|All writers must watch this movie.|
Thanks to an effective social media ad campaign, I learned about a movie called Authors Anonymous last year. Thanks to the circumstances of life as a working wife/mother, plus writer, I didn't get a chance to watch the movie until a couple weeks ago.
Wow. I had totally been missing out. Authors Anonymous follows the antics of a critique group. Each character totally nails a stereotype of writers and writer wannabes. Frankly, there's a healthy dose of each of these characters in me and I can recognize a lot of incarnations of them from the conferences and author events I've attended.
What I love about this movie is that the characters seem over the top, but they really aren't. Sure, you'll cringe when you see how Colette and Alan try to land a literary agent but that sort of thing, and far worse, happen in real life.
I totally loved the scene when the group goes to a book signing for a bestselling author. He's a complete jerk to most of the group, but ends up having quite a special moment with one of them. I laughed out loud as it reminded me exactly of the experience my writing buddy, Jody Lamb, and I had when we met Henry Winkler at an SCBWI Conference in LA. (Lucky for me, I'm the one who had the glowing moment with Mr. Winkler, but the actual story is that much more entertaining to hear when Jody tells it, juxtaposed with her own experience.)
Each character earned a special place in my writerly heart:
Alan Mooney for his constant supply of ridiculous story ideas and character names.
Colette Mooney for the incredible passion she pours into writing absolute crap.
Hannah, whose dreams are coming true at an alarming pace but she still has self-doubt.
Henry for admiring so many authors and trying so hard but just not being able to sit down and get his story out.
William for trying to exploit the whole misunderstood artistic soul schtick.
And then there's John K. Butzin. First, there's nothing not to love about this guy. A surly veteran, "a decorated combat veteran," John refers to himself exclusively as John K. Butzin and he aspires to be the next Tom Clancy. Finally fed up with rejection, he takes matters into his own hands and goes the self-publishing route. What could summarize the roller-coaster of being an author better than when he looks up his Amazon sales ranking for the first time. Full of hope and ready to knock the socks off of ol' Clancy, he gets a heavy dose of reality. But it doesn't stop him. No sir, not John K. Butzin. I. Love. Him. And he couldn't have been played any better than Dennis Farina does it. That's an Oscar-worthy performance in my book. Too bad I don't have a say in that.
|Colette and Alan Mooney in their "dream home"|