Joe Eszterhas’ ‘The Devil’s Guide to Hollywood: The Screenwriter as God’

I have just finished reading Joe Eszterhas’ book,‘The Devil’s Guide to Hollywood: The Screenwriter as God’ which I picked up in the USA and is now out in the UK in paperback. I have always respected Esterhas (most famous for ‘Basic Instinct’ and high profile script auctions) as an outspoken rebel against the Hollywood machine, and his book is an entertaining and irreverent confirmation of this status. It’s a great loo book as it’s essentially a collection of loosely ordered snippets about the Hollywood machine, ranging from the profound, insightful, ridiculous, scandalous, opinionated, and it’s laced with a few hard won tips.

I don’t often get through every page of a book, but I found this one easy to read and echoed many of my own minor Hollywood experiences too. Esterhas is fiercely confrontational, with wild recommendations like taking hunting knives into development meetings, or discussing how to sleep with your leading lady. This is not a ‘how to guide’ and there isn’t much to help writers on writing, but there is heaps of anecdotal stories that will prepare any film maker for the asylum that is Hollywood.For the hardcore film maker, this is a four out of five book. Enjoy!

Chris Jones
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One Response to Joe Eszterhas’ ‘The Devil’s Guide to Hollywood: The Screenwriter as God’

  1. Trisha Hopkins November 10, 2008 at 8:03 am #

    Dear Chris,
    Just reading Joe Esterhas’ “Devil’s Guide…”, which has caused several changes of underwear I can tell you! Also doing a screenwriting course, I’ve binned the dried-up Vogler(fuck a duck that’s one dreary book!) and I’m afraid Syd Field is feeling the benefit of a bin liner!! Joe’s the man for me, oh, and Anthony Lanes’ “Nobodys Perfect” – both so far out there they’ve got their own postcode.
    Trish Hopkins

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