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A Killer Life: How an Independent Film Producer Survives Deals and Disasters in Hollywood and Beyond
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A Killer Life: How an Independent Film Producer Survives Deals and Disasters in Hollywood and Beyond

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  136 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Here is an account of a filmmaker who looks straight into the eye of the Hollywood blockbuster storm and dares not to blink.In "A Killer Life," Christine Vachon follows up her independent producing handbook, "Shooting to Kill," with a behind-the-scenes memoir of the battle between creativity and commerce -- and a renegade's rise to being one of the most powerful female pro ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 19th 2006 by Simon & Schuster
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Rowan Sully
Sep 09, 2014 Rowan Sully rated it really liked it
Great insight into how an independent production company works. Highlights the importance of maintaining relationships with distributors, directors, and cast to creating a marketable film and demonstrates how the failure to do this will create many problems. Well written, highly engaging, and informative enough to cast the reader as a temporary producer.
Daniela Capistrano
Jun 18, 2011 Daniela Capistrano rated it it was amazing
I was an intern at Killer Films when Christine Vachon was writing this book. I was able to read a few different drafts and enjoyed that experience immensely. Her two books have inspired me to write my own memoir in the future.
Dec 05, 2015 Dav rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a triumph. Long live Killer Films, and all producers who live out in the left field, actually.
William Torgerson
May 25, 2013 William Torgerson rated it it was amazing
As I read this book, I kept two lists:
1. A list of Killer Film productions that I would watch. I've got I'm Not There, the Dylan film, ready to watch today.
2. Movies that author Christine Vachon mentions something interesting about that I want to see.

Here's some of my favorite lines:

The whole reason we know these films and recognize these stars is that some producer brought together the talent, the financing, and the studio to deliver it to you.

My parents took me to see Patton, which I loved (
shana naomi
Apr 14, 2011 shana naomi rated it liked it
very much more a memoir than shooting to kill, which is probably the best how-to-produce textbook i've ever read. in comparison this is like an indie, queer(er) episode of Entourage, more about how to navigate and negotiate with big egos and big money (if still smaller money than would be at play for mega studio movies). there was some good practical advice on how to survive a studio's indie division wanting to test and market your film, how to fight to keep some artistic integrity, and a lot of ...more
Aug 31, 2007 Shea rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: film people (watchers and makers)
Christine Vachon was an true independent film producer back before indie came to mean 'a studio movie but with a lot less money spent on it'.

This book is a sequel to her earlier book, Shooting to Kill, and spends more emphasis on from-the-trenches stories from her more recent films, like Happiness, Boys Don't Cry, Far from Heaven, and Infamous (the ill-fated Capote competitor.)

A great, no-holds-barred looks at what it takes to get an indie film made these days, and a behind-the-curtain answer t
Nov 24, 2007 Judy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a very interesting book from the standpoint of "what exactly does a film producer do?" It was a fascinating read when it focused on specific films and the challenges in getting those films made. However, there was a lot of personal bias, ax-grinding and I-can't-mention-any-names-because-it-will-bite-me-later garbage which was amateurish and defensive. On the whole, an enlightening look into independent film production and how precarious some deals can be. Could have gone into more depth ...more
Jul 23, 2007 Diane rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who like to read about the filmm industry
it's an insider look at how christine vachon (who wrote the book as well) started killer films (which produced "hedwig", "boy's don't cry", etc.). it's full of fun insider-y stuff, like what each movie set was like, how the actors got along with the directors, etc., and also with a lot of really interesting information about what it takes to get a movie produced and keep a business running. she's pretty kick-ass, and i found the book very inspiring.
Jun 07, 2007 Dana rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all of the creatives out there
I loved reading this book because I was immediately engaged by Christine Vachon's stories and words of wisdom. She has this down-to-earth edginess that I love. The book includes stories from film makers like Todd Solondz, Todd Haynes, John Cameron Mitchell as well as agents, producers and distributers. I learned so much - it's one of those books that I want to reread because I ate it up so quickly.
The producer of financially successful independent films, including Boys Don't Cry and Far from Heaven, chronicles her twenty-some years in the film business. This is an insider’s view of both the successes and disagreements needed to finish a film, and shows the fragile balance between artistic vision and financial realities (Vachon survived a corporate takeover of Far from Heaven, when she couldn’t even access the production’s bank account).
Apr 09, 2012 Caroline rated it liked it
I found this one much more anecdotal than her previous book, "Shooting To Kill," (which was more of an instructional, how-to-produce book) which made for an entertaining as well as eye-opening read. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Killer Films, or would simply like to get a behind-the-scenes account of independent filmmaking.
Mark Moran
Feb 08, 2012 Mark Moran rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of independent cinema
An entertaining follow-up to Shooting to Kill and am amazing auto biography of one of the most interesting and influential film producers of the past 20 years. An inspiring read for anyone who works in production and is curious how one goes from being a Set PA and AD to a major producer and creative force in the film world.
Sep 21, 2008 Armando rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Essential reading for those serious about filmmaking. Vachon is a legend in the indie film industry, and for good reason. This book fills in the blank of everything they didn't tell you in film school about how hard is to actually make movies.
Crystal Lenette Brooks
A Must Read

For anyone interested in producing movies, they should read this book. She describes what it's like to deal with people in the industry. No matter what kinds of films you want to make, everyone can learn from her experience. I highly recommend it.
Jun 07, 2009 Vivencio rated it really liked it
a worthy follow-up to 'shooting to kill' which should be required reading to anyone who love films. its a credit to the independent spirit vachon so ably represents that, faced with the laramie incident, she'd rather do a story about matthew sheppard's killers than matthew sheppard himself.
Jul 27, 2007 Mary rated it liked it
Her first book was so much better - this one felt like a way to make money. Too gossipy. And I went to see her speak and have a signed copy! Sadness.
Mar 28, 2013 Kali rated it really liked it
Great read for those pursuing the field. Experience is the best teacher, and Vachon delivers.
Margaret Wappler
Jul 17, 2007 Margaret Wappler rated it liked it
Vachon is a super-tough broad.
Nov 11, 2009 Mbowness rated it really liked it
So far so good..
Mar 07, 2008 Matt rated it it was amazing
For anyone who wants a serious inside on what a indie producer actually does, this is the book for you. I thought it was a facinating read and I'm really glad I just write and direct!
Jennifer Morris
Mar 03, 2010 Jennifer Morris rated it it was amazing
I kind of went off movies and then fell in love with them all over again after reading this. An absolute cracker by a woman who's produced some of my favourite films!
Mary Ann
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Jul 29, 2013
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“It's a great opportunity for him, though I suspect he's in for a shock about how much people in L.A. would rather talk about films than make them.” 0 likes
“As we head to our last dinner, on a yacht, I am oddly nostalgic for that earlier, more guerrilla Cannes. I wonder if I'd sleep on the floor to get it back.” 0 likes
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