The Broke Producer
“The producer I worked for had to be ‘walked’ each day.
This consisted of a two-hour hike through Bel Air, for which a woman — a ‘friend’ — was paid to accompany her.
She would often leave for this all-important, everyday walk up to two hours late.
As a result, every single meeting would be pushed later, until the whole army of assistants — which included me — was still stuck at her home, from which she worked, until 10 p.m. or later. That might’ve been okay, except that she frequently overdrew her accounts, which were allegedly kept full largely by a very famous media executive she’d had an affair with years before.
Aside from her money made from ‘producing,’ i.e. bankrolling, at least one box-office success, a lot of the money [that] she wasted on the staff and various failed and failing development projects came from her ex-husband, a household-name producer.
“Somehow — perhaps [because of] all the surgery, staff, human growth hormone, and failure — she still managed to drain the accounts and would not pay her housekeeper for months.
We assistants could usually argue [our] way to payment within three weeks past due, but sometimes not.
And with the overtime you were working and gas you were buying to shuttle around and buy her a specific scented candle from Pottery Barn, the amounts owed were big money to young people getting started in life — the only people desperate and dumb enough to take this kind of job.
The housekeepers were apparently thought to be less important and might go for months with no pay.
“The icing on that situation, though, was that a couple of years later, after the recession hit full force, I saw an article about how even in Hollywood, where image is everything, people were trying to not get stuck picking up a big bill for a group anymore.
She was widely quoted saying she was always finding herself picking up the tab for her ‘less successful’ friends.
I laughed out loud, not only because she was almost certainly the least successful of her friends and was often broke as a college student, but because if [only] it were somehow true and that was how she was spending her money while her housekeeper couldn’t buy food for her family.” —Lauren, 32
Credits: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (producer)
The Out-of-Towners (executive producer)