A Review of Scott Kirsner’s Book, “Fans, Friends, & Followers” by Stephanie Bousely

by | June 22, 2009 | DIY

A Review of Scott Kirsner’s “Fans, Friends, & Followers” by Stephanie Bousley

Hi everyone. My name’s Stephanie Bousely and I am working with Jon to help him with his book launch. Upon starting to work on the project, Jon had me read Scott Kirsner’s “Fans, Friends, & Followers” and write a review on it. For anyone who is interested, I have pasted it below.

Stephanie’s Review of “Fans, Friends, & Follwers” – by Scott Kirsner

Maybe I should have been an engineer. That’s what my brother did, and life is working out pretty well for him. 4 years at undergrad, then a $65K job, at age 22. “Must be pretty nice”, I thought while heating up Hot Pockets yesterday. Life seems unfair – why couldn’t I have been born liking something scientific, or mathematical, or…something. But no. I ended up going for film. And today, after 3 years of NYU Tisch grad school atop my previous 4 years in undergrad finds me a little more broke and a lot more in debt than my annoying engineer brother.

Maybe it’s time to throw in the towel, I thought. With this economy, where is hope for us artists? When I was a little girl, my parents told me that the only people who made a living at anything artistic were only those who are REALLY talented. Now, regardless of what you think of yourself, I think pretty much everyone in the film or music community knows at least ONE “really talented” person. Who is BROKE. Well, mom and dad, meet Scott Kirsner’s book: “Fans, Friends, and Followers.”

As a finishing film student, life had been looking pretty bleak lately. I don’t really want to enter the studio system and put all my energy into making the seventeenth Terminator movie; but it is so unlikely that any studio would want to buy my script or my film, being a somewhat “non-commercial” AND first time director. That was how I felt BEFORE reading FF&F. But afterwards, I realized: The world is changing; the rules for being an artist are changing. Maybe I can do more with my career than I thought? If anything, on the most basic level, FF&F gives you hope that you actually CAN make a living at whatever you love.

One of the main reasons I like it is because it’s SPECIFIC and uses real-life examples. There are so many similar books about starting your music, art, or film career that just tell you to do “x” and “y” and you really wonder, “Yeah, but who has this actually worked for?” Well, in FF&F you know exactly who it worked for; you read their interviews and look at their pictures, and you hear EXACTLY what bands like OK Go and others did, from their mouths. (And it was a whole lot more than setting up a Twitter account.) This book is not limited to one type of work either, and discusses self-marketing with all of the following: filmmakers, bands, djs, visual arts, novelists, and comedians. There is nothing general about their advice. Every chapter is told like a story – “We started out doing this, and then that happened so we did this other thing, we paid this much to pursue this marketing avenue, and then we made that much back.”

Because of this very personal advice, one realizes while reading that there are SO MANY options for achieving your goals and going after the life you really want. So many websites, online avenues, tools, and methods for reaching your soon-to-be fans. It may take some work, but I can deal with extra work a whole lot more than I can deal with putting on a suit at 6am every day of my life. The world has changed and I feel like most people don’t know just how much until they read this book; how much CAN be controlled by you and how much power you can maintain over your future as an artist or artistic-minded person. In this economy, I think a book like FF&F is more important than ever and would highly encourage anyone who wants to make a living in a creative field to read it immediately. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up, fun for the whole family. Buy it today, and buy it here.