Monkey Monday

I’m not sure why I’ve named this post that way.  I was staring at the screen when gratuitous alliteration just flew right in my face and out through my fingers.  I’ll try for gratuitous assonance tomorrow.

Here’s my image for the day, because no post should go naked:

James and Rain on set

That’s me and my creative partner Rain Li our first night shooting together, on location at the Tate Britain.  Awwwww.  During the first take, she held my sweaty hand.  Awwwwwwwww.  I found the pic floating around some dusty folder in a forgotten corner of my hard drive, so I got it out and posted it.  Looks as good as new.  Note how she has cheekbones and I have more hair on my cheeks than my head.

Met with a potential new client today, a criminal defense attorney who is looking for someone to do his advertising copy, layouts, web content, the works for very little, of course.  He’s one of these handsome, improbably glib guys who is a guest legal expert on TV, commenting on high-profile cases.  His office was in Beverly Hills … well, right on the border of Not-Beverly-Hills-Any-More.  It seems nobody over the age of 23 works there, even though he’s in his early 50s, maybe, I’m guessing; nobody in or around that zip code/fault line looks his age.  He says he gets 2,000 calls a month from people who have been arrested.  That’s staggering.  I told him to stop nickle-and-diming me over my fee and show me some of that green if he expected me to bring in even more arrestees with my superlative copy and sparkling layouts.  To be honest, this is the sort of thing I love, the kind of advertising work I would frame if given the opportunity.  These are like the ads that Dr. Zizmor, Dermatologist, has been hammering us with on subway cars in New York for 25 years: badly, randomly chosen, garish colors; indifferent copy; troglodyte typeface and layout.  Screamin’-at-ya cheap.  And as if by a miracle of self-inflicted preservation, Dr. Zizmor himself never ages, mainly because it’s exactly the same ad as the one from 25 years ago.  This is the sort of bizarre gig that I’d take on now just for the anecdote later.  And genuinely love doing it.

After Mr. Criminal Defense told me how much he was willing to pay for all this advertising — you just know this dude has some swank, hyper-modernist spread in the Hills with a glittering diamond view of LA and a vanishing-edge pool that will trigger an existential crisis just looking at it — and I had chuckled away a lump of random rib cartilage rising in my esophagus (why had I come all the way out to Not-Beverly-Hills-Any-More on the bus for this?), he asked me if I ghostwrite books.

“Hell, yeah,” I replied.  I finished ghostwriting the first 10,000 words of a Young Adults novel two weeks ago and had such a great time that I had bad separation anxiety after I handed it in and they said, “Right, good job, you can piss off now.”  I tried in vain to get the full gig writing the whole book.  I had a blast.  I was sitting there typing and laughing like Liberace banging out the Turkish March on the piano while high on E and methamphetamine.  I was sorry it was over. So anything this guy wanted to propose, I was in, just to get my ghostwriting fix back.

“I need a book on the Top 10 Celebrity Crimes of all time,” Criminal Defense said.

Christ.  I’ve seen that program a hundred times on a hundred different channels — VH1, E!, Extra, etcetera.  OK, maybe not a hundred, but enough.  “It’s a prop,” he added.  “Something for me to hold up when I’m on TV like I’m the expert.  You just Google the information about the cases and rewrite it.”

Just like that.

We then started haggling about the price for that, too.  He wanted to pay a fifth of what I could bare-minimum do it for, if I weren’t so hungry for work, that is.  “It’s a prop,” he repeated.  I told him that in that case we could just print up a bunch of pages with “Lorem Ipsum” dummy text, slap a picture of OJ Simpson snogging Lindsay Lohan on the cover and, presto! Dummy book to hold up on NBC Nightly News.  “No, it has to be real,” he admitted.  My inner plaintiff rested.

Weather in LA today: paradise continues.  There was a bit of cloud cover this morning.  I thought it might get interesting, but no.  Sunny, high around 70.  Luckily a cool wind picked up because I only had a heavy sport jacket to wear to the interview, the lighter one being at the cleaners, the other lighter one being a wrinkled mess, and not being wrinkled in a cool, meaningful, linen-ish way.  Wrinkled as in the lapels look cranky and geriatric.

 


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