The Incredible Story Behind the Movie THE ELEPHANT MAN

Remember- All Movies Start with the Written Word – All of Them

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Book Marketing

Incredible StoryMovies, like books, sometimes have humble beginnings.

Remember the movie The Elephant Man? It was a true story about a nineteenth-century sideshow freak who was saved by a doctor portrayed in the movie by Anthony Hopkins.

THE ELEPHANT MAN, portrayed by the late John Hurt, continues to be a gold standard for artful cinematic creativity today. The movie is from Academy Award-winning film producer Jonathan Sanger.

How did this movie come about? Was it an agent’s pitch? No.

Was it an award winning script? No.

Did experienced screenwriters create this masterpiece? No.

Was it adopted from a book? No.

I recently met up with Jonathan Sanger in Hollywood when my firm Westwind Book Marketing arranged a book signing and special big screen showing of The Elephant Man at the Egyptian Theatre. Mr. Sanger introduced the movie to several hundred people where he retold the incredible story of how this movie came about.

Where did the script come from?

His babysitter handed it to him to read! That’s right, his babysitter. Sanger took the script and said he’d read it and promptly set it aside… for about a year. Then one day he came back from a trip opened his desk drawer and there it was… staring at him like an obligation.

What did he do? He read it – and he loved it!

His book “Making the Elephant Man: A Producer’s Memoir” gives us an insider’s look at the creation of one of the first ever indie films and a box-office smash, as well as a peek into the early careers of movie greats David Lynch, Mel Brooks and Anthony Hopkins.

MAKING THE ELEPHANT MAN – A PRODUCER’S MEMOIR, in Paperback and Kindle is available on Amazon or on the author’s website  View the book trailer here:


Few members of a film audience appreciate the intricacies of the myriad aspects of making a film. Sanger takes his experience as the producer of THE ELEPHANT MAN and opens a powerful discussion on the evolution of cinema, how he ‘discovered’ a script written by ‘unknowns’ Christopher DeVore and Eric Bergren finding “it was exactly the kind of story I would want to make, a historical biography about a wretched soul who had nonetheless lived an extraordinary life” – the true story of 19th century grossly deformed John Merrick, known as the Elephant Man working in a sideshow in London who was treated by a kind Dr. Treves.


“When I wrote this, I was teaching a course in independent film and using my experience with this film to teach,” says Sanger. “I realized that it would be great to get these stories down and put them in a book.” For every movie he makes, Sanger keeps a notebook about the crew, the schedules, what they ordered for lunch, and other details. He was able to tap into notes from 30 years ago that brought the whole process up fresh in his mind, including the strong emotions that gripped him upon first reading the script..

“Human stories have always moved me,” says Sanger. “I like movies about people who are outliers, who are not in the mainstream for one reason or another, even if they are famous. It’s not something I’m actually seeking, it’s just a trend I’ve noticed over the years, about myself as a producer.”

Sanger’s latest two movies, both follow similar themes. In Chapter and Verse, a reformed gang leader returns to Harlem where he gets a job delivering meals.  Marshall is based on a true incident in the life of Thurgood Marshall, when he was a young lawyer, long before his appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Written with passion, Sanger’s memoir takes us with elegant prose and many black and white photographs through the presentation to Mel Brooks who helped propel the young Sanger’s project into the hands of neophyte director David Lynch, the details of finding the proper crew, the cast (John Hurt, Anthony Hopkins, Sir John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Anne Bancroft), the location, the anxieties of meeting deadlines, the technical hurdles of creating a film about such a character – facing struggles at every turn. Even the final showing of the completed film to an audience of professionals, whose silence terrified Jonathan, until he learned the silence was due to the emotional impact of the story – an unspoken Bravo!

Brooklyn-born Jonathan Sanger is a highly respected producer and director of major films, television series, and theatrical productions, having earned twenty Academy Award nominations, and winning three.


In 1976, Sanger moved to Los Angeles, where he worked for Lorimar Television on network television series The Blue Knight and Eight Is Enough. In 1978 he was Mel Brooks’ Assistant Director on High Anxiety, which led to a long professional association. For Brooks’ wife, Anne Bancroft’s feature directorial debut film Fatso, Sanger served as Associate Producer. During this period Sanger had acquired the rights to the script of The Elephant Man – his first production which led to a successful career in both producing and directing films – films such as Frances, Without Limits, Vanilla Sky, Flight of the Navigator, The Producers, and Code Name: Emerald.


The Bottom Line: A good story well written delivered to the right person can be the ticket to incredible success. Remember- all movies start with the written word. All of them.

Check out this New York Post  article about Making The Elephant Man

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at or contact Lorenz at or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist

Jess Todtfeld Launches New Book: Media Secrets

#1 Bestseller on Amazon in 25 Categories & 4 Countries

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications

Media trainer and esteemed “media guru” Jess Todtfeld recently launched his new book, mediasecretscoverMedia Secrets: A Media Training Crash Course. The book shows readers how to earn press coverage, ace interviews and personally gain the most from media interviews.

Media Secrets taps into Jess Todtfeld’s former career as a producer for CBS, NBC and FOX to reveal how you can make the most of your time in the media spotlight. Jess was a former producer on FOX & Friends where we met a few years ago. Utilizing his unique grasp on the industry, Jess Todtfeld exposes how the media industry operates and how you can use that to your advantage.

Use Sound Bites. Todtfeld says the best interviews include succinct quotes or “sound bites” that the media can extract and then publish from entire dialogue. Here are some ways to frame your most important points during an interview to increase media pick up:

  • Express Emotion
  • Speak in Absolutes
  • Use Action Words
  • Use Clichés
  • Use Analogies
  • Use Humor
  • Include Facts and Examples
  • Make Predictions
  • Ask Rhetorical Questions

“The media especially likes predictions,” says Todtfeld, “It takes the heat off them and it’s interesting to hear what you think could play out.  In the future, if they figure out whether or not your prediction came true, they may choose to bring you back on.”

“Give some of your best answers early in the interview,” says Todtfeld, “Especially if it’s taped or recorded, because they may only use your answers from that first part of the interview.”

Media Secrets: A Media Training Crash Course is available in both eBook and hard copy. Visit and watch the video and bonus links with tips to “Get on Good Morning America.”

Bottom Line:  If you are serious about maximizing your media exposure and every media opportunity, then buy this book. You owe it to yourself to learn from a top media pro how to optimize each interview so it converts to sales, web traffic or other opportunities.


About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications Book Marketing, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at  or contact Lorenz at or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist

Mark Zuckerberg’s Book Club Really Puts “The Book” in Facebook

By Scott Lorenz

One of the most fascinating stories to kick off 2015 featured Mark Zuckerberg, founder of the powerful social media giant Facebook, announcing his New Year’s Resolution to read a new book every other week, and invited all his Facebook Friends to join him in the effort.

The result is A Year Of Books, is essentially the Mark Zuckerberg Book Club – even though Zuckerberg appears to carefully avoid calling it that.Girl Reading book word Cloud Color

Unlike Oprah Winfrey’s famous book club, the purpose of Mark’s new entry is not to boost book sales; he wants to promote the reading and discussion of books. Because of the unprecedented market reach of Facebook, I can predict without hesitation that the day will come soon when Mark Zuckerberg’scommunity will surpass Oprah’s Book Club. True, Oprah is a strong force among American readers, but Zuckerberg reaches the entire world, delivering a mass audience exceeding 1.35 billion users.

In A Year of Books, Zuckerberg has created a Facebook community page, so readers can read the same book then share their impressions and ideas about it. The first work Zuckerberg chose was The End of Power, by Moises Naim.

“We will read a new book every two weeks and discuss it here,” explains Zuckerberg on his new page. “Our books will emphasize learning about new cultures, beliefs, histories and technologies. Suggestions for new books to read are always welcome. We ask that everyone who participates read the books, and we will moderate the discussions and group membership to keep us on topic.”

Shortly after Zuckerberg suggested The End of Power as the first book to be read, it sold out on So we can expect the his book club to be very influential in the international literary community. The new venture was announced over the first weekend of the New Year, and by Monday morning had more than 135,000 Likes.

I think it is a great idea for Mark Zuckerberg to use the broad reach of Facebook to encourage people everywhere to do more reading. And if the idea catches on, which I am pretty sure it will, than the world will be a better place by far because of the increase in reading by many who otherwise limit their exposure to television, tablets, and smartphones.

Zuckerberg admits as much when commenting on his new venture: “I’ve found reading books very intellectually fulfilling. Books allow you to fully explore a topic and immerse yourself in a deeper way than most media today. I’m looking forward to shifting more of my media diet towards reading books.”
For authors, A Year of Books offers a fine opportunity to promote their books by nominating their book to be included amongst Zuckerberg’s every other week choices. But do not waste your time nominating a book of fiction, romance, mystery, adventure, intrigue or a similar genre. Mark has made it clear he is only interested in books dealing with new beliefs, new cultures, histories and technologies. As an example, I nominated an art photography book with a heavy emphasis on the history of Paris – The Glow of Paris – The Bridges of Paris at Night by Gary Zuercher. To post a nomination simply go to the Facebook Community, “A Year of Books,” and go to the post discussion column on the left-side of the page.

The Atlantic magazine predicts that Zukerberg’s New Year’s resolution will have far-reaching effects: “Facebook isn’t just a social publishing platform or an online destination; Facebook wants to be part of everything you do online. It wants to be, as Carr put it, the “fabric of the mobile world,” which means the company’s growth depends on a slew of projects that have little to do with status updates. Facebook wants to build the infrastructure of our online lives, which, in a mobile world, turns out to be the infrastructure of our offline lives, too.”

The New York Times reported: “For publishers, an unanticipated endorsement from a celebrity or chief executive can be both a dream come true and a logistical nightmare. But responding to sudden spikes in demand has become easier with advances in digital publishing. A few years ago, Perseus created a digital platform, Constellation, that allows it to quickly fulfill new orders. While in the past it might have taken two to three weeks to print and ship additional copies, the company can now restock a book almost instantly. “The End of Power” was listed as out of stock for a few hours on Monday, but quickly became available again.”

2015 has just begun, but Mark Zuckerberg’s Resolution shows that we are off to a great and memorable start that will certainly result in new opportunities for authors, readers, and book publishers. When Facebook users join together every two weeks to read the same book, the world will change in ways we cannot now begin to grasp. But change it will.

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at or contact Lorenz at or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist

“What Should I Read?” Asks Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Start a new chapter open a bookWhat Should I Read? I was recently asked this question by a reporter and it really made me think about the process a book lover goes through when determining what book to buy.

It’s a great question because as a book publicist I want you to read my clients’ books of course! But how do we connect ‘you,’ the reader, to my client?

I could not do this work if I did not have a love of books as they are being published at a rate of a few hundred a day; it’s really impossible to keep up. But, that said, here are some tips for book lovers about determining what to read.

1. Get a Kindle. Then sign up for Amazon Prime. Create a wish list of the books you would like to read. Write a review about books you’ve read. Rate them 1-5 stars. Then Lo and Behold, Amazon will use an algorithm to suggest books that you might like. If you sign up for their daily email, you’ll get one from Amazon with books that are FREE that day on Kindle and others that are priced under $10. Before long you’ll have more books than you’ll have time to read and, most likely they’ll be books you’ll be interested in.

2. Then go to C-Span’s Book TV. Each weekend, Book TV features 48 hours of nonfiction books from Saturday 8am (ET) to Monday 8am (ET). They have interviews, presentations and readings by the top authors. This is a terrific way to keep abreast of the important books of the day, and what better way to learn about a book than to hear about it directly from an author.

3. Register at GoodReads. They ask new visitors to tell them what titles or genres they’ve enjoyed in the past, and they’ll provide what they call ‘surprisingly insightful recommendations.’ They have 40+ genres of books listed on their home page alone and offer everything from Romance and Religion to Cookbooks and Science Fiction.

4. There are the old standards too, like the New York Times Bestseller list. You can find all kinds of books that are selling well. Does that mean you should read them? Maybe. There are so many books out there that are well written and deserve to be on that list but they lack the marketing muscle to get noticed. Remember, the NY Times list does not always reflect the best books, just the bestselling books.

My Top 10 Book Apps for Kids and Adults

OneFishTwoFishiPadMany books now have apps that work on iPhones or iPads and on the Android platform. Consumers can now buy the printed book, the app alone or both. Authors can capitalize on this trend by creating apps for their books or pushing their publisher to create one for them. Some apps have incredible features such as 3D effects, interactive story telling, and more. Creating an app for your book may give you a competitive advantage as well. I’ve found some book apps for both kids and adults that you’ll want to check out. Here’s my top ten:

• Weird But True is an app developed by the creators of National Geographic that will keep you entertained for hours. Packed with interesting facts that will allow you to impress your friends and colleagues with newly acquired knowledge of the natural world.

• 3D Classic Literature Collection lets readers enjoy their favorite American classic stories in a 3-dimensional context. Complete with high quality animation and audio, this interactive app is sure to bring your favorite stories to life to let you experience them in a way you never imagined.

• Fahrenheit 451 brings Ray Bradbury’s sci-fi story off the page and into reality with narration, puzzles, auto-bookmarking, and book references to help you find your next favorite read. Enjoy this timeless classic all over again like never before.

• Pocket Cocktails serves as a complete archive of all your favorite drink recipes. Entertain your friends, or just make yourself the ideal martini on your night off. Complete with how-to photos and festive holiday drink recipes, you’ll be the life of any party this season.

• Jack and the Beanstalk is the perfect app to keep your kids entertained whenever you need a minute to yourself. Filled with interactive games, activities, artwork, and read-along text, it’s the ideal children’s app with an educational twist. Unlike other book apps, every page has a different surprise that will keep kids engaged and involved, all at a price that won’t break the bank.

• Wizard of Oz 3D, The Experience puts a new spin on the timeless classic of Dorothy’s adventure. Enjoy L. Frank Baum’s novel in an engaging 3D interactive experience. With pop-up animation, rediscover the story and share it with friends, family, and children. Bring an old classic to life and enjoy it all over again.

• Green Eggs and Ham provides children with picture/word association and other features designed to promote early literacy. Winner of the 2011 Parents’ Choice Award, its an interactive approach to learning hidden beneath a Dr. Seuss Classic.

• Comics is a free app that lets comic fans keep up with their favorite strips from Marvel, DC, The Walking Dead, and many more. Kill some free time in between errands or make an evening out of it while watching your favorite superhero movies.

• Nancy Drew: Shadow Ranch Lite lets users follow their favorite teen detective on her latest investigation. Choose your own path through the story and solve puzzles to help Nancy crack her latest crime. Track your progress and backtrack when you receive new clues to get on the right path!

• Our Choice is an interactive app that covers the pressing issue of global warming. As viewed by Al Gore, Our Choice takes you through various charts, articles, diagrams, and other forms of media to help users grasp the seriousness of the environmental issue. Stay informed with everything going on and find ways to lessen your environmental impact. Check out the tour by Al Gore here:

Books have made a comeback in the world of entertainment with revelations such as audio versions, 3D supplements, and smartphone apps. Let me know your thoughts on these apps and others you find. Ever thought about developing an app for your book? It won’t be long until it’ll be common place. If you jump on the bandwagon now you’ll still early in the game.

‘Become a Real Self Publisher’ by Michael N. Marcus is a Must Read For First Time Authors or New York Times Bestselling Authors

If you want the roadmap on how to become a successful author and publisher then “Become a Real Self-Publisher” by Michael N. Marcus is the book for you. In a pull-no-punches style Marcus cuts to the chase in the often confusing and treacherous book publishing and book marketing game.

As a writer and successful publisher of books for more than 30 years Marcus speaks from personal experience. He implores authors to become real publishers and not customers of vanity presses or companies that publish on demand which Marcus says does not exist. Why? Nobody publishes on demand; they “print” on demand, he says.

Marcus compares and contrasts publishing options including: LULU, Outskirts Press, Infinity Publishing, Amazon, Author House, Book Surge, Xlibris, Lightening Source and traditional publishing in a “no-holds- barred” approach. I find his approach refreshing because so many authors I speak to as a book publicist really need someone like Marcus, who has no hidden agenda, to tell it like it is.

Besides discussing the benefits and pitfalls about every type of publishing option in the marketplace, Marcus also offers tips on what to do if you get a bad review. Says Marcus, “Don’t let a bad review ruin your day or your life. Some reviewers have hidden agendas like working on a competing book.” Marcus points out that it is rare that 100% of a review is bad and that there are usually a few sentences that can be pulled for the purpose of helping you sell more books.

“Become a Real Self-Publisher” also includes a list of publishing terms authors need to know about such as: ARC (advance reader copy) and POD (print on demand ) …as well as places authors don’t want to see like the Slush Pile which is that place where unsolicited manuscripts end up awaiting an evaluation by a publisher or agent.

“Become a Real Self-Publisher” by Michael N. Marcus is a must read for all authors whether they are first time authors or on the New York Times bestseller list. It’s written in a serious but entertaining style with a little humor tossed in. I highly recommend it.

For more of my ‘favorite books on book marketing’ check out

Writing Your Book was Only the First Step. Marketing Your Book is the Survival Step.

Marketing your book is too important a task to leave to the good intentions of a publisher.

Marketing your book is too important a task to leave to the good intentions of a publisher. Harsh words? Maybe, but after spending so much time writing your book, don’t assume the publisher will put the same effort into the marketing of your book. I hear this issue every day from authors who contact me to promote their books. Believe me, writing your book was only the first step, making your book known so it can be sold is the survival step.

What you must always remember is that it does absolutely no good to promote your book if it is not readily available to buyers either at bookstores, online or by phone.

After writing your book, do not hurry your book into the market. With 175,000+ new books every year, the world is not waiting for your book to hit the stores. So take all the time you need to market it correctly.

The key to marketing is to really know your book. What is the overwhelming message your book conveys? Whether you self-promote or hire a professional, you must know your message so you can know your market.

If you decide to self-promote, I strongly recommend the purchase of MAXIMUM EXPOSURE Marketing System Book Marketing Training Program for Publishers and Authors by Tami DePalma and Kim Dushinski. This is a very well written publication that teaches authors all about marketing their book. If it’s not in here it’s not important.

I also recommend that authors purchase John Kremer’s 1,001 Ways to Market Your Book. This is a collection of techniques and tactics that have been used by other authors in the promotion of their books. Sometimes it’s better to follow a path created by someone else than to spend time and energy forging a new one.

John Kremer says, “Eighty percent of all books are sold by word of mouth, but it’s publicity that primes the marketing pump. Remember that you cannot do everything, so hire the right persons to do the things you can’t do. If you’re not comfortable doing your own publicity, then hire someone who does it for a living.” You can purchase his newly revised book at:

This is the advice I would give to those brave authors willing to self-promote. But, very frankly, I do not recommend self-promotion, for the same reason you don’t cut your own hair. You can do it, but it’s not going to be that good. Book marketing and promotion requires special skills and most authors simply do not know how to market a book nor do they have the time or, more importantly, the patience.

At a recent media conference I attended in New York City, the producers of the Today Show and Good Morning America said they each receive about 75 books every day! With those incredible numbers, unless an author has a PR person trying to get their book on top of the heap for them it’s unlikely their book will ever get on the radar screen.

Getting media coverage is all about creating interesting ‘angles.” I try to find out everything I can about the author using a questionnaire that even asks about fraternities or sorority membership, roommates in college, and other tidbits about them personally and about the book itself. We then use this information to craft a pitch that entices the media to want to interview the author. To me it’s like going fishing, you use whatever bait you can and keep changing it until you find the one that really works. And, like fishing, the bait that works today may not work tomorrow and that’s where most people will give up. With thousands of media outlets, this is a very time-consuming task. Unless an author has someone skilled in book marketing, their potential best-seller is just one of a million books lost on the shelves of Borders, Barnes and Noble, and in the “ether” of”

My approach to book promotion involves the following:

To successfully market your book, you need to determine who will read it. Once we really zero in and determine who your audience is, we can target the media they read directly.

We make sure galleys and the finished books are sent to the reviewers at major publications and broadcast outlets. We write and send press releases, pitch letters in an electronic press kit and make follow up phone calls to media outlets encouraging reporters and reviewers to write about our client’s book.

Being reviewed by The New York Times, Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times and USA TODAY are major goals. In fact USA Today has 4.3 million readers every day. Furthermore, it gets more notice from the other media than the other four newspapers combined. That’s a major reason why we will make a concerted effort to get our authors noticed by USA TODAY.

We also contact national magazines and others that may be interested in the author’s “personal” story. Sometimes the media is more interested in the author than the book itself and that is just one more angle we’ll use to promote our client’s book.

We contact TV and radio outlets. Every day thousands of interviews are conducted on TV and Radio stations across North America and several hundred are with authors. If you are not trying to get interviewed by the producers of those shows they won’t find you because they simply don’t have time to look for you. We have developed relationships with many producers over the years and those contacts combined with well-thought-out pitches produce results.

We regularly go to New York where we have face-to-face meetings with journalists, editors, writers and producers from top national magazines, newspapers and radio/TV programs. We have successfully pitched such media outlets as 20/20, Prime Time, CNN, People, Good Morning America, Newsweek, Time Magazine, Dateline NBC, The View, Oprah’s O magazine, Cosmopolitan, Fox News, Good Housekeeping, Newsweek.

If you don’t have a web site for your book, create one. We’ll refer media to your site for more information and to download book jackets, author photos etc.

Remember, writing your book was only the first step. Making your book known is the survival step.