As an actor, Danny Belson has played many criminal types, but as the prisoner transport bus pulls out of the LA county jail, the realization of his conviction overwhelms him. The irony is that only six months ago he taught an acting workshop at the same institution he is now going to be incarcerated in. Danny had been chosen to take part in California’s answer to New Jersey’s highly acclaimed “Scared Straight” by actually working with the inmates of the Medium Security Federal Prison in Lompoc. In his short stay, Danny made some interesting friends as well as unforgiving enemies.
Utilizing a groundbreaking format, Follow Danny as he goes from a care free beach volleyball loving, pool shooting, actor, who’s only worry is knowing when his next audition will come, to a convicted murderer. Written using flashbacks, with no chapters, learn what a struggling actor goes through, and how, after his incarceration, Danny’s life is turned INSIDE OUT.
For most of my life I was a struggling actor. I appeared on such shows as Mash, WKRP in Cincinnati, and General Hospital. Back in the mid-seventies I attended the very prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts where I was part of the first graduating class in Los Angeles. After that I joined the ranks of the other sixty thousand would-be stars who acted in showcase plays, occasionally going on professional auditions, and attending a weekly workshop. I had an opportunity to teach an experimental acting workshop to some inmates at a Federal prison. I met some very fascinating guys, some of whom I got along with and others that–let’s just say, I was glad that there were guards stationed just outside of our room.
The book cover is a great depiction of the story contained within. This is a great story. Very in-depth and unpredictable for the most part. The only drawback I have is the absence of chapters. I think there needed to be a little bit more of a break in some places, but overall the story flowed. I liked the not so glamorous look into what a working actor has to do to make ends meet, even once they start getting steady gigs.
The flashbacks, though abundant and without quite enough clarification between the past and present, was very helpful in explaining how Danny got into his situation. Sometimes I got a little confused as too the timeframe was happening a couple of times, but it wasn’t enough to turn me off the story.
If a prison suspense isn’t your bailiwick, you may not like this book, but I find it to be a great read.