Chapter 3: Meet the Moguls
Greetings from Tromaville! Here is Chapter 3 from my book, Everything I Know about Business and Marketing, I Learned from THE TOXIC AVENGER. If you haven’t done so already, you can read the Foreword by Troma co-founder, Lloyd Kaufman, and the Introduction to the book as well as Chapter 1 and 2. You can also see me read this chapter live, along with Lloyd and Toxie, at Florida Supercon. Stay tuned for additional chapters to be published here. If you like what you read and can’t wait for more, please don’t be shy. You can buy the book now on Amazon (and also please don’t be shy about sharing, and reviewing the book when you do read it.) Both Toxie and I greatly appreciate your support! – Jeff Sass
Chapter 3: Meet the Moguls
There were three stories above the street-level storefront and countless stories within those three stories. On the first floor (actually the second floor of the building, but the first floor of the Troma offices), after climbing the narrow stairs, one entered the main office landing. To use the word “reception” area would be disingenuous, as visitors were not received as much as they were ignored, and once noticed, most likely put to work.
Two uncomfortable and mismatched office chairs were against the wall to your left. Before you was a beat-up desk, most likely occupied by a heavily tattooed and pierced young person of indiscriminate gender who had been “working” for Troma anywhere from two hours to two days. If they had survived for longer than two days, they would no longer be assigned to the front desk but would probably have been reassigned to head up theatrical sales, or edit trailers on one of the flatbeds on the fourth floor, or given some other critically important task they were grossly ill prepared and underqualified for.
Eventually, some screaming and yelling would emanate from behind the smoke-glass walls of the office diagonally opposite the “reception” desk. The yelling was often followed by the slamming of phone receivers (the old, heavy plastic kind, with cords and such) and perhaps the sound of books, magazines, and film cans being tossed across the room and into the walls. If you were lucky, the screaming and yelling would get the attention of the heavily tattooed and pierced young person of indiscriminate gender who would finally notice your presence. “Oh,” he/she/ it would say. “May I help you?”
“I am here to see Lloyd and Michael.”
And before he/she/it could respond further, Lloyd himself would come bursting out of the office, screaming like a banshee, “What is it? Asshole time?” Blasting past you as if you were the invisible man himself, Lloyd would light into the reception person as a lion attacks its prey, tearing them apart, psychological limb by psychological limb, until they either quit, broke down in tears, or simply accepted their fate and moved on to the next outrageous task Lloyd would assign to them.
And then his attention would drift to his unannounced guest, and zap! Kaufman transforms into the charming, almost delightful, intelligent, and affable Yale graduate (albeit a slightly scruffy one) you may have imagined.
“Come in, come in.”
Their office was a cluttered and messy room, large enough for two desks facing each other, with a sizable chasm between, Michael to the left and Lloyd to the right. Set up for an intentional daily literal face-off, staring at each other with no privacy. By design, they could overhear each other’s every phone call, and chime in from across the room. By design, they could argue over the smallest minutiae and yell and scream at each other with freedom and abandon whenever their muse manifest itself. It was manufactured mayhem. And, for them, it worked.
I sat in the aisle between them, shifting back and forth to face the speaker of the moment. It was funny. It was fun. We sort of all got along. I explained about Satori and asked about their video and TV syndication plans. They ignored me and asked if I’d like the tour of the Troma Building. Of course, I would. And up the stairs we went, starting at the top—the editing rooms.
The fourth floor of the Troma Building was arguably where the magic happened.
That’s Chapter 3 – Another short and sweet one. Stay tuned for “Chapter 4: Trailer Trash” and the story of how I came up with the now classic tag-line, “The First Superhero from New Jersey.”
The book in previous posts:
Foreword, by Lloyd Kaufman
Introduction: Lights, Camera, Action!
Chapter 1: Welcome to Tromaville!
Chapter 2: The Troma Building
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