Monday 15 November 2010

Factory of Frey

This post over at io9 just about makes me nauseous:

At least the article serves to clarify whose work the disappointing next Next Big Thing - also know as I Am Number Four - actually was. Good on io9's Charlie Jane Anders for bringing the particulars of this monstrosity in-the-making to light, though for once I could have done with a little more personality in the reportage... a little less objectivity.

I mean, this is disgusting, isn't it? Have a gander at the machinations of the Factory of Frey:

"Frey comes up with commercial book ideas and then farms them out to young, hungry writers whom he finds in writing programs and elsewhere. Among other things: an author of one of these books may get paid as little as $500 ($250 on signing, $250 after completion of the book) in exchange for a percentage of eventual royalties. The author may not get their name on the book — as Jobie Hughes found when he wrote I Am Number Four based on Frey's idea [...] and in the case of I Am Number Four, the book was even rewritten to match some decisions that were made on the film, and Frey created a new emblem for the series, a crop circle, after movie producers said they wanted something along the lines of Harry Potter's lightning bolt to put on marketing materials."

Apparently, at the moment "Frey has 27 [such] writers working on a total of 28 series," each presumably with an eye to eventual adaptation.


Now I'm not often one to wish failure on anyone. If and when I don't like a thing, fine, it's not for me - but it may yet be for others. This news, however, sickens the very soul, such that now I'm hoping the impending movie adaptation of I Am Number Four - though can one even call it that, given the cross-media calculation that is the very baseline of this insulting equation? - goes down like a lead balloon, thereby ruining the chances of any further such offenses against freedom, creativity and honesty everywhere.

Frey, if you're even out there? Away and shite, why don't you.

Or am I taking this too personally?


  1. It's very like the old Hollywood studio's script writing system isn't it? Gah. Battery hen writers.

  2. You might be taking it personally, but so should everyone else. This guy is a douchebag and he should be called out for it, defamed, and generally booted out of the industry. The fact that publishers are going along with this unethical crap is beyond me.

  3. Why are writers accepting such a commission? Frey's a douche, but they could have read the fine print or turned down the project, no?

  4. Course they could. Can't blame them for taking the bull by the horns, though, for taking this opportunity, such as it is. There's no shortage of desperate writers out there, and that they're desperate doesn't mean they're none of them worth the time of day. Chances to break don't come along too often, you know?

    But this is exploitation, plain and simple. Maybe it'll kick start a few careers. It'll kill at least as many stone goddamn dead, and that makes me a mite angry, actually.

  5. Oh, some of the fault is the writers', no question about that. They didn't bother to make sure they weren't about to be royally screwed.

    Even more of the blame is on the MFA program itself that both brought Frey in (alright, alright, they couldn't have known) and more importantly utterly failed to arm their students with the slightest bit of business knowledge when they are paying thousands upon thousands upon thousands of dollars to learn to be writers.

    And, of course, Frey gets the lion's share of the blame. If someone sells you the Brooklyn bridge for your lifesavings, you're an idiot - but that doesn't make them any less of an asshole.