From the Publisher
"Brody's debut novel has an ambitious agenda. It's a coming-of-age novel, a mystery, a love story, and a stinging, knowing send-up of the movie biz." —Booklist (May 2012)
"As the sun came up today, I turned the last page of Phil Brody's The Holden Age of Hollywood. That's because I couldn't put it down. I can rarely make time for novels, but this one had me rifling through pages with constant anticipation." —Doug Jones, actor, Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth, and author, Mime Very Own Book
"A startling, beautiful, and unique page turner. And a poignant, focused perspective of life in the Hollywood trenches." —Taryn Southern, actor-singer-comedian
"Brody's written a real fresh-feeling book on the whole Hollywood subject. . . . His style reminds me a lot of Shane Black or David Mamet—masters at creating their own memorable voices with scant words." —Gregor Collins, author, The Accidental Caregiver
"The Holden Age of Hollywood begins as a journey of personal discovery then mutates into a dark and obsessive pursuit of phantoms through the sulfurous netherworld of Hollywood. Fascinating." —John Knoerle, author of The American Spy Trilogy
"The Holden Age of Hollywood is a great view of the reality of screenwriting. Phil Brody's dark humor and commentary could fast become required reading for all aspiring in Hollywood." —Jeffrey Gordon, founder, Writers Boot Camp
"The Holden Age of Hollywood by Phil Brody delivers the premise and promise of its title. It is an original, rollicking, picaresque novel that would make J.D. Salinger proud." —Stan Corwin, former publisher/CEO of Pinnacle Books, author of Betty Page Confidential and Oxy-Morons I Have Known
"Out of five stars, I'd probably give six. . . . It's a great, fast-paced, witty, snarky read." —www.AllThingsWriting.blogspot.com
Read an Excerpt
The Holden Age of Hollywood
By Phil Brody
Medallion Press, Inc.
Copyright © 2012 Phil Brody
All right reserved.
Chapter One Doing Time
"What are you in for?"
Fourth time tonight I'm asked this question. It's the city's trendy new way of inquiring, "What do you do?"
"Actor." Fourth different answer I've given tonight.
I'm in the Hills at an industry party hosted by a guy I despise. House is way too crowded, music's way too loud. Everyone here thinks their shit not only doesn't stink but might make a good movie. Welcome to LA.
Guy I despise is Justin Lackey, an A-list prick I work with in Development. In case your only movie experience comes in between the tearing of your ten-dollar ticket and the pissing away of six-dollar Coca-Colas, development is the process of finding, acquiring, polishing, and packaging the scripts that ultimately help fill said multiplex near you.
Lackey and I work for Jon Foster, a dinosaur in Hollywood whose last real days in the sun occurred in the late seventies. His initial success made him relevant for almost thirty years, but it's painfully obvious his days as a player in the industry are numbered. So what are we doing working for the near extinct? Biding time before we make our own moves in the game of chess that is Hollywood. That's fundamentally why we hate each other. When you're swimming with the sharks, you don't make friends. You wait for the smell of blood. Then you feast.
Shark tank of a party is wearing on me. Current conversation grates. Told I'll never be a successful actor in this town because my look is way too Kinkoed. The comment shouldn't bother me, but the chick who said it irks me, so I ask, "What's that supposed to mean?"
"Your look. It's too off-the-rack."
Speak LA, as I do now after more than a year in this wretched hive, and you'd realize this means too many actors look like me. This might resonate if I wanted to be an actor. I don't. It would also mean something if I even remotely wanted to bang this girl. I don't. She looks too Starbucked for my taste—all bitter and burned out. I like them on the chaste side. Hard to find in this town, but I aspire.
I escape to the patio, perch myself at the bar, where the bartenders can't pour the Red Bull or the Kettle One fast enough. I watch them work, mesmerized by the stampede for this overhyped mixture of depressant and upper. I know no one uses terms like that anymore—depressant, upper. Call me old-fashioned. Actually, call me well-rounded. Helps me do my job and deal with the reason I'm doing time in this town. Drink to that.
"Another gin and tonic?"
I nod once to my best friend at this party, my only friend in this fucking town—the bartender. Not this bartender per se. Every bartender. They mix a cure for what ails me. Sure, it's a momentary cure, but those are some of my happiest moments. Way it is.
Too many people. Too loud. Attitudes starting to asphyxiate. I stare at the sea of lights, the view from the Hills of this coldfuckcold city that's 75 degrees every day. It's an endless four-story grid of isolated, lock-the-door-behind-you lives, where everyone is either so wrapped up in creating their own success story or so damaged from their failure that resentment for one another is all we have in common.
Lights everywhere twinkle, look so inviting, but it's a trick. I know it.
The drug I'm sipping starts to work its magic, and my thoughts are set adrift. I ponder whether the decision I've been mulling the last few weeks, the journey I believe I'm about to embark upon, is my destiny or my density. Destiny. Density. Amazing how those words are so close. Just a matter of how the letters fall.
Thoughts get derailed when someone enters the picture. This tall, slender, smoking hot gotta-be-an-actress with stellar gams and straight black hair that almost meets her I swear-sometimes-God-is-an-artist perfect ass. Love her right off the bat. Trust me, you would too.
She saunters my way. Truth told, she merely enters the crime scene that's unfolding around me. She approaches the bar where my ass has been suffocating this barstool for the last hour, while leaving incriminating fingerprints on many a glass. She busts me. I introduce myself and we shake hands. Touch of her skin confirms a smoldering attraction. The smile in her chestnut eyes ignites it.
Her name is Share. Just Share. I'm not making this up. She even spells it for me. Also confirm she's indeed an actress as I help her and her friend, who's incessantly scanning the crowd, obtain drinks. She and I cheers, dance together with words.
"You know Justin?" she inquires.
"I work with that son of a bitch. You?"
She grins. "He is a son of a bitch."
"What kind of name is Share?"
"The kind I was given."
"Come on. Unless you were born here, there's no way."
She laughs, but I can tell she's pissed.
"Where you from? What's your real name?"
"Thanks for the drink," she says as she disregards me.
"That's it? All I get?"
"Do I owe you something?"
"No, Share," I say with sarcastic emphasis on her given name, "you don't owe me anything, for the drink or the chat. Both are overpriced anyway."
"Drinks are free. No one's paying tonight."
"You can believe that, but you're wrong. Nothing's free here. Ever."
She stares at me, pontificates, "You're not the kind of guy who's afraid to merge in LA, are you?"
Makes me laugh but also have to ask, "What are you talking about?"
Should've played the game, should have said, "Do you know who I am?" I'm nobody, but no one knows that and therein lies the secret to Coldfuckcold, California.
Share turns to her chubby, UGG-wearing friend who's not listening and says, "See?"
Her tone makes me hate her. Trust me, you'd hate her too. "See what?"
"You'll never be on the list."
I seethe. Take a swig of Hindsight mixed with 20/20 and lean in, making sure she can hear me. "Yeah? Well, Ass Eyes, you'll be making porn inside of a year. And not that glossy Vivid Video stuff either. It's gonna be fetish flicks and bukkake videos for you until the day you die a lonesome and disease-laden death."
"Did you just call me Ass Eyes?"
"What the fuck is that?"
"Let me clarify. Your eyes. They look like shitty, brown assholes. Two of 'em. That's what the fuck that is. Now you can hurry back to the parade of delusion where, like everyone else, you're obviously somebody important."
She laughs. We talk another thirty minutes. She stares at my lips the entire time, which I hope you know is a good sign.
As her UGG-wearing friend finally pulls her away in search of a better vantage point, I garner her digits. All ten.
Watching her out-of-my-league ass sway bye-bye, I can only smile.
Welcome to LA. My lot in life.
Excerpted from The Holden Age of Hollywood by Phil Brody Copyright © 2012 by Phil Brody. Excerpted by permission of Medallion Press, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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