05 May 2006


"They Wanted a Louder Gun" by Richard Portman (4.5/5)

If this book had a logline, it would be: Hollywood memoir meets sound text book. The writing isn't perfect, but it still gets a really high mark because what's shared is so honest. I had read it before about ten years ago. There was little I specifically recalled from it-- what I remembered was that it had moved me, and that it was something I knew I would read again some day.

I understand now why I was fuzzy on the details. When Richard worked in LA, he was a sound mixer which means he was below-the-line crew. There aren't many books about the industry written from this perspective (in fact, this book hasn't been published that I know of) because above-the-line crew, people considered to control all the creative aspects of films (actors, directors, producers, editors, cinematographers...), are better known by the public. Reading his book now, it's so clear how ill-suited my temperament is/was for that business. It was clear then, but I had to block it out because I was in grad school, investing time, money, and energy into learning filmmaking; I still had to try it for myself.

Having worked in film in LA for a few years myself, I can now say that I agree with most of his scathing commentary on the industry's inhumane treatment of below-the-line crew. I relate to much of what he experienced but without the union pay or Oscars to help balance things out.

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1 comment :

  1. So when are you gonna start reviewing for FWDT? Heh.