About the Author
Stephen Schochet has worked for over ten years as a tour guide in Los Angeles, collecting literally hundreds of vintage Hollywood Stories to tell to appreciative sightseers. A few years ago he decided to take his tales beyond the tour buses and embarked on several unique and creative entrepreneurial projects.
First came the audiobook Tales Of Hollywood. "The idea was to focus on the origins of how famous things in Hollywood began, and combine it with funny anecdotes about the stars," Schochet says. The background music and sound effects were provided by producer Ivor Francis using orchestrated tunes from APM (Associated Production Music) a Hollywood based company which many filmmakers use for their scores. "Ivor was wonderful in our collaboration. We had very few disagreements as to what music should be used for what stories. He made ninety-nine percent of the choices; once in a while I contributed a suggestion. We were very restrained with sound effects; the goal was never to knock the listener out of the story."
Schochet's second project was a two CD set called Fascinating Walt Disney which actually had its roots years before. "I was going to do a another Hollywood CD but it went in a different direction. As a kid who liked to write I had an idea for a Walt Disney play, it never really went anywhere except for the research. When you give tours you get stuck in traffic and you need something to say to the people on your bus. I have always had a great memory for stories, so on different days my customers would hear about how Walt created Mickey Mouse, Disneyland, Snow White etc. Each time I told the Disney tales, I was armed with a little more information so the anecdotes came out better and the idea for the new audiobook came together."
Once again with Ivor Francis and APM, Schochet set out to do his inspiring project. "It was more a lighthearted look at Walt and his creations, than a pure biography. If you mention Alice in Wonderland or Fantasia in a short oral anecdote they are like song hooks. Ivor did a brilliant job with the music, it starts off quiet while Walt is struggling and then picks up steam as he becomes more successful."
To publicize his two self published audiobooks Schochet began to do radio interviews with hosts from around the Country.
Hollywood Stories is his new one minute syndicated feature which is now heard on several stations throught North America. Stephen connected with Victor Ives, CEO of TalkStar who loved the concept. The sixty second segments are written in Los Angeles by Schochet, who then sends them to Producer William Madden in Florida to add music and sound effects. Stephen says, "The listeners will constantly be surprised; sometimes the vignettes are funny, other times they have twist endings. The next story could be about anyone from Charlie Chaplin to Tyra Banks. The only rules about the show are that every tale is resolved in the alloted time, they are all packed with information, and they are told in good taste."
Hollywood Stories Radio Feature Press Release
Hollywood Stories Speaking Engagements provide an additional opportunity for listeners to be transported by Stephen's tales. "I've gotten great reactions from live audiences telling anecdotes about the stars I've met just by giving the tours and going to the places where they hang out." The combination of storytelling delivery and historical knowledge combined with personal encounters with luminaries such as George Burns, Sammy Davis Jr, Gene Hackman and Michael Jackson just to name a few make for a very enjoyable evening for listening groups!
"On behalf of the Palos Verdes Library District, I would like to thank you for a wonderful presentation on February 15th, 2005. Your delightful tales of Hollywood were not only informative but very entertaining as well. The many bursts of laughter from the group would testify to that!"
Jennifer Addington, Adult Programming Librarian, Palos Verdes Library District
After being fortunate enough to acquire the domain name http://www.hollywoodstories.com, Stephen began promoting the site with a series of online articles about Walt Disney and Hollywood articles. "It started with me hiring somebody to write something on my behalf and being very hard to please. I paid them off and then began writing myself. It was a worthwile investment though because I didn't stop with one article." Web masters are free to use the content in exchange for a byline and a link.
Another radio program Stephen is involved with is Hollywood Plus, with veteran co-host Judi Paparelli, also syndicated by TalkStar. "Judi had a great show on the Talk America Network and I was her guest every week. We would find ways to tie current news events to Hollywood; for example during the Republican Convention we did a show on the 1939 movie "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." Broadcast out of the famed Watergate Hotel, the entertaining banter between Judi and Stephen caused members of the Washington Press Corps to stop what they were doing so they could listen. The new show covers a wide variety of subjects. Schochet points out,"We've done episodes on baseball movies, John Wayne, Its a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and many other topics." This timeless, taped one hour program comes complete with sound bytes from the movies discussed and enough anecdotes and observations that the time breezes by.
And of course Stephen remains available for fun Tours of Hollywood!