Ryan McCoy’s My Hollywood Story is a candid take on an indie filmmaker’s experience with the Hollywood system. Broken into multiple acts, McCoy touches on different aspects of his filmmaking career and the trials he has faced.
Shot in an interview style, the camera solely focuses on McCoy and frames him in a medium closeup. With the exception of a few frames in color at the end of the short, the creative decision to film in black and white creates an intimate, confessional atmosphere. McCoy speaks directly to the viewer. His speech delivery, combined with genuine displays of emotion, elicits empathy from the first shot to the last. As he relates his speech to the viewer, McCoy shows flashes of sadness, frustration, anger, and hope within the 23-minute short.
While the false allure of Hollywood as an oasis for creative individuals and people with dreams of stardom has been perpetuated since nearly the advent of motion pictures, many people who have tried to enter the industry have come face-to-face with hard reality of how the system has cheated many people of their livelihoods and driven them to the brink of the desperation.
One aspect McCoy speaks about is how filmmakers need to stop believing that they need to “make it” in Hollywood. To him, this is a false claim. If you’re willing to put in the hard work, you may succeed. But it is best to keep your expectations in check.
To illustrate his point, McCoy details the experience of his debut film, Evidence (2010). To avoid spoilers, the 78-minute feature can best be described as a mystery-horror thriller. Shot for an estimated budget of $12,464 (according to IMDb) and utilizing a shaky-cam, single perspective narrative approach in a similar vein to The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield, Evidence received relatively positive reviews from critics and audiences at the time. But then it dropped into relative obscurity a year later, following the release of a studio-backed film that arguably copied the plot and title.
While McCoy doesn’t dwell on the particulars about his project, he briefly explains the situation and asks viewers to form their own opinion; both films are available to stream on multiple online platforms. But he does admit that the sequel he had planned to make, which would answer many questions posed in the first film, will not be made by him.
McCoy also details the dangers of mental illness in Hollywood and other things to look out for, but he ends the message with hope. McCoy states he wishes he had one person in the industry to have been an encouraging voice to the 15-year-old aspiring filmmaker within him. So he takes the opportunity to do that for whomever is watching and invites them to reach out to him.
Overall, My Hollywood Story’s honesty and hope sets the bar for similarly-themed documentaries or filmmaking PSAs.
Rating: 10 out of 10 stars
You can view the film here.
|My Hollywood Story
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