Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Book Review and GIVEAWAY - 60 Stories About 30 Seconds: How I Got Away With Becoming a Pretty Big Commercial Director Without Losing My Soul (Or Maybe Just Part of It) by Bruce Van Dusen {ends 11/11}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

I hate preproduction meetings. You hold one the day before a job shoots. They’re soul-killing exercises in asphyxia. Twenty or so people, agency creatives, account people, clients, people you’ve never seen before but who must be connected to the job somehow and who are now first in line for the catered lunch, sitting around a conference table, reading documents out loud. Documents that everyone’s staring at in the binders in front of them. It’s like kindergarten. My goal is to get them over and done with quick. I frequently fail.

What goes on behind the scenes in television commercials isn’t something most people think much about. These essays build a memoir about a man who may have directed more commercials than any other individual.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY - 60 Stories about 30 Seconds: How I Got Away With Becoming a Pretty Big Commercial Director Without Losing My Soul (Or Maybe Just Part of It) by Bruce Van Dusen {ends
You’ve probably seen more movies made by Bruce Van Dusen than any other director alive.

1977. New York City. Cool and crime-ridden, cheap and wild. Bruce Van Dusen shows up in town with a film degree and $150 to his name. He wants to make movies. The only ones anyone will pay him to make? Little ones. Thirty seconds long. Commercials. He has no idea what he’s doing and the money sucks. But he’s a director.

He gets hired by a client on life support in the most depressing hospital in New York. Gets peed on by a lion. Explains peristalsis to a Tony winner. Makes a movie and goes to Sundance. Goes back to little movies when it bombs. Keeps hustling, shooting anything. Is an a**hole, pays the price, finally learns when and how to be an a**hole and becomes one of the industry’s stars.

Years go by and it’s not what he expected. It’s harder, weirder, and funnier. But it worked out. It worked out great, actually.


While the title sounds like the book would be a lot more about the commercial jobs, the stories actually read more like an engaging memoir. The commercial stuff was interesting from time to time, but human nature always brings its own entertaining quirks.

The essays evolve as it sounds like the man himself did—from an insecure but driven young man trying to force the results he sees in his head, to a more mature leader who has learned he can make anything into an acceptable result with his skills, the talents of those around him, and a little luck. Bruce Van Dusen sounds like someone who has aged somewhat gracefully as his life changed, all while participating in a career he usually found both challenging and satisfying.

Overall, I’d give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars. While it would definitely be fascinating for someone interested in behind-the-scenes film-making, anyone who enjoys memoirs would like reading about Bruce Van Dusen’s experiences throughout his life as a director.

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley is a wife, mom, lunch lady, and crossing guard who sometimes only wakes up to see what happens next in the book she’s reading. She shares a few pictures of her life on Instagram as @PoshBecki.

GIVEAWAY:

One of my lucky readers will win a copy of 60 Stories About 30 Seconds!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Wednesday, November 11th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be notified via email the next day, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

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