Our Brush With Greatness

Okay. Our brush with greatness came in the mid-80s when we were pitching a feature film about tornado chasers over at FOX Studios on Pico in LA. The exec said no -- couldn't understand why anyone would go to a tornado-themed movie.

Afterward, we were depressed and moping around the lot. We noticed a security guard standing on a single parking space, so we asked him what the f*** he was up to. He was guarding the parking space for Barry Diller. Cool. Seems the same exec that turned down our tornado movie was taking Barry Diller's parking space and it required a guard to protect the spot. How much did the guard make? Turns out, just as much as the average Hollywood screenwriter. Not cool. But we slipped him a $20 to let us stand in Diller's parking space to see if any greatness would rub off on us. Actually, it did! We got more involved in the business end of the entertainment business, and started getting calls from renowned directors like the late Robert Altman (M.A.S.H.) for our opinions on content and the business of the biz. Very cool. We went on to speak at film festivals and film schools about disruptive entertainment business models. What a hoot.

Before we left the Fox lot, the security guard told us how much he wanted to be a screenwriter, but asked why so many screenplays wind up in the dumpster. Whaddayamean? We peered into the industrial sized dumpster -- it was full to the brim with screenplays, brass brads and all. Geez. Pissed at FOX, but Diller-inspired, we pitched our tornado story to Amblin and the rest is history. Anyway, Barry Diller has always been our hero. We think he can conquer any biz he lays his hands on.

See the original ASK.com TV commercial and our budget priced example, inspired by the original.

Barry Diller Bio

Best known as the executive who broke the grip of the "Big Three" broadcast TV networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) by starting the FOX Broadcasting Company, Barry Diller may not have been born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but he probably has one, now. Actually, he was born Feb, 2, 1942 in San Francisco and was raised in Beverly Hills. So maybe he had a silver spoon or two.

This TV and movie super-executive has worked absolutely everywhere: the William Morris Agency (in the mailroom, no less), ABC, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, News Corp., Ltd., QVC, and of course, FOX Broadcasting. Diller is Chairman and CEO of IAC/InterActiveCorp, a business whose business is to own businesses. He is on the boards of The Washington Post, and Coca-Cola, and has some lofty positions at New York University, UCLA, and USC.

Diller came up with now-standard formats like the ABC Movie of the Week, the Made for TV docudrama, reality TV (Cops, America's Most Wanted), and every show from Laverne & Shirley to The Simpsons.

Wait, there's more. On the Internet, Diller's got a hold on Expedia, and is the grande fromage at IAC/InterActiveCorp, the parent of an apparently unending list of online businesses, just a few of which are Home Shopping Network, RealEstate.com, Lending Tree, Ticketmaster, Match.com, and Citysearch. By the way, you can now add Ask.com (formerly AskJeeves.com) to that long list.

In 2001, Diller married fashion designer and longtime friend Diane von F├╝rstenberg.

References:

Wikipedia.org: Barry Diller

Museum of Broadcast Communications: Barry Diller

IAC/InterActiveCorp: Management: Barry Diller

This website is not affiliated with or sponsored by ASK.com or IAC/InterActiveCorp. This is just an example of how we can emulate television ads produced by the large retail agencies.

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