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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

The Incredible Story Behind the Movie THE ELEPHANT MANMovies, 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 www.JonathanSangerProductions.com  View the book trailer here: http://bit.ly/MakingTheElephantManTrailer

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 http://nypost.com/2017/02/19/how-the-inner-pain-of-a-circus-freak-became-a-surprise-hit/

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 http://www.book-marketing-expert.com or contact Lorenz at scottlorenz@westwindcos.com 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 secrets bookMedia trainer and esteemed “media guru” Jess Todtfeld recently launched his new book, Media 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 http://bit.ly/MediaSecrets 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 http://www.book-marketing-expert.com  or contact Lorenz at scottlorenz@westwindcos.com 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

Top 10 Book Apps for Kids and AdultsMany 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

'Become a Real Self Publisher' by Michael N. MarcusIf 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 http://www.westwindcos.com/