Interview: Author ‘Bruce Van Dusen’ Talks His Book 60 Seconds About 30 Seconds: How I Got Away With Becoming a Pretty Big Commercial Director Without Losing My Soul (Or Maybe Just Part of It)

You can listen to the interview below.

1977. New York City. Cool and crime-ridden, cheap and wild. Bruce Van Dusen shows up in town with a film degree and $150 to his name. He wants to make movies. So he does. The only ones anyone will pay him to make? Little ones. Thirty seconds long. Commercials. He has no idea what he’s doing and the money sucks. But he’s a director.

He quickly learns he has the two things he needs to succeed in the fickle world of commercial-making: a talent for telling short, emotional stories, and the hustle to fight for every job no matter how small. He still has no idea what he’s doing—not that anyone needs to know that. He just keeps making it up as he goes along.

He gets hired by a client on life support in the most depressing hospital in New York. Gets peed on by a lion. Abused by Charles Bronson. Explains peristalsis to a Tony winner. Makes a movie and goes to Sundance. Goes back to little movies when it bombs. Keeps hustling, shooting anything. Gets married, has kids. Pushes, shoves, survives. Gets divorced. Survives some more. Is an asshole, pays the price, finally learns when and how to be an asshole and becomes one of the industry’s stars.

Years go by and it’s not what he expected. It’s harder, weirder, and funnier. But it worked out. It worked out great, actually.

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