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What Chapters Are Part of Outside The Spotlight's First Half?

Updated: Aug 19

This post presents the first half of the chapter list for Outside The Spotlights, written in third person. Each section includes a brief description of the chapter – who or what it’s about and how I knew them.


Content List Part 1:

The book begins with a Foreword that describes how I decided to make a career in entertainment technology. It also includes profiles of three people important to the progress I made, but from outside the industry:


  • Karen Siegmund – a high school friend who died from MS in 1999

  • Carol O’Keefe – a lifelong friend I met in LA before I began working at the studios

  • Monique Barnum – a lifelong friend I hired while employed at John Hancock in Boston



Part 1: Hollywood Before My Time

The first section in the book summarizes Elaine’s background growing up in New Hampshire and introduces her passion both for watching television and the logistics of how stories are told in the medium.


Chapter 1 James Sheldon: We Made It Up As We Went Along

  • Met Elaine when she worked in Manhattan; mentored her interest in TV history

  • TV Director from 1948 (live TV shows) to 1988

  • Influenced the careers of James Dean, Clint Eastwood and Tony Randall



Part 2: Wow! My Name’s on a Parking Space at 20th Century Fox

Soon after she arrived in L.A. in 1977, Elaine landed her first studio job at Warner Bros., followed by a position at Fox that introduced her to exceptional people responsible for departments in the Studio Facilities Group.


Chapter 2 Omer Simeon: For a Time, It Was the Best Place on Earth

  • Management Information Systems VP and Elaine’s boss at 20th Century Fox

  • Outstanding African American studio executive, respected as an inclusive leader


Chapter 3 Bernie Barron: I’ve Never Had a Woman Report to Me Before

  • Senior VP of Studio Operations at 20th Century Fox

  • Managed 29 studio department heads; Elaine was the only woman


Chapter 4 Henry Kopecky: A 16,000 Gallon Tank of Lemon Jell-O

  • Head of the 20th Century Fox Special Effects Department and one of Elaine’s clients

  • Master of ‘the Henry solution’ for TV producers who needed ingenious effects at a moment’s notice



Part 3: PCs Arrive at the Studios

Elaine moved from Fox to Universal Studios in 1983. Hired as an Internal Management Consultant, she became Director of a new department called Television Information Services (TVIS), the first at the studio to manage change as it happened when personal computers began to revolutionize business and production functions.

Chapter 5 James Korris: What We Can Do to Use Technology Better?

  • Senior Vice President, MCA Universal Television Group

  • Creative executive as passionate about producing TV as about how to make technology work for UTV shows

  • Collaborated with Elaine to create TVIS


Chapter 6 Hilton Smith: On Day One, I Went to Robert Zemeckis’s Office

  • Original TVIS Team Member

  • A sought-after line and coordinating producer with multiple series to his credit, including John in Cincinnati, Deadwood, Lucifer, the new Magnum P.I. and Seal Team


Chapter 7 Geoff Fairbanks: I Never Thought I’d Be Interested in Reality

  • Original TVIS Team Member

  • Combines his career as technology consultant for Universal Features Group with a second career as a producer/writer


Chapter 8 Peter Siegel: No Staircase Is Complete Without a Tyrannosaurus Skeleton

  • Original TVIS Team Member

  • Led TVIS teams for non-production areas, particularly international distribution

  • Later worked with Elaine on Internet startup teams in New York and Portland, Oregon


Chapter 9 Jim Michaels: Film vs. Digital Dragged Production Into the 20th Century

  • Early on-screen graphics expert who joined TVIS

  • Pioneered live digital images for shows such as Airwolf and Whiz Kids

  • In the last decade, a producer on the hugely successful Supernatural


Chapter 10 Karla Aber: Along With the HBO Execs, There Sat Jane Fonda and Ted Turner

  • TVIS Team Member

  • Singer/performer who wanted to learn the business of television

  • Became a successful development executive for multiple production companies


Chapter 11 Cheryl Birch: People Who Work in TV Don’t Have Time to Watch

  • MCA Universal Television Business Affairs Executive; a CPA by training

  • Assisted TVIS in the design and launch of systems to manage TV contracts, ratings and talent deal processes


Chapter 12 Jeff Lane: Twelve VCRs in My Dining Room Recorded Prime Time TV Credits

  • Pioneering entertainment software services entrepreneur

  • Creator of The Studio System, the first online television credits database, developed originally for the MCA Universal Television Group and TVIS

  • Founder of Concept To Camera, an automation service for pre-production and on-set data capture and management


Chapter 13 Joset Cook: I Only Worked for Nice People From Then On

  • Singer who became a writer’s assistant and one of the first and best students trained by TVIS in how to use a PC to write, format and revise television scripts

  • Assisted writers on multiple series, including Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice and Law & Order


Chapter 14 Charles Floyd Johnson: George Lucas Called

  • Television Producer for series including Rockford Files, the original Magnum P.I., Quantum Leap, JAG and NCIS

  • Trail-blazing African American producer in primetime television when Elaine met him

  • Currently teaching a new generation of producers at Georgia Southern University


Chapter 15 Sharon Mahoney: We’re All Just Walking Each Other Home—Ram Dass

  • Actress and musical theater performer who appeared as a guest star on TV series, in commercials and in regional theater throughout the U.S.

  • Met Elaine when she landed the lead in the original musical Shades of Grey, co-produced by TVIS team member Hilton Smith




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