Former Film Studio Execs Reveal How They Coped With Being Fired

Ron Meyer Adam FogelsonKevin Winter/GettyFormer Universal Pictures Chairman Adam Fogelson, ‘Riddick’writer/director David Twohy, and President and COO of Universal Studios Ron Meyer .

Earlier this month,
Universal chairmanAdam Fogelson was
reportedly blindsidedafter learning of his dismissal
via media leaks just hours after partying at the Toronto Film Festival.
Fogelson isn’t alone.

In fact, he was the third top film studio executive to lose his job this year.

But it shouldn’t come as a surprise to studio execs, as the gig isn’t known for its stability. (NBCUniversal vice chairman Ron Meyer is the exception to the rule after 18 years in the post.)

“You’re essentially hired to be fired,” Bill Mechanic, who was pushed out as chairman of the Fox studio in June 2000, explains to The Hollywood Reporter. “There is no riding off into the sunset.”

THR talked to several top execs about what they did after leaving the studio world and found their answers were very similar.

They told the truth:

Bill Mechanic, Former Chairman at Fox Studio: “Everybody said, ‘You shouldn’t say you were fired. I did this interview saying I didn’t resign, I got fired, and everybody thought I was stupid. [But] I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being fired in that job. Nobody lasts, nobody survives, so why would you think it’s a big deal?”

Nina Jacobson, Former Head of Production at Disney, Current “Hunger Games” producer: “You’re usually encouraged to come up with a party line about how you’re pursuing your lifelong dream. I chose to be honest about it and not try to spin it as my choice when it wasn’t.”

And went back to work:

Donald De Line, Former President and Vice Chairman of Paramount: “I just went right back to work as a producer. It was disappointing, but I knew it was 50-50 at best when that kind of changeover happens.”

Mechanic: “You think everything will evaporate, but it doesn’t disappear right away. You can go to restaurants, you can still get seated. You don’t become the plague.”

Jacobson: “I will always remember the people who stepped up for me. (Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider soon offered her a deal at DreamWorks.) Having somebody who wanted me meant the world to me, and it gives you a sense of looking forward and not back.”

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