perpetual_motion: and he'll kick your ass (damn right he is)
[personal profile] perpetual_motion
Title: Hollywood Beginnings
Author: Perpetual Motion
Recipient: Shakes (kellisti)
Pairings: Stafford/Christeson (aka Evan/John); Brad/Ray
Rating: R
Word Count: 2190
Summary: Evan and Jason are cameramen hopefuls in Hollywood determined to find their big break.

Dis: Lies and bullshit.

Author's Notes:: Written for [profile] kellisti for [community profile] yagkyas. It's an AU, and it's schmoop.


Hollywood Beginnings
By Perpetual Motion

They spend their first four months in Hollywood trying to dig up work with resumes and highlight reels, talking themselves up to anyone who'll listen and trying not to come off as completely green to the business.

"You know what we should do?" John says one night as they lay on their mattress on the floor and listen to the neighbors have their usual ten o'clock screaming match.

"What?" Evan asks. He's flipping through a book of classic movie shots, dog-earing the pages of frames he wants to recreate someday.

"We should do a web series. Me, you, the cameras. Show these fuckers how it's done."

"How what's done?"

"Camera work, man. Special effects shit. Go old school. Show ‘em all the ways Paranormal Activity scared ‘em with fucking strings on doorknobs and shit." John turns on his side and watches Evan flip pages. "C'mon, man, we got to do something that isn't sucking up to the cockmonkey who made fucking 27 Dresses. We are so much better than some shit rom-com shit."

"Rom-coms make mad money, dude."

"You want that to be your resume? Rom-com piece of shit #17? Rom-com direct-to-DVD #47? Least if we're making our own shit, we can decide how dumb fuck it can be."

Evan puts down the book and turns towards John. "I didn't move to Hollywood to make a goddamn web series."

"It's either that or we take that local news shit. You wanna be getting shots of fat people from their tits to their waist?" John grins when Evan grimaces. "C'mon, man. Six episodes, and if it sucks balls, I won't ask again."

"Yeah, that's you all over," Evan grouses, but he laughs when John elbows him onto his back and climbs on top of him. "Fine. Fuck it. Whatever. We'll start writing tomorrow."

*

The first episode gets a thousand hits in its first week. The second gets two thousand. The third breaks ten, and the fourth, fifth, and sixth hit six figures. Evan whoops when he sees it, kissing John after they refresh the numbers and see them roll over to 200,000 hits for episode six. People are leaving comments begging for more, wanting to know if they've done any other work.

"This guy wants to know how often we blow shit up for fun," John says.

"Fuckin' daily," Evan replies, and they high-five before Evan pushes him against the wall and kisses the shit out of him.

*

Three weeks later, as people start buying merchandise, they do a dozen podcasts and start to figure out what the fuck to do as a follow-up. In the middle of planning, the phone rings.

"Hello?" Evan answers. It's the landline, and he assumes it's a bill collector. He prepares to fake a horrible demise.

"This Evan Stafford or John Christeson?"

"It's Evan. Who's this, please?"

"My name's Walt Hasser. I work for Ray Person and Brad Colbert."

Evan nearly chokes on his tongue. "…yeah," he manages to cough out, gesturing wildly for John, who comes up next to him, wraps an arm around him and leans in to listen.

"Mr. Person and Mr. Colbert want to meet the two of you to discuss a possible business arrangement."

John squeezes him so tight, Evan can't breathe. He steps on John's foot, and John releases him enough to say, "We might have some time. When's good for them?"

"Friday at two, next Wednesday at ten, or they can meet you over the weekend if you need. Preferably in the afternoon."

"Friday," John whispers in Evan's ear, and Evan nods.

"Friday works for us."

"We can send a car for you."

Evan just barely manages to keep his jaw from dropping. "Yeah, that'll work best." He gives Hasser the address, says goodbye, and hangs up the phone. Neither of them talk for a minute.

"Person and Colbert?" John finally says. "Person and Colbert? The fucking Mouth and the Iceman want a meeting with us?"

"The fucking kings of documentaries want a meeting with us," Evan says. He turns around so he can see John, and Evan figures he probably looks just as dumbfounded as him. "Ray goddamned Person and Brad goddamned Colbert want to have a fucking meeting with us."

"Holy Jesus shit," John says.

Evan shakes loose from him and walks over to the computer. "You know what?"

"What?"

"I think it's getting fucking hot in here." Evan clicks a button, turns up the volume, and the two of them shout the lyrics at one another as they dance around their tiny living room and listen to the neighbors yell at them through the wall to shut the fuck up.

*

The offices of Person and Colbert are right on the water, the building backed up to the edge of a cliff. It's a two-story, gray-boarded, sprawling beach house. When they're let in the front door, they're taken through a living room and into a dining room, where Ray Person and Brad Colbert are sitting at a linoleum table and arguing as they throw balls of paper at each other.

"There they are," Person says, standing up. He's in jeans and a ratty t-shirt. Colbert's dressed similarly. "And don't they look so pretty?"

John immediately reaches up and unknots his tie. He sees Evan do the same in his peripheral. "We've only ever seen you at award shows," he says as they shake hands and sit down. "But if I don't have to wear this stupid thing, I'm not gonna."

"We don't have time to waste on dressing up or formalities. I'm Brad. He's Ray, no fancy last-name bullshit," Brad says. He watches them nod at him, then he nods to Ray.

"You start-up motherfuckers want a job?" Ray asks.

"Classy," Brad mutters.

"Fuck classy. This is business."

"What kind of a job?" Evan asks.

"Baking some goddamn pie in my fucking kitchen. What kind of job you think, numbnuts?"

"What Ray is trying to say—"

"I'm saying it, Brad."

"No, you're being an unintelligible donkey fucker like always," Brad replies. They have a silent conversation that ends when Ray flips him the bird. "We've got a new documentary we've just gotten the cash for, and we need a couple of cameramen."

"That's what we do," John says. Under the table, he feels Evan bump his hand. He bumps back. "I assume you've seen our work."

"I've watched a lot of shit web series," Brad says. "And Ray's watched more than me. The only two we can stomach without removing our brains with a corkscrew are you two and the guys who do Epic Meal Time."

"And they're not filmmakers, so fuck ‘em," Ray adds. "We saw your shit, and it was good shit, and we want to ape some of that good shit for what we're doing next."

"Which is what?" Evan asks, leaning forward. "You guys have done movies on damned near everything. I own most of your shit."

"Oh, yeah?" Brad grins. "Even better. We don't have to explain how we like to do shit."

"Up close and personal," John says. "Dangerous shit. You guys flew into London and jammed cameras into the fucking riots."

"Fuck yes we did." Ray holds up his hand, and John high-fives without thinking. "And we managed to get our asses into Egypt, too. We're gonna mash it all together, do some high-class commentary cocksuck on revolution versus whiny little bitches."

"That's not quite how we're selling it," Brad adds. "But it's close enough." He raises his eyebrows at Evan. "You've been quiet."

"Trombley's been your go-to for your whole careers. You guys have all worked together since film school. What happened?"

"Trombley's wife just gifted him with a brand spanking new baby boy. He's promised not to try to kill himself for a paycheck for a couple of years."

"Also, that motherfucker is intense, and I needed a goddamn break," Ray says. He shrugs when Brad gives him a look. "Oh, come on, man, you know it, I know it, and fucking Trombley knows it."

"Shut up, Ray," Brad says. Ray presses his mouth closed and gives Brad giant, innocent eyes. "Right," Brad mutters. He puts his attention back on John and Evan. "So, Trombley's out of play for right now, and we saw your work and liked it. You've got a good eye. You seem like you understand how to make documentaries. You said you've seen our work."

"Evan's got your Iraq miniseries in his bag," John says. "He was hoping you'd sign it."

"Goddamnit," Evan mutters when Ray howls with laughter and Brad grins in a way that says it's about as much as he generally laughs.

"Show it, show it, show it," Ray chants.

Evan pulls it from his bag and sets it on the table with a hard thud. "I was gonna try to be classier about it."

"I think we've established our feelings on classy," Brad tells him. He grabs a Sharpie from a pile of pens in the middle of the table and scrawls his name on the box.

"The deluxe, extra-special, triple-blowjob edition," Ray says with a nod as he signs his own name. "Nice work. How many years you'd have to put up with this asshole to get it?"

Evan's jaw nearly hits the floor. "I—what?"

"We're not—"

"Yes, you are," Ray says. "You're in the glass closet because you're new to Hollywood, and for the sheer amount of liberal douchefuckery in this city, being queer and not a costume designer can still be a pain in the ass."

"Really?" Brad asks. "Pain in the ass?"

Ray shrugs. "Whatever. Look. We don't care. I've been trying to get Brad to nut up and propose to me for fucking years, homes."

John looks at Evan. They both look at Ray and Brad again. "Wait. You two?" John asks.

"The ladies love Ray-Ray, but Ray-Ray only loves the Iceman," Ray says. "Which was not his original nickname."

"Ray, I swear to Christ, this is why we don't let you have espresso," Brad says. He doesn't look embarrassed or angry, just resigned to the fact that he now has to explain things. "We're together. It's nobody's goddamn business and if Ray hadn't bribed Walt to bring him a coffee with an espresso shot, he would have kept his enormous goddamn mouth shut."

"No, I wouldn't," Ray says.

"I will always hope," Brad replies. He leans back in his chair and puts his hands behind his head. "But I also hope for world peace and a leprechaun to show up with a pot of gold. So, do you two want in with us or what?"

Evan nearly recoils at the bluntness. "Shouldn't there be…" He looks at John who shrugs at him and nods at the same time. "I know we're interested, but don't we need lawyers to look at the contract?"

"Contract," Ray says, putting a piece of paper in front of them. It's a single sheet, typed, and reads as follows:

We, John Christeson and Evan Stafford, agree to work as cameramen for Ray Person and Brad Colbert (Herein referred to as HITMAN PRODUCTIONS) for the course of a single documentary. Employment will last no less than six months and exceed no more than a year from the date of this signing. All injuries, illnesses, and possible deaths occurring during the course of this contract will be paid for by HITMAN PRODUCTIONS because they like to do stupid, dangerous shit. This contract can be lengthened at the request and mutual agreement of all parties signed below.

Pay for John Christeson and Evan Stafford will include per diem, weekly wages, and a 2% cut of box office gross. Pay schedule will begin on date of signing and will be no less than freelance wages as determined by all parties but probably be way more because that's how we roll.

All parties agree not to be assholes in the following ways:

No sexism
No ageism
No racism
No sexist bullshit
No religious bullshit
No anti-homo bullshit
No other bullshit as decided by HITMAN PRODUCTIONS


"This is an actual contract?" John asks.

"A contract just has to say what you want," Brad says. "That legalese shit causes too many problems."

"Walt's a notary," Ray adds. "That brilliant little bastard stamped a cocktail napkin at a bar, and it held up in court."

"We just prefer to cut the bullshit," Brad explains. "We want guys who want to work with us."

John and Evan share another look. Under the table, John squeezes Evan's hand. "I'm in," he says.

"Me, too," Evan agrees.

Brad hollers for Walt, who witnesses the signing, stamps the paper, and leaves again. "Beers?" Brad asks.

"Say yes," Ray replies. "You're gonna need ‘em when we tell you where we're going."

"Yes," Evan says.

"Abso-fucking-lutely," John chimes in.

"Beers!" Ray yells, and Walt runs back in, passing them around and taking the fifth chair at the table.

"To Trombley's bouncing baby boy," Brad says. "And to you two dumb bastards for agreeing to get yourselves killed for a paycheck."

"Bring it," Evan replies, and they toast.
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