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!