- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Vintage (February 12, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1400034442
- ISBN-13: 978-1400034444
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 37 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #628,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Bambi vs. Godzilla: On the Nature, Purpose, and Practice of the Movie Business
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From Publishers Weekly
Mamet's a veteran screenwriter and director (currently producing The Unit for CBS), but that doesn't mean he has any great love for the industry—his Hollywood is the stereotypically corrupt and cutthroat world where screenwriters willingly change their stories to accommodate every stupid suggestion from producers, who are blatantly lining their own pockets, while stars bicker over who has the bigger trailer. But his stories are entertaining even when they're unsurprising, and though loosely organized, a few broad themes emerge. He expounds at length, for example, upon his well-known penchant for straightforward storytelling, where drama boils down to "the creation and deferment of hope," and every scene should be able to answer three questions: "Who wants what from whom? What happens if they don't get it? Why now?" At other times, he's happy simply to explain why he thinks Laurence Olivier was a terrible film actor or to test out a theory that the early film industry owes its development to Eastern European Jews with Asperger's syndrome. As usual with Mamet, each word is precisely chosen for maximum effect, and nearly all hit their mark. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
By anyone's measure, Mamet is a prodigious writer, somehow finding time for the occasional essay amid his ever-expanding repertoire of plays, screenplays, and novels. His latest essay collection focuses on the movie industry, and his stance is that of someone who has seen Hollywood's facelift scars and whose advice to eager novices just off the bus can be summarized thusly: "Go back." This might appear self-serving, for a man who has found success in a cutthroat industry may want to discourage potential competition. But Mamet's cynicism comes off as genuinely hard-won. He outlines the Hollywood caste system with a precision that reflects the bitter experience of the person at the bottom--the screenwriter. Scorn, betrayal, and subjugation--this is the lot of the writer, who, according to Mamet, is resented by nearly everyone in the business. Miraculously, though, great drama is occasionally realized on the screen, and Mamet offers writers some guidelines on how to approach it. However, be warned that those seeking a screenwriting method will be greatly disappointed--but, then again, that is perhaps ideal training for the job. Jerry Eberle
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
Also, I got my copy used, and was happy that someone had already underlined a bunch of passages. Saved me some work. ;-)
In a world frothing in talent, creativity, and power, it is ironic that true survival is realized in the calculus of audience attention span, in units of scene progression and through the fundamental equation: less > more.
In BvG, Mamet shares his experiences and educates his readers with a fundamental treatise on writing successfully for Hollywood. He demonstrates that the writer must integrate all aspects of filmmaking into the screenplay... and then cross his/her fingers as the actors, directors, editors begin their collaboration.
BvG is at times uneven: some chapters end abruptly and some rampage on endlessly. The book is at times confounding: you need your Webster's nearby. In all, I gladly (with a little g -- read the book) recommend BvG because it satisfies a Mamet ideal: you wish it were longer.
you'd be hard pressed to find a better book on dramaturgy.
Plus, I love the guys movies and plays.
Very genuine analysis of how things work in the the movie business.