Taking the plunge and going freelance has got to be one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. Writing copy for a marketing agency was draining my life, so something needed to change, and the prospect of writing for another agency fulltime just wasn’t appealing. So freelance it was. The scary unregulated, sleep ‘til noon world of freelancing.
At first I had a steady stream of work through old industry contacts. Things were going well. I was working less and earning more, things seemed almost too good to be true, that is until the work stopped coming in.
Working in pyjamas all day may seem like a dream at first, but when it changes to watching day time TV and playing games all day in pyjamas, things get real, and fast. This is when I decided to take some initiative and find new clients, which is when I discovered people will pay you to do some pretty fucked up stuff on the internet.
Through a creative freelancing hub I was introduced to someone who wanted to produce a “sci-fi novel.” Remember the use of quotation marks there, it’s real fucking important. I agreed to talk with this person and find out what they wanted, I like sci-fi and I have an honours degree in writing fiction. Seemed like a good match. I could be the next Phillip K. Dick, and the person in question was offering a few thousand dollars for the 20,000 word story. Not a bad pay day.
I agreed to talk with them, and the first thing this person says to me is “are you open minded.” Which is about the time I should have turned my computer off to have a long hard think about my life. Well I didn’t do that, I said “sure”, and you know what, so I should have. I’m open minded. It just turns out his question was misleading, it should have been more like “hey stranger, do you want to write more words than an average thesis about my weird fetish so that myself and strangers can masturbate to them?” It turns out I’m not too open minded about that kind of thing.
There is a whole subculture out there with fetishes so obscure that they rely on others to get their kicks. The guy told me that they prefer “outsiders” to write or draw them as they are more “pure” that way. That’s not to say I have anything against fetishes or am demonising people for them. It’s more that I felt strange even being confronted with this option for money. I usually write websites and brochures for small to medium businesses, not porn for thousands of strangers.
The following is the entire brief for this writing project. Read it. Absorb it. And remember I left a well-paid writing job for this.
Outline 1. Joey invites Ben over to checkout a cool new invention that his Dad created, not telling Ben what it is.
- Joey jokingly shrinks Ben to a very miniscule, flea-sized 1millimeter tall.
- Joey tries to find Ben on the shrinking platform.
- After finding him Joey taunts his shrunken friend some, also tries to figure out a safe way to pick him up.
- Uses saliva plus his fingertip to pick Ben up.
- Puts Ben in a capsule that is strung on a necklace.
- Taunts Ben who is stuck on his finger. (tries to think of evil things to do)
- Joey is hungry and grabs some yogurt. (time for some ‘swimming’)
- Joey is sleepy, but needs to keep Ben close. (enter right armpit)
- Joey wakes and wants to watch TV. (puts Ben on belly)
- Chest scene with nipples.
- Boredom. (tea bagging scene)
- Joey needs to pee and sees an empty cup on the table. (Drops Ben into cup and pees)
- Hungry again. Joey eats something more substantial and Ben is trapped in it.
- Joey needs to fart. Puts Ben in hand and pulls down back of pants.
- Realizes that he actually needs to poop. Finds an empty plate and puts Ben onto it. (Doesn’t poop on Ben, but close, doesn’t wipe.)
- Wants to take a shower, but the only place where Ben won’t wash away is in his butt crack. (Joey puts Ben up his butt, which isn’t wiped; Showers with Ben up there)
- Something to do with Joey’s back.
- Goes to room after drying off and notices a condom wrapper on his nightstand. Gets a terrible, but funny idea.
- Opens condom and drops Ben in. Then puts condom on and masturbates.
- After decides he wants to keep Ben for good. Where will Ben live?? (Joey’s Pubes)
Naturally I told the guy I would not be interested in pursuing this particular writing job, despite how much I needed the money. Even if I did want that job, the brief itself was terrible and 20,000 words from that mess would have been absurd. Just look at point 18 “Something to do with Joey’s back.” I would love to know what that means, it keeps me awake to this day.
There is very little room for a writer to do something like this that wouldn’t result in week long whisky binge and hour long showers. Shortly after this whole encounter I deleted my account on that particular website. Things have been going okay in terms of work since then, but every now and then I like to read over that brief and wonder how things could have gone.
*Words by Charlie Braithwaite. Follow him on Twitter.