When my dad used to take me to Red Sox games as a kid I remember this one guy who used to sell programs outside of Fenway Park. His sales pitch (which he delivered at the top of his lungs and in a horrible South Boston accent) was “Programs! Can’t tell the players without a program!” It’s beginning to feel that way at Sony Pictures these days. Last night’s departure of Worldwide Creative Advertising head Tommy Gargotta continues a tidal wave of exits that have touched virtually every department within the company (which as a side note, announced that the movie division had posted a surprise profit for the quarter-go figure).
Gargotta is one of the finest creative marketing minds in the business and to say he had his own style is indeed an understatement. When it was announced that I would be taking over as head of Distribution back in 2009, Tommy sent me an email congratulating me and alerting me to the fact that our two offices would be directly next to each other and that he had a slight tendency to play his trailer cuts at a rather high level. Now mind you, my office in New York was next to the Publicity people, who were all accustomed to using the communication device of screaming as loud as possible at each other from their respective offfices as the norm so I figured I was sufficiently prepared for whatever Tommy could throw at me. Mercy, how wrong I was. Basically, he lived the quote from “This Is Spinal Tap” of “But this goes to 11”. Whenever he and his crew were working on a trailer he’d play the new cut at a level not heard since the Normandy invasion and toss in the occasional guitar playing and it was never dull having an office next to Tommy.
One thing was for certain, I saw his imagination, his dedication and his enthusiasm to make a specific piece of content the absolute best it could be. He has a brilliant creative mind and I wish him well.