Do You Think That I’m a Crook?

by Norman Horowitz

About forty years ago, I returned to Screen Gems International Television (Columbia Pictures) following a three year hiatus at CBS and a nascent Viacom.

Since I had worked at Screen Gems before, I was well prepared to go to London and make a deal for a group of features because the company needed a few paltry millions in order to “make its quarter.”

I ended up making a five or six million dollar deal with the commercial broadcasters in the UK. In order to do this, I negotiated a price for each and every movie in the “package.”

I returned home and submitted the deal to the accounting department, as was the case with all deals that included the negotiated price for each title.

A few days later, one of the senior accounting executives arrived in my office and handed me a sheet of paper indicating the value of each picture in the UK deal and told me to resubmit his per-picture price. He told me that his prices would reduce our obligations to our producers by about $450,000.

I refused to do what he asked. He threatened to go to our president, who would order me to do what he asked.   Continue reading “Do You Think That I’m a Crook?”

After All, Someone Needs to Get the Job Done

by Norman Horowitz

I am the product of the industry in which I have worked for 50+ years. In fact, the only insight I can bring to anything is not based on my intellect, but rather on my experiences in life in general, as well as the Air Force and the business of television.

I grew up watching my father run his small dress manufacturing business at 1385 Broadway in New York. To me, he was to me the ultimate operating executive in that he knew everything he needed to know to run his business. Everyone who worked for him had a job to do (including my Dad). He had no “formal” business training, yet he ran a profitable business for many years.

My career in the entertainment industry started as a part-time, minimum-wage shipping clerk and messenger for the editorial department of Screen Gems Television in New York. In the intervening years, I became a functioning operating and sales executive. Although I’ve had many staff positions in the intervening years, I’m still an operating guy.   Continue reading “After All, Someone Needs to Get the Job Done”