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My First Movie: Twenty Celebrated Directors Talk about Their First Film Paperback – October 29, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (October 29, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142002208
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142002209
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 5.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #452,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

They say you never forget the first time, and 20 prominent directors reminisce vividly about their inaugural efforts behind the camera in this collection of original interviews. Editor Lowenstein, a filmmaker himself, elicits candid and revealing responses from subjects representing mainstream Hollywood (Oliver Stone, Anthony Minghella), American independent (the Coen Brothers, Kevin Smith), British (Mike Leigh, Neil Jordan), and foreign-language filmmaking (Ang Lee, Pedro Almodovar). Most are very forthcoming about insecurities and blunders as they impart information that is alternately entertaining and technical, though many admit to surprising technical ignorance when they launched their careers. Despite their varied personalities and filmmaking approaches, the directors radiate enthusiasm, and Lowenstein speculates that they enjoyed the rare opportunity to talk about a movie they weren't trying to sell. They have learned to appreciate the freedom they enjoyed on their first films, when they had no reputations or expectations to live up to. Wanna-be directors may get the most out of this, yet anyone interested in the filmmaking experience may find it valuable. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Enthralling...full of inside information and sordid instructions." —Los Angeles Times



"A pleasure." —Variety

Customer Reviews

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See all 14 customer reviews
Just thus one book.
M. Pope
What I love is that each interview is separate and allows you the opportunity to really take in and get a feel for the personality of each director.
J Donaldson
If you're a film buff who just likes to learn about movie making or someone who wants to make them for living, this book is a good read.
Jay S

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By yarden on April 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
It is all too rare an occurrance to actually find out anything about the PERSON who makes a movie. Most "behind-the-scenes" documentaries and interviews end up being thinly-disguised promotional trailers for movies. Luckily, filmmaker Stephen Lowenstein interviewed 20 filmmakers of various origin, style, and age to bring us this collection of interviews about the experience of making a first film.
Each interview is different, just as each filmmaker's first moviemaking experience was different. Every interview is illuminating and serves to broaden the reader's view of filmmaking, as well as increase appreciation for the sheer hard work and endurance required to get a movie to the point of completion.
I found myself riveted by each director's account of their first movies, of the experience of getting the film to the point of being made, to the casting, to the pre-production, to the first day of filming, to editing and then trying to find a place to screen the darn thing. It was very interesting to get to know each filmmaker, the places they were in the beginning stages of their careers, and the places their films took them to.
I appreciated reading interviews with filmmakers I greatly admire (the Coen brothers), to those I am familiar with and jealous of (Kevin Smith), and especially the interviews with female filmmakers such as Allison Anders and Mira Nair (since I myself am female). Some other interviews I particularly enjoyed: P.J. Hogan ("Muriel's Wedding"), James Mangold ("Heavy"), and Ang Lee ("Pushing Hands").
If you like this book, I highly recommend "Rebel Without a Crew" by Robert Rodriguez, as it is a complete diary of the entire process of the making of his first feature film.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Thor Vader on October 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"My First Movie" is a collection of interviews edited by Stephen Lowenstein with 20 of the independent world's most celebrated directors. Like any collection, some interviews are more informative than others. Nevertheless, I found this book to be entirely entertaining as I was brought into the world of other directors' first experiences.
Throughout all of the interviews, I found the same recurring theme of panic surface. I was particularly impressed with the interview with Ang Lee where he discusses his quick success out of NYU and then 7 years of drought, as well as James Mangold's rocket to stardom taken down by his snide remarks to Katzenberg.
This book is probably more properly titled "Self Help" book for anyone that wants to make a movie, as you realize that the directors featured in this book are really no different from anyone else. In a few cases (I'll refrain from telling you), I actually found myself saying, "Why WOULD anyone have ever let this person direct a film." Thus, the reader will be comforted to know that if he or she keeps pushing, eventually they will get their project made.
Overall, the book is a wonderfully delightful read. My recommendation is to read a chapter a day, and then watch the director's movie... this will maximize the pleasure and reading experience.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
I'm only a hundred pages into 'My First Movie' (so my review is not exactly a complete one), but by what I've read so far, this is an educational and entertaining book of insights into the filmmaking world. I think that each separate interview had at least one pearl of wisdom that aspiring film-makers (both in the highest and lowest senses) can take from this book. And for those who aren't necessairily interested in a career in the movies, this book still has plenty of intrigue and gossip in it's pages to enjoy.
I got this as a Christmas present, and I hope that a sequel is in the works.
CIAO!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jay S on October 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a great book of stories coming from the people not all that different then any other aspiring filmmaker trying to make their first film. It has a lot of interesting details both good and bad that help inspire the reader as well as teach them how to avoid the same mistakes these filmmakers made. If you're a film buff who just likes to learn about movie making or someone who wants to make them for living, this book is a good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J Donaldson on January 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a great read for people who have just entered the film industry or even just for people who have an interest in where filmmakers begin their journey. What I love is that each interview is separate and allows you the opportunity to really take in and get a feel for the personality of each director. Especially if you have a chance to check out the films mentioned and the later work of these directors, this book is very interesting. One of the best and most entertaining looks at directors that I have read. I only hope there will be a new edition with more directors!
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Format: Paperback
Zipcar forced me to have to pay a bill with a computer instead of my iPad, so I had to go to the nearest Berkeley Library quickly, get a membership so I could get on a computer, pay my bill, and get the Zipvan. This book was sitting at the workstation I had just reserved. No other computer workstations has books sitting at them. Just thus one book. Since I am a old, new, aspiring feature film maker, I decided not to ignore the fates and quickly checked out the book too, without even opening it.

I read the chapter interviewing P. J. Hogan first because Muriel's Wedding is my favorite movie, and flawless. I found very interesting The Crying Game chapter interview of genius Neil Jordan too.

Some directors are a bit too cerebral for me to get anything from them even with multiple rereads, but I have read most of the chapters and enjoyed them as well as learned much from them about how to get a film financed and how to make a film, what to expect, etc. I found the more famous the director is now, the less likely I was to get much out of their interview. I plan to purchase the book and keep it on hand for inspiration.

This book is well worth the price of admission to at least 5 movies.
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