Hey, bros:

These days, times are tough.  After the missus lost her job last year, we figured she’d be out of work maybe three, six months tops.  Guess buying a house right before was our bad timing, eh?  Anyhow, long story short, yours truly has been tearing up the Internets taking every freelance writing gig on the planet via Craigslist and everywhere else.  Along the way, I’ve had a few odd requests for gigs.  Some of them required me to write as “an audition” of sorts.

Most of them are pretty boring (trivia questions, short posts about dog products, etc.) or they don’t belong to me (pitches for established characters that belong to a potential employer or are secret).  But every once in a while, I have to write something that is both “original” but is also useless to anything but the audition process.  I’d like to share some of my recent ones with you.

First up, I had to write a short paragraph on a free movie service from a Cable provider.  The request was, in my view, a little vague.  Basically, something like, “Go check out the service and write about 500 words about it”.  I guess they wanted some kind of glowing review, but being a professional smartass, I couldn’t resist writing this:

Free Movies on (Cable TV Service)

You know that part of the video rental place where no one goes? Where the movies are five or ten years old and they have names you’ve only sort of heard of? These are the kinds of movies you can find free on (Cable TV Service). Near cult-classics like Erik the Viking or Killer Clowns from Outer Space are available completely free of charge exactly how they should be. Actually, (Cable TV Service) should probably give you fifty cents just to watch them, but that wouldn’t be a very good business model. 

If you like horror and you’re not very particular about the actors in your movie you can watch movies like Bug or Bug in Spanish. In any language, it’s probably the sort of movie you can watch while checking your email. You may have heard how bad House of a 1000 Corpses is, but you can’t really complain about a movie unless you actually see its awfulness. Plus, this way, you won’t have to bear the shame of having the DVD in your collection.

Do you like mutilation, torture and gore? (Cable TV Service) is showing all the Hostel movies for free. That’s at least three solid hours of people screaming and getting tortured. If you’re into that sort of thing, now you can save yourself some money. If you’re squeamish and don’t like that kind of thing, you can just forward through the bloody parts. That’ll be a lot faster than watching the movie at regular speed.

There are over 50 movies on the free list, so even if you don’t have a DVD player you can pretend you do. If you’re a hipster and you’re having a party, now you can put something on in the background that’s “ironic” while you listen to Cage the Elephant. You can pretend to enjoy the movie on an ironic level and not have to worry about paying too close attention to it. Then if you actually like the movie, you can always watch it later when your friends are gone.

Not surprisingly, I did not get the job.  Another job I auditioned for was for humorous horoscopes.  I’ve actually auditioned for this kind of gig at least four times, but no luck.  As a sample, I had to describe a Leo in a humorous way.
Leo, there’s a reason your sign has a pussy in the picture; you’re pathetic loser when it comes to love. Take it slow and stop proposing on first dates. You’ve chased away more women with your creepy, clingy behavior than R. Kelly in a women’s public restroom. You won’t die without sex, Leo, so stop climbing into bed with anyone that will validate you or your parking. It’s why you end up in relationships based on sex and why valets continue to give you long, leering stares. Use your amazing leadership abilities to take charge of your love life instead of trying to maintain relationships with every profile that emails you on eHarmony.

Like a lion in a cage, you need constant attention because without it, you get depressed and the poop really starts to pile up. Just because you and your partner aren’t expressing their love every waking minute of every day doesn’t mean it’s over, it just means someone would like to watch the end of a Lost episode in peace for once. Don’t go overboard this Christmas with gifts this year. Listen to the advice from the old song “Can’t Buy Me Love” and stop listening to the advice from “Helter Skelter”.

Dammit, now I used up all my Leo material for Fratoscope. Oh, well. Auditioning for those gigs actually inspired the column.

This last one is my favorite because I felt the questions they emailed me were just strange. When applying for a screenwriting gig, usually all the client is interested in is can you write a script or not? This list of questions went in a different direction. I call this “Screenwriter Questionnaire” and the typos belong mostly to the producers, not me. Keep in mind, I answered an ad about screenwriting.

Screenwriter Questionnaire
All applicants must complete to qualify for registration

1. Full Name: Tony DiGerolamo

2. Age: 43

3. Sex: M

4. Height: 6′

5. Weight: 248

6. Profession: writer

7. Is screen writing a career or a hobbie? career

8. Years of experience: 23

9. Special Skills: I carve all my outlines in scrimshaw first, then embroider character breakdowns on a pillow. Using the pillow and the scrimshaw, I paint the first draft on the side of my office wall using a calligrapher’s pen. After meditating in the room for 24 hours, I then I write the screenplay on my computer.

10. Why do you think you could be successful as a screen writer?

When I was 12, my family and I went to Hollywood on the Universal tour. I got separated from the group for a moment and stumbled into an unused sound stage. The floor collapsed beneath me and I found myself inside a strange shrine. The walls were lined with statues of famous screenwriters from ancient times. Lying on the altar in the center of the room was a skeleton that held a script bound with three brass fasteners. I went over to the skeleton and tried to pry the script from its hands. It briefly came to life and hissed to me, “You now have the curse! You will be a screen writer! Everyone will think they can do what you do, even though they can’t! You will attend humiliating meeting after humiliating meeting where producers will pitch idiotic ideas and call you a moron when you’re forced to script them! Because no one reads! No one reads! Hahahahaha!”

11. Why should youb be chosen for this project?

Because I’m not sarcastic at all.

12. What special qualities would you bring to the project?

I am a unique person in that I have no special qualities whatsoever. Whenever you notice one of my qualities, you’ll say, “Haven’t I seen that quality before?” Yes, yes you have. I’m just like you and everyone else.

13. How would you compare yourself to other screen writers?

Most screen writers are parasitic organisms that scurry from bright lights only to emerge to collect their paychecks and royalties. They are sad, broken creatures that steal from craft services, wear Hawaiian shirts to meetings and always get screwed in contract negotiations. I’m not like that. I don’t wear Hawaiian shirts.

14. What is the most charitabel thing you’ve ever done?

I gave my heart to a gypsy. Don’t worry, there are still plenty of other parts inside the body in my basement.

15. Would you be willing to volunteer some of your time?

Of course. That’s what screen writers do. It’s incredibly relevant that you know that I volunteer for soup kitchens, save cats from trees and do community service that has nothing to do with my DUI convictions. And, since we usually get paid so little and are listened to so rarely, many of us consider our regular jobs to be a sort of charity. We purposely stay poor and humble to spite Hollywood producers who are ruined by their money, the ability to pay all their bills and their beautiful, beautiful houses filled with cocaine and prostitutes. How we do not envy them.

Ain’t I a stinker?