Day Five: Wherein I Resolve to Become a Hollywood Script Scab and Man-Whore
Blake Mooney was recently laid off from his job at NewMediaCompany.com and has somehow found some time to give a glimpse into the week in the life of a man on the dole. This is his story.
To the depressed and despondent (or in my case, unemployed), hope and optimism have a way of popping up in the minor peculiarities of life. Only Biblical figures are struck by epic moments of revelation. The rest of us receive our epiphanies in the quiet of our day, when something small and irrelevant pulls off its disguise and reveals itself as a powerful cry for personal revolution.
My angel of salvation took the form of Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo.
Late last night, the Writers Guild of America, or WGA, announced it was poised to go on strike over a dispute centering on the royalties off DVDs and digital media. Writers want a bigger cut of the back end, and although it would take a while to diffuse down to movies and scripted TV shows, a strike could affect late night talk shows as early as next week.
In reading an AP article about the impending work stoppage, I came across this quote:
"There was a unified feeling in the room. I don't think anyone wants the strike, but people are behind the negotiation committee," writer Dave Garrett said.
David Garrett is one of the writers of Duece Bigalow: European Gigolo. According to his IMDB page, he is also responsible for writing the Chris Kattan vehicle Corky Romano, and at least 5 episodes of the UPN sitcom Malcolm and Eddie. You know what I'm getting at, people: David Garrett deserves to get paid.
Normally, I’m the type of person to support unions in their never-ending struggle against The Man. Respect for labor leaders like Caesar Chavez was one of the reasons why I didn’t cross the picket line at the grocery store during Colorado’s bagboy strike several years back.
But when one of the people who likely got a six-figure payday for unleashing the sequel to a movie so jaw-droppingly idiotic, the mere mention of it makes you more stupider goes on strike…well, let’s just say that you, David Garrett, are no bagboy.
And suddenly, my life has purpose: I’m moving to L.A. to be a writer scab. Need someone to punch up that script about a super-intelligent Ferret who has 24 hours to organize his furry friends against an evil genius bent on destroying the world? I love super-intelligent Ferrets. Need a lame double-entendre about Hillary Clinton for Jay Leno’s monologue on The Tonight Show? Let me tell you the one about Hillary and the watermelon-judging contest at the county fair. Want a script to keep production rolling on the hit sitcom Two and a Half Men? Fuck that, I have my standards.
I find it tremendously ironic that at a time when almost 5% of the country (myself included) is unemployed, the WGA is going on strike to protect the future residuals on crap like Duece Bigalow. Granted, the writers completely screwed themselves when, after their last strike 19 years ago, they agreed to take a mere 1.2% of VHS/DVD sales after the first 80% (a sum that comes out to around three cents on a DVD retailing for 20 bucks), but the very idea of a writer’s union is, to me at least, a perversion of what Chavez worked for. Unions are for protecting the rights of child laborers at Gap factories in India (hypothetically, of course), not securing hefty royalty payments on the DVD for Wild Hogs.
So thank you, David Garrett. Yesterday, I was just another teat-suckling 5 percenter, struggling to even get off the couch and spiraling lower and lower into a pit of self-loathing and hopeless despair. Now my rudderless ship has charted a course West, where there are at least 12,000 Help Wanted signs on the windowsills of the various studios. And while I steadfastly refuse to participate in any project involving Charlie Sheen, I understand that I may have to compromise more than a little of my creative integrity in order to meet the urgent needs of whatever production company pays me the most. So be it. I’m sick and tired of moping around, passively waiting for the fates to turn my life around. I hereby resolve to move to L.A. and become a script prostitute.
Or, as Duece Bigalow would say, a man-whore.
-- Blake Mooney