That magical place where movies are made

Beneath Hollywood’s sleek and glamorous exterior lies a core of deception and decay. So naturally, that's where I need to go to make my dreams come true.

Beneath Hollywood’s sleek and glamorous exterior lies a core of deception and decay. So naturally, that’s where I went to make my dreams come true.

So if you want to hear how I succeeded in show biz, you’ll have to stay tuned. It’s an ongoing story. But it does start with a batch of scripts I took to Polished Stone Pictures a week after completing my treatments. They gave me $15 pocket money and put me on a bus headed for Hollywood. Such kind folks who run that facility.

What treatments, you ask? Oh, a little nervous breakdown — that’s all it was. A brief, yearlong hospitalization. And now freedom at last to pursue my career in show biz. Already I can see my autobiography on bookstore shelves: “From Nuthouse to Hollywood: How Hard Work and Electroshock Treatments Led to One Man’s Unimaginable Success.”

Hollywood’s got the shimmer and sheen of a place that makes magic (and unnecessary political statements). At its core lies a fantasy in action, where meek peasants can ascend to superstardom, and where raw, spellbinding talent pours coffee at the corner Starbucks. It’s a land of glimmer and glamor, moguls and mistresses, pariahs and paparazzi (and other hackneyed, alliterative combinations that aren’t immediately leaping to mind). It’s a town where the possibilities are limited only by the scope of your imagination … as well as the clenched-assed accountants who administer the pursestrings.

So I sailed into town on a smog-belching bus, which had a sign on the back that said “Help Save the Planet: Ride Your City Bus.” I gazed out the window at the concrete dreamscape, with its neon and grime and overblown signage. (And that was just in the Wal-Mart parking lot. So you can imagine the rest of the town.)

My imagination soared across the stratosphere, and my Royal was nestled between my knees. I had picked it up in a secondhand shop to accompany me on my journey. (I would have purchased a laptop, but laptops can lower the sperm count. But then again, so can 20-pound typewriters sitting on your testicles, I’ve come to find out.)

I held my twitching fingertips over the keys, in anticipation of the scores of hit blockbusters I no doubt would write. Perhaps I also might dabble in direction, joining the league of cinematic superstars such as Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, James Cameron and Alan Smithee.

Ah, overblown fantasies, as vivid and grand as any spectacle Hollywood could paint on the big screen.

Wait: a flicker of a dream creeps in. A nurse is rubbing my arm, sliding in a needle. “You’re murmuring to yourself,” she says, smiling. “Shh. This will make you feel better.”

And then I’m back in the bus in the cinematic core of our great nation, riding to the end of the line. I’m deposited at the high iron gates of Polished Stone Pictures, the place where dreams are made (as well as their corresponding DVD commentaries).

The guards are ushering me in, to see the head of the studio himself. He sits in a high-rise office overlooking the backlot, chomping on a wet cigar. He rises from his seat to shake my hand. My shoes sink into the thick, maroon carpet … which is unfortunate, because I had worn a brand-new pair of Nikes for the occasion. They even matched my belt, which the nice folks at the facility were kind of enough to return, after I swore I wouldn’t hang myself.

The studio head wants to see everything I’ve got. I snap open my suitcase, and a mess of screenplays spills out. Like a porn model auditioning for a skin flick, they’re now splayed across the man’s desk in a shameless, self-promotional display.

He devours them all, tearing through the pages.

“We’ve got some hits here,” he says. “Several summer blockbusters. A couple of made-for-TV movies. We could even novelize some of these to tie into the films. Perhaps you could write those as well? I mean, as long as you didn’t mix your past and present tenses like some uneducated humor blogger.”

He looks at me, biting into the wet end of his cigar. (Biting the lit end, I suspect, is a mistake you only make once.)

“What do you say, young man?” he asks. “Can we do business?”

A surge of electricity shoots through me. “Yes, sir. Where do I sign?”

“What do you say, young man?” he asks, biting into the wet end of his cigar. “Can we do business?”

Another surge of electricity shoots through me.

“What do you say, young man?” he asks, biting into the wet end of his cigar. “Can we do business?”

His voice dissolves, and so does the office with the deep maroon carpet and the backlot view. And I find I’m strapped to a steel table, electrodes attached to my temples. (But not to my testicles, so I’m grateful for small favors. Or large favors, I should say.)

A team of doctors in white coats surrounds me. They’re holding clipboards and murmuring as the electricity fries the innards of my skull. I’m not sure what this is, but I suspect it has something to do with the Affordable Care Act.

“I confess!” I blurt out, trying to sit up. I can’t move my neck, however, as it’s chained to the table. “The Lusitania script was copied word-for-word from Titanic. All I changed was the name of the ship and some of the stilted dialogue. Oh, and I also had the main character sketch a picture of two naked women, instead of one. Because I wanted my version to be bigger and better.”

“He’s awake, Doctor,” a nurse says, no doubt relying on her advanced medical training to make that ballsy assertion.

“Give him another dose,” a man says. And suddenly there’s a needle sliding in my arm, and then that enveloping sense of calm. I don’t have a care in the world, now. I’m not even concerned whether my insurance will cover this procedure.

And then I’m out of this world and out of my mind, ensconced in a cocoon of creativity. And I’m reaching far into the nebulous heavens, that place where so many of us go to escape the mundane realm of everyday existence … where spellbinding imagination sprawls across the big screen, and where all of us are Hollywood superstars writing and directing our own films.

6 comments on “That magical place where movies are made

  1. I think this piece would be funnier if it were further removed from the truth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • At least we can rest assured that only the best and brightest succeed in Hollywood — that last bastion of originality on the planet.

      *Beer shoots through nostrils in failed attempt to contain laughter*

      Liked by 1 person

      • I really thought Hollywood was the beacon of light for all mankind? Aren’t they pro everything that feels good and seems good yet don’t have specifics when it comes to incorporating their high-moral policies?

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s exactly right. And no book is worth reading unless a Hollywood producer has turned it into a movie. If I pick up a novel, and I don’t see the words “Now a major motion picture on the cover,” then I just toss it.

        Because clearly, it’s garbage.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Let’s be real, it’s not even worth a writer’s time to write unless it’s adaptable to film. And then the writer better be current with all the latest trends, buzz, and popularity. Regurgitate, spit, then regurgitate again.

        Liked by 1 person

      • All that’s left is for them to cash their check and accept their Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

        Liked by 1 person

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