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What I Really Want To Do Is Direct    by Yvonne Collins & Sandy Rideout order for
What I Really Want To Do Is Direct
by Yvonne Collins
Order:  USA  Can
Red Dress Ink, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Shannon Bigham

Roxanne Hastings directed her first film (with a handheld camera) at age thirteen - starring her friends, with her family and neighbors as the viewing audience. Now in her thirties, Rox is a focus puller, essentially an assistant cinematographer. Though skilled in her trade, what Rox really wants to do is direct. She's currently working on the set of a B-list action movie called Illegal Alien, which has an interesting cast of actors and actresses, including a starlet with an alcohol problem (the film crew secretly refer to her as Smirnoff) and a washed up but incredibly high maintenance, aging male actor starring as the alien Burk. Rox once had a brief drunken fling with her direct boss Damon, though they kept things professional thereafter. Unbeknownst to Damon, Rox is in competition for a more active filming role in an upcoming film being spearheaded by their big boss, Hank.

Rox's ultimate goal is for Hank's new film company to hire her as a director. She wants to create a film for a screenplay that she purchased and believes has excellent potential. However, Hank's motives are questionable. He flirts heavily and fawns over Rox, but then pulls a nasty maneuver that essentially demotes her. Meanwhile, Rox's friend Libby has written her own screenplay (a spoof on weddings and bridezillas), and desperately wants Rox to direct this film. It sounds like a great opportunity, but Rox has her real job that pays the bills, and is initially reluctant. When there's a sudden two-week hiatus on the set of Illegal Alien, Rox decides to take on a second film project, hoping to get a leg up on her career. Clearly, she is going to have to make it as a director with her own blood, sweat, and tears because no one is going to give her a break.

I enjoyed the book's unique plot and while it took me a while to get into the story, I was soon riveted by Rox's filmmaking experiences. She's a likeable character, a strong woman who does what it takes to make things happen for her, while dealing with her own imperfections and life's daily aggravations. In an interesting cast of secondaries, I especially liked Crusher, Rox's friend and slumlord, and her on-again-off-again Spanish director boyfriend, Miguel, who struggles with the English language. Rox is flummoxed when Miguel seems to be leaning toward a commitment, and her thoughts keep straying to Damon. (While the plot focuses on Rox's career, her love life does add a romantic aspect.) There are plenty of laughs in this entertaining read about the film business, which I highly recommend to chick lit fans.

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