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Strike The Baby and Kill the BlondeTitle: Strike the Baby and Kill the Blonde
Author: Dave Knox
Copyright: © 2008
Publisher: Three Rivers Press, a division of Random House
ISBN-10: 1-4000-9759-2
ISBN-13: 978-1-4000-9759-3

Relevance: Billing itself as an insider’s guide to film slang, Strike the Baby and Kill the Blonde is a delightful A-to-Z reference for all the jargon one needs to understand (or be understood) on a movie or video production set. The book is ideal for all reporters working the entertainment beat or any related component of the computer or technical sub-sectors.

Review: Every industry has its proprietary jargon and the film, movie and TV production businesses are no exception. Author Dave Knox has over two decades of experience in the movie biz including working on blockbusters such as The Silence of the Lambs, Big Daddy, Scent of a Woman and others. He uses this knowledge to impart hundreds of short and to-the-point explanations for terms ranging from "A camera" to "zoom lens".

In between, Knox's explanations of hundreds of movie-only slang words both informs and entertains. The book, therefore, is ideal for fledgling reporters covering the movie industry or those making a transition from the computer, music or talent sectors.

Want to go to the bathroom? Savvy movie people might ask a grip or an extra where the honeywagon is set up. It turns out a "honeywagon" is the trailer holding the portable toilets used by the crew, so-called because of the wonderful odor emanating from within. Need to recharge your walkie-talkie? You'll need a "hot brick". As Knox wryly suggests, this is not some esoteric Thai massage technique. Rather, it's what an Assistant Director might refer to for a fresh "walkie" battery.

After reading Knox's book, actor/director David Duchovny said, "Now you can sound like you know what you're talking about – even when you don't. In other words, you are ready to work in the movies." We couldn't agree more and found ourselves laughingly entertained throughout the book's 200+ pages.

We would've liked to see more cross references with page numbers in each listing, but otherwise the book is an interesting and educational look at some of the colorful words and phrases used in the movie business. And if you're wondering what the title of the book means, striking something doesn't mean to hit them repeatedly – although we won't discount this usage considering some showbiz tempers. To strike something from the set simply means to remove it from the location. The "baby" refers to a small 750 to 1000 watt movie light with a special lens on the front. Strike the baby simply means remove the small lamp. Kill the blonde does not refer to the latest scandal in Hollywood. Instead, to kill means to turn off and "blonde" is a larger open-faced quartz-bulb spotlight usually 2000 watts. Kill the blonde, therefore, is a request (or demand) of the Assistant Director ("AD" of course) to turn off the big light illuminating the set.

We thoroughly enjoyed the book although we thought some of Knox's entries in his reference work were a bit of a stretch (a "Phil Collins", for instance, is apparently a term used to describe a two-foot square piece of bounce board used to fill an actor's eyes with soft light for a close-up). What's the connection? According to Knox, both apparently are small, white and square. As we said, a stretch indeed!

Overall: Strike the Baby and Kill the Blonde is a perfect book for reporters, correspondents and journalists aspiring to work or actively working in the movie, entertainment or peripherally, in the technology business (because there are many crossovers in these industries). Although we can't imagine every set using all of Knox's terms, especially the more esoteric ones, the book does make for an interesting and entertaining read. Recommended.

End of Review

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