Sunday, June 11, 2006

June Update

It's been over a month since we've updated the book's progress, so here's where we are:

Donna's now 250 pages into the final layout, and it's looking spectacular. In fact, we took a sample chapter and the 14-pound dummy book to Wonderfest a few weeks ago and everyone who saw it expressed the same thoughts I've been having: that people are going to be so knocked-out by the presentation, it may be awhile before they get around to actually reading my text! Hey, it's only 30 years of my life -- I hope the work that went into writing the book is recognized sooner or later! It was funny seeing people's reactions to the dimensions of the book at first-hand, and also their reactions when we told them that the book was now going to be 100 pages longer than the dummy.

In case you're wondering how far 250 pages is into the total story of Bava's career, the next chapter Donna will be working on is the very long one devoted to BLACK SUNDAY, which, for many people, is where Bava's story begins! The first 250 pages cover the career of Bava's father, cinematographer and special effects maverick Eugenio Bava, Bava's early work as a painter and cameraman, his ascent to the top ranks of Italian cinematographers, his collaborations with Roberto Rossellini, Francesco De Robertis, Steno and Mario Monicelli, G. W. Pabst, Aldo Fabrizi, Gina Lollobrigida, Brigitte Bardot, Marcello Mastroianni, Pietro Francisci (including the Hercules films), and of course, Riccardo Freda (including I VAMPIRI, THE WHITE WARRIOR and CALTIKI THE IMMORTAL MONSTER). And that's 250 pages of four-columned type -- a thick book in itself, manuscript-wise. But, the story is just beginning...

Of course, the layout of the entire book has been in place for while, but only in rough form. As Donna has been going through it, she's been replacing the low-res thumbnail images with the final restored hi-res images, balancing the text so that everything is straight and ends where it should at the end of each chapter, dropping in the footnotes on the pages where their referents appear, and finalizing page openers and fonts throughout the text. Charlie Largent has also been involved, accelerating some of the process with a welcome helping hand. Some of the oldest photographic materials in the book, provided to me by Mario's sister Elena, were only made available to me in photocopied form, and Charlie has done some brilliant work at making these look more graphically presentable.

Donna's working very hard, every day from about 1:00 pm to 3:00 am with short meal and exercise breaks. I'm working mostly on a novel-in-progress and the Video WatchBlog, assisting Donna when she needs me, usually to answer questions, react to work she's done, or to suggest alterations in the picture placement to bring the images into better alignment with where their content is referenced in the text.

So the book is taking serious shape now. Donna has spent so long working on the index and additional proofreading, she says it's wonderful to finally be free of words and devoting her time exclusively to pictures and design work, which is her native province.

As I've already said elsewhere, we are devoting the entire summer to finishing the book. If we should finish early (which would be nice), we'll get a jump-start on the next issue of VIDEO WATCHDOG and go back to our monthly schedule beginning with the October issue. We plan to deliver the book to the printer by September 1, if not sooner. With the printer's three-month turnaround factored in, that will get finished copies back to us -- and in the mail to pre-order purchasers -- no later than December 2006.

That's where we stand. I'll be back next month with another update, unless there's something important to report in the interim.


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