeled an actor’sdirector. 

Someone who knows about acting.  It’s amazinghow many do not.  They know cameras, they know lighting …lotsof technical acumen.  But not how to get the best performancefrom an actor.

Norm: When managingbudgets, are there checks and balances?

Julian: A budget is yourblueprint.   You try and keep to it for many reasons. It’s important to have a decent contingency.   So manythings can go wrong in shooting. 

If you’ve protected yourselfby keeping in reserve extra money it will pay off (no pun intended).I often rely on a seasoned production manager who has experience inthe kind of film you are shooting.

Norm: What do youconsider to be your greatest success (or successes) so far in yourvarious careers?  

Julian: I am proud ofhaving been involved in restoring and bringing back Orson Welles’masterpiece Othello. 

It was unseen for over 40 years and Itell, in the book, the people who I worked with and how it came tohappen in the first place.

Also to be Elaine May’sproducer for over 30 years on all her plays and on our Emmy-nominateddocumentary on Mike Nichols.

Norm: What has beenyour greatest challenge (professionally) that you’ve overcome ingetting to where you’re at today?   

Julian: There are someproducers who enjoy raising money.   I do not.  I call it the tin cup exercise.   I don’t like doing itat all. It’s never fun for me.

 At the beginning of my career,I put in my own money in to projects with other people.  But asa producer you really have to get o.p.m.  (other people’smoney.)  

You are often working for very little until theinvestors are paid off.  You shouldn’t also be paying for theprivilege to earn little money.

Norm: How do you thinkthe movie business has changed over the years?  

Julian: First there werestudios each making one movie per week, literally fifty a year.  Then came television that cut down that number. Then came cable, bothpay and basic.  

Then cassettes, DVD’s and now streaming- Netflix, Amazon, Apple, etc. - have changed the game considerably. 

And with the pandemic, so many people stayed home to watch theirentertainment.   We are now seeing the partial demise ofmovie theaters.   I could go on and on (…and I think Idid.)

Norm: Have you ever hadto handle a difficult conflict in your career? What did you learnfrom it?

Julian: I have never hadan easy project.   Some are easier than others but all arefraught with problems. After all you are generally starting off witha bunch of new people and as they say on “Seinfeld,” “people? They’re the worst!”  

Often a group of strangers haveto come together in a short period of time and find a way to worktogether harmoniously.   Not an easy task.  

There are egos, insecurities and jealousies that can and do emerge.Plus there can be terrible weather conditions, long shooting hours, many locations, etc.  The mind boggles.

Norm: Have there anybeen any scripts that you have turned down and were sorry for havingturned them down?  \

Julian: No, but turningdown scripts is almost a daily occurrence.   In my book Itell the story of two stars coming to me to produce a play.  Iread the play, loved it and wanted very much to do it in England.

 It was called “Art” and it became a very successful play in bothEngland on Broadway. The English producer decided not toco-produce with me and why is in the book.

Norm: What would youchange in a movie you produced that you believe would make it better?

Julian:  I aminvolved in the editing process and that is where I fight it out toget what I want. You have to deal with the director who is thecaptain of the ship.   Sure you may, as producer,  ownthe ship, but you chose the captain and, in the end, have to backhim.

Norm: What motivatedyou to write Try Not To Hold It Against Me A Producer's Life?

Julian: The pandemic.  I was not creating anything.  I had put literally 14 projects onhold.  And over the years so many friends have suggested that Iwrite a book.

 So I sat down and started writing and realized Iliked it.  And I was lucky enough to be able to read it to threetall women - my wife Merryn, Elaine May and Marlo Thomas  - andthey helped tremendously.

Norm: What were yourgoals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel youachieved them? What would you like to tell us about your memoir?

Julian: I have tried inthe book to entertain.   I think anyone interested in showbusiness will enjoy some of the stories. I purposely kept most of thechapters short. 

 I go into detail about a casting sessionfor a Broadway show,  and how some movies and TV specialsoccur. I also wanted to take a younger generation to a time thatwill never come again. 

And since I produce for movies,theater and television, I take the reader on how they are produced.

Norm: What was the mostdifficult part of writing this book and what did you enjoy most aboutwriting this book? 

Julian:  The hardestpart of writing the book was deciding what stories to tell.  There were so many that I decided to write a second book. I now have20 chapters completed and will keep writing away.  

Apparently if you spend close to 60 years doing something youaccumulate a lot of tales.

What I found enjoyable wasto write something and find myself laughing out loud.  It was abit strange but it gave me confidence to keep writing.

Norm: Where can ourreaders find out more about you and your work?

Julian: I have a WEBSITE,

 It is rather extensive andcontains interviews and listings of the 60 projects I’ve produced.

Norm; What is next forJulian  Schlossberg?

Julian: Steve Guttenbergwrote his memoir, The Guttenberg Bible.  I so enjoyed readinghow this young man, flew to Hollywood and through determination andhard work, became a movie star. 

 I asked him to try andadapt it into a play.   He has and we start rehearsals nextmonth and open in April at The George Street Theater in NewBrunswick, New Jersey. 

It’s called Tales From The GuttenbergBible and Steve, along with three other actors, will be performing itlive for a month.  

Remember he starred in Diner, Three Menand a Baby, Cocoon, and five Police Academy movies.

Norm: As this interviewcomes to an end, what advice do you have for our readers who mightdream of becoming involved in movies or the theater as an actor,producer, director or any other involvement?  

Julian: Be prepared tosacrifice your personal life for a while.   There is somuch competition that most people let go of the ledge. It requirespassion, talent and the ability to hold on.  

Learn whatyou can about your choice of fields. Knowledge is power since youprobably won’t have a medical or law degree.   And withknowledge often comes some power. It’s a great business but itrequires enormous  determination to succeed …along withability.

Norm: Thanks once againand good luck with all of your endeavors.

 Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Norm Goldman
Title: Book Reviewer
Group: bookpleasures.com
Dateline: Montreal, QC Canada
Direct Phone: 514-486-8018
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