Last night I saw a commercial for a movie called "Paparazzi." It filled me with a sense of dread and hope. Last novel I wrote was about Hollywood. It’s about a celebrity who starts killing people using the modus operandi of the local serial killer, The Vanity Plate Killer. The first person he kills is a paparazzi photographer who has pictures of him screwing a girl who’s not his wife. License plate: PAPRAZI.
I adapted the novel into a screenplay, hoping that a film sale would help sell the book--and put my daughter through college. I’m not so dumb as to believe this is actually possible, but a writer breathes hope. I’m the son of a producer and a screenwriter who have both fallen into frustration about the movie business. As my father says, "You could die of encouragement in Hollywood."
The coolest thing my mom has produced is David Cronenberg’s "Dead Ringers." My dad’s worked mainly in television. The last thing he had made was an adaptation of "Journey to the Center of the Earth." Find his novel: Out of Body. My family lived in New York City until I was five. My mom worked in publishing and my dad was a novelist. They moved to L.A. and made the transition to the movie industry. Don’t get the idea that I have lived a life of excess. People who don’t know Hollywood don’t realize that it’s like any industry, employing tens of thousands of people---not all snorting cocaine in a convertible.
Though I will admit that growing up in Hollywood has led to my detachment from the world. Hollywood deals in fantasy. Even the real people of Hollywood--the celebrities--live a life of fiction. So I grew up in this world of seeming fantasy which is both separate from the rest of America and also America’s obsession: a mixed message. Because of this, I’ve written two novels about Hollywood, trying to purge the place from my system. There’s a link to the published one at the right.
The serial-killer novel, called "North of Sunset," didn’t get published. It basically destroyed my faith in publishing. It’s a good novel. It should be published. I know when I write crap. It’s something like The Bonfire of the Vanities, but more insane, meaner. (Note: the reason I don’t underline book titles is because Blogger won’t let me.) Publishers used to nurture young writers. Look at Saul Bellow’s early novels. They are not his best--a writer working out his style. There are many instances like this. I’m a talented fucking writer and this does not seem to matter. Not getting "North of Sunset" published is what lead me to blogging. I would rather have readers than have another novel lay dead on a shelf. It’s been a very good experience so far.
I’m getting off the subject again. I found out about "Paparazzi" as my script was about to go out. The movie sounds like crap--a chase movie. But it has some of the same themes as my novel/screenplay, namely a famous actor being taunted by a photographer and going after him. I have the deluded hope that if "Paparazzi" does well they’ll be looking for more scripts about Hollywood. I can bank on Hollywood’s lack of imagination.
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