Okay, I've also finished The Making of Star Wars.
I read this book for three reasons:
1. To study how Lucas successfully used myths and archetypes to build a timeless story.
2. To study how Lucas successfully conquered the many problems that came up during principle photography, created an innovative effects house and used state-of-the-art special effects in order to create one of the world's first blockbusters.
3. To study the business of how the film got made and how Lucas got the merchandising and sequels deal of the century.
In reference to number 1, the book provided:
- Breakdowns of each rough draft of the script complete with bulleted improvements that ended up in the final draft
- Discussions of what Lucas was reading and studying in terms of films, myths, and texts
- Discussions of the casting process (which provided crazy nuggets such as Lucas's consideration of an all-black cast!)
- Details about how Lucas continually revised the script even during principle photography (For example, Lucas decided to kill Obi Wan Kenobi while filming, and this decision created a rift between the production and Alec Guiness, who was very upset. Just one more problem Lucas had to fix as they struggled with malfunctioning droids and typhoons in the desert.)
In reference to Number 2, the book provided:
- A breakdown of each day of principle photography: the problems faced, innovative solutions, etc.
- A discussion of how design elements were brought to life on screen
- A discussion of how ILM was started and the many problems they faced and conquered during production (moving from front projection to blue screen, dealing with lack of time, money, personnel, etc.)
- A breakdown of the run to the finish line: as Lucas says, the film wasn't finished, it was abandoned...because of lack of time and distribution/marketing constraints.
In reference to number 3, the book provided:
- A discussion of the original deal memo
- A discussion of the ongoing negotiations between Lucas and Twentieth Century Fox
- A discusssion of the final deal and its repercussions for Lucas and the film industry
I think the most exciting thing about the book is the amount of perserverance that Lucas had to have in terms of his vision because no one, outside of Spielberg, thought he would win.
The studio tried to pull the plug so many times I lost count.
But Lucas persevered. And won.