Thursday, January 04, 2007

Killer Book

Christine Vachon's new book, A Killer Life, is a terrific read, a great look behind the scenes of the independent film world. Vachon, the founder and president of Killer Films, has produced some of the most interesting films of the past decade.

The book is part "making of" (for the films Far From Heaven, Infamous, and a few others), part memoir, part diary, and part instructional manual for producers. There's a lot of wisdom in it, and a lot of inspiration for indie filmmakers.

What I took away from the book -- whether she intended it I do not know -- was that indie films and indie film writer/directors need a champion in order to work their way through the maze of gaatekeepers. For the films she takes on, Vachon is that champion, and she uses her clout and credibility to open doors for films that otherwise wouldn't get a second look. I feel a little like this is what my script, JONESING, needed (or needs). It went out to a few people, some of whom liked it but weren't prepared to bite for various reasons, and the agent handling it dropped it after those rejections. But for a dark indie film (and a satire to boot), you have to find JUST the right company or person to do it. I'm convinced JONESING is good and could find a home, but it needs a champion behind it, someone who loves it and who won't take no for an answer. It sounds like a cliche, but when you have someone who isn't willing to give up (and who has credibility, of course), it makes a difference.

So, I sort of knew this already, but I'm pursuing that "champion" even harder now for my new script, ENDINGS.

Killer Films makes a lot of great films, some of which I haven't liked. One of the things I love about Vachon is that she embraces the fact that people won't like some of Killer's films. She expects it, and she understands that she makes films that polarize people, so that if everyone loved a film, then it wasn't doing it's job.

This is a company I'd love to work with, for that very reason.

The book is also a fast read. Maybe it helps that I've heard Vachon in interviews, so I could read the book with her voice in my head (in contrast to hearing Michael Tolkin's voice when reading Return of the Player, which made that book harder to read, as I mentioned in a recent post). Regardless, whether you're into "behind the scenes" info, indie cinema in general, or filmmaking, this book will provide insights into the process that will affect the way you view movies.


Anonymous Jonathan said...

That sounds like a really interesting book, Chris. I'm going to have to look for that. Thanks for the recommendation.

1/05/2007 10:07 AM  

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