Entertainment 101: An Industry Primer by Rodger W. Claire

There really is no business like show business — never more true than in the 21st century. “Hollywood” stretches from Broadway to Silicon Valley, a huge, multibillion-dollar-a-year business that dominates the world marketplace, indeed the global culture, virtually unchallenged in its creative, technological, marketing and artistic know-how.

No one challenges Hollywood’s hegemony in entertainment media. Our films today earn more in foreign sales than domestic take, our TV programs are seen by hundreds of millions around the globe, our pop music is the international gold standard. Our web sites and new media are technological toddlers which will soon redefine the very notion of entertainment in the next millennium.

Straddling the end of its first 100 years and the dawn of its next 1000, the entertainment industry is growing so rapidly even those in the business are scrambling to keep pace. It is bigger, more complex and more robust than at anytime in our history. It is an especially propitious moment for those on the docks ready to embark on what may be American industry’s most exciting journey yet.

Entertainment 101 is a guide to this mythical, mystical, confusing world of entertainment — and the people who rule it and run it. To simplify things, we have divided the far-flung and variegated entertainment industry into its six principle businesses: film, television, music, new media, theater and radio. To help understand how a project is actually created and to identify the players in each medium, we have listed the typical cast and crew credits from a film, a television show, a record album, a stage play, an on-line magazine and a radio show. We have described in detail the jobs of each artist and artisan and what they contribute.

Entertainment 101 is designed to offer a broad, knowledgeable overview of the entire entertainment industry as it exists at the portal of the next millennium. It provides an incisive look at the rules and realities that govern each of the industry’s six major businesses, the challenges, promises and possibilities as they existed at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st.

Entertainment 101 peers into the inner workings of this culture, deciphering its rules, its
language, its codes and its finely nuanced, ever-changing pecking order. For the aspiring, the curious, or even a businessperson looking to open up a new marketplace, this book is a blueprint of how to break into a seemingly closed society.

Rodger W. Claire, the former executive editor of Los Angeles magazine, has finished work on a new book about Hollywood talent agents. A doctoral candidate in Renaissance English at the University of California, Los Angeles, he has written screenplays for Warner Bros. and 20th Century-Fox and is a member of the Writers Guild of America. He is currently writing a history on the plight of the homeless. He lives in Los Angeles.

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