Monday, January 25, 2016

Great Art Takes Time...What Happens When You Don't Have Time?

Last month I watched "Electric Boogaloo" a documentary about Cannon Films.  They produced a lot of dreck from the late 70s-1989 including "Breakin'," "Breakin' 2 Electric Boogaloo," "Superman IV," "Masters of the Universe," "Death Wish 2-?," and pretty much Every Chuck Norris movie.  The driving force behind Cannon were two cousins from Israel: Golan and Globus.  They had already made a lot of popular movies in Israel, including "Lemon Popsicle" which was basically a forerunner to "American Pie" or most any Judd Apatow movie.

Anyway, the Golan-Globus formula was pretty easy:  violence and boobs!  And basically they shot movies as quickly and cheaply as they could, averaging almost one movie a week.  (They didn't write/direct all those movies, just executive produced and financed them.)  They wouldn't make as much money as a big studio movie but they managed to drum up enough money to be successful...for a while.  Like many businesses, the problem came when they started to overreach:  buying an expensive new office building, paying Sylvester Stallone $13 million for the arm-wrestling movie "Over the Top," and buying the rights to Superman and Masters of the Universe, both of which they then had to cut the budget severely and thus the movies tanked, though granted those movies were already saddled with terrible scripts.

I couldn't help thinking my business model has been largely like the Cannon formula.  OK, I have less violence, but mostly it's the same:  pump out material as fast as possible, try to keep costs down, and hope to eke out a little profit on each book.  I don't get rich, but money's money.

Of course sometimes it's tempting to want to do something more "literary" but there's not really time for that.  I did build up enough of a surplus to write two more mainstream novels last year and Another Chance, which was a gender swap book but not quite the same formula.  Maybe I'll get around to writing some other stuff if I get the chance, but for the meantime there's just not the time.  It'd be easier to make time if that other stuff actually made some money.  I'm just saying.


  1. Yeah, there's no choice that the money has to come first. You would probably have to give up watching movies to work on something else. I've heard there are some genres that do well other than romance/erotica. Mysteries, thrillers and of course...Zombies. But it's also a matter of doing some marketing to get them in front of readers, which we all know isn't easy.

  2. What an interesting comparison from what you are doing to Golan Globus. I guess I'm glad that I can just write what I want, and I don't really care if it sells. I'm so tickled pink by the fanmails I've been getting that it does more for my writing than just about anything else (including getting paid). I guess that's what my day job is for.



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