Star Power: Celebrity Rule in New Hollywood

full name / name of organization: 
Aaron Barlow, New York City College of Technology (CUNY)

Over the past twenty years, a type of film artist has become more important, perhaps, than ever before—one where the artist has taken on new power and new roles after success in one arena of film making. Building on the successes of Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles, and a few others of the Studio Era, people like Woody Allen and Clint Eastwood began to expand their own activities a generation ago, setting the stage for what is now commonplace. This set will explain how this system of behind-the-camera control benefits both the entertainers (in terms of profile and by broadening their effective portfolio) and the studios (who are able to establish devoted fan-groups around these new personal brands). It will also go in-depth into the question of how these entertainers see themselves, how one area of their work informs the other areas, and how their brands have developed over time—sometimes in accordance with a personal mission, and other times not. It will also profile earlier entertainers who explored and used the power their celebrity gave them in order to take greater artistic control of their projects. To date no one volume or set has brought together these entertainers for a look at how they manage and why. As these are among the most important entertainers, contemporary or otherwise, understanding what they do and what motivates them brings clearer understanding to the business of entertainment as a whole. This set, then will interest both the fans of these artists while providing a basis for further study by scholars and students. Each essay will focus on the efforts of one particular entertainer. Please submit brief proposals (title and synopsis, 250 to 500 words). This three-volume collection will be published by Praeger Publishers. The essays should be about 5,000 words (plus notes and bibliographical material) and will be due by August 31, 2011. Please, only commit to writing an essay if you can meet the deadline. Contributors will receive a free copy of the set.