Hollywood Nobody

June 24th, 2014 11 Comments

P1020549 (Small)

Oh, are you going to have fun!

My friend Dan Bronson (that’s him up above, pressing down hard on the old mental accelerator) is a semi-retired screenwriter. That’s a little bit like saying, “Spike is a semi-retired pit-bull.” Spike may not be actively engaged in killing anything and everything on four legs just at the moment, but it doesn’t mean the bloodthirsty impulse, the longing for the taste of blood, the murderous instincts, the essential desire for violence and mayhem (all of which are traits writers share with pit-bulls) have all been retired; it just means Spike isn’t killing anyone as I write this.

Dan, who—to be honest—perhaps isn’t quite as bloodthirsty as a pit-bull named Spike, has written a memoir of his time cringing under the lash in the salt mines of Hollywood. It is entitled Confessions of a Hollywood Nobody (available on Amazon), and it qualifies as a wild, irreverent, raucous, and howlingly funny account of the ups and downs, the hits and misses, the mendacity and arrogance, the back-stabbing and phony friendships, the eccentricity and frequently self-destructive behavior, and the occasional true friendship and loyalty that epitomize the golden glamour of the show biz racket in the city of angels and dreams and demons. I recommend it wholeheartedly. It is as refreshing a memoir as I have read in a long time. Perhaps only David Niven’s great autobiography, The Moon’s a Balloon comes close to the same delicate balance between honesty and humor, but Dan’s writing is a wild and unique style worth reading for itself alone.

So I recommend the book, but you will notice that I have added a link to his website (Hollywood Nobody) in my “Links” column. (Duh. Where else would you add it, Jameson?) He has started a website in part to publicize the book, but primarily because he is starting an online screen-writing class. Since I have known Dan for a longish while now, and have had a small taste of his abilities as teacher, I can wholeheartedly recommend his class to anyone with any interest in learning how to write screenplays professionally. (Actually, if anyone really wants to learn how to write screenplays, I would recommend taking his class in conjunction with psychotherapy, but perhaps I’m a trifle cynical.) But even if you have absolutely zero interest in ever having anything to do with Hollywood beyond reading the headlines of the National Intruder while unloading your grocery cart, I also strongly suggest you visit his site for sheer entertainment value. Dan has the kind of loopy sense of humor that really appeals to me, but more than that, the site itself is fun, full of pages and tabs and links and connections that amuse and delight, including a tab where you can listen to him read chapters from his book. To quote a famous old character actor I worked with once long ago: If you don’t like this, you don’t like chocolate cake!

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It seems that actors do have a tendency for emotional problems. Maybe not all actors, but a lot of actors seem to have problems with drinking and drugs or other problems. I have heard that many actors, artist and writers have a melancholy temperament. They all must need this to imagine what it would be like to be another person or character.

    “I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.”
    ― Edgar Allan Poe

    http://temperaments.fighunter.com/?page=melancholic

    This link describes the characteristics of a melancholic or melancholy temperament.

  2. Anonymous says:

    That reminded of of the a qoute from The ” Wizard of Oz” It is “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” When Dorothy and her friends returned to Oz they found out that the great Wizard was just a humbug. He did not have any real power at all, but merely gave them what they had in the first place.
    I always wondered about Hollywood. Like most people I thought that it was all glamour and glitter. especially when I was younger. There is a saying that “everything that glitters isn’t gold”. Still I want to believe the fantasy for some reason even though I know it isn’t true. I also wonder why actors and other people want to go into show business in the first place. I guess I get the appeal of wanting to be someone else. However, some actors stay in the business all their lives. I know you left. If it is that bad why would anyone want to become an actor and go to Hollywood? If they made “it” why would they want to stay there were people are phoney and conniving? Why would someone want to be in a profession where they didn’t know who their real friends where? I guess that kind of thing can happen in almost any profession. Still I can’t help wondering about it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    http://youtu.be/OlBifX0H3yg

    Hollywood and fame seem to remind me of this song “Blinded by the Light” It was originally written by Bruce Springsteen and had a lot to do with the price of fame. This version is by Manfred Mann with the lyrics.

  4. Anonymous says:

    http://www.freep.com/article/20140615/COL01/306150065/Mitch-Albom-Mick-Jagger

    This commentary says a lot about our celebrity obsessed culture. Who do we really worship?

  5. Anonymous says:

    http://youtu.be/7S_gLohI4XE

    I think this is another good song about fame. Oddly, it seems to be played at sporting events. “We are the Champions” by Queen.

  6. Anonymous says:

    In more Hollywood news this is the top !00 movies that are the favourites of Hollywood Hotshots.

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/list/100-greatest-films-all-time-713215

  7. Anonymous says:

    I was thinking about the title “A Hollywood Nobody” and the line “I’m Nobody! Who are you?” came back to me and I realized that I knew it from somewhere. So here is the poem.

    I’m Nobody! Who are you? (260)
    Emily Dickinson, 1830 – 1886
    I’m Nobody! Who are you?
    Are you – Nobody – too?
    Then there’s a pair of us!
    Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

    How dreary – to be – Somebody!
    How public – like a Frog –
    To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
    To an admiring Bog!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hello JP,

    well…, the picture above of a guy wearing a pink basecap with the inscription “Lakegirl” made me assume that he is, let’s just say … different.
    But since you’re so unashamedly advertising his work I looked up his page. It’s funny, weird, unconventional and the offspring of a brilliant and alert mind. I love his irony. And I must confess that I have a great proclivity for people who don’t take themselves too seriously :) . This time surely wasn’t the last time I visited his homepage.
    I’m curious for the book. Beyond that I’m already looking for a birthday present for a friend of mine. He shares my sense of humor and makes his living in the movie business as well (he wanted it that way). If the book is as brilliant as the little foretaste I had then it might be a bull’s eye for that purpose.
    Thank yo very much for the idea!!!

    Best wishes
    NW

    • Anonymous says:

      It could be worse. The hat could say “Lakers Girl”. I have a pink baseball cap that has a darker pink
      fire design. The hat say Hemi. On the side it say I Heart(love) my hemi. I really do wear this hat if I am going to out in the sun for a while. One problem with this though I do not have a Hemi.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I love that you share other authors and works because I find great stuff to read that I never would have known about, but how about a mention of YOUR new book, that I just stumbled upon on Amazon. I figured I missed your announcement while I was traveling to help settle an estate for the law firm where I work, but I don’t see anything. How about adding a banner with flashing lights, etc. “NEW BOOK NOW AVAILABLE on Amazon.com” I would have been much better able to cope with my boss’ tantrums if I had been able to escape into your world in the evenings.

    Excuse me, Changing Earth, Changing Sky is calling my name.
    Jan

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