Rebel without a Deal tells the story of Vincent Rocca who shot his first movie in five days for 11K and nearly landed a multi-million dollar deal with National Lampoon. After the fallout from losing that deal, he recovered and released the movie through Warner Bros. where it went on to gross over a million dollars. It reads as a filmmaker’s journal and showcases all the stages of indie movie dreams. The euphoria of making a movie highlight the camaraderie that gets established between people who are motivate to achieve a goal that they don’t fully understand at the outset. The frustration when it doesn’t all go like you plan. As well as the determined commitment that one must make when reality reveals its unglamorous face to the majority of indie filmmakers in the world…No Sundance, No Three Picture deal.
The book includes bonus conversations with director Kevin Smith who talks about his career as an indie phenom who seems all to relatable to many everyman filmmakers. This section alone will please devoted Kevin Smith fans who will find satifaction living vicariously through a filmmaker who got to live the dream and spend time with the round mound of crude indie comedy. Rocca even succeeds in gaining Smith's seal of approval on his first feature via a flattering quote for the DVD box.
The value of the book is its honesty, brutal at times. Rocca pulls no punches as he outlines battles with distributors and even cast and crew members that are ordinarily kept under wraps when the stories of movies being made are told. The candor is invaluable to both amateurs as well as intermediate filmmakers who haven’t been through all the wars of distribution.
Those who think a movie that gets picked up by a major distributor has it made should take a peek at all the obstacles facing movies that distributors actually WANT. There’s also a lesson to be learned for those wondering why their movie hasn’t been picked up by even the local film festivals.
To say it’s a wake-up call might be too strong. Those who have been doing their homework the last couple years know how hard it is to get a movie seen. However, this book dives headfirst into a real-life case study that should be able to shine an instructive light on how one should approach independent filmmaking as a business and still keep their fingers crossed.
By the way, the film he made is called Kisses and Caroms and it was released in 2006. It is still available everywhere.