Monday, May 11, 2009

Big thumbs up for Either You're in or You're in the Way

Capsule review: My favorite books about making movies are now Rebel without a Crew: Or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker With $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player by Robert Rodriguez, The Kid Stays in the Picture by Robert Evans, and Either You're in or You're in the Way: Two Brothers, Twelve Months, and One Filmmaking Hell-Ride to Keep a Promise to Their Father by Logan and Noah Miller.

Either You're in or You're in the Way is about a couple of nobody brothers who promised their dad that they would make an autobiographical movie. I imagine the world is full of the depressing version of this story - - two brothers from a broken home basically blow off school and devote their energies to becoming pro baseball players. Like most, they never make it. Instead of settling down to stable jobs, they shift their goal to becoming big time filmmakers, and putting the story of their life on the big screen, with Ed Harris playing their dad. Meanwhile, their real dad spends the last fifteen years of his life homeless and dies in jail. Dreams like the Millers' are a dime a dozen and more than a little foolish.

But this isn't the depressing version of the story. The Millers did make their movie. And it starred Ed Harris, Robert Forster, and Brad Dourif.

Either You're in or You're in the Way tells how they did it. The brothers say the book is an adventure story, not a technical manual, and that's pretty accurate. I flew through the 279 pages of the book, which follows the brothers as they round up money, supporters, and a star cast through a combination of hard work and fast talking. The book never devolves into excessive technical detail.

Most of all, Either You're in or You're in the Way is a tremendous example of the sentiment I've tried to express before - - meet people, help them selflessly, develop a network, and you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish. Highly, highly recommended.

There's a website for the book, complete with an extended excerpt, video clips, photos, and more - - although the site was down when I checked it a moment ago. But you can watch a four-minute video clip featuring the brothers talking about the movie and book, clips of the movie, and outtakes at Amazon.

*You can see more of my reviews here.