When I began to write what turned out to be Three Stages, the first volume of this trilogy, I had no idea that I was even writing a book. I was simply reminiscing “on paper” and recalling the extraordinary adventure that my life had been and some of the fascinating people I’d been privileged to know.
This second book preceded the first... conceptually. During my twenty years in film as a producer and First Assistant Director I often found myself in social situations – both with fellow film professionals and “civilians” – recounting bizarre or otherwise interesting and funny tales of my adventures in production. At least a dozen times someone said, “You should write a book.” I often joked that, due to the nature of the work, should I ever create such a tome it would be titled Circumstances Beyond My Control. Finally, here it is.
“Your work is really quite wonderful and engaging. It's really an amazing saga. I think I'm living it myself.” – Joan Miner, Artist
The story picks up where it left off in 1972 and continues until the early ‘90s and is quite different since my life changed radically during that period. I had been a working singer/actor for fifteen years and, while remaining in showbiz, I quickly transitioned to the other side becoming a production manager, producer and 1st AD in commercials (over 1,000 of them) and movies.
Film technicians are among the most interesting folks with whom I have ever had contact. They are all very creative and many are actual artists and, with few notable exceptions, highly skilled craftsmen. I know, lots of them are women but “craftspeople” is an inelegant word, is it not? By the time I’d been in the production world for a couple of years most of my friends were (and still are) people who work in that challenging and exciting profession.
“Your book had me laughing so hard I thought I was going to spew during some passages.” – Don Edwards, Musician
Many people are interested in the process of movie making. There are TV shows and magazines devoted to the subject and while most of them are exploitative of celebrity stories, I find that in my own life folks are fascinated by the behind the camera “nuts & bolts” of the process. That’s the primary subject of Circumstances Beyond My Control.
I have known and worked with some extraordinary people, many of them famous – from Carole King whose Central Park concert I production managed to Tony Randall and Paul Newman with whom I did commercials as an Assistant Director. I even worked with Mel Brooks! Circumstances Beyond My Control contains stories about more than a score of Hollywood and Broadway stars I worked and hung out with during these years.
From the Foreword by Cinematographer Frost Wilkinson
Ben Bryant is a man of many talents with a wide range of experience. He is also an excellent storyteller and Circumstances Beyond My Control is a wonderful ... series of interesting insightful stories about his adventures in the challenging world of film production. These captivating tales will take you on a stimulating journey that will include an amazing variety of film assignments, production houses, sound stages, directors, actors, Ad Agency entourages, film technicians and locations throughout the US and even Jamaica. Bryant weaves every evolution throughout his life in production into a deeply personal and informative tapestry that will awe and delight Cinema Aficionados ...
I am especially fond of the recollections of his personal and spiritual journeys and the way he interspersed those experiences with his working life.
And for folks who might not be avid film buffs but are looking for an entertaining and inspiring book to read over a weekend or two, Circumstances Beyond My Control will be a welcomed companion.