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Video Slut

How I Shoved Madonna Off an Olympic High Dive, Got Prince into a Pair of Tiny Purple Woolen Underpants, Ran Away from Michael Jackson's Dad, and Got a Waterfall to Flow Backward So I Could Bring Rock Videos to the Masses

Sharon Oreck

Faber & Faber

When video killed the radio star, Sharon Oreck was calling the shots.

Video Slut takes an irreverent look behind the scenes of the music-video industry during its eighties heyday. Oreck, one of the top producers of all time, bluffed her way into the business with no experience whatsoever and went on to produce more than six hundred video shoots with Madonna, Sting, Mick Jagger, Prince, and several members of the increasingly unstable Jackson family—not to mention a cadre of delinquent caterers, deranged interns, self-absorbed record executives, and malfeasant animal trainers.

Oreck also shares the at turns hilarious, biting, and poignant story of her origins as a single teen mother, disowned by her middle-class parents, and of her journey from welfare to kung fu movie sets to film school. She approaches her own delinquency and that of the superstars she encountered with humor and candor. The result is an acerbic but sympathetic account of the outrageous effects of fame, power, and money on people in the entertainment business. No one is spared, especially herself.

When video killed the radio star, Sharon Oreck was calling the shots.

Video Slut takes an irreverent look behind the scenes of the music-video industry during its eighties heyday. Oreck, one of the top producers of all time, bluffed her way into the business with no experience whatsoever and went on to produce more than six hundred video shoots with Madonna, Sting, Mick Jagger, Prince, and several members of the increasingly unstable Jackson family—not to mention a cadre of delinquent caterers, deranged interns, self-absorbed record executives, and malfeasant animal trainers.

Oreck also shares the at turns hilarious, biting, and poignant story of her origins as a single teen mother, disowned by her middle-class parents, and of her journey from welfare to kung fu movie sets to film school. She approaches her own delinquency and that of the superstars she encountered with humor and candor. The result is an acerbic but sympathetic account of the outrageous effects of fame, power, and money on people in the entertainment business. No one is spared, especially herself.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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1
Sun Comes Up

It’s December 12, 1988, and I’m just finishing up lunch with an egregiously hairy, three-hundred-and-forty-pound Geffen Record Company executive who’s swaddled in an immaculate knee-length white silk Indian kurta that turns out to be a precise color match for the pearl-handled revolver that he whips out of his size ninety-nine dhoti pantaloons while we’re waiting for the parking valet to roll up with his Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud.

“Et voilà!” Rod Stovington

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REVIEWS

Praise for Video Slut

“It has been said (and not only by me) that the Music Video ‘Industry’ is (was) the worst aspects of the film industry and the worst aspects of the music industry combined. Sharon Oreck’s Video Slut is a loving record of that particularly ridiculous time and place when MTV owned a sizeable chunk of pop-culture real estate, ushering into existence a unique kind of Artist/Carny. These are stories from the front lines—told unflinchingly and hilariously by someone who obviously appreciated the absurdity as it was happening. Who owns the film rights?” —David Fincher, director of Fight Club and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

“This book is very, very funny and the eighties diva behavior Sharon Oreck describes is spot on and wonderful. But it’s also interesting to hear her own story of how she went from teen mom to accidental music video producer and went on to become one of the most successful producers of the MTV era.” —Sam Raimi, director of Spiderman and The Evil Dead series

“One thing I try not to make a habit of is blurbing; it’s a disgusting pastime and a one-way-dead-end for expression. But after reading Sharon Oreck’s deliciously witty book I decided to break my rule, which sent me tumbling down a steep and hellish slope, revisiting all of my horrible patterns and compulsions from the past, breaking every rule that I had ever made for myself. Thank you Video Slut. Thank you thank you thank you thank you.” —Michael Cera, star of Superbad and Youth in Revolt

“Oreck provides amusing, often biting glimpses of an array of hotties, druggies, incompetents and others who join with high-maintenance stars and pompous record-company executives to produce video promos for the latest song hits. Crises abound: Neighbors called the police when 20 crosses were set afire during a Madonna shoot; homeless cross-dressers pursued Janet Jackson on the streets of Los Angeles; and dozens of pigeons splattered on the ground after their release during the making of a Sheila E video . . . Frenetically entertaining.” —Kirkus Reviews

“It has been said (and not only by me) that the Music Video ‘Industry’ is (was) the worst aspects of the film industry and the worst aspects of the music industry combined. Sharon Oreck’s Video Slut is a loving record of that particularly ridiculous time and place when MTV owned a sizeable chunk of pop-culture real estate, ushering into existence a unique kind of Artist/Carny. These are stories from the front lines—told unflinchingly and hilariously by someone who obviously appreciated the absurdity as it was happening. Who owns the film rights?” —David Fincher, director of Fight Club and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

“This book is very, very funny and the eighties diva behavior Sharon Oreck describes is spot on and wonderful. But it’s also interesting to hear her own story of how she went from teen mom to accidental music video producer and went on to become one of the most successful producers of the MTV era.” —Sam Raimi, director of Spiderman and The Evil Dead series

“One thing I try not to make a habit of is blurbing; it’s a disgusting pastime and a one-way-dead-end for expression. But after reading Sharon Oreck’s deliciously witty book I decided to break my rule, which sent me tumbling down a steep and hellish slope, revisiting all of my horrible patterns and compulsions from the past, breaking every rule that I had ever made for myself. Thank you Video Slut. Thank you thank you thank you thank you.” —Michael Cera, star of Superbad and Youth in Revolt

“Oreck provides amusing, often biting glimpses of an array of hotties, druggies, incompetents and others who join with high-maintenance stars and pompous record-company executives to produce video promos for the latest song hits. Crises abound: Neighbors called the police when 20 crosses were set afire during a Madonna shoot; homeless cross-dressers pursued Janet Jackson on the streets of Los Angeles; and dozens of pigeons splattered on the ground after their release during the making of a Sheila E video . . . Frenetically entertaining.” —Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Sharon Oreck

  • Sharon Oreck is a film, video, and commercial producer. Between 1984 and 2000 she was the owner-operator of O Pictures. She is an Academy Award nominee and the recipient of a Grammy Award, two Women in Film Awards, and several MTV Awards.

  • Sharon Oreck © Bill Pope
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Available Formats and Book Details

Video Slut

How I Shoved Madonna Off an Olympic High Dive, Got Prince into a Pair of Tiny Purple Woolen Underpants, Ran Away from Michael Jackson's Dad, and Got a Waterfall to Flow Backward So I Could Bring Rock Videos to the Masses

Sharon Oreck

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Faber & Faber

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