Actors Anonymous by James FrancoActors Anonymous by James Franco

Actors Anonymous

byJames Franco

Hardcover | December 16, 2015

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Actors Anonymous is unsettling, funny, personal, and dark, a story told in many forms, from testimonials (in the style of Alcoholics Anonymous) and scripts to letters, diaries, and more. James Franco turns his "James Franco" persona inside out-sometimes humorously, often mercilessly. The book contains profound insights into the nature and purpose of acting, bawdy satires of the high life, and deeply moving portraits of aspiring actors who never quite made it. Franco's seemingly inexhaustible celebrity currency makes this that rare work in which the writer's fame matches his considerable literary ambition. Modeled loosely on Alcoholics Anonymous's&nbsp Twelve Steps and&nbspTwelve Traditions, Actors Anonymous is an intense, wild ride that's pure Franco.
JAMES FRANCO is a talented, ubiquitous, popular, and provocative actor, director, author, and visual artist. His first book, the story collection Palo Alto, was published in 2010.
Title:Actors AnonymousFormat:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.09 inPublished:December 16, 2015Publisher:Houghton Mifflin HarcourtLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0544114531

ISBN - 13:9780544114531

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really surprising ! I can't believe i found this hardcover book for $5 in the bargain section i picked it up without any hesitation since i'm an aspiring actress myself and of course i love James Franco. I feel like you have to be somewhat open minded to enjoy this book it does get into pretty deep subjects (drugs,sex,pedophillia etc...) but the stories kept me quite entertained i always wanted to know more and more about the characters's lives, the writing can get quite confusing towards the end of the book were Franco writes little paragraphs under or between the developing story but he did apologize and makes other little comments about his writing and directed to the reader which made me laugh i felt like the author was really in my head while reading this. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-03-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Unexpected I love James as an actor and I think he is a good writer, although not everyone's taste. I did enjoy this book while reading it, it was written in an incredibly different way and was not what I was expecting at all. I still loved Franco's writing style and I read this in one sitting. I just didn't enjoy this one as much as previous books by him, like Palo Alto. I am looking forward to his future works and I hope they will continue to be entertaining and interesting reads!
Date published: 2017-01-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from LOVE THIS!!! I adore James Franco as an actor, and I enjoy his writing tremendously. He is fantastic at writing and makes such wonderful characters. He is so good at conveying ideas, and developing characters. I love his style so much and think this book should be read by everyone.
Date published: 2016-12-24
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Do Not Read. I would give it zero stars if that was an option.. Waste of time, and waste of money, unfortunately. Painfully pretentious, riddled with grammatical errors, and unnecessarily crude.
Date published: 2015-03-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting Read James Franco has written a novel based on the steps of alcoholics anonymous. Each different step is portrayed by a different story which at some times was a little confusing to follow, and other times very vulgar to read. All in all it was decently written but this is not Francos best work.
Date published: 2014-08-15

Read from the Book

Preface We of Actors Anonymous are more than fifty men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.   In this volume, we relate our experiences in dealing with existence, modern society, and identity, in order to find suitable ways of acting and being in the world.   Sometimes it is painful to be oneself; at other times it seems impossible to escape oneself. The actor’s life has provided escape for many that find their lives too dull, painful, and insular. But the actor–escape artist can go too far as well.   If one puts on too many different personas or goes too far into character, one is liable to lose oneself. Some have believed that this loss is a positive, and perhaps it is for those that enjoy a rootless swirl of personality in the void, but others, like those who have come to comprise Actors Anonymous, believe that there is a balance to be struck between life and art, between self-creation and the veridic self.   We have put down our experiences in these pages in order to guide others—professional actors, amateurs, and nonactors alike—to a way of life that both defies psychological determinism on the one hand, and freewheeling insanity on the other.   We are people who work in the world as professionals, whether we make our money from acting or not, and it is important for us to maintain our anonymity. There are centuries of prejudice piled on the actor and thus it is important that no one of us is thrust into the spotlight. (God knows that some of us get enough of the spotlight as it is.) So much money is made off the aggrandizement and defamation of actors already that we ask the press, especially the tabloid press, to hold their pens, video cameras, paparazzi flash blasts, and blogs, and respect our organization’s anonymity.   This is a serious text that is intended for actors: “actors” in the most essential sense, not necessarily actors of stage and screen, but actors in the sound and fury of life. Anyone who wants this message is encouraged to glean what she will.   We are not an exclusive club; the only requirement for membership is a desire to change oneself, to be able to act decently in a controlled manner. Everyone can act, but not everyone can act well, and not everyone knows how he actually presents himself to others.   We have no spokesperson, and there is no hierarchy. We have no dues or fees, and we are open to all regardless of race, religion, nationality, or acting style.   We do not oppose anyone—even those actors trained by I_____ C______ or L_____ M____ or any of the other charlatan acting teachers sucking actor blood in dark classrooms across the Los Angeles sprawl.   Our simple desire is to help. Not to train, but to save individuals from training, whether that training was given in a classroom, by a parent, or by what can only be called contemporary life. We of Actors Anonymous subscribe to the following twelve steps and twelve traditions, not because they were handed down from on high by a bully studio, nor from a dictatorial director; we have no concern for deskbound screenwriters proclaiming Napoleonic ambitions of control, and we are certainly not adherents of the steps and traditions because we are beholden to the hordes of critics, both high and low, who proclaim to know something of which they write and speak but hardly do, these sideline vipers who sting and snare and then duck into their holes when the real animals of acting turn on them in anger.   We salute and live by these principles because they were generated by the blood experience of those who have lived through the profession, its trials both on and offscreen, on and offstage, for surely the pitfalls of everyday life are increased in proportion to the heights one reaches in the realms of performance. One cannot live solely in the airy realms of the imagination.   Let these steps and traditions guide you to a balanced life of creativity and truth in a world of surfaces and untruths, through realms of materialism and jealousy, past the vortices of public humiliation, and the private, tooth-ringed maws of self-doubt. We are here for you. Let us love you and guide you.   We speak of what we do. The Actor’s Opinion We of Actors Anonymous believe that the reader will be interested in a professional opinion regarding our situation. There are so many hucksters in the world of performance training that it is important to receive some corroboration from a professional with experience on all levels of the acting strata. To Whom It May Concern: I have been a professional actor since I was eighteen. I trained for eight years, and I have been working as a professional actor for fourteen years. I have met many actors from all over the world. It is hard to find a common denominator, but there are many similarities in most of the actors I meet. There is usually an ingredient of self-hatred that underlies actors. This hatred manifests in different ways; sometimes it is so buried that it is virtually unnoticeable, but don’t be fooled, it’s there. Anyone that is driven to play dress-up for a living is trying to hide something either from himself or from others. Or the self-hatred may be manifested in the drive for success and fame, the algorithm being: “If many people love me, then I must be important.” This can be written a different way: “I hate myself, but I am going to transform myself into something charismatic so that everyone loves me, and if people love me, then I won’t hate myself anymore.”   Most actors are doomed, because the self-hatred never goes away—even for the few that achieve the kind of success that is recognizable by the greater population. I speak about fame. Roughly one tenth of SAG is made up of actors able to support themselves by their acting alone, and only 2 percent approach what might be called famous. So even for those fortunate few, the demons of self-doubt inevitably whisper songs of unworthiness, or else the subject is so insulated in fantasies of grandeur that he lives a life of hermetic madness: He might function in the world, but his eyes see hardly beyond his own pumpkin head. Nothing lasts, not even the films themselves: Look at Edwin S. Porter’s Jack and the Beanstalk, Life of an American Fireman, and The Great Train Robbery and George Cukor’s A Star Is Born—works of art, ripped and deformed. This speaks of the destruction of film classics, the ostensibly most durable vehicle and storage facility for actors’ souls, nonchalantly defaced—and these are the respected films of their day, goodness forbid the contemplation of the fates of the lesser known films, ships of fool actor souls adrift and lost in the tides of eternity. So, the actor is someone with the need for immortality who will never find it, often a locus of intensely driven ambition that can only flare out or burn up in a quick bright moment. This situation has left generations of actors broken on either side of the divide of success, and until now there has been little consolation outside of SAG-funded actors’ homes for the elderly.   I can honestly say that until this volume I thought actors were fucked, but here hope has miraculously touched down on earth, one hundred years after the advent of the moving picture, six hundred years since Everyman and the religious morality plays, four hundred years since Shakespeare played Hamlet’s father’s ghost, and thousands upon thousands of years since the Lascaux population did ritualized dances for campfire roasted venison. Here is a collection of experiences that can give the actor not a way to act better, but a way to live better. For so long actors have carried the conscience of the world across screen and stage and in their personal lives, but they have received little consideration for their pain. They are considered arrogant and self-centered by their fellows, at the same time that they are being applauded for their brave explorations of the darkest places of human experience. Now, with the advent of computer-generated images, actors glance timidly at the future in which their luminosity will be dimmed to the dullness of the poet, novelist, and painter. But all is not lost; there are others who understand, and that understanding in conjunction with a spiritual connection is already guiding dozens if not hundreds out of the wasteland of Hollywood into Elysian Fields. Peace,James Franco

Editorial Reviews

Subversively funny and provocatively honest, Actors Anonymous is ostensibly about acting but it's really about a society where everyone's reduced to the roles they play. The novel's many narrators fight back against these roles in truly original, often hilarious, and deeply affecting ways. So should we all." -Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story 'Electrifying to see a writer hold nothing back! This shape-shifting narrative extends a reader's sense of what a novel can be, can do. Franco plays with persona in ways that implicate a reader. The defiant humor is hard-won (including the best worst job interview ever), his take on irresponsible people is both eloquent and suitably scorching, the language is enviable: the seduction of a virgin is ,like a bullet through a birthday cake.' Franco's novel lures you in with indelible images, provocative mind games, and characters laid bare, then successfully strands you in a frightening place." -Amy Hempel'James Franco puts on a James Franco mask and borrows formats from AA to create a fiction about the fiction of identity-especially as it pertains to actors and, by logical extension, writers. Is fame (the longing for it, the actuality of it) as entangled in the creative act as alcohol? Is acting (writing) an escape from reality or the only thing that's real for an actor (writer)? The illusion of reality and the reality of fiction hold hands in this novel in much the way that actors (and writers) steal from their lives to enliven their characters. The novel does not merely explore acting, it enacts it. This is a lively, strange, engaging, often funny, sometimes brilliant, and utterly fearless novel.' -Robert Boswell, author of Tumbledown, The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards, and The Half-Known World "