Monday, August 4, 2014

Movie Review: Authors Anonymous

First off, as an aspiring author in a writing group, I found this movie HILARIOUS! It's a mock-umentary, and both my husband and I loved it.

From IMDb: When a dysfunctional group of unpublished writers accept Hannah into their fold, the last thing they expect is her overnight success. Can these lovable misfits achieve their artistic dreams and avoid killing one another in the process?

Let's beat it out!

1. Opening Image: The married couple who started the writing group are on a couch being interviewed.
2. Theme Stated: All for one and one for all.
3. Set-up: Each member of the group is interviewed and asked about their writing.
4. Catalyst: Hannah joins the writing group.
5. Debate: What the writers are focused on.
6. Break into Two: Hannah gets an agent.
7. B Story: Henry wants to ask Hannah out.
8. Fun and Games: Hannah gets a book deal.
9. Midpoint: Writing group at Hannah's house.
10. Bad Guys Close In: Hannah gets a movie deal.
11. All is Lost: The group starts to fall apart.
12. Dark Night of the Soul: Everyone is at odds with everyone else.
13. Break into Three: The group completely breaks up.
14. Finale: Henry says goodbye to Hannah and gets published
15: Final Image: Hannah declares that Henry is her favorite author.

Other interesting things: Hannah's theme is 'no distractions', and it isn't until Henry becomes undistracted by Hannah that he writes his novel, which could also be a theme for the movie since everyone else gets distracted and remains unsuccessful while Hannah and Henry get published when they are not distracted. The girl in the bar that appears halfway through the movie is in the closing scene, indicating Henry has found someone who really fits for him.


  1. Thanks for your great analysis and support of Authors Anonymous, Leah. I'm the writer and it was a blast making this movie. BUt I'm looking at #15 on your list and it says the final image is about Hannah. Did you stick around 45 seconds longer on closing credits to see Henry's signing, as well?

    David Congalton
    San Luis Obispo, CA

    1. Thanks, David. I didn't see that, but now I've gone back to watch it. It is a great ending. I'd love to know if/how you filled in a beat sheet and what your thoughts are on the beats I picked out. Thanks again for your comment.

  2. Certainly adding it to my to-watch list Leah, dying to see how it relates to our group ;-)

  3. Well, I could type for hours on the making of this movie. For example, nowhere in the script does it indicate that Hannah was the last person to join the group. She's never identified as the newest member, but somehow someone in marketing made that statement when they were doing the initial publicity and it just spread across the Internet. Not true, but no big deal.

    In terms of beats, I guess your model fits, but I didn't use that approach. For me, it was much simpler: (1) Set up the group members (2) Henry wants Hannah (3) Hannah gets an agent. (4) Hannah gets a book deal (4) Hannah gets a movie deal (5) Hannah gets the celebrity author. It was pretty easy to organize.

    The other thing I'd mention is that the script focuses much more on Henry's journey than the movie portrays. Opening scene in the script is Henry alone at the Fitzgerald house and there are multiple references to F. Scott throughout the movie--all that got cut or was never filmed.

    Thank you for going back and watching the final scene. I have a feeling a lot of people miss that because it's stuck so far back in the closing credits. Oh well, I'm just the writer.

  4. I had that thought about Hannah not being new to the group. I read the blurb before watching and it said she was new, but I didn't get that from the film. It seemed like she had been there all along.

    Also, it's too bad that Henry's journey wasn't focused on. I think he is a much more interesting and realistic character than Hannah.

  5. Sabrina -- I'm always partial to Henry because he's based on me. Hannah's character worked fine on paper and Kaley does a fantastic job with her, but somehow we pushed things a bit too far with that character. The script will be posted on shortly. Check it out and see Henry's journey for yourself.


  6. Sabrina, I completely agree. I didn't know it until after I watched the movie and read the blurb, and then I thought I had missed something. So I threw it in as one of the beats because it fit. The Henry character is interesting and I think he fits in a lot more than just writing groups--one of those people that worships the talents of others without developing his own. He is the only one with a positive character arc in the film, which is why I think we like him. But I believe my favorite person casted is the slush pile editor. I loved him and his blurb at the end about discovering Henry--his deadpan personality is so fantastic.
    David, I didn't think you had followed the beat sheet. The movie didn't really fit perfectly, so I stretched it. I hope you don't mind. By the way, congratulations on your first film. As far as I'm concerned, it was a HUGE success. We actually have someone in our writing group right now how just got a book deal, and that made the movie even funnier.

  7. David, I didn't know IMSDb existed. I will have to check out the script when it's posted!

  8. Sabrina--I keep checking IMSDB, but they haven't posted the AA script yet. Send me your email address c/o and I'll send you the shooting script.

    Leah--The slushpile editor is actor Jonathan Baks from "Breaking Bad." What a great guy and that ending monologue is word for word from my script. I just handed in my second script and we hope to be shooting in early 2015. This one is about hiking.