Irwin Yablans started his career in Hollywood as a film salesman and worked his way up to producing one of the most successful horror movie franchises of all time. As an indie producer, he bucked the Hollywood system to make his movie and became a huge success, all on his own terms. Read on for Irwin's first-person account of how he made it in Hollywood and added "independent author" to his extensive resume by publishing The Man Who Created Halloween.
My career in the movie business has spanned more than half a century. I started as a film salesman for Warner Bros. and worked my way through the distribution organization until I eventually became the youngest sales manager in the country. Working for a Hollywood company exposed me to movie production, and I knew that was what I wanted to do with my life.
I became a producer for Paramount, but balked at the controls and restrictions that came with working for a major corporation. So in 1976, I formed my own movie company, Compass International Pictures. After a difficult first year, I had my first hit - HALLOWEEN - conceived by myself and directed by a young John Carpenter. Halloween became the most successful independent picture in movie history. We followed up with a string of sequels and other pictures, paving the way for a host of new independent companies eager to follow our model.
After Halloween's success, I held other industry posts, such as president of Orion pictures, and produced more than 20 films. I decided it was time to document my experiences in Hollywood by penning a book.
The Man Who Created Halloween started out as a memoir of my life that I planned to leave as a legacy for my children and grandchildren. But after I showed it to certain people whose opinions I respect, they unanimously encouraged me to broaden my perspective and write it as a book for publication.
When I investigated the business of traditional publishing, it was much the same as trying to mount a movie campaign with a studio. At every turn, I encountered a cumbersome system replete with executives and committees, all of whom were more interested in preserving their position than in encouraging new authors. Agents proved worthless, and when I managed to get the attention of a publisher, the obstacles were formidable. One company that wanted to publish my book said it would take two years to bring it to market, and I was surprised to learn that I would have to finance the entire marketing enterprise on my own.
That's when I began to research independent publishing. After perusing the various companies on the internet, I chose CreateSpace. The people there made the process very clear, and I was able to understand their approach despite my lack of experience in the literary world. The cost structure seemed reasonable for the services provided, and the people I spoke with on the phone were helpful. I decided to go for it.
My instincts served me well; the entire experience was wonderful. The people assigned to the project were always knowledgeable and talented. Best of all, they always were reachable and willing to spend as much time as needed as we went through the various stages of publication. The graphic artists realized my vision for the cover to perfection. I showed it to an editor at one of the companies that wanted to publish the book, and he told me that his art department would not have been able to perform as well.
The finished product is truly exciting; I could not be more pleased. CreateSpace was able to get The Man Who Created Halloween ready for me by October, in time for the holiday and the annual re-release of the movie and all its sequels. This enabled me to prepare a very timely marketing campaign for the book, which has already resulted in several favorable reviews from critics. Thanks to CreateSpace, what started as a personal memoir has now become a published work, and I have realized my goal to be called an author.
In my career, I have witnessed and participated in the transition from a Hollywood system dominated by monolithic studios to a universal, high-tech business with great diversity. Much of the change was brought about by the emergence of independent producers and filmmakers. After my experience with independent publishing and meeting so many authors who are now taking back control, it's clear the publishing industry is heading down the same path.