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Hollywood North, Silicon Valley South


Here we go again with the Hollywood North/Silicon Valley South chestnut. This time the culprit is Forbes with a quick round-up of tech and internet money men who have sunk their wads into indie film productions:

Thank You For Smoking, produced by newcomer David O. Sacks, is the latest example of a new trend in Silicon Valley: geeks who made millions in tech testing their resolve--and their riches--in Hollywood. Sacks' production company, Room 9 Entertainment, is financed by him and three fellow PayPal cofounders, Max Levchin, Peter Thiel and Elon Musk. Their average age is 34.

Not long after they took PayPal public early in 2002, the funds transfer service became the most popular way to pay for items won at auction on Ebay. Later that year they sold the firm to Ebay for $1.5 billion in Ebay stock, making the four guys collectively worth something close to $300 million.

New trend? Okay, if that's what it takes to sell a story idea to your editors. Wired, ever the fan of the No. vs. So. trope, picked up Forbes' feed of the story, which is handy since the home of the rich lists has a password protected site. Link

There's also a Q&A on the Forbes site that includes these gems:

Forbes: How does L.A. compare to Silicon Valley?
Sacks: There is no such thing as a velvet rope in San Francisco. In L.A. you have to know people to get in anywhere. You could drive up to a club in a Ferrari and they still won't let you in. They have to know who you are. I didn't like it at first, but now that I can get in, I like it better. I'm a convert. I live in Beverly Hills now, in Marcellus Wallace' s house. You know, from Pulp Fiction?

How is the movie business similar to Silicon Valley?
A movie producer usually gets paid a fee regardless of how the movie performs. But my background was in startups, where no one does well unless the investors do well. It's stunning to me that there is very little regard for return on equity in Hollywood. When the producer takes out his quote before the movie recoups its cost, that's a problem. I don't take a fee. I just get part of the upside.

[posted by Sheigh]


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  • Risky Biz blog takes a deep, daily look at the film industry's ups, downs and deals from around the world and the heart of Hollywood. It is edited by media and entertainment journalist Steven Zeitchik, with contributions from The Hollywood Reporter's worldwide team of film editors and reporters. Zeitchik is a Los Angeles-based writer for THR and also has written for The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

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