We go in search of the real Trout

Writers are like you and me except that they are very different. Some live and learn while others quest, but they all spend endless hours in isolation putting bits of their lives onto paper. Ideally, some specialness finds its way to the page and from the page we judge them. As we search for Trout, the question we seek to answer is: how do they judge themselves?

As Kurt Vonnegut’s career was beginning to take off, he created a literary alter-ego, a down and out science fiction writer named Kilgore Trout. Vonnegut modeled him after Theodore Sturgeon, (“I thought it was funny to be named after a fish,”) a writer with great talent, intense charisma and a long, difficult career. Since then, others have laid claim to Trout, and Trout has laid claim to others.

The men, and alas, it is mostly men, older men that we deal with in this film, have had to face off, not only with their inner “Trout,” but with a world not particularly congenial to the interests of writers.

In our attempt to ferret out the real Trout, we've chatted with family, broken bread with friends and rivals, minced words with critics, and polled the peers. There are no passive observers and there are many suspects.

Barry Malzberg, a 61 year old New Jersey native, has written over eighty novels and three hundred short stories. His fiction can be stunning as can his criticism, though much of it ends up directed inwardly. Our initial interview and Barry’s remarkable candor throughout, was a large part of our inspiration to make this film. He has clearly thought about all this for a long time, though he can't answer all of our questions… he can't answer all of his own questions. Still, we enlisted him as our guide and narrator. He is also a suspect.

So who is the real Trout? You'll have to wait for the film if you want to discover the startling conclusion!

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