On bootleg DVDs

Tina Brown writes on Salon:

Academy members themselves can’t be solicited to host screenings. That’s why the hunt is on for any other genre of person with a Rolodex to host a preview that might fan the hype. Writers are in particular demand because they add credibility. Miramax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein may have been the first moviemaker cum marketing genius to come up with this method of collecting interest on borrowed intellectual capital. When we were in business together at Talk magazine, I always sensed that he was wondering why the hell I couldn’t produce J.D. Salinger for an opening. Now the practice of writer-hosted screenings is so rampant I expect any day to get an invitation from Gabriel Garcéa Marquéz and Thomas Pynchon inviting me to a preview of “Elf.”

The trouble with approaching “real writers,” as Hollywood likes to call them (meaning, I suppose, writers who write books, not “pages”), to host these promotional events is that the more seriously talented they are, the weirder they tend to be. Real writers also are prone to having real opinions. And they become “difficult” when required to suppress them.

The writers you see at parties are not usually the “real” ones. Real writers are usually sitting in a chaotic farmhouse somewhere with a five-day growth of beard and a stained T-shirt in an onanistic trance at their computers, or else trying to kill themselves like Sylvia Plath. They don’t like to be disturbed.

The problem of Oscar screeners making DVD copies was so bad that two years ago Space Bunny’s brother, who has absolutely no connection to Hollywood whatsoever, got his hands on a screener DVD for The Two Towers. Of course, the Academy’s new strategy won’t actually cause any trouble at all for the pirates, who make their copies from digicams set up on tripods in empty movie theaters.

Ms Brown’s comment on writers cracks me up, though. I shaved yesterday and my t-shirt is clean, but there’s no substitute for an Andean cave with a southern exposure that’s been converted into a comfortable bomb shelter with high-speed Internet access. The best thing about the Internet is that combined with an exercise bike, a free weight set, a PlayStation and a really hot blonde, it eliminates the need for any last vestiges of outside human contact.

In case you’re interested, by the way, the nonfiction book is a go. It seems my publisher knows me pretty well; he said the only difficulty he foresaw is that his marketing people will probably expect me to make some form of ritual homage to the media at some point along the way.