Giving Good Hollywood by Chris Culler
About a month ago a good friend sent me a book that was self-published by a friend of hers because she thought I would like it. How RIGHT she was! The book is entitled “Giving Good Hollywood” and it was written by Chris Culler, who works as a story analyst for a major film studio.
Now just based on the title alone one would have to wonder just what the book is about. But, with a quick read of the back cover you discover it is a fictional look at how movies are made in Hollywood. It is also about how some of the folks working in Hollywood still want to make “good” movies. The basic premise of the book is about “having the courage of your ambition” without “inevitably losing your soul.”
Here is a brief synopsis of the book:
Natalie Saladay is back in Hollywood, and now she wants it all: The power to make good movies. The love of a good man. And she’ll risk just about anything in order to “give good Hollywood.”
The descriptors at Amazon and Shopping.com (where the book can be purchased) also reveal this about “Giving Good Hollywood”:
In this satirical romance novel of Hollywood, unabashedly ambitious, recently divorced Natalie Saladay is a studio “reader” whose job is to cull through scripts and books in search of that perfect movie. Natalie knows that the “show” and “business” of filmmaking are synonymous, but her boss, the beautiful, ruthless and equally ambitious executive Mona Pearl, dismisses Natalie’s preference for character-driven screenplays as “movies for nobody.” Soon studio intrigue and a tragic film location accident galvanize Natalie into rekindling a hot romance with charismatic producer Benny Gallo, the man she swore she never wanted to see again. Conflicted about the powerful producer and big-time heartbreaker, Natalie nonetheless persuades Benny into producing a soulful “little independent-that-could” film set in Central Coast wine country. Mona, on the other hand, is staking her reputation on the studio’s big budget special effects-action “tentpole” picture. The entire film business appears in upheaval, but Benny Gallo urges Natalie to trust her own ambition, even as he serves to benefit from her “giving good Hollywood.” Is he the devil bargaining for her soul? Her Svengali? Or is he “the man who got away?” As the glitz and glamour of awards season approaches along with the release dates for both radically different movies, as the rivalry between the two women reaches a fever pitch, Natalie realizes she may indeed be risking her soul and even the love of the man she’s always wanted — all for giving good Hollywood.
From the moment I opened the book and began reading the first few pages I was transported into a world that, for me, is merely “down the street” [since I live in Los Angeles] and I chuckled at the descriptions of the characters (as they resemble people I have met or seen in the City of Angels since I arrived here in 2000).
As I moved through chapter after chapter, I was captivated by author Chris Culler’s style of writing and the ease with which she tells a story. Whether you are familiar with how the business of making movies is done or simply want to have a fun book to read “Giving Good Hollywood” is certainly worth the cover charge.
You can find “Giving Good Hollywood” here and here.
Thankfully, Chris has another book called “101 Ways Your Mother Said You Could Die,” which is a “liar’s memoir” coming out soon. And, I for one can’t wait to read it!
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