Sub-titled ‘from Crewe to Malibu’, this funny, complex, fascinating memoir of experience in the scriptwriting community lays bare the realities of the film world in ways that will surprise readers.
Mark is bold, honest, candid, and unbiased in his history of the frustrating, demanding, and exhausting process of trying to get a film produced in today’s world. In the process of exposing the workings of the industry, he’s as self-critical and he is self-deprecating. Along the winding route to production, or not, he drops the names of many well-known film personalities, actors, producers, directors, and ‘celebrities’ he either meets or attempts to contact. The frank explanations of these interactions are both amusing and moving. As a reader I felt I was living through the convoluted journey toward a desired outcome with him. I felt the hope, and I felt the disappointment. I felt the uplift of the offers and the frustration of the unforeseen barriers. I felt the promise of reward for hard work, dedication, and sheer determination, and I felt the utter distress when those promises were broken, even when that was done with a hint of regret or even concern.
The picture Mark paints of the film industry is one of superficiality, exploitation, broken promises, unrealistic expectations, costly experimentation, and hope, always hope of a rewarding outcome.
The book is a (cliché alert) real rollercoaster ride with all the slowly building expectations of the climb uphill and all the thrills of the rapid descents. The general reader will enjoy the tale for its honesty, depth, and detail. The aspiring filmmaker may view it as a warning of what to expect!
I especially enjoyed the voyage into a history of childhood that echoed my own in so many respects. It’s always good to know those things that delighted and frustrated us as kids are shared with others.
[Any review is a personal opinion. No reviewer can represent the view of anyone else. The best we can manage is an honest reaction to any given book.]