This look at working on movie sets features plenty of worthy tips gleaned from the author’s personal experiences, making it...




A Hollywood veteran dispenses advice on how to find a job in the film industry. 

Onken (Other Worlds, 2017), who worked on the crews of such movies as Planet of the Apes and Men in Black II, has created a manual filled with tips on how to enter his field. The book outlines “how to find work in the movie business” and “how to stay working.” The author’s tone throughout is one of positivity. He reassures hopefuls that “there are tons of people employed in the film business that showed up out of nowhere and flourished having started their careers with no strategy at all.” Onken explains that although the “business is not fair,” in his experience it’s the people who have “more determination than others” that make it in the movie industry (“It’s about mental and physical endurance. It’s about living in an extended family and playing well with others”). Among his memorable suggestions are to remember to network even if you’re shy, show up early and always solicit recommendations, and “pile up as much cash as you can” while busy in case the jobs suddenly dry up. But Onken feels that even those who go into the business “initially having no connections and not much of a plan” will find success as long as they’ve resolved to “live the dream while making friends and working hard.” Peppered in with the author’s useful advice are his colorful and entertaining personal stories, from meeting Arnold Schwarzenegger during a Gold’s Gym commercial to filming with Madonna on a “beautiful yacht” and serving as the lighting director of an Oscar nomination party at a Wolfgang Puck restaurant. During his many Hollywood adventures, Onken recalls remaining a cheerful presence on the set—once, after finally eating breakfast at 5 in the afternoon, he told a fellow crew member he was just “happy to be here with wonderful people like you.” The author turns out to be an endearing and encouraging narrator who seeks to help readers find their paths in the filmmaking world.

This look at working on movie sets features plenty of worthy tips gleaned from the author’s personal experiences, making it a valuable read for anyone hoping to thrive in Hollywood.

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-973319-40-5

Page Count: 154

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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