Book Review – How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime

22 Apr


I know this title sounds a bit sensational, but the funny thing is, when it comes to Roger Corman, it’s true!!  For those of you who don’t know who Roger Corman is, he was and arguably is the most successful independent film producer in Hollywood.  He started his career in the mid 1950’s and either directed, produced and/or distributed hundreds of films, all turning a profit, all allowing him to stay continually in production, doing what he loved…making films, one after another, some even being shot in only a few days (Little Shop of Horrors – 1960 – 21/2 days).  He also acted as mentor to an astounding number of future filmmakers, writers & actors, who lovingly referred to their right of passage as the “Roger Corman Film School”

For more info check out his wikipedia page and this recently produced documentary.

His movies are often referred to as exploitation, which is true for some and he definitely had a niche in genre films, tackling westerns, sci-fi, biker movies, car movies, horror, etc…but several of his films dealt with pertinent issues of the times and pushed the boundaries and expectations of society, such as “The Trip”, “The Intruder” & “Wild Angles”, not to mention he directed and produced a series of 8 films based on the writings of Edgar Allen Poe, all but one starring Vincent Price.  Regardless of what film he was making that week, (yeah, that week), they proved entertaining, some bordered on genius, and without a doubt all essential for an independent filmmaker.  His ability to complete a film on a micro-budget, making it look way more expensive that it actually was, is a great lesson for any filmmaker.

This book was written by Roger himself, with a “with” credit going to Jim Jerome.  This captivating tale, rooted in Corman’s anti-establishment filmmaking philosophy, focuses on his film productions and travels, his instantly successful distribution company and is sprinkled with dialogue from his friends and colleagues, all from the “Roger Corman Film School”. His insight on how to get a film made by handling setbacks that are inevitable in filmmaking proves invaluable.  This book comes highly recommended and will prove to be an excellent and educational read.  I burned through it in 3 days.

You can find the book on Amazon here.

Enjoy and let’s make some movies.


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