Help Wanted: Hollywood's lobbyist must have deft people skills, pursue pirates
Motion Picture Assn. of America President and Chief Executive Dan Glickman said he is stepping down when his contract is up next September. Glickman, who will have served six years, faced the difficult (some would say impossible) job of following in the very large footsteps of Jack Valenti, the former aide to President Lyndon Johnson who held the lobbying job for almost 40 years.
Filling this post will be no easy task. Already speculation is circulating in Washington and Hollywood about who is up to the task. Whereas Valenti was larger-than-life and had lots of juice on Capitol Hill and Hollywood, Glickman kept a lower profile. The challenge for the entertainment industry is finding someone who has Valenti's clout (if that's still possible), but can also be, uh, kept on a short leash.
Want to know more? Here's our version of the help wanted ad:Position: President and CEO, Motion Picture Assn. of America.
Description: Position acts as industry mouthpiece for motion picture and television businesses in Washington. Candidate will interact with White House, Congress, Justice Department, foreign governments and other lobbyists.
Requirements: Proper candidate must have solid Capitol Hill contacts, be able to multitask and have great people skills. Position reports to quarrelsome entertainment executives at six global media conglomerates who often have conflicting agendas and can be somewhat mercurial. Furthermore, all member companies also have their own Washington lobbyists, complicating your job. Key issues include piracy, or as we now call it, "content protection." Oh, and you will also oversee the antiquated movie ratings system, which is good for about three controversies a year.
Perks: Depending on your expertise, annual salary can reach seven figures. Current job holder was making $1.2 million per the 2007 Form 990 filed with the IRS, but this is a different economy. Probably can get you season tickets to Redskins although, frankly, if you are applying for this job you should already have them. Also, use of MPAA screening room, trips to Hollywood, invitations to premieres and even a few minutes in the spotlight during the annual Oscar telecast. Oh wait, scratch that last one. We're really trying to tighten the show these days but we will pan to you sitting and smiling in the audience.
Drawbacks: Long hours. Multiple bosses with multiple personality disorders.
Think you have what it takes? Send your resume to Disney, News Corp., Time Warner, Viacom, NBC Universal and Sony.
-- Joe Flint
Photo: MPAA Chief Executive Dan Glickman (L) and his predecessor, the late Jack Valenti: Credit: Chris Kleponis / Bloomberg News