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Holy Hoodwinking Hookers!

I know, I said I wouldn’t use any more gratuitous alliterations after Monkey Monday, but in the case of this story it was harder to pass up than a free sample of organic taramosalata on a freshly toasted bagel chip at Whole Foods.

Once upon a less-than-a-week-ago, I got an email from a hooker who wanted me to write content for her website.  In the email, she described herself as follows:

“I am a young savvy cosmopolitan woman. I enjoy all things that encompass the fine Mediterranean lifestyle, gourmet cuisine, fine wines, theater, high fashion, laughter and keeping great company. Well cultured and traveled I am the perfect companion to accompany you in any social or private situation.

My hair is made of spun gold and hangs just above my waist; crystal green is the color of the eyes that you will want to gaze into for hours at a time! My body is firm and fit, I keep a rigorous workout routine and practice yoga daily to keep both my mind and body balanced and whole.”

Now, if you were a red-blooded homosexualist like me, who only gets confused about his sexuality when he’s had too much to drink and ends up dumping the guy and snogging the girl, you would see this after reading that:

Amanda Seyfried

Amanda Seyfried as the crystal green-eyed, spun-gold-haired hooker with magnificent breasts in Atom Egoyan's "Chloe"

Am I right or am I right?  This presumes you’ve actually sat through Atom Egoyan’s lullaby in soft porn, “Chloe,” in which a young hooker (Amanda Seyfried) seduces an upper-middle-class Canadian gynecologist (Julianne Moore, whom I always want to call Marianne Jones for some reason) by pretending to have seduced the gynecologist’s husband (Liam Neeson).  Even if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it for any sleepless night.  Just pop it on, grab a piece of toast with peanut butter, a glass of milk and you’ll be out like a light in half an hour.

Indulge me with a quick side trip to the subject of Atom Egoyan.  I mean, the guy has always been willfully trippy — as if making films about incest and other horrors is somehow more palatable if they’re hypnotic and tasteful — but now watching his films feels like the last time I took a quaalude back in ’89, when that drug was losing favor and dying out: feebly  erotic but above all soporific in a party-pooping kinda way.

And what is this about relentlessly portraying the upper middle class as even-toned, spaced-out, gorgeous successes who endlessly attend concerts or museum lectures or cocktail parties that look like choreographed routines at Sea World accompanied by … what is that music called, Atom, ambient synth jazz?  That ain’t the UMC I’m from, baby.  Maybe they’re like that up in Canadia (again, spelling intentional), but not in New York City.  Where are the rollicking, fractious, alcoholic, socially insecure, nerdy, witty banter-ful, mentally  unstable, erratically pulcritudinous folks I know, love and have major problems with?  (I was actually laterally moved out of the UMC to the lower upper class in the late 90s owing to the strong scent of gutter I have acquired.)

Atom, listen: if you want a good, truly sexy, realistic script about Our Crowd, have one of mine.  I’ll even give you a discount on the front end and take a chunk of the back, that’s how confident I am that one of your movies will finally make money.  (This is where I link-plug our feature film company, just in case Atom is bored enough to deep Google himself and take me up on my offer.)

Anyway, back to my hoodwinking hooker. So I got really excited about this gig, like, texting-my-friends excited.  I was going to do the content and maybe the design for the website of this smoking hot, high-end hooker who charged her clients $1,000 an hour, or $10,000 for a “pajama party” sleep-over. This was going to open up a whole new venue for me.  I was going to be the gay Hugh Hefner of web content.  I spoke to my prospective client on the phone, and we hit it off beautifully. I even sold her on the idea of doing video for her site when she comes out to Los Angeles in March.  Video is what Pure Film Creative — sorry, another link-plug rudely squeezed itself in there — is really trying to sell its clients; people won’t pay a lot for text, but they’ll shell out some decent dosh for good video.

I was so pumped about this that I sailed through my workout at the gym.  Things were looking up.  This was something I could enjoy and make some worthy money doing, once the word got out to the other girls and I was soon surrounded by prose-depraved harlots (they prefer the word “courtesan,” as if everything they learned about describing the business came from Memoirs of a Geisha), who would swaddle me in some of that delicious $1,000-an-hour green.

No sooner did I get home than I got an email from my new client:

James,
What a pleasure to speak with you! If we’re going to work together I believe honesty is the best policy. My name is S __ and my assistants name is S ___ you will be dealing with either of us at any time, but primarily myself in regard to my creative needs. My true description is 5’7 165 lbs long brown hair, brown eyes curvy and firm 38F 30 42 size 12 dress all natural I’m latina and african american mixed.

And accompanying this fantasy-shattering confession were two images:

Miss S__, the hooker who needed a content makeover, after full disclosure

WHOA!  “True description” indeed!  This has to be the exact opposite of the crystal green-eyed, spun-gold-haired Amanda Seyfriend look-alike with whom I imagined I had chatted on the phone.   This was not at all the sleek, lusty-yet-intellectual heroine of my forecast of the future, whose web content and image I would reposition so brilliantly  that the poor woman would never get off her back with the amount of clients she would be raking in, all thanks to me; she would be diving and swimming in a pool filled with cash, just like Donald Duck’s Uncle Scrooge.

After picking myself up off the floor, I shook out my shock and disappointment like a Turkish housewife beating a carpet, and rose to the challenge anyway.  38F bust size! Hmmmm. As S___ herself admitted in our further correspondence — I called her “extra voluptuous,” was that wrong? — she is a particular taste and has no trouble securing regular clients.  That made sense.  What I liked best was I was learning something about a whole new business sector and how it is marketed on the internet. I’m serious: this was a modern cultural curiosity, a revamping of the world’s oldest profession.  I learned from Miss S __, for instance, that hooker websites are mainly developed by a female-owned service named Veda Designs.  It’s a very clever model, everything a professional “companion” could need, from private photo galleries, to online payments, right down to finding an assistant.

Unfortunately, Miss S __ didn’t want my design services, just a polishing of her content, particularly her bio and her “philosophy towards the business,” which in most other industries is known as a Mission Statement. Copy like, “My goal is to take your face and smother it between my 38F ebony pillows until you pass out from ecstasy or from burst blood vessels in your brain,” sprang to mind later during my hike up to the Hollywood Sign, always my favorite way to regroup and re-strategize. (I saw Moby again on the street while I was hiking up there, greeting Heather Graham as she got out of a car.  He just bought and fixed up this mini castle, the lucky bastard.  We waved at each other.  We’re becoming waving friends.)

Then came the unfortunate question of money.  She wanted copy up front, I wanted a deposit up front.  Yes, I even put my policy in terms she could understand, you would have been so proud of me: “Listen, you know the drill: put the money on the dresser first before we get into bed, and I don’t take checks.”  I actually said that, in my usual cheeky way punctuated with a laugh.  I gave her my Paypal account, but she must have balked because I haven’t heard from her.  So much for my career as the gay Hugh Hefner of hooker web content.  That’s really Veda, bless her; I hope at least she’s a lesbian.

Weather Watch:

Can you believe it, it actually rained a bit last night in Los Angeles.  I’m sorry I missed it. Back on January 25th, when the umpeenth blizzard struck New York, I sent some of my friends this screenshot of the weather forecast for LA:

It was like that for the five days after that, too.  Yeah, not nice sending that to the blizzard-battered, but I couldn’t resist.  It’s fun to be wicked sometimes.  As my niece Savannah once said when I was scolding her, “But I like to be bad sometimes, Uncle James.”  I know what she means.  It’s not the same as being truly evil, like my landlady, Susan Blais; in my opinion, she’s the raw, pure Mean ‘N Nasty, the kind who can’t eat ice cream because it scorches her mouth.

Sorry, was I unkind?  Just getting started.  But I have to be careful to phrase everything about Ms. Blais with “in my opinion,” or she’ll sodomize me with a razor-barbed defamation suit as well.

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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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I Am Born

My name is not David Copperfield, it’s James Killough, and it’s not really my birthday.  It’s my niece Savannah’s.  But today this blog is born.  Today I slip out of the insular, shy womb of low-profile-ness and join the teeming typists online vying for attention.  Will this survive past infancy?  We shall see.

Still not sure what to do with this, where it is leading.  No doubt most nascent bloggers start out with a bit of “Huh? Where am I?  Who are you?  Jesus, how drunk was I last night? SOMEONE TURN ON THE LIGHTS!”  I suppose I will chronicle my adventures and misadventures, and it’s quite the roller coaster ride, believe me.  Never a dull moment in my life, and I know how to over-dramatize better than Wagner.

I’m a writer, a film-maker, a creative director.  I’m an Australo-American, which I like to say is a new breed of caveman: half Australian, half American.  I’ve got passports from both countries.  I grew up in Italy, a son of the American Empire during the height of the Cold War.  I speak five languages fluidly, having lived on four continents as well as having an ear for mimicry.

Apparently I’m supposed to beat my own drum really loudly so Google will hear me and increase my ranking, which is the point of this blog.  Okay, more:

I began my film career in India.  Odd, I know, and way odd back then before call centers put it on the map.  I’m not sure why I did it.  Cheap, plentiful drugs?  That was probably ten percent of it … okay, twenty-five.  But the other seventy-five percent is there’s nothing I hate more than the beaten path.  Just repels me.  Apparently it’s a common trait for the ENTP personality, for which I am the poster child; we don’t just march to the beat of a different drummer, we have our own sixteen-piece percussion bands following us (yes, following, never leading).

Most of my friends went out to Hollywood, a sensible thing to do if you want a career in film.  My drummers took me to Bollwyood.  Still, I ended up here in Hollywood by circumstance, twice.  The first time, I was literally blown off Puerto Rico by Hurricane Georges (I lost my job as a consequence of that French-named disaster), so I relocated to LA to kickstart my film career once again, even though I had sworn never to go back to it.  This was after seven years in India, and I crawled back broke, emotional, and talking to God.  Swearing off film didn’t do much good; once you’re in, you’re in.  You can try to run, but film knows where you’re hiding. Even during my First Futile Swearing-Off I was getting up at 5 am to write screenplays like a sleep-writer, even when I was trudging in the salt mines of Citibank, writing “communications” and muttering to myself, “All jobs are equal.  All jobs are equal.”  (Yes, all jobs are equal, but not all are suited to every job, as I learned.)  The second time was this time.  The vagaries of the recession have swept me back like a French hurricane from London and New York.  So here I am in Hollywood, once again.  Struggling in paradise, but by and large loving the challenge.

I have two companies, and I’m building a third.  The first is the parent operation, Pure Film Limited, which specializes in feature films and TV.  The second is Pure Film Creative, which makes content for the web (my portfolio is here).  The third will be Pure Film Screen Test, which will make high-end original content for actors’ demo reels.  Very excited about that.  Unlike many film directors, I love working with actors.  I wanted to be one myself when I was a kid, I just couldn’t take the stage fright.  If I could have remained in rehearsal my whole acting career, I would have.

Well, there we go.  I’ve started.  A star blog is born.  Well, not star yet.  Gimme a few years.  DO YOU HEAR ME GOOGLE?

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