Maybe it’s a lesson plan to share knowledge.
Maybe it’s a better way to deliver rebar just-in-time.
Maybe it’s a DIY drone kit to spy on the government spying on you.
Maybe it’s a movie.
These two books cover the last two items – and both are worth your time this summer.
Peter Biskind’s Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film is a two-decade romp through the emergence of independent films. At 550+ pages, it’s hardly a breezy read, but it carries a great tempo. It doesn’t feel heavy. Despite its size, Down & Dirty is a page-turner as it follows the careers of some fantastic characters – and pure caricatures.
Harvey & Bob Weinstein
Matt Damon & Ben Affleck
Billy Bob Thornton
Biskind profiles dozens of other industry types along the way as he saunters from the late ’80’s to 2004. The Weinstein brothers’ Miramax (named after their parents, Miriam and Max) and Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival (named after Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) are the protagonists in this book, but these protags are seriously flawed.
The Weinstein stories are nothing short of incredible. Every chapter has some story about these animals that are so crazy… they just gotta be true. Harvey & Bob are ambitious and egocentric marketing geniuses, but they are also bullies who threaten, scream, intimidate, spit, throw lit cigarettes, belittle and generally harass everyone from their employees to the actors to the directors.
I cannot wait to see a movie about these two guys…. someday.
Robert Redford comes across as a passive aggressive artiste who has no business running a business. Apparently Sundance almost bit the dust numerous times. Biskind seems to enjoy sharing examples of Redford failures.
For movie aficionados who recall details from Clerks, Pulp Fiction, & Slingblade – it’s fascinating to step behind the scenes. But the business lessons in Down & Dirty are many.
These movies are product launches, complete with cut-throat negotiations, creative financing, brilliant/dubious strategy, and clearly, marketing decisions that ultimately decide their fate.
And for those of us who work with people you don’t trust or like – dozens of Weinstein stories offer various tactics regarding semi-peaceful coexistence.
While Down and Dirty Pictures is about the intangible experience of the cinema, Makers moves us from bits (digital) to atoms (physical). Makers is about “The New Industrial Revolution” and how anyone can make anything anywhere.
Chris Anderson is the guy who coined the phrase, The Long Tail, and is the editor of the magazine Wired. And if you are a monthly reader (which I highly recommend), you’ll recognize many of the featured individuals and businesses in Makers.
These companies are part of the Maker ecosystem. Each is an example or enabler of the Maker Movement – the ability for each of us to make whatever we want.
In a few years, 3D printers will be commonplace. Personally I’m postponing the inevitable on my future Replicator 2 desktop 3D printer by MakerBot. It’s only a matter of time before it’s on my desktop… confusing my wife and impressing my 6-year old.
What is a 3D printer?
Don’t let the term printer confuse you – It’s a mini-fabricator.
It can make physical things right in front of you.
Whereas a normal printer has a movable head that drops ink, a 3D printer moves in three dimensions (side-to-side, front-to-back, up-&-down) and deposits plastic/resin/something in wafer thin layers to make something physical.
CAD drawings (computer-aided design) once reserved for architects and engineers are becoming easier to use as the masses begin to consider how cool it would be to make their own personal bobble head or an Lego-size M-16 machine gun for their own custom WWII Lego set. (Both examples are detailed in the book.)
Here’s when you’ll know the Maker Movement is legit:
Your standard dropdown menu on your Mac will have a Make option right below Open and Save and Export and Print. You’ll be able to make whatever you want right on your desk or you’ll be able to upload the design to a network of fabrication plants around the world that can make and ship your thing immediately with some simple credit card info.
In the words of William Gibson: “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.”
This stuff is happening now.
Get ready to see a lot more of it firsthand.
Makers will immediately get you thinking about the transition from bits (digital info) to atoms (physical goods) in a different way. Odds are you can apply this “Maker Movement” to your job, company and industry too.
As for me… what will I make when I get my own MakerBot 3D printer?
I have no idea.
That’s a lie.
I have a ton of ideas.
And it’ll be a lot of fun to hit “make” over and over and over….
Bradley Hartmann is El Presidente at Red Angle (www.redanglespanish.com). He’s reading 52 books this year. He’s looking forward to crossing the 50-yard line soon….
22. Down & Dirty Pictures by Peter Biskind
23. Makers by Chris Anderson
Categories: Libro 52 Challenge