Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Joy of Research

Sometimes the joy of research for my book has overtaken the writing process.  I can't stop reading about Chaplin, Kelly and Jobs.  There are over 600 book on Chaplin with most being regurgitations of previous works.  I'd estimate that there are only two dozen really good works.  There are 85 movies to watch also and each must be watched two or three times to really see the many nuances in his work.

Gene Kelly has far fewer books about his life and there are only 6 or so that are noteworthy.  He has 45 movies and, again, each must be watched numerous times.  I say, must be watched, but for Kelly and Chaplin, it's a joy and I'm amazed with each viewing as I see different aspects of their genius.

Steve Jobs is almost the outlier in this group, because he was not an entertainer, but with the premise of the book being perfectionism, he fits.  All three men were brutal to work for, demanding, mean in some cases and egotistical, but all were only interested in providing the best product and getting the best from their people.

Chaplin and Kelly forced actors to work through dozens of takes on a single scene until it was right. Chaplin often went into hundreds of takes for one scene.  Steve Jobs would force workers to go back to the drawing board over and over again to got to the perfection he envisioned for a product of feature.  He would study hundreds of prototypes until he was satisfied.

Two or three books come out each year on Chaplin.  Only a book every two or three year or so on Kelly is published.  Steve Jobs is the subject of many books from basic biographical accounts to studies of his management and presentations styles.

I could be totally happy just doing research, but the book calls and I need to finish.

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Please comment on what you see and read here. Tell me what you like, dislike or want to know about these three men.