Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Actors Anonymous: A Review

Author: James Franco
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
Pages: 286
Format: hardback
ISBN: 0544114531
GTIN: 09780544114531
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 I will admit. I purchased this book because I used to be a stage actress when I was younger. And I miss it…a lot! I admire most those actors/actresses that are true to themselves, don’t lose themselves in the money they make/fame they receive and are real, genuine human beings who are not afraid to tell it like it is.
James Franco is one of those people.
In the beginning of the book is listed the 12 Steps Of Actors Anonymous. In essence, 12 steps to being a true to yourself actor/entertainer/person.
My favorite quote in the book explains it all:
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James tells a lot of his history, from childhood until he reached Los Angeles in 1996. In between the biography is all look inward. Who are you? Where do you want to be? And where are you going? Even if you are not, or never have been, an actor, these all can apply to something in your life. They make amazingly perfect sense. If they don’t, you may be doing something wrong.
Throughout the book are short stories that tell of success, failure, of hard work and much more. You’ll have to read it to truly understand everything. Each person has an amazing story to tell and a great message behind each one. At least one of them I am sure you, as the reader, will relate to. If not all.
In essence, this book is about honesty, what Hollywood is really like, not how it is portrayed on television, with a lot of amazing humor sprinkled heavily throughout the book. It is a book that essentially brings of to the realization that we create our own roles in life and that we can change them, for better or for worse, at any stage in our lives. That what you are doing now is not all their is left to life. There is a whole other world out there. And that we need to give ourselves over to and improve your conscious contact with “The Great Director.”
The second half of the book is about The Twelve Traditions of Actors Anonymous. Unity, leadership, reality, autonomy, communication and more, making sure that there is a sense of oneness within the acting community which also helps to protect privacy where privacy should be protected and keep a sense of reality throughout their lives. And masks: what masks do you wear? Why? And for what purposes.
James talks about reasoning. Why are you doing what you are doing? From what I got out of this, if you are only doing what you are doing for the money and not because you love your job, whatever that may be, then perhaps you should reevaluate and start doing something you love, even if it is just a back up plan.
There is a quote in there that is very true to life: “You’re on set, there’s a script, but there are no lines; you have a character, but that character can change if you want, you can change your character…” If there is anything you take away from this, it should be that, no matter where you come from or what you are currently doing, YOU have the ability to change, if that is what you want to do. And don’t be afraid of change. Your conscious audience is watching.
There is nothing boring about this book. It will make you laugh, cry, think and even reminissce about your life and perhaps even make you want to be a better person. No matter what you may be doing at this point in time.
As the Great Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage.” Now go, read this very well thought out and extremely well written book and find your true role in the great production of life!

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