Lost In Lingo

Link To Today’s Strip

“The kill fee is a negotiated payment on a magazine or newspaper article that is given to the freelancer if their assigned article is “killed” or cancelled. This is generally expressed as a percentage of the total payment, and is used to give the freelancer confidence in putting their efforts into an assignment which may not make it to the final magazine edition, in the case of, for example, space issues or other change of plans.”

That’s the first definition I found but I assume it could apply to any sort of similar project. Now how can you not love a comic strip that requires you to look stuff up in order to understand what in the hell is going on? At first I assumed that a “kill fee” was a bonus that The Syndicate awarded to Batiuk whenever he rubbed-out a “beloved” character for some easy media attention. But I was wrong, it’s actually PROFESSIONAL WRITER’S lingo, you know, deep “insider” stuff. Fascinating, isn’t it? Les is SO INTELLIGENT that he immediately wakes up and begins thinking about things regular folk have to look up to understand, as tens of said folk will no doubt do upon reading today’s bit of stupid claptrap. Although that estimate does seem a tad high.

Les has a dream about a hot old-timey Hollywood actress trying to seduce him and, of course, he dies. Even his fantasies end with someone dying, it’s uncanny and pretty sick too. Anyhow, I guess Dickface’s sudden and quite stupid realization means he’s found a loophole, with which he’ll be able to escape the drudgery of his five-star hotel suite and the hellish agony of being paid to bitch, sneer, sleep and spin ponderous yarns about opera singers and hardware. AND he’ll still get paid! What a lucky break! It’s high time that the hero of the strip tells these no-good Hollywood phonies where they can stick their patience and generosity, you know? Asking Les to re-write the script so Lisa doesn’t die at the end? That’s the biggest insult you can hurl at Lestom, short of telling him that Lisa was a crappy character who no one liked.

So where do we go from here? Your guess is as good as mine. Is Les going to “throw” the script and “write” something un-useable or will he simply simper back home to Westview and pontificate to the losers about how awful “Hollywood” was for him? It figures that he’d hang around for weeks being a whiny putz, then befriend the cast and crew, THEN dick them all over by quitting out of nowhere thanks to a moronic dream he had. In “real life” someone would have blown his head off years ago. And no jury in the land would convict anyone for that as it’d obviously be totally justifiable, regardless of the circumstances. What. A. Dick.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

10 responses to “Lost In Lingo

  1. So, Les is apparently still gung-ho on shutting the entire production down. It’s amazing that Tom Batiuk wants so badly for Les to be seen as sympathetic, when in fact he’s just plain old pathetic.

    According to probably the same quick Google search you did, Epicus, a “kill fee” is a percentage of what a writer should have been paid for work that was, through no fault of the author, not published when it was supposed to be. It’s not money in addition to what he’s already been paid.

    Sounds different from deliberately causing a production to shut down, but then, doesn’t it always sound different in Westview?

    I can imagine this scenario:

    Les (coming home): Good news, Kayla!

    Kayla: They’re paying you more money?

    L: No, no, in fact we’re going to have to return most of that check!

    K: …um, what?

    L: You see, I got the entire production cancelled!

    K: –Okay, what’s the good news?

    L: Lisa’s memory will remain forever sacrosanct, as it always should have been! She won’t be cheapened up by those Hollywood philistines!

    At this point, Kayla’s natural reaction should be to give Les two crippling kicks to the crotch, then walk out the door with a packed suitcase.

    But of course, Kayla decided a while ago that her role in Les’ life is “doormat,” so she’d probably say something like, “Oh, that’s so wonderful, dear! Let’s watch a Lisa tape! I bet she has one for me!”

    It’s possible Tom doesn’t mean “kill fee,” but instead “pay or play,” which is entirely different. Pay or play is when a talent is hired for a project, and he is guaranteed his full fee whether that project is made or not. For example, Warners hired Tim Burton on a pay or play deal to make “Superman Reborn,” so Tim would get paid even if the movie wasn’t made. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t.

    If Les does get the whole production shut down, it will mean that no producer will ever touch him again, and I think most publishers will feel the same. On the other hand, that Apple Annie is one hell of an agent.

  2. Coco

    Les doesn’t own the rights to the screenplay–the studio does. If they cancel the movie, all he gets is whatever was agreed upon in his work-for-hire contract.

  3. louder

    A “kill fee” for a screen writer? isn’t that against WGA regulations? I always thought they received flat payments for scripts & rewrites and the polished version. Or maybe the story is going to be how much the fee is to kill Less? Now that’s a story I’d pay to watch!

  4. Epicus Doomus

    To me the funniest thing about this development is the idea that in TB’s mind, Les suddenly remembering a clause in his contract represents the big dramatic moment of the story. I mean wow, the excitement. It’s all so edgy and contemporary, no wonder the strip appeals so much to young adults.

  5. Like anyone would charge a fee to kill Les.

  6. @beckoningchaskm: It’s far worse than The Delicate Genius being praised for a decision that should in the real world make him into a toxic laughing-stock. He’ll also go out of his way to blame the beefwits, panderers to Hispanics and so on and so forth for his stupidity, selfishness and lack of imagination….just like Batiuk does.

  7. Flummoxicated

    Another dream sequence to propel the plot at its glacial pace. Surprised the Lord of the Late didn’t show up.

  8. What bothers me is that the Delicate Genius is saving himself from the horrors of Hollywood so he can be an insulting, sneering, patronizing dimwit failure obstruction English teacher in a one-stoplight town like Cancerview.

  9. Charles

    Les was the kid who, when he’s playing a game with you and the other neighborhood kids, would break the toy/ball/equipment when he was losing, wasn’t he?

  10. You know what would be perfect? If Sunday’s strip was about Owen and Cody dreading school, and Monday started a story about band camp. It would be so Batiukian to just drop this story at this point, just like Becky’s mother.