Latest Happenings At MWP.com
Where the World’s Best Filmmakers Go to Publish
The publishing arm of Michael Wiese Productions makes the secrets of top industry professionals available to aspiring filmmakers worldwide.
April 23, 2009 – “It’s about mentoring, inspiring, and giving struggling filmmakers the best resources to get their vision on the screen,” says filmmaker and publisher Michael Wiese about the publishing arm of his company, Michael Wiese Productions (MWP). MWP offers titles penned by acclaimed film professionals. Their authors have directed, produced, edited, filmed, or contributed to some of the most iconic movies in film history, including The Graduate, Cool Hand Luke, Chinatown, Saturday Night Fever, Grease, The Last of the Mohicans, Forrest Gump, Romancing the Stone, Back to the Future, Fight Club, Rumble in the Bronx, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, War Games, Stakeout, Bird on a Wire, Cast Away, Pearl Harbor, and many others. Wiese’s ability to navigate the film world and to attract top-level talent gives the company a competitive edge over others publishing in their niche. “They recognize what makes a good title. Other publishers can’t predict and don’t know what’s going to be a winner in this market,” says Jesse Douma, President of The Writer’s Store, who often hosts MWP’s authors for store and online events. Recently, Bookscan revealed that MWP had 34 of the top-selling titles in the Filmmaking category.
More about Michael Wiese and Michael Wiese Productions:
THEIR MISSION: MAKE OUTSIDERS INSIDERS
An accomplished filmmaker himself, Wiese launched his publishing company in 1981 with a unique mission: Make outsiders insiders. “When I first started in the film world there was a dearth of resources for independent filmmakers. Information was tightly held and nearly everything was a ‘trade secret.’ My goal was to give film world outsiders the skills they needed to become insiders,” he says. Wiese’s business model proved prescient as the independent film community multiplied and the DIY ethic spread.
IN A POST-TARANTINO WORLD THEIR BOOKS HAVE BECOME ESSENTIAL RESOURCES
When the independent filmmaking world exploded, Wiese saw his books become popular resources in the creative community. As filmmaking hopefuls all over the world were inspired to burst out of obscurity with the next Pulp Fiction they turned to MWP books for both technical skills and artistic guidance. Today the company enjoys worldwide distribution, with their books being published in 14 languages. Their titles have become textbooks at 700 film schools across the globe. UCLA, USC, NYU, the Pratt Institute, Oxford Film School, and Cornell are just a few of the prestigious institutions to put MWP books on their list of required reading. The reliability of their products and the reputation it has earned them in the film community has made MWP a leader in their niche and a favorite at Ingram Publisher Services, their U.S. distributor. “The integrity of their books and their respectability in the community are two keys to their success,” says Mark Ouimet, General Manager at Ingram.
BIBLIO-MENTORING FROM THE BEST
Some of the most sought-after behind the scenes talent prefers to publish with MWP because of their author-friendly attitude and because they know they have a kindred spirit in fellow filmmaker Michael Wiese. They include:
- Christopher Vogler, film consultant, teacher, and author of the bestselling The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers (third edition 2007). Vogler has consulted with Darren Aronofsky on the script of The Wrestler, Will Smith on I Am Legend, and Hancock, and Helen Hunt on her directorial debut, Then She Found Me. He also helped to develop Disney’s The Lion King, Aladdin, and Fantasia 2000; Fox’s Courage under Fire, Anna and the King, and Fight Club; and many more acclaimed films. “MWP are very supportive and devoted to making practical knowledge available to everyone,” says Vogler.
- Judith Weston, independent studio owner, teacher, and author of the bestselling Directing Actors: Creating Memorable Performances for Film & Television, (1999, second edition coming in 2010). Weston has trained such notables as Alejandro González Iñarritu, David Chase, and Polly Platt. “I feel very safe with MWP because of their honesty and integrity,” she says.
BUSINESS THRIVES DESPITE (OR MAYBE BECAUSE OF) RECESSION
In these lean economic times when many publishing houses are posting losses, MWP has seen an up-tick in sales. Wiese speculates that it’s due to many people deciding to pursue their dream job in film when their existing work evaporates. This year sales are up as much as 31 percent at Amazon.com and have grown at other major accounts too. In a business often hit by heavy returns, MWP has seen a decrease in returns this year. On average, their sales have grown by a robust 17 percent for each of the last three years. MWP’s success also reflects their ability to closely nurture a book throughout its development, marketing, and retail life. “Publishing is a huge collection of details and the publisher who attends to most of them will win. On that level MWP is really good,” says Karen Cross, Vice President of Publisher Relations, Ingram Publisher Services.
TEAMWORK WITH AND AMONG AUTHORS
“We realized early on that cultivating teamwork among our authors was one of the best things we could do to drive sales and marketing,” says Ken Lee, Vice President of MWP. As part of this, the company not only stresses to their authors the importance of publicizing and marketing their books, they also encourage authors to share information with each other and to cross-promote their titles. Every year MWP holds a publishing summit with their authors, where they brainstorm with them on cutting-edge ways to build buzz and share information on new developments in the publishing world. They also host a Google group for their authors. Their author-friendly approach creates a mutually beneficially relationship for publisher and author. “They engender a lot of loyalty from their authors and as a result the authors are willing to put the effort into doing what they need to do to make their books successful,” says Ouimet.
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