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Book details
  • Genre:BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY
  • SubGenre:Entertainment & Performing Arts
  • Language:English
  • Pages:236
  • Format:Paperback
  • Paperback ISBN:9781667823133

Not Just Sunglasses and Autographs

30 Years of Film & Television Production with Life (& Near Death) Lessons

by Tommy Burke

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Overview
"Not Just Sunglasses and Autographs" is a captivating autobiography that follows the author's journey from bar bouncing in Boston to working on award-winning television shows and movies. This is an endearing story of overcoming the odds through dark humor, tenacity, authenticity, and happiness. Initially envisioned as a memoir about a man who had beaten Hodgkin's Lymphoma and lived to tell the tale, the author was then thrown a major curveball with a Parkinson's disease diagnosis. Equal parts pep-talk and gut-punch, this unvarnished and vulnerable memoir-meets-handbook shares lessons learned in life and work. These pages encourage readers to keep moving forward, embrace resilience, step out of their comfort zones, and take life head on.
Description
My day was far from over. Every other Thursday that summer of 2004, I would finish shooting Jerry Bruckheimer's acclaimed TV series Skin and then tack on a four-hour nightcap at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. As tough as my days were, I knew they'd get a lot worse if I skipped my date with four bags of poison at the all-night chemo ward. I would pass the hours of those late-night infusions watching classic 50s reruns, thinking about work, and thinking about life. Where I had been, where I was going, what I'd leave behind. That's where the seeds of this book were planted: in the 24 hour chemo room of Cedar-Sinai, while I waited for my fortnightly poison cocktail to empty into my arm and get to work. Not Just Sunglasses and Autographs follows me from bar bouncing in Boston to working on award winning television and movies as I made my way up the entertainment industry ladder. It is an endearing story of overcoming the odds through dark humor, tenacity, authenticity, and a smile. I had originally envisioned this as the memoir of a man who'd beaten Hodgkin's Lymphoma and lived to tell the tale, but that was before I was pitched a curveball called Parkinson's Disease. Equal parts pep-talk and gut-punch, this unvarnished and vulnerable memoir-meets-handbook shares lessons I've learned in life and work and encourages readers to keep moving forward, embrace resilience, step out of their comfort zones, and take life head on. Not Just Sunglasses and Autographs is 73,000 words and stands alone, but I also have stories in mind for a follow-up book. I look forward to hitting the road and supporting this book as I have brought hope and inspiration speaking about the film industry for the last thirty years. I've been in the industry for nearly forty years. Nicknamed "the Irish Bull" by my west coast colleagues, I earned my reputation and secured Assistant Director credits on productions including the film Close to Home, Skin, CSI Miami, the pilot for Desperate Housewives, and many others. I spent the last five years of my film career on location in Chicago, working as First Assistant Director on Chicago PD from 2014-2019. After my Parkinson's diagnosis in 2019, I hung up my AD walkie and returned to the west coast to enlist all of my drive, determination, spirit,
About the author
With more than 30 years of TV and film production experience, Tommy Burke brings an extensive and diverse list of credits to his latest creative endeavor: a book about the industry and insurmountable odds. A graduate of Boston College, Burke started out in television as a production Assistant while working other odd jobs – from bar bouncer and golf caddy to factory assemblyman – to sustain the meager TV industry income. His work ethic and build came in handy, scoring him a gig loading grip trucks for Powerhouse Films, which further exposed him to commercials and films in and around the New England area. He soon became the 'go to' guy of Production Assistants in Boston, working every motion picture produced in Massachusetts. After a move to Los Angeles in 1990, Burke quickly moved up the production ranks, working as First Assistant Director on an independent film with Johnny Depp. In 2003, Burke was diagnosed with Hodgkinson's Lymphoma. Three years of doctor visits, nine operations and chemotherapy treatments were all included in part of his rigorous 14-hour shoot day routine. To no surprise, given his well-known tenacity, Burke conquered the disease into remission mostly by himself. Now, as he faces Parkinson's disease – his most challenging health problem yet – true to his style and heart, Burke is compelled to motivate and inspire others, so they learn from this experience.
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