by Cloggie Downunder (Thirroul): 4.5?s The Making Of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece is the first novel by award-winning American actor, film-maker and author, Tom Hanks. There are no prizes for guessing what the book is about. Freelance journalist and reviewer, Joe Shaw is invited by successful writer/director Bill Johnson to watch the process of a movie being made. He’s so enthralled, he decides to write a book.

Back in the post-war years, former WW2 marine, Bob Falls is the inspiration for his nephew, Robby Andersen’s comic about a flame thrower who saves his platoon from annihilation by the Japanese. Meanwhile, aspiring screenwriter Bill Johnson sends a script to agent Fred Schiller who teaches him how to polish his work to movie standard. Turns out they have a hit on their hands.

Many hit movies (and one flop) later, we watch Bill’s writing routine, and learn from what he draws inspiration, this time, a heroine who can’t sleep, one of the Ultra in Dynamo’s Agents Of Change series, and a flame-throwing ex-marine, from an old Kool Katz Komix comic. His interactions with his highly efficient Production Assistant, Al Mac-Teer set her on a path to find out who owns the rights. Eventually, Dynamo studios and the Hawkeye streaming service are collaborating with Bill to produce another Agents Of Change movie for streaming.

By the time the first days of filming are described, the massive coordination effort involved to bring it in on time and on budget will grip the reader as they follow the antics of the self-absorbed knucklehead who has scored the male lead role. His pretentiousness indicates that he clearly isn’t on the same page as the rest of them: Bill, his talented leading lady, Wren Lane the support actors and the crew. Do they let this guy derail the whole thing?

For each significant character, Hanks provides vignettes – if a vignette can be this detailed – giving each of them backstories and describing how they become part of the movie. By the end of 417 pages, you love each and every one, and wish you could spend more time with them.

Peppered throughout are interesting, informative, and often amusing footnotes, and illustrator R. Sikoryak provides three examples of Robby Anderson’s comics, two in full colour. “Interviews” with various cast and crew members add another perspective.

It must be obvious from the long list of credits at the end of each movie just how many people are involved in such an endeavour, but Hanks brings their roles to life, and demonstrates just how important each one’s contribution is. Hanks proves, once again, that he has more than one string to his bow.