Tuesday, May 12, 2015


That's Brian Grazer, 63, gelled hair and all--and partner to Ron Howard in the movie production company Imagine.

He has produced blockbusters such as Splash, Apollo 13, and many others.

He credits his "people" skills and success to good listening, being in the right place at the right time, and being curious.

Curious is his favorite word--his book, written with Charles Fishman, is called A CURIOUS MIND. He thinks being curious trumps both creativity and innovation and in fact, leads to those.

He got started in the movie business after overhearing two guys talking outside his dorm window after graduating from college--one had quit an easy job in a movie studio--Grazer's ears perked up. He got right on the horn and somehow got the guy's former boss on the line and got an interview. Bam! He was in.

His entry-level gig was to deliver papers to famous people. Quickly he got the idea that meeting these people would be more informative and fun--so he said, Sorry, have to give this to him or her) in person. It worked. Often the agent or movie star would offer him a soda or something and they would talk.

He set about meeting one movie person a day--this went on for some time. Then he put his curious self to use trying to get short interviews with various people--including Edward Teller, father of the A-bomb, Lew Wasserman, inventor of movies, etc. He would call and call, get through gatekeepers, and finally get an audience and ask questions.

But I don't want to tell you the whole book. He insists that even when these little encounters did not work out as planned, he got a lot out of each and it helped him understand people and put oomph in his movies.

For one thing, I am not sure curious is the right word. Sure, he has wide interests and dedication, but seemed more to me to an interest in human motivations and backgrounds. The word curious--way overused in the book--somehow did not fit.

But I quibble.

I also found it ironic that Imagine will not let others--say unagented screenwriters like me--in the door--fear of lawsuits, they say. So how curious are they?

But no on can deny that Grazer is tireless, and self-confident. Creativity takes both of these.