My book is “set dressing” for the upcoming movie “You, Me and Dupree”

Much to the surprise of everyone on our end, Universal Studios just sent in a letter to the permissions folk at O’Reilly Media, asking for permission to include my book Learning Unix for Mac OS X Tiger in their upcoming film!
Here’s exactly what the letter says:
“Universal Pictures is in production on a theatrical motion picture entitled “You, Me and Dupree”. Joe and Anthony Russo (TV’s “Arrested Development”) are set to direct Owen Wilson, Kate Hudson and Matt Dillion in the lead roles.”


“A troubled newlywed couple finds their problems are compounded when the groom’s out-of-work meddlesome best friend moves in, and begins competing with him.
“The Set Decorator would like to use the book Learning Unix for Macs, OS X Tiger – by Dave Taylor as set dressing in our couple’s home. Dupree has the book for his job search. There are no dialog references to the publication.
“With this request we are endeavoring to maintain good community relationships and though it may, or may not be necessary to request your consent to allow us this use, it is our practice nonetheless to contact you in this regard. Kindly confirm that our use as proposed above is acceptable with you by signing the enclosed document and returning it to me as soon as possible.
“Thank you for your help and consideration.”
First off, you should run out and buy a copy of my Tiger book while it’s still available. Soon I expect Owen Wilson groupies to snatch up every copy from the shelves and electronic distributors!
Secondly, this letter offers a glimpse why films cost upwards of $100 million nowadays. Imagine the scope of the Set Decorator’s task when every single recognizable item has to be approved by the copyright owner in advance of filming. It’s certainly clear why when I visit my friends they have 10-30 books scattered on their table, counters, desk, etc., but in the movies, there are typically zero or one book visible. Even the geekiest movies, now that I think about it (think Hackers, for example, or Swordfish), rarely have any books shown.
In any case, this is pretty cool. I don’t know if I’d go to see this movie just to try and spot my book on the table for a quarter-second, but on the other hand, publicity is publicity! 🙂
Oh, here’s the IMDB page for You, Me and Dupree, if you care.

10 comments on “My book is “set dressing” for the upcoming movie “You, Me and Dupree”

  1. Look at the books in an indie film and often you’ll see that all of the books have been deliberately turned spine inward on the shelves so that no one can read what they are. Prevents lawsuits. In the distant future some alien archeologists will land on earth, dig these films up … and be very confused.

  2. That’s fascinating! How to get famous and not profit from it!
    And yes, it’s Yet Another sign of the law gone mad. Sigh….
    Good talking to ya, Dave.
    –mac

  3. Congrats, Dave! Now if you could only get a product spot like that scene in Wayne’s World. (If you’ve seen it, you know exactly which one I’m talking about.)
    BTW, nice placement deal for Apple, too.

  4. Congratulations, Dave! You should be sure to post a framegrab when it’s out… er, you’d have to wait for the DVD, of course. You wouldn’t want to get caught in a movie theater these days with any kind of photographic equipment 🙂

  5. How cool is that? Now you can say your book is “soon to be [in] a major motion picture.”
    I love your comment about WHY movies cost so darn much!

  6. That might be a good way to virally market films…get a bunch of books, websites, posters, etc of people who would reach the same demographic you are going after 🙂
    I find it amazing that you know enough to write books on such a wide variety of topics. I guess that 20+ years helps a bunch on that front…but still amazing IMHO

  7. I just now received a request from Alice Syed asking for permission to use my book Lucid Dreaming for set dressing on a feathre film in the UK. I had no idea what that meant. I looked up set dressing file om Google and found you. What is set dressing? What does it mean? Does it pay? Does giving permission gove them the right to use the book in any other way?

  8. As far as I know, George, it just means that our books will be ‘sitting on table’ or desk or on the floor, or whatever. No starring role, and we might be the only people in the theater who recognize the book by its cover anyway!

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