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

 sanger-cover-2-25-17

Movies, 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 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 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

Book Publicity Idea: Link Your Book to Holidays and Special Events

list of holidays and events for authors

Learn how to tie your book into a holiday or special event.

One creative way to get publicity for your book is to tie it to a holiday or special event. You’ll be able to reach out to the media who often need a ‘reason’ to showcase your book right now. Furthermore you may be able to reach your audience on a more personal level by promoting your book alongside a national holiday, theme month, or cause. There are thousands of holidays that celebrate various concepts as well as traditional holidays that can be used to market your book; you just have to find them.

There are a couple of terrific websites that are perfect for authors by providing a searchable list of national days of ‘this or that’ for every day of the year. On Days of The Year site I searched ‘book’ and found dozens of relevant days. For example November 1st is National Author’s Day. Who knew? The site provides background about who started an event, when it started and just enough info for you to tie your book in to the holiday. Another site is Holiday Insights. They have listings for each day of the month. There are plenty of examples I could enumerate but check it out and see for yourself. With so many possibilities, finding holidays that can be linked to your book will be no problem.  Check them out at these links: https://www.daysoftheyear.com/  and http://www.holidayinsights.com/

How do you tie your book in to a national month like Breast Cancer Awareness month? I once promoted Jackie Miles, author of Cold Rock River, during Bipolar Disorder Awareness Month because she was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I also tied a promotion of a horse rescue group in to the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont races because the country is focused and interested in horses during that time of year. I also once got television and newspaper coverage for a dentist when we came up with a sugar-free Easter basket. We offered parents tips on how to give non sugar-filled treats over the holiday and received tremendous exposure by doing so. This would be a perfect technique for a dentist with a book as well.

I also promoted a book about sports clichés tapping into the season of each sport and the author’s commentary and collection of clichés about that sport during its season. For example, we pitched sports writers about football during the time they are covering it and baseball during the summer months. I know it may sound basic but people don’t want to hear about hockey in the summer so you have to tailor your pitch and timing accordingly.

In my experience, subjects such as military books and novels do very well before anniversaries of dates of military and historical events like Memorial Day, July 4th, D-Day, Pearl Harbor Day, 911 etc.  Books on the topic of overcoming breast cancer will see increased sales during October due to Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Simply think about the subject matter of your book or any cause that is close to you, personally, and promote your book alongside the specific occasion, cause, or holiday.

Other holidays and cause or theme months to consider include:

  • January
    • New Years
    • Martin Luther King Jr. Day
    • Chinese New Year
  • February
    • Black History Month
    • Groundhog Day
    • Valentine’s Day
    • President’s Day
    • Ash Wednesday
  • March
    • Women’s History Month
    • Read Across America Day
    • St. Patrick’s Day
    • First Day of Spring
  • April
    • Autism Awareness Month
    • Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month
    • April Fools Day
    • Easter (Sunday)
    • Earth Day
  • May
    • National Pet Month
    • Social Media Month
    • May Day
    • Cinco de Mayo
    • Mother’s Day
    • Armed Forces Day
    • Memorial Day
  • June
    • LGBT Pride Month
    • D-Day Anniversary
    • Father’s Day
    • First Day of Summer
  • July
    • Independence Day/ 4th of July
  • August
    • Friendship Day
    • “Back to School”
  • September
    • Labor Day
    • Grandparent’s Day
    • Patriot Day (9/11)
    • International Day of Peace
    • First Day of Fall
  • October
    • National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
    • Columbus Day
    • Sweetest Day
    • National Boss Day
    • United Nations Day
    • Halloween
  • November
    • Veteran’s Day
    • Thanksgiving
  • December
    • Pearl Harbor Day
    • First Day of Winter
    • Christmas
    • New Year’s Eve

The Bottom Line: Find a way to tie your book to special events or holidays and you’ll increase your chances of getting media coverage. Members of the press are looking for unique and interesting twists on every holiday. Create the angle that will entice them to interview YOU!

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 cont
act Lorenz at scottlorenz@westwindcos.com  or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist