The author is a producer, so the book provides an insiders look at the enigma that is the movie biz. Having worked in the industry for a long time, she’s able to provide her thoughts on what has changed. It isn’t just a series of her opinions and observations though, it also draws on others who have worked at the highest level.
In recent years, few people can have missed the rise of sequelitis, remakes and the use of other media (comics, TV shows, books, games, etc). If you want to know why, this book provides the answers. In fact, it shows how the industry has now split between tentpoles (the mega-budget blockbusters) and tadpoles (the tiny budget films that are often in Oscar contention).
Rather than focusing purely on the business as a whole, Obst does tell a lot of personal stories, so it’s a much Hollywood history as anything else. This does lead to some strange departures, including an entire chapter on her ventures into TV (a jump a lot of movie people have made).
One thing that does come out of the book is how Hollywood is constantly changing, none more-so than right now, when the shrinking revenue of DVD that has unpinned it for some time, has forced a search for new revenue streams, and no one seems sure what the long-term replacement will be.
If you have an interest in the business part of the movie biz, then this is definitely worth a look. It would be interesting to come back in a decade and see exactly what did happen.
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Hardcover copy of the book
Reviewed: 27th July 2014