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DETOUR: Hollywood: How To Direct a Microbudget Film (or any film, for that matter) Paperback – April 14, 2015

5 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

This book is the most thorough and complete treatise on the art and craft of directing film for the newcomer who wants to learn directing. It's written in a style that is understandable and interesting which brings clear truth and insights to the reader. -Donn Cambern, editor of "Easy Rider"

A breezy guide that takes readers inside the sometimes-hair-raising world of do-it-yourself filmmaking, capturing its many frustrations and challenges. -Kirkus Reviews

Whether you're a cinema buff who wants to try his or her hand at making movies on evenings and weekends, a film school graduate without the first clue of how to break into the industry, or a student preparing for a life working in the movie business, Dickerson's considerable advice and perspective is valuable and unforgettable. -Independent Publisher

As mentor, Dickerson is informative, but as a writer he is also truly entertaining. "DETOUR: Hollywood" is paced like a thriller, with all the plot twists, protagonists (the filmmakers) and antagonists (circumstance in general), that you would hope for. -The Movie Waffler

I wish "DETOUR: Hollywood" had been written before I embarked on my beautiful and totally irrational microbudget filmmaking journey. The book surely would have helped spare me a few avoidable mistakes, and assured me that my struggles might be unusual, but are in no way unique. -Anthony L. Fisher, writer/director of "Sidewalk Traffic"

From just the introduction you’re pulled in. Throughout, "DETOUR: Hollywood," Dickerson speaks true words sprinkled with pinches of (sometimes) harsh realities that one faces when working in the industry. It’s written with a brilliantly balanced structure weaving nitty-gritty informational technicalities and well placed anecdotes, making it a half novel, half how-to-guide. -Grit Journalism

A complete course of filmmaking instruction under one cover using Dickerson's own film as a template example, "DETOUR: Hollywood" is candidly practical, thoroughly 'user friendly', and an essential instruction guide -- especially for independent filmmakers working on shoestring budgets. -Midwest Book Review

Dickerson structures the book in easily digestible sections, bolding and highlighting key concepts, making it easy to go back and reference specific items later and even encouraging readers to write on, tear up and abuse the book as needed to better hone their craft. -Film Pulse

Using his independent feature "Detour" as a source, Dickerson shares some hard lessons learned about the process of directing his first feature film and lays out the experience in a chronological tutorial that aspiring filmmakers will find invaluable. -Horror Talk

About the Author

William Dickerson graduated from The College of The Holy Cross with a Bachelor's Degree in English and received his Master of Fine Arts in Directing from The American Film Institute. His debut feature film "Detour," which he wrote and directed, was hailed as an "Underground Hit" by The Village Voice, an "emotional and psychological roller-coaster ride" by The Examiner, and nothing short of "authentic" by The New York Times. He self-released his metafictional satire, "The Mirror," which opened YoFi Fest's inaugural film festival in 2013. He recently completed his third feature film, "Don't Look Back," for MarVista Entertainment. His award-winning work has been recognized by film festivals across the country.

His first book, "No Alternative," was declared, "a sympathetic coming-of-age story deeply embedded in '90s music" by Kirkus Reviews. He currently serves on AFI's Alumni Executive Board and is a Faculty Member at the New York Film Academy. He lives in Los Angeles, California.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Kettle of Letters Press (April 14, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0985188634
  • ISBN-13: 978-0985188634
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,075,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Thomas Stamper VINE VOICE on July 23, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an all-around great story that is entertaining to read and informative on the process of independent film making. I have read books on how to shoot or edit an independent film, but Mr. Dickerson spends an ample amount of time telling you the other important stuff. How do you deal with backers? How do you deal with actors both famous and unknown? How does the current distribution process work?

I know more than a few people who have made complete films that would have been stronger had they gone through all of these steps. I have seen actors and directors not get along. I have seen completed films gather dust. I have seen mistakes that couldn't be fixed in post production. It's not enough to have a dream of making movies. You need to ground yourself in the business if you want to succeed. This is a book that will ground you.
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Format: Paperback
Legions of filmmakers go to Hollywood to glorify themselves over and above the legends they tell.

Not so with William Dickerson.

"Detour Hollywood" is a sincere testament of a hard-working artist who is passionate about his craft.

Dickerson's genuine, first-person account is a useful demonstration of the passion, commitment, hustle, sacrifice, and grit it takes to survive and thrive in today's indie Hollywood jungle.

Dickerson's primer on the basics of storytelling and directing is quick, but informative. I picked up a few tips I hadn't encountered elsewhere, such as:

• "If you’re directing something, always expect that someone wants to take your job from you, and this is because there is always someone who wants to take your job from you."

• "Write characters whose backgrounds run in stark contrast to the dramatic circumstances that they are pitted up against in the story. I think it’s important for there to be an inherent irony to a character’s predicament."

• "Set a date and stick with it, whether you have the money or not... It's all about momentum."

Dickerson provides a fascinating and motivating narrative of how he scrambled to get his feature film Detour produced. As well as demonstrating the total dedication required to make anything happen, Dickerson's thorough account gave me some insight into navigating the titanic egos involved in the inherently collaborative cinematic enterprise, as well as some process ideas, such as the impact multiple test screenings can have on the final product.

The book is a fast, informative, and inspiring read from a thoughtful filmmaker who, above all, appreciates and advocates film as art.

Recommended.
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Format: Paperback
William Dickerson gives a post-auteur face to the public media entertainment underbelly filling our 21st century on-demand moving image theatres: cell phones, laptops, iPads and wearables. In Detour: Hollywood: How to Direct a Microbudget Film, Kettle of Letters Press, 2015, he cobbles together a sort of anti-theory about the profession of movie making much as the French critics of the early 20th century named the auteur subtext of American Cinema post WWII.

As technology wipes Hollywood’s vertical power structures off its film sets, the big studios clamor to survive with creatively obliterative mega blockbusters. Dickerson’s POV, a reflection of Francis Coppola’s prediction in 1991, “the professionalism about movies will be destroyed and it will become an artform” can be summed up by his call-to-action at the end of the book, We can all make, and release, a movie.

At the service of transparency let me say that I stumbled upon a Film Slate Magazine excerpt from Detour on how-to-find-subtext. I was sufficiently creatively stimulated enough to contact him and ask if I could get a copy to review.

Detour’s theory is built around the easy to follow, logical, storyteller arc amidst film’s natural progression: preproduction, production and post. In each section Dickerson teases out the problems he encountered while making his first feature, Detour, and the solutions he and his crew came up with each time.
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Great resource for beginners as well as seasoned pros. A very clear and concise guide through the steps of making no only a low budget movie. Best of all, this comes from first hand experience, not just theory for its own sake. I've read a lot of books from veterans and must say, this is truly an inspiring and hands on-no hold bars kick ass book. I bought the digital version, think I should get the printed one. Keep ém coming, William. Cheers! Thumbs Up!
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A pleasant detour. I appreciate Dickerson's discussion on "Subtext". He provides very good examples. Therefore, the reader should have a basic knowledge of creating a story and also have a desire to move into a higher level of timing within their scripts. Easy to read and good for medium to more experienced filmmakers and storytellers.
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