Don’t Kill the Messenger welcomes veteran producer, Carol Baum.

In the latest episode of “Don’t Kill the Messenger,” host Kevin Goetz sits down with veteran producer Carol Baum, whose impressive career includes working with Hollywood icons such as Dolly Parton, Barbara Streisand, Robert De Niro, Zendaya, and Steve Martin. Carol shares stories and insights from her decades in the film industry, discussing her work on memorable films like “Father of the Bride,” “The Good Girl,” “Dead Ringers,” and “Flyaway Home.” She also shares candid experiences as a studio executive at Fox and Lorimar, where she developed classic films like “An Officer and a Gentleman” and “The Dead Zone.” With the recent release of her book, “Creative Producing,” Carol provides a wealth of knowledge for aspiring filmmakers and industry professionals.

Kevin Goetz on Carol Baum:

Your candor is not only somewhat surprising to me, it’s completely refreshing. And I want to acknowledge that. I want to encourage people to read your book, “Creative Producing.” We need to learn from people who have been there, done it over and over successfully. And so read the book, support people who are artists like Carol, who can teach us a ton of really interesting and important information.

Carol’s Early Career and Education

Carol discusses her early career, how a girl from South Orange, New Jersey with no Hollywood connections landed a job in publishing at Bantam Books, where she discovered “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” and how she went on to produce classic movies.

Carol on her first break in publishing:

And so, I took home my first manuscript box, and it was just sitting around, it was in somebody’s pile being ignored. And it was “The Autobiography of Malcolm X.” And I came back on that Monday, and I said, oh my God, I’ve just read a fantastic book. It’s going to be a bestseller, it’s going to be a movie, it’s going to be important. And they bought it on my recommendation.

Studio Executive Roles

As a studio executive, Carol worked with Jon Peters’ company, where she learned the importance of a positive work environment. She then moved on to Fox, working under Joe Wizan, and experienced a culture shift when Larry Gordon and Scott Rudin joined the studio. At Lorimar, Carol developed classic films such as “An Officer and a Gentleman” and “The Dead Zone.”

On getting her start with Jon Peters:

When I came out from New York, I was known as a person who could find books. And I had found “The Shining,” and my little company, The Producer Circle, bought “The Shining” on my recommendation. And so everybody knew that. And so I became the person who found “The Shining.” That was a pretty big feather in my cap. And so, by the time I moved to California and Jon Peters wanted to hire somebody, he said, you, you found “The Shining.” I want that.

Father of the Bride, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Sandollar Productions

Carol shares stories of working with Sandy Gallin and Dolly Parton at Sandollar Productions where she produced successful films like “Father of the Bride” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” while collaborating with Howard Rosenman. When asked about working with Dolly Parton, Carol said:

Dolly would come into the office, and this was, you have to understand, a new enterprise for her. She wanted to be a movie producer. She wanted a company. She didn’t want to roll up her sleeve and produce movies, but she was an entrepreneur. And she would come into the company one day to see what we were all doing, and everybody would just smile. She just walked in. And her magic would just infect everybody. And she always was kind. She was always adorable. She always looked fantastic.

Creative Producing

Carol discusses her book, “Creative Producing,” where she emphasizes the importance of the development process and working closely with writers to refine scripts and make them better. When asked about the meaning behind the title of her book, Carol said:

What people don’t understand, and I’m asked this every day, by the way, what is the line producer? What is a creative producer? What’s the difference? And they don’t know. Even at the end of my class, which is 17 sessions, they still are asking the same question. They really don’t understand because they’re making films and they’re working as line producers making these films. They’re not so much developers. And what I explain and why we call the book “Creative Producing,” it’s all about the process of development. What do you have to do to make a script better? And every chapter talks about that and how to work with a writer.

Working with Stars Like Barbara Streisand, Steve Martin, and a Young Zendaya

Carol shares her love for actors and their role in getting projects made. She considers Anthony Hopkins one of the greatest living actors and recounts her experiences working with Barbara Streisand, Steve Martin, and a young Zendaya. When asked about working with Barbara Streisand, Carol said:

Well, I love Barbara. Barbara’s a trip. I can’t wait to read the book. I feel, you know, Barbara was fun for many different reasons. You know, Jewish girl from Brooklyn, one of us, right? Barbara was heimish. She was easy to talk to. You could relate to her like she was a real person. But she was Barbara, and you could never forget that because she’s Funny Girl.

In this interview, Carol Baum’s love for movies shines through and she shows why she is so valuable to the film industry. Her willingness to share her experiences and lessons in this episode as well as in her book, “Creative Producing,” are sure to inspire and guide countless filmmakers.

For the full conversation, check out the podcast episode here. And let us know your thoughts on Carol Baum in the comments!


Don’t Kill the Messenger, hosted by movie and entertainment research expert Kevin Goetz, brings his book Audienceology to life. This bi-monthly podcast takes a peek behind the filmmaking curtain as Kevin talks with famous filmmakers, studio executives, stars, and other creatives about movies, filmmaking, audience test screenings, and much more.

For more information about Kevin Goetz:

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