But no matter how good your strategy is, there is one either-you-have-it-or-you-don't ability that tops 'em all--being able to spell your last name E-I-S-N-E-R.
Of course, we're talking about somebody related to Disney chairman CEO Michael Eisner. That somebody is Eisner's son, Breck, who went from directing Zima ads to inking a three-picture movie deal with Miramax, according to Daily Variety.
This package includes Dead of Night, a film for Dimension, the slasher division of Disney-owned Miramax. The studio reportedly had to outbid four other companies for rights to that flick. Also thrown in is the Ray Bradbury-based The Sound of Thunder.
Now, we're not saying the 27-year-old Eisner got the gig only based on nepotism. No way.
First of all, there's the genetics factor; in professions like major-league sports, for example, it's common for sons to inherit the talents of their fathers. And it only stands to reason that Breck Eisner would use the same talents to direct movies his father uses to increase the value of stock shares, right?
Okay, that logic's a little skewed. How about this:
Breck is a successful commercial director who won that industry's most prestigious award--a Clio--for a Budweiser spot that aired during the '97 Super Bowl. He's also done other high-profile ad work for Coke, Sega, Kodak and the aforementioned Zima, as well as those Jason Alexander commercials for Rold Gold pretzels.
It doesn't explain how a guy goes from directing commercials to calling the shots for major studio releases, but it's a start.
And, besides, it wasn't Eisner's mogul father who got him the gig, according to Variety. He used the old college-buddy network for that.
Turns out Breck's old "keg bro" Joshua Oppenheimer, who produced Eisner's award-winning student short Recon, is a producer on both Dead and Thunder.
Small world, this film business.
Still, don't call it nepotism.
"No matter whose kid you are, there aren't people throwing deals at you," Jake Kasdan tells Entertainment Weekly. Kasdan, 23, who directed the currently playing Zero Effect (starring Bill Pullman and Ben Stiller), is the son of famous writer-director Lawrence Kasdan (The Big Chill, The Accidental Tourist).
After all, Kasdan adds, "no matter how much you like the guy who trained the horse, you don't bet on that horse if you don't think there's a shot."
That's probably true. But even so, if you ask people in the racing biz, they'll probably tell you a horse has a better shot at getting a chance to race if it's trained by someone named Shoemaker. Or if its dad's Secretariat.