non-Hollywood by Neal A. Yeager

Non-Hollyood audiobook review

three-stars

You’d hope that the myths of Hollywood would be well and truly busted by now. But as the entertainment machine becomes more finely tuned every decade, and generations of aspiring young stars continue to have their dreams dashed when they find they don’t fit into increasingly narrow parameters, cautionary tales are called for.

Neal A. Yeager’s non-Hollywood isn’t a non-fiction tell-all, but its intertwining narratives following a cast of struggling actors and actresses, filmmakers and musicians over a number of years feels like it’s grounded firmly in true experiences, whether first-hand or anecdotal. The grievances are just too specific.

Its 59 chapters are a checklist of the sort of problems young people can look forward to when going all-in on a career in Tinseltown, from confidence-sapping auditions to strained relationships, the inevitable sleaze and the less glamorous practical side of sorting out finance, headshots and social media followers.

While Yeager’s moving pictures aren’t attractive or inviting, the attitude is one of caution rather than pessimism. He doesn’t want to crush your dreams, only to ground them in harsh reality. Not every story has an unhappy ending, and there are still plenty of moments of unabashed wonder as characters appreciate where they are, even if things aren’t going entirely according to plan.

The audiobook of non-Hollywood takes the meta approach of having each chapter narrated by a different actor. It would be rude to state it outright, but we can infer from their willingness to volunteer for this indie project (and from the varying professionalism of the recordings) that they’re in a similar boat to the characters whose struggles they’re relating, career-wise. The difference being that, through the wonders of modern technology, they can upload their contributions from wherever they are in the USA, rather than having to make the LA pilgrimage themselves.

This adds an entertaining layer, but considering that certain characters recur, it would have made more sense to use a smaller group of dedicated narrators. Not to mention the chance to weed out the less talented performers and improve the overall quality. But when you start insisting on quality and favouring ability over enthusiasm, it’s a slippery slope to Hollywoodian levels of bland adequacy.

 

 

non-Hollywood: a novel of actors, indie film & music Book Cover non-Hollywood: a novel of actors, indie film & music
Neal A. Yeager
Humour
Self-published
July 2016
232

 

Living in Los Angeles, a few million strangers have one thing in common: they want to make it in the entertainment business. From actors to indie film types, from rock & rollers to models -- they can all be found in L.A. pursuing their dreams, working their day jobs and rallying behind the cry of "I deserve to be famous, dammit!"

With equal parts humor and empathy, Neal A. Yeager tells the story of four of these souls:

Sarah is a fantastic actress who, after 37 Hollywood auditions, hasn't landed even a small role. While absolutely killing it in those auditions and in acting classes, Sarah can't help but wonder if -- here in the land of glitter and beautiful people -- what is really holding her back from winning the acting jobs is the fact that she doesn't look like a model.

Icon is a shy but brilliant independent filmmaker with a vision. She does the film school thing during the day, works on her own independent film projects in her free time and habitually pops antacids while wrestling the doubts and insecurities of a highly intelligent creative person.

Terrance has, for all of his life, been told that he looks like a movie star. He always thought that he knew how to become an actor and by all accounts he has what it takes to be the Next Big Thing. Through years of struggling with odd jobs and family members both supportive and skeptical, he looks to land that role that will make him the movie star that everyone says he should be.

And Sean? Well, Sean is a musician who knows that it's all in who you know...

A novel for the fans of the underdog, non-Hollywood takes the reader through the life of those struggling on the outside and on the fringes of show business.

Those who appreciate the humorous and bittersweet work of Nick Hornby should definitely enjoy what non-Hollywood has to offer.

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One thought on “non-Hollywood by Neal A. Yeager

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