Monday, October 2, 2017

Derek Thompson’s Hit Makers: A Book Review

Please click the picture to purchase/support.
I first heard about Derek Thompson’s Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction while watching an episode of Vice News when the book was released. The quick news piece concentrated on movies and the elements that created success versus that which resulted in failure. Intrigued by the information and teaching a Film Theory class myself, I decided to dig deeper. The book itself offers so much more than a guide to making a successful horror flick. Starting with the spread of a simple lullaby, Thompson details the stories behind the rise and fall of fads within society. While some of these circumstances are pure luck, the story of Carly Rae Jepsen and her breakout hit Call Me Maybe through an Instagram post by Justin Bieber springs to mind, many hits are in fact crafted. What may scare the reader more is how such crafting has become easier, a fact that the 2016 US Presidential Elections put to show.

Ranging from the idea of Most Acceptable but Advanced to modern polling on new music in order to determine whether the song warrants radio play, Thompson tells the stories of pop culture, and doing so captivates at the combination of detail, planning, and luck comes into creating a breakout hit. He details the exhaustive work that went into George Lucas’ writing process, how the man tried to buy both Flash Gordon and The Hidden Fortress (which I teach in my film class) only to be denied and then create Star Wars in their image. To think what movies he would have made and what would have come out of it. Thompson explores ascetics, the music industry, publishing, and even social media. While some of his insights only needed aggregation, they still stand out, inspire, and push the reader on. If you’re interested in any of these areas, give the text a read.  

No comments:

Post a Comment