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Accepting The Award...
I’m toying with the idea of having a contest in which people ghostwrite a short story for me about a talentless film enthusiast who spends his whole life in a struggle to become a successful movie actor but is ultimately disappointed. Oh, sure, he gets a teeny bit of work here and there – appearing as recurring characters in various commercials, sneaking into a handful of major motion pictures in the unsung role as extra – but by and large his career is a pathetic failure.
Eventually he dies in some kind of freak urinal accident and his body is donated to science. That seems like the last we’ll see of him, except, wait, the story goes on for another 2,500 words, so either it hasn’t ended even though our protagonist is toast, or you and I (actual writer, and guy who gets byline credit, respectively) are wasting everyone’s time with padding well-after the story’s climax.
But here’s the kicker: this dead man actually gets post-mortem work in a major feature film called “Anatomy!” in the role of “Cadaver number 3.” It seems that the producers of the movie, trying to make the film as realistic as possible, use real cadavers, and a couple of friends of our deceased central character watch the movie and notice that their buddy is in it, which prompts them to start a campaign to get him paid for the role ("what, just because you're dead you don't get paid?"). They have ulterior motives for the campaign to get their pal paid posthumously, as he had spent his entire life hitting them up for money because of his failure to secure a good day job while he was failing at his acting career, and they intend to sue his estate down the road to recoup their losses, once the producers pay the estate for his performance as a dead guy on a slab in a medical school lab.
Well, wouldn’t you know it but the Academy feels sufficiently wowed by the cadaver’s performance (“transcendent!”) that he is nominated for an Oscar. And he wins!
Give it a go! What do you have to lose?
Please include $100 with each submission (and submit as many versions as you like).