James Frey, the man who had to apologize to Oprah, her viewers, and you, the American people when his memoir, A Million Little Pieces, turned out to be 87% bullshit, is helping to give a leg up to young aspiring writers.
Nah, I’m just fucking with you. Who do you think he is, Dave Eggers? What he’s done is he’s started some sort of dark Satanic Writers Mill where naive MFAs will churn out sub-standard Harry Potter and Twilight rip-offs for $250 a pop.
Writer James Frey has launched Full Fathom Five, a company focused on producing commercial young adult novels co-written with a team of aspiring writers. A New York magazine feature explored the fiction factory, and one writer declared: “It’s a crappy deal but a great opportunity.”
The deal is as follows:
This is the essence of the terms being offered by Frey’s company Full Fathom Five: In exchange for delivering a finished book within a set number of months, the writer would receive $250 (some contracts allowed for another $250 upon completion), along with a percentage of all revenue generated by the project, including television, film, and merchandise rights—30 percent if the idea was originally Frey’s, 40 percent if it was originally the writer’s. The writer would be financially responsible for any legal action brought against the book but would not own its copyright. Full Fathom Five could use the writer’s name or a pseudonym without his or her permission, even if the writer was no longer involved with the series, and the company could substitute the writer’s full name for a pseudonym at any point in the future. The writer was forbidden from signing contracts that would “conflict” with the project; what that might be wasn’t specified. The writer would not have approval over his or her publicity, pictures, or biographical materials. There was a $50,000 penalty if the writer publicly admitted to working with Full Fathom Five without permission.
So they can use or not use your name on the book at their discretion (even years later after you’ve become a successful writer on your own), but if you talk about
Fight Club Full Fathom Five they fine you fifty grand. Sounds like a deal!
The first book has already been sold. Here is the trailer. What’s that? You didn’t know that books have trailers now? Obviously you’re not a fearless, genre-defying iconoclast like James “There is No Truth” Frey.
So let’s talk about this trailer. It begins with the line, “It started with strange lights in the sky. That’s how we got here.” But the story is narrated first person by an alien. So for him it did not begin with “strange lights in the sky.” For him it began with him hurtling toward Earth in some kind of ship. Now that ship may have created lights in the sky to those viewers on the ground, but he was not one of them. Later in the trailer this immortal line appears: “If we lose . . . all is lost.”
I don’t know, I kinda think it’s lost already.