Wednesday, July 25, 2012

update 7/26

Just realized its been awhile since I posted--I'm in the home stretch of work on the PTA manuscript. Final revisions on the writing itself are more or less done. I've been working on the images and captions for the book itself--there are over 150, and hopefully they all make it to the final product. After working on the Disney history book, which didn't really have much in the way of close film reading, I really came to embrace the visual possibilities in the amount of textual analysis there is in this book and used it as an excuse to use as many images as possible. I might never be able to work on such a "visual" book again.

There's a lot of production and reception histories here, too, as it's a project that situates Anderson's films historically within a larger narrative of postmodern media culture at the end of the 20th century (post-Sundance, "smart films," etc). But there's a lot of close analysis of the movies themselves, with particular attention to the themes of celebrity, masculinity, commodity culture and historical consciousness. In all, the transitions aren't always as smooth as I'd like, but it is a very thorough account of all five of his films. Its a little shorter than the Disney book content-wise (80K words), but with all the images might end up a lot bigger.

So anyway its been very time-consuming moving through all the films, grabbing the images, organizing them into the six chapters and (especially) writing the captions for each. I've also had a couple of big, unexpected projects that recently came up on my radar that's taking a lot of time as well. Either way, I hope to have good news to pass along in the next week.

I confess I've spent so much time with each one of his films at this point that I have a certain kind of affection for all of them now, even the ones I didn't really care for in the past (Boogie Nights, Magnolia). I think I'm ready to embrace the position of "Anderson scholar" once it starts to get thrown around my neck in the next year. The connection to Kubrick, which continues to this day, really threw me for a loop, but this time I'm being careful and thorough as I have a better sense of what I'm walking into (of course, I will soon be seen first and foremost as a Disney scholar, so perhaps the auteurist tendency will finally subside anyway).

I still plan to have all the materials off to UT Press at the end of the month. At that point, nothing will probably happen until copy edits come back in the late fall. That will be the last time I can add anything to the manuscript. I'm cautiously optimistic that they will let me add a short afterward on The Master (2012) at that stage, which will have been out for awhile by then. But we'll see. In any event, the book itself should be available in late 2013.

At some point, probably next week, I will write an updated summary for the entire book to help promote it, since some people might be wondering about more specifics, along with a revised table of contents.

Best for now. . .