While posting yesterday that Jeff Kleeman had been hired as exec vp of production at United Artists, I wrote that this is another Hollywood rerun. Kleeman has the class and guts to go on the record to me with a response:
“Funnily enough I partially agree with you. But I think there’s an important balance to be found between new and old. When I first started out, I benefited mightily from the examples and guidance I received from Ned Tanen, John Calley, Gary Lucchesi, Frank Mancuso, Francis Ford Coppola and Lindsay Doran, and it gives me hope to know that most of them are still working: making fine films and showing newbies how to do so as well. Some areas of our business, particularly development and production, require years of practice. Every production company needs both the hard-earned know-how of veterans as well as the clear eyes and passionate minds of new generations. On a specific, personal note: I spent the last 4 years writing and showrunning. By doing so, I learned many, many things — things that I never could’ve learned if I’d simply remained an executive. Things that will now make me an even stronger executive then I was before. Because of my “sabbatical”, I feel reborn and am capable of doing a job far better than it could’ve been done if I hadn’t had the years and the variety of experiences that unfortunately leads you to perceive me as one of the “same old people.” That being said, I enjoy most of your posts and have tremendous respect for you, even in disagreement.
All the best, Jeff