“It went great,” he told me this morning from Los Angeles. “It was like giving birth to a two hundred pound baby. Surreal experiences got so crowded I had to sit on the floor. I hate sitting on the floor.”
I mentioned in my previous blog that Mike had written a book Out on the Edge: America’s Rebel Comics.
Now he has written a comedy/suspense novel Viral – The Story of the Milkshake Girl which sounds to me like it has movie potential.
What interests me is the price, though.
This could be the future of publishing.
I have been thinking of issuing an eBook myself with a 99p price tag. But perhaps I would be over-pricing it!
Mike is a graduate of the Master Class of the UCLA Writers Program. He is also a graduate of the Warner Brothers Comedy Writers Workshop and was executive producer of MTV Logo’s 8-episode network series, Outlaugh Festival on Wisecrack. Mike is basically a Hollywood chap and he has, of course, got a good ‘elevator pitch’ for his Viral book:
What if something you did got filmed and posted on the internet and you became FAMOUS and everyone hated you but you were FAMOUS and earning lots of MONEY, your life was threatened and you had to run away to protect your family?
What if you could have sex with anyone you wanted? Your phone was more powerful than the major broadcast networks and goats jumping on a trampoline got more views than the President’s State of the Union speech? What if you had to fight for your very life?
What is it like to become an overnight viral video star? Sixteen-year-olds become moguls and moguls fetch coffee… in the dark comedy suspense thriller VIRAL.
“This sounds not too far removed from a possible reality,” I suggested to Mike.
“Well, I read about Jessie Slaughter,” he told me. “It’s not her story, but she was a teen who had to go into the Witness Protection program because her internet doings got so out of control. Plus I have met a lot of crazy people working in TV and producing my own videos. I manage to get a lot of poison out of my system by writing comedy.”
“And writing the book?” I asked.
“Would you be only vaguely interested in removing a splinter from your forehead?” Mike asked.
“It seems to me an awful lot of supposed fiction is actually fact toned-down to be believable,” I said.
“A weird true thing I researched that’s actually in my book,,” Mike said, “is a kid who fell into a ditch in Colombia or somewhere and someone filmed it and posted it online. It got so popular the kid got a commercial deal out of it. And all he did was fall into a ditch.”
In the book, Iranian teenage foster girl Erika Moradi stands up for herself by swatting the milkshake out of the hand of a sexist bully in a Las Vegas high school and becomes famous in a fluke video as The Milkshake Girl.
As a result, she incites the wrath of her high school and the darker elements of online teen networks. Her home is vandalised and her life is threatened. She runs away and meets TV producer Jack Hawkins, who has lost his job on a network soap opera. He has several high concept series ideas involving some of the hottest viral stars of the moment – a trampolining goat, a gay Congressman and a Brazilian who fell into a ditch. But Erika becomes the most notorious.
“What’s a comedy person doing writing this paranoid dark stuff?” I asked.
“Well,” Mike told me, “it’s dark comedy suspense. All comedians love to go ‘dark’.”
“Is writing for print more satisfying than improvising live?” I asked Mike.
“In some ways it is,” he said, “because it lasts longer and people can’t throw things at you.”
“And what’s with the trampolining goat?” I asked.
“Every book should have a goat on a trampoline,” he replied.
I cannot disagree.