Attack of the Killer Shrimp: The Pitch That Almost Got Me Kicked Out of Hollywood

By Cezary Jan Strusiewicz

 

Ah, Hollywood. Tinseltown. Movie land. The place where dreams are made. Jewtopia, which is what my grandma used to call it, despite me constantly reminding her that she was actually thinking of Miami. Don’t blame her, she was born in a different time. The late 1240s (time travel business; seriously convoluted stuff that I don’t really have the time to get into right now. I may technically be my own great-grandfather.)

When I first arrived at the city, all I had was a dream, my wits, untreated pneumonia, some guy’s wallet, and a 10-step plan for making it as a big-time screenwriter in the city. I’ve wanted to write for a living ever since I was a kid and our neighbor gave me $5 to key “Slut” into his ex-wife’s car, and I knew that Hollywood was the place where I could take my dream to the next level. It wasn’t easy in the beginning. I had to pull triple waitering shifts at the corner vending machine and teach city pigeons how to tap-dance just to be able to rent a moldy coffee cup behind the laundromat, but I knew that my patience will pay off one day.

And then it finally happened.

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I couldn’t believe it when I got the news that Guy Fakename, the head of Universal Pictures, wanted to meet me to discuss the script I sent in last week. At first, I thought it was just another symptom of Time Travel Psychosis but once the Chrono Specters didn’t appear, I realized I wasn’t imagining it. It was all happening so fast. One day you’re just toiling away, trying to survive and not aggravate your pneumonia by tricking motel staff into giving you a free, warm room because you’re “Paris Hilton’s chihuahua’s love child,” and then this happens? Thanks to my meeting with Guy, I was going straight to the final step of my 10-step plan, skipping over getting addicted to coke and starring in a porno. It was then that I made the mental note to later call Boris and cancel both appointments.

When the big day finally came I arrived at Guy’s office and waited to be called inside. The man himself was sitting behind a large wooden desk with my crumpled script in hand. He was shaking and looked as if he hadn’t slept in days. Also, he smelled kind of like the time my hometown’s brewery accidentally connected their sewer pipes to their beer vats.

I decided to take that as a good sign.

“P-please have a seat…” he said as tears started streaming down his face, probably because of how good my script was. We sat there silently for what seemed like an eternity but what I later found out was only 1-2 hours, give or take.

Finally, Guy spoke.

“No… no… You’re still here. This means you’re real… I haven’t dreamed any of this up… Oh God, forgive me…!” He looked as if he was about to start crying again, so I decided to try and stir the conversation in the right direction.

“So, did you… like the poster I included with the script?”

That seemed to have snapped him out of it. With an unsteady hand he leafed through the script and pulled out a loose piece of glossy paper.

“Y-yes. Thank you… W-we don’t usually get things like… this…”

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“I bet you don’t,” I said with a smirk that caused Guy to vomit furiously into his trash can. I decided to take that as a good sign. He then looked at the poster again and studied it with eyes that… Have you ever seen the look on a child’s face when a Disney mascot takes off its head, revealing a regular man inside, and then the man starts feeling up the kid’s mom right in front of them? That’s what Guy’s face looked like back then. Also, while I’m at it, sorry for ruining your 9th birthday, Timmy. In my defense, I was super drunk and your mom came on to ME.

“Why the… Photoshopped breasts though…?” Guy asked.

“I figured sex sales so…”

“I think what you just said made me permanently impotent.” Slowly, Guy straightened up and took a deep breath. “You know what? Fuck it. I’ve gazed into the abyss of madness and it slapped me right in the face with its dick. My soul is permanently dick slapped. I know that I can never enter the Kingdom of Heaven because I’m impure, and that God weeps whenever he looks at me. Angels probably pronounce my name as if they were gargling spicy vinegar. There’s no going back for me. So… I have some questions about your script. Like this scene here…”

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“Yes? What about it?”

“I tried to make my dog piss on these pages but instead it jumped out the window. When I tried to burn it, my fireplace turned into ice and started screaming that I was going to die. Whenever I tried to throw this part out, it appeared on my table the next day partially covered in blood. And I don’t know WHY but I just know the blood is human. Possibly from a child.”

“I…”

“Then there’s this part here…”

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“At first I couldn’t understand why my 3-year-old started to scream in Medieval Latin every time I brought this script into the room or why some of the pages felt strange to the touch… But then it hit him. Did you print this on bleached Bible paper?”

“It’s a really funny story. See, I run out of regular paper halfway through and the motel Bible was just there so…”

“I also want to know… why shrimp? I mean… The nightmares would have been equally sanity-shattering if it was anything other than shrimp, but still… Why?”

“Well, in my writing I look for inspiration in cool/interesting stories I find on the internet. A few years back I read about this aggressive species of killer shrimp from Asia. I really liked the juxtaposition of shrimp, which are basically water bugs that taste delicious with soy sauce or chili, not unlike cockroaches I might add, and the whole idea of them being ‘killers.’ It just sounded so ridiculous that my mind started to play with the idea, and eventually I took said idea to its obvious, exaggerated conclusion. That being a silly horror movie about mutated killer shrimps, which I find is the definition of incongruity, i.e. the very basis of humor.”

“Huh… You know, that’s actually an interesting approach.”

I then detected the very first tell-tales signs of a beginning of a smile on his face. I may yet turn this around in my favor, I thought to myself.

“We’re always looking for new ways to mine ideas for movies,” Guy added.

“Yeah, like, after I read about Nazis training dogs to read. I had this really great idea for a kids’ animated movie about Nazi dogs that have to go to, like, a remedial reading program. I call it Nazi Puppy Concentration Camp and…”

“Please stop talking…” Guy asked me before collapsing on his desk and crying again, which I decided to take as a good sign. After an hour or so of this (during which time I discovered there were 1,432 flowers on the office wallpaper) Guy got up again and told me:

“OK, look, this is how it’s going to go down. Tomorrow I will catch a flight to Vatican and use every favor I’ve ever accumulated to have the Pope exorcise this script and burn it at the stake. As for you, you will never try to contact me again or I will shoot you. With a gun. Now, if you leave my office in the next 10 seconds, I won’t warn the other studios of your existence. I reckon, if they’ve never done anything to anger God, then He won’t allow them to ever meet you. Now, please, go away.”

And with a heavy heart, I got up, grabbed a few mints from Guy’s desk, which later turned out to be cyanide pills, and headed out the door.

Fortunately, the story has a happy ending! Not deterred by my initial failure I decided to rewrite the script, changing all instances of “killer” and “kill” into “sex,” and ultimately selling the idea in Japan as an animated porn flick. Filming starts next month. Just goes to show you that if you work hard enough, all of your dreams will come true!

 

 

If you want to ask Cezary to write your next movie, you can find him on Twitter.

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