Top critical review
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Terrible Waste of Time
on December 29, 2001
The main problem with this book is that it is based on a series of interviews and "War Stories", and thus there is really only 1 chapter that has any value. If a person wants to read a bunch of stories of what happened... then this is a good choice. If, however, you wish to read about marketing your movie by "opening the picture and giving it legs"... you would get more value from reading the gossip column of the National Enquirer.
The book is broken down into "case studies" as follows: Romantic Comedy, American Independent Films, Action-adventure, Documentary, Foreign Films, Low Budget & B-movies, Suspense Thriller, Black, and then a section on making trialers & promotions. The first three chapters seemed to get off to at least an interesting start as the interviewees discussed "Four Weddings and a Funeral", "Pulp Fiction" and "Golden-eye." However, it takes a nose dive thereafter.
The chapter on GoldenEye discusses the BMW tie in, and as such was informative. Also, the discussion surrounding "Four Weddings" was such that they gave insight into building a campaign.
Why does it hit a brick wall you ask? The author literally starts quoting people's comments on what should have been done... and does nothing to craft arguments or illustrations that would have improved the readers understanding. For example, he talks about Spike Lee, John Singleton, and the Hughes brothers in terms of their marketability in the Black Film section, but then provides absolutely no examples of how these filmmakers projects are marketed, nor what sorts of special approaches one might consider.
Overall, I rarely try to slam a book. Nevertheless, this book was complete garbage and hours of my life that I will never get back. If I didn't have a strict rule of always finishing a book once I start it, I would have set it down by page 50 of 273. Trust me... read the trades or use your own powers of observation, because this book will not help you beyond that advice.