60 Stories in 30 Seconds

In 60 Stories About 30 Seconds by Bruce Van Dusen

October 7, 2020
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In 60 Stories About 30 Seconds
Bruce Van Dusen
A Post Hill Press Book
ISBN: 978-1-64293-402-1

The richness of Bruce Van Dusen’s book, “In 60 Stories About 30 Seconds,” springs from his perspective of key events that dramatically changed the production of television commercials during his forty-five years as a TV ad director and producer.

Deploying short vignettes, he relates backstories, often self-deprecating. He faults himself for failing to recognize the popularity of MTV and thus ignored the need to hire choreographers. “Some directors are amazing with music videos,” he writes. “But I suck at them.” He relates memorable events, such as after 9-11, when his film crew was assigned to shoot a Thanksgiving public service announcement with President George and Laura Bush after 9-11. They were bumped out of his ranch guest house when Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife arrived to visit the Bushes.

… Van Dusen  is a “funny guy,” and his book is entertaining.

Dusen begins his snapshots with his deep desire to be in the film industry, risks he took and his many failures. Along the way, his success grew, yet each commercial presented unique challenges. He was always hustling, and often his  production budget far exceeded his income. Once, burly Teamsters interrupted his commercial on a New York City street, forcing him to pay triple overtime for two Teamsters to continue. And he doesn’t avoiding detailing sleaziness in the business, or about his own failed first marriage.

Van Dusen shares comical, and magical moments, like filming in Italy. He laments as his career ends about his dependence on “young tech geniuses” who come to the rescue when “the guy running B camera just erased the card.” That means hours are required to download programs to restore an interview he can’t repeat.

His book enlightens readers on the behind-the-scenes of filming commercials. That’s informative, but not earthshaking since “tell-all”  media stories proliferate. Still, Van Dusen  is a “funny guy,” and his book is entertaining.

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This post was written by Kate Padilla

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