HBO Writer Engages Students
Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 02:10
Georgetown students enjoyed a candid discussion with writer and producer the HBO series “Entourage” Doug Ellin in Lohrfink Auditorium Monday evening.
Ellin began the discussion with stories about his early years as an aspiring stand-up comedian in Hollywood. His film career formally launched when he was 22 years old and wrote a short film called “The Pitch.”
“Somebody saw the film and liked it enough to get me a job as a production assistant at New Line Cinema [film studio], so I worked in the mail room,” Ellin said. “But then the president saw my film and wanted me to go from working in the mailroom to producing a $35 million movie with him.”
Ellin declined the offer and instead chose to attend film school to learn about the industry, after which he went on to direct films such as “Phat Beach.”
After discussing his path to becoming the writer of a hit HBO series, Ellin entertained questions from many “Entourage” fans regarding his inspiration.
“I wanted to do a show about me and my friends. I had to make it something I could relate to,” Ellin said. “I wanted it to be a show that showed how 18-to 34-year-old guys actually talk and act.”
Despite the current popularity of “Entourage,” Ellin said that the show’s early ratings were shaky.
“Based on the numbers, we didn’t know if people were even watching the show, so we were prepared to get hit by negative reviews,” Ellin said. “But surprisingly, The New York Times said we were the best show on television in 2003 and we even got Golden Globes for it.”
Ellin encouraged students interested in the film industry to go out and work hard to fulfill their goals.
“There’s no structure to the business. You could make millions off of your first film or spend your entire career trying to convince people that you can do it; you never know,” he said. “But if you really want to do it, get yourself out there as quickly as you can, meet someone in the business, charm him and get him to read your stuff.”
Much of the conversation centered on questions from the audience regarding specific scenes from episodes of “Entourage.”
“I thought it was cool how down to earth Doug Ellin was with us,” Elliot Rosenfield (COL ’16) said. “He spoke to us like we were his close friends, which made it easy to see why so many people, myself included, love ‘Entourage’ and feel like they can relate to it so well.”