The Independent Filmmaker's Guide to the New Hollywood

Success in the Era of Netflix and Streaming Video

Non-Fiction - Music/Entertainment
221 Pages
Reviewed on 04/07/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

The Independent Filmmaker's Guide to the New Hollywood: Success in the Era of Netflix and Streaming Video by Gabriel Campisi is a comprehensive book that provides a first-hand account of the transformative nature of the visual entertainment industry and the radical shifts evolving within and without, for better or for worse. Campisi breaks his book down into two parts. The first part is an insider's guide that covers the industry, ranging from the different styles of delivery to the catastrophic financial ruin following flops [we're looking at you, Cutthroat Island], to filmmakers copying each other's homework and recycling themes in the same year, and on to the battle of the home streaming companies in a dog-eat-dog new world of media entertainment. The second part is a collection of interviews with an enormous number of industry professionals that round out all Campisi has taught us and raises new questions about what is to come, and how to harness it effectively.

My father-in-law grew up in a small California town with Academy Award-nominated special effects artist Randy Dutra, telling stories of how his childhood buddy would shoot animated movies in their neighboring garages before the pair were even aged in the double digits. This is what comes to mind when I now think of Gabriel Campisi and his experience starting from around the same age in The Independent Filmmaker's Guide to the New Hollywood. Campisi quotes George Lucas on the importance of the actual human element of a story over special effects, an eye-opening admission from a filmmaker I always associated with the latter. I loved having the curtain pulled back and reading a book that wasn't on acting - which are, frankly, a dime a dozen with very little by way of quality - and taking a deep dive with a highly seasoned Campisi. Part two is my favorite as the interviews are so diverse and we get a true sense of how firmly integrated into the industry our author is. The book is tightly written and concise, easy to navigate, and flush with details, and I am certain it will be a long-respected textbook to filmmakers, old and new.

Tanja Jurkovic

The Independent Filmmaker’s Guide to the New Hollywood is written by Gabriel Campisi with an insightful foreword by Morris Ruskin. It consists of two parts; the first part covers the state of the industry up until today, and the second part is compiled from interviews with established industry figures. It is precisely as the title says; a guide to the ever-changing film and TV industry, and how the emergence of VOD streaming services is changing the already up-and-running game.

Campisi sets a firm foundation for the themes with ease and this is supported by a good historical background. He dives into the business and financial side of Hollywood, analyzing the gains and losses of some of the biggest film production companies to date, like New Line Cinema and Carolco Pictures, using them as examples to point out the toughness of the business itself, as well as the dangers that can and often do come with it. A competitive mindset is needed to succeed in Hollywood. Campisi emphasizes that in an eloquent way, offering advice on how to approach it. Touching upon the success of VOD platforms and their business model, he encourages filmmakers to plan in advance, to get organized, and to be patient and persistent if they want to strike the deal of a lifetime.

I enjoyed the positivity, the uplifting tone of writing, and the straightforwardness in The Independent Filmmaker’s Guide to the New Hollywood. This makes this book stand out from its similar counterparts. Well researched, and written in a clear manner, this book is intended for a range of audiences, with a tone that can set one's soul on fire and encourage them to pursue their dreams. This is a well-recommended read for students, aspiring and established filmmakers, and producers who want to succeed in the film industry and want to be in the loop regarding changes brought by the emergence of VOD platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime, as well as the impact these changes have had on more traditional aspects of the film industry in general.

As Campisi himself points out: '...the only way to stand a chance of longevity in this business is to really know how everything works', suggesting that it is important to do your research, stay present in the now, be well informed, and don't give up if you want to be noticed in this highly lucrative market.

Vincent Dublado

In The Independent Filmmaker's Guide to the New Hollywood: Success in the Era of Netflix and Streaming Video, author and filmmaker Gabriel Campisi analyzes the state of the independent film industry in great depth. As we are now living in a great digital revolution of film streaming that is further made more pronounced by the pandemic, this book’s in-depth examination takes a look at the digital revolution’s impact on the film and television industry, and how such disruption is affecting indie filmmakers at a seemingly exponential rate. Packed with insights from industry leaders, this investigative book provides invaluable information that presents what all this revolutionary change can bring to indie filmmakers and to what kind of future the film industry is headed. Most of all, it answers that very important question of whether or not streaming is killing the independent film industry.

Why should you care about this book? I strongly concur when the book stresses that knowledge is power, and in this case, it can make all the difference between succeeding and getting left behind in this business called Hollywood. The Independent Filmmaker's Guide to the New Hollywood reminds all lovers and creators of film to learn from the past, understand the present, and anticipate what is to come. That is why Campisi’s book is important. Despite what doomsayers are spewing out, bringing down the curtain on indie cinema is far from happening. Change is inevitable, and Campisi’s accessible take on the trends taking the New Hollywood by storm is reassuring for most of us, provided that all concerned remain steadfast and abreast with the dynamics that continuously shape the make-believe world of movies that we all love. Reading this book is sure to stoke the fires of your passion for the magic of cinema.