So with the hard copy of Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast available via Createspace or its parent company Amazon, I began thinking this week about the different ways to write movie books (photo is mine, book cover is mine, all rights to Bond image remain with current holder).
All five of my books focus on story first, then acting. Sex for Dinner, for example, looks at the plot of each film, it’s strengths and weaknesses; how it was influenced by then-current pop culture trends (Blacksploitation films, space race, Star Wars) and political developments (such as the rise and fall of the Cold War). Plus how it fits into the series, establishing elements of the formula or breaking away from them.
That works for me, because story is what I care about most (well, tied with acting, which the book also discusses). Details of backstage creative decisions and studio interference are interesting to read about (and worth mentioning in my own books if they significantly effect the final product) but I can’t summon up much enthusiasm for researching one. Which annoys some people: one review of Cyborgs, Santa Claus and Satan objected that the book’s failure to look at the backstage side of things made it a waste of money (I disagree, obviously).
Another is to focus in on the visuals. The excellent book Celluloid Skyline, for instance, looks at the architecture of New York and the ways it influences movies set in the Big Apple The A-V Club had a series for a while looking at visual subtext in movies, and how it indicates themes, or characters’ relationship to each other.
Plus of course there are nuts-and-bolts questions about movie box office or ratings, the reaction from reviewers and so forth.
None of these is The One True Way. And many film books combine parts of these different approaches rather than being all one or the other. For me, what matters is writing something I want to write, and that (hopefully) readers and film buffs will want to read. I assume similar sentiments inspire writers of other books using different approaches.
As a reader I may look for books quite different from mine.