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Rebel Without A Crew: Or How A 23-Year-Old Filmmaker With 7K Became A Hollywood Player 
Written by: on September 7th, 2005
by Robert Rodriguez (http://www.loshooligans.com/)
Published by Penguin Books
(http://www.penguinputnam.com/)
300 pages, Copyright 1996.
ISBN 0-525-93794-3 (US Hardcover)
ISBN 0-452-27187-8 (US Paperback – $12.95)
 
“If you want to be a filmmaker and you can’t afford film school, know that you don’t really learn anything in film school anyway. They can never teach you how to tell a story. You don’t want to learn that from them anyway, or all you’ll do is tell stories like everyone else.”
- Robert Rodriguez, Introduction
 
Robert Rodriguez is a force of boundless energy, contributing to one project and then onto another, writing and filming action movies that span the generations from youth to adult. It’s hard to parallel his works to any other director, some say his professional relationship with Quentin Tarantino makes him one in the same. Is it’s because his efforts with the Miramax team? Laurence Bender would agree with this assessment, yet I’d beg to differ.
 
You’ll notice the differences instantly as you read Rebel Without A Crew. You’ll discover the sacrifices he made as a Pharmaco guinea pig, tested on by a pharmaceuticals company. You’ll discover his art of cutting corners and making every dollar count. How he spent endless nights and hours finishing scripting and editing before deadlines. He’d rather oversee a project to speedy completion than wait weeks for third party to do second rate work for top dollar. Robert Rodriguez worked on every step of the filming process. He clues independents on what they have that Hollywood doesn’t – and exactly how you can follow in his footsteps if you have the drive. He makes kids movies and has at times has a youthful humor. It’s these qualities and more that no one director has – except for him.
 
The book contains excepts from his personal journal that Robert Rodriguez kept during the creation of El Mariachi. From his beginnings of his short “Bedhead” winning awards at film festivals, to his experiences making his first feature length film, to his eventual contract with Paramount, you’ll read about every step of the way. It’s amazing that Robert Rodriguez feared that his first two scripts would have have been for nothing but a futile writing exercise. El Mariachi was to only be a direct-to-video Mexican release and instead snowballed into a major movie release beyond Rodriguez’s wildest dreams.
 
Rodriguez’s voice is very personal, allowing us to understand his thoughts, feelings, and reasoning behind every step. No matter how immature or strange he might sound, his devotion and drive encourages independents who read this book to put forth the effort. This is Robert Rodriguez’s first call to arms.
 
“It’s good to be self-sufficient in a business where people are used to relying on other people in order to get anything done. Because then people realize you can run off and make your own great film without them, and they let you have your way.”
- Robert Rodriguez, Ten-Minute Film School
 
The appendix has two welcome surprises. Many of you are probably familiar with the film school Robert Rodriguez includes with his special feature DVDs – this book has one of the same. I urge every filmmaker out there to read this and take his works to heart. This is not the same Ten-Minute Film School that you find on every Robert Rodriguez tribute web-page. Then second, the original screenplay of El Mariachi. Line numbers etch the side of the screenplay to keep track of the shots. Multiply that number by 3 to figure out the number of shots needed during filming.
 
The cover of Rebel Without A Crew has changed from it’s initial printing, reflecting quotes and Rodriguez’s current films. The content should be similar to other printings. I throughly enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read yet another Robert Rodriguez book.
 
Highly Recommended.

This article originally appeared at MurderedruM.com and is reprinted here with permission. 

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