far too much writing, far too many photos

runswithscissors


From BURBANK SHRUGGED, a screenplay

© 1993, 2009 by Two Jerks From Cambridge

TITLE CARD 1:

The Keep Youth's Heart in the Heartland Awareness
Commission and Bowling League presents:

TITLE CARD 2:

Horrorwood -- A "Don't Do Hollywood" shockumentary.


CUT TO:

EXT. FARM LOCATIONS -- AFTERNOON

In a series of fast cuts, the CORN COB BOYS, a group of pasty-skinned white teenagers, do an MTV-type rap video in a cornfield wearing stylishly torn, sleeveless t-shirts, stylishly torn blue jeans, John Deere caps and workboots. The t-shirts sport pictures of corn cobs.

As the BOYS mouth the lyrics:

they dance with a scarecrow that does hip-hop moves,

they dance while driving a tractor,

they squirt milk from a cow's udder into each other's faces,

they roll in the mud with pigs.

BOYS:
We are the boys and we're all a-fearin'
The kids out here they be disappearin'.
Life on the farm they thinkin' uninvitin' so
They moved to Hollywood where
Bloods and Crips were fightin'.

Those poor Kansas kids, they be dissin', they be illin'
'Cause now they hangin' with Milli and Vanillin.
They livin' in sin and scopin' out bikinis,
But they breathin' in pollution that's shrinkin' up they weenies.

It's a city of sin and that's no lyin',
They went out to live and now they dyin'.
They left for the tinsel and the glamour and the flicks,
If they brains was workin' they'd have stayed in the sticks.

Now they snortin' up, they shootin' up,
They pickin' up diseases,
They egos is lower than
Michael Jackson's kneeses.


CUT TO:

EXT. CORNFIELD -- AFTERNOON

The beat continues as THE BOYS stand in a cornfield watching a television that's playing an action movie. The LEAD BOY addresses the camera as the others eat greasy chicken wings. The LEAD BOY holds a remote control.

LEAD BOY:
Don't get us wrong. We don't think Hollywood's all
bad. There's lot of great stuff in the movies.

The other BOYS agree. The TV shows a car chase.

LEAD BOY (cont'd):
Action!

The cars on the TV screen explode. The LEAD BOY changes the channel to a scene of a man in explorer gear crossing a rickety rope bridge over a jungle gorge.

LEAD BOY (cont'd):
Adventure!

The man and the bridge explode. The LEAD BOY changes the channel to a beach scene with an attractive woman in a skimpy bikini.

LEAD BOY (cont'd):
Babes!

The woman explodes.

LEAD BOY (cont'd):
We love movies. So Hollywood's gotta be pretty dope,
right? Hey, why don't we go there and see for ourselves!

The others agree, the beat continues as the visuals turn a grainy black and white, with sloppy splashes of color.


CUT TO:
EXT. CIRCULAR DRIVE AND ENTRANCEWAY OF BEL-AIR MANSION -- AFTERNOON

A large U.P.S. box sits at the front door. The box says "DELIVER TO HOLLYWOOD" on the side. A RICH, HANDSOME MAN (late 30's) dressed in expensive casual clothes opens the door, sees the box, starts to open it.

Copious quantities of styrofoam peanuts come pouring out of the box followed by the CORN COB BOYS, spitting out styrofoam peanuts. They push past the HANDSOME MAN, through the front doorway of the mansion into a large, grandly-appointed foyer.

INT. GRAND FOYER -- AFTERNOON

The BOYS follow a long trail of white powder down a hallway to where a handsome GLAMOURBOY (early 20's) lies dead on the floor, his nose at the end of the trail of powder. His eyes are bugged out and a rolled $100 bill sticks out of one nostril.

The BOYS circle the body and, to the beat, admonish each other and the camera:

THE BOYS:
Don't touch this!
Don't touch this!
Don't touch this!

The BOYS notice some smoke coming from a doorway and find the HANDSOME MAN freebasing (the pipe he holds is labeled "FREEBASE" in large block letters).

The HANDSOME MAN lights a match and puts it to the pipe. The freebase catches fire and the HANDSOME MAN goes up in a ball of flames. He throws himself out the window toward the pool. The BOYS rush to the window.

EXT. GRAND HOLLYWOOD SWIMMING POOL -- AFTERNOON

The HANDSOME MAN lands in the water with a tremendous splash which in turn lands on two GLAMOUROUS WOMEN in bikinis sprawled in lounge chairs by the pool. On a table between them are empty liquor bottles and glasses, and containers of pills, some empty, some on their sides with pills spilling out of them.

GLAM. WOMAN 1 is unconscious and the water has no effect on her. GLAM. WOMAN 2 rouses herself to see the HANDSOME MAN floating facedown in the pool, smoke rising from his body.

The BOYS all lean out the broken window yelling warnings to GLAM. WOMAN 2 as she gets up, stumbles toward the pool and falls in.

EXT. CLOSE-UP HOLLYWOOD POOL -- AFTERNOON

A high-heeled shoe floating in the water, bobbing from the bubbles rising to the surface from the drowning GLAM. WOMAN 2.


CUT TO:

EXT. HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD -- AFTERNOON

The BOYS step over a body lying neatly in a chalk outline. They pass another which police are outlining. Hucksters try to lure the BOYS into peepshows and girlie establishments. One of the BOYS wants to go in, the others drag him away.


CUT TO:

INT. SANTA MONICA DRUG PAD

Kids sprawl and lurk in every corner. Some are heavily drugged, some are dead. Some wear M�tley Cr�e t-shirts, others wear "I LOVE L.A." t-shirts. Powder, pills, crack and bottles abound. Needles stick out of arms -- in some cases several needles per arm.

The BOYS are horrified. They roll over one kid who's lying face down. His arm bristles with needles, and streaks of dried blood issue from his nostrils. He wears a t-shirt that says "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore." The BOYS run out the door.


CUT TO:

EXT. HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD -- AFTERNOON

The BOYS run wildly down the body-strewn Walk of the Stars. One of them stops at a star, nudges a body off it, sees it's CLINT EASTWOOD's star, points at it, excited, as another of the BOYS grabs him and they take off after the rest of the BOYS.


CUT TO:

EXT. BUS STATION -- AFTERNOON

Screaming, "Hey, wait for us!", "Help!", etc., the BOYS run to a Greyhound bus whose destination sign reads "Middle America" and push their way on board. The bus pulls out.


CUT TO:

A map showing southern California. A line moves away from Los Angeles, heading east on an interstate. As it extends away, the map expands to show the United States. It begins to burn away, beginning at L.A.


DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. CORNFIELD -- AFTERNOON

The BOYS are in the cornfield as before, the LEAD BOY addressing the camera, the others eating chicken wings.

LEAD BOY:
That city, it chew you up and spit out the bones.
So what's it gonna be? You gonna use your brain...

OTHER BOYS:
Brain!

LEAD BOY:
...or be a stain on the Walk of Fame?

One BOY'S shirt is stained with grease and chicken fat. The other BOYS point at his shirt.

OTHER BOYS:
Stain!

The BOYS finish their rap.

THE BOYS:
They leave for the coast, we think it's a pity.
Don't lose YOUR soul to that great horror city.

INT. HIGH SCHOOL CLASSROOM -- LATE MORNING

The video credits begin to roll. A TEACHER turns the TV off and the credits snap off and dwindle to a white spot in the center of the TV screen. The movie's opening titles begin as the TEACHER'S voice drones from far away as he puts away the A.V. equipment away.

TEACHER:
So there you have it. That should give you some food for
thought. Where does this cable go? Oh, I see. You're
going to be getting out of this school soon -- most of you
anyway -- and real life will be waiting for you. You'll
have decisions to make.

Birds can be heard twittering through open classroom windows as the students respond to this moment, this TEACHER.

TEACHER (cont'd -- o.c.):
Some of you will be going to college, some of you will
be going on to other things. Funny, this tape doesn't
want to come out. Oh, I see. Never mind. Whatever
you do, success usually doesn't come easily.

A girl is writing a note, which she finishes and passes across the aisle to a student, who passes it to another student. Another student is drawing something in his notebook. The students are polite but bored, waiting through another lecture.

TEACHER (cont'd -- o.c.):
You've got to focus in on what you want and then go out
and work for it. It takes hard work, persistence, patience,
and faith in yourself. What's wrong with this thing? Ow.
And it's a long road. Life is a long-term proposition.
There are no short cuts, there's no easy way through.
Look at what was going on with those kids in Hollywood
in this video here.

TOM VINCENT (18, brown hair, slim 5'7") is the last student in the row.

He pages through a notebook which has page after page of movie logos and pictures cut from fanzines. It also contains film story ideas. TOM is working on a storyboard for a film entitled FATHER BINGO'S BLOOD FEAST.


PANEL 1 -- FATHER BINGO'S BLOOD FEAST STORYBOARD

Beach noses, sound of surf.

SURFER:
Father, I'm gonna try to ride the big one. Could you,
like, give me your blessing?

FATHER BINGO makes a sign of the cross over the SURFER.

FATHER BINGO:
May the Big Dude be with you for a bitchen ride.


PANEL 2 -- FATHER BINGO'S BLOOD FEAST STORYBOARD

Screaming off-camera. FATHER BINGO and the SURFER look.

SURFER:
Whoa! What is that?

FATHER BINGO:
Something humongous is eating Peter!


CUT TO:

EXT. KANSAS ROAD -- AFTERNOON

TOM walks alone down a sparsely-populated suburban road, carrying his schoolbooks. He walks past a sign identifying the town as Manhattan, Kansas.

TOM wears a Psycho t-shirt, depicting a wet, screaming Janet Leigh and a Sperminator jacket with the Sperminator logo on the back.

A gust of wind blows, leaves tumble lyrically by Tom's feet, becoming...


CUT TO:

EXT. HOLLYWOOD STREET -- MORNING

...styrofoam peanuts blowing lyrically down a Hollywood street, then around the wheels of a VW Bug, parked at the curb.

A pair of feet (CARD -- 5'10", 34 years old, medium build) walks to the door of the VW and tries to get the rusty door open. Painted on the side of the VW are the words "A Fast Ride To Hell In A Handbasket."

He drops Death Tour brochures. Styrofoam peanuts stick to his legs from static electricity as he struggles with the door. Finally, he reaches through the vent window, gets the door open, picks up the brochures, gets in and drives off with screeching tires.


CUT TO:

EXT. LOS ANGELES STREET -- LATE MORNING

Styrofoam peanuts blow along a street, blowing into a bus station where the feet of people disembarking from a bus are seen. TOM gets off the bus, retrieves his bag, walks out to the street, then stops and looks around.


CUT TO:

EXT. HOLLYWOOD SIDEWALK -- LATE MORNING

TOM's feet move along the Walk of the Stars, his luggage banging into his leg with every other step.

He passes the chalk outline of a body, then pauses at the TOM CRUISE star. TOM CRUISE's name has been crossed out with magic marker and JACK NICHOLSON's name is scrawled in.

TOM moves on, passing more and more chalk body outlines until he reaches a dense patch of them by a street corner. The body outlines almost look like abstract art.

TOM looks around, then looks up at the roof of the Holiday Inn he's in front of. The jumble of body outlines go slightly up the wall of the building. It's about 20 stories up.


CUT TO:

INT. CARD'S VW -- LATE MORNING CARD approaches the intersection where TOM is standing as the traffic light changes to yellow. CARD guns the engine to beat the light, but it changes to red and he brakes to a screeching, careening halt, gripping the steering wheel with straight arms, right next to the sidewalk where TOM is.

EXT. HOLLYWOOD SIDEWALK -- LATE MORNING

TOM is jolted out of his reverie by CARD's screeching stop. He turns and crosses with the light as CARD sits talking to himself.

CARD:
It's okay, fuck 'em. So I'm a little late. They'll
get their money's worth.


CUT TO:

EXT. HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM ENTRANCE -- AFTERNOON

CARD pulls up in front of the Emergency Room entrance. LISA (30, pretty with medium height and build, in doctor's greens) and two TOURISTS, a married 40ish couple from Tennessee, are waiting outside the door for him, irate at his tardiness. The WOMAN TOURIST has a beehive hairdo.

LISA walks to the car as CARD struggles to get his door open.

CARD:
Um, hi.

LISA:
(low, intense)
Thank you for remembering us, honey. This is the
last time you pick up customers here. This is an
emergency room. I don't have time to babysit for
you.

CARD gets the door open and scrambles out of the car as LISA heads back into the hospital. He overwhelms the TOURISTS with handshakes, talk, motion.

CARD:
Hi there, hi, thanks for coming on the Death Tour,
sorry I'm late.

MAN TOURIST:
Late? We've been waiting almost....

CARD herds the TOURISTS into his car.

CARD:
I know, sorry. You know L.A. traffic. Here, let
me get that. Sorry.

The WOMAN TOURIST speaks to her husband as CARD maneuvers her into the car.

WOMAN TOURIST:
Honey, would you mind if I sit up front OW....

CARD:
Watch your head. There we go. The view is
excellent from any seat.

MAN TOURIST:
How did you get into this line of work?

CARD:
I work in films. I guess you could say this
is a passion of mine.

CARD jumps into the car and thrusts brochures at the TOURISTS, then turns on a small P.A. system he has in the car. He grabs the microphone and starts into his shpiel as he takes off amid the noise of squealing tires, alarmed TOURISTS, and his tinnily-amplified voice laced with P.A. feedback.

CARD:
Hey, when Death takes a holiday, where do
you think it goes? That's right! Like you
and me and everybody else, it comes to
Hollywood.


CUT TO:

EXT. HOLLYWOOD STREET -- EARLY AFTERNOON

TOM walks by a fancy restaurant which has a driveway and valet parking. A visibly successful and affluent MAN (late 40's, in a sport coat, slightly paunchy) exits the restaurant, signalling the PARKING VALET to get his car. He seems agitated, with something urgent on his mind. He approaches TOM.

MAN:
Hey, excuse me, do you drive?

TOM:
Yes, sir.

MAN:
Great. Would you like a nice car?

TOM:
I guess. I can't really afford one right now.

The MAN hands TOM a car registration.

MAN:
Here -- take mine. It's my despair.

TOM:
(confused)
It's what?

A red BMW pulls up by them as the MAN speaks. The VALET hops out, leaving the door open.

MAN:
My despair. By the way, do you have the time?

TOM:
No, sir.

The MAN takes off his watch and thrusts it into TOM's hands as he speaks.

MAN:
Here. I've got a nice Rolex, too.

TOM:
Um....

A bus pulls up. The MAN sees it and shakes TOM's hand.

MAN:
Hey, thanks. Remember, we're all one, right?

TOM:
Uh-huh.

EXT. HOLLYWOOD STREET -- EARLY AFTERNOON

The MAN runs for the bus, which has a large advertisement on its side.

The ad shows a beautiful, well-dressed woman holding out an extremely expensive fur coat as if she is about to give it away. In large letters the ad reads "LET GO!" In much smaller letters along the bottom of the ad are the words "Divest and Be One." A date -- "June 25th -- is covered over with a sticker proclaiming "TODAY!"

The MAN gets on the bus and empties his wallet into the machine. He takes his sport coat off and gives it to the driver. He is taking his shirt off for another passenger as the bus moves away from the curb.

EXT. HOLLYWOOD STREET -- EARLY AFTERNOON

TOM watches the MAN in amazement. The VALET motions for TOM to enter the BMW.

VALET:
Your car, sir.

TOM looks at the car and looks at the valet before he realizes the VALET is talking to him. The VALET takes TOM's luggage and puts it in the back seat, then stands with his hand out as TOM slowly gets into the car.

VALET (cont'd):
Excuse me, this is how I make a living, amigo.

TOM, clearly dazed, looks at the VALET, realizes he's supposed to give the guy something, quickly searches his pockets, coming up with a dispenser of Tic-Tacs, which he puts in the VALET's hand.

The VALET slams the door shut.

TOM starts the car, drives it jerkily forward.

EXT. HOLLYWOOD STREET -- AFTERNOON

As TOM shakily turns right into traffic, CARD's VW goes by in the opposite direction. The PA system is blaring, the tourists are terrified, CARD is completely absorbed in the experience of conducting the tour.

CARD:
...and he was found on that corner, the day he
was to start shooting on his next picture. His
pants were around his ankles, and he was
choking on wheat thins.

WOMAN TOURIST:
Is there much more of this?

CARD:
Lots, are you kidding? Another name you may
be familiar with -- Zasu Pits -- had a similar
experience....

A firetruck hurtles by, sirens howling, going in the opposite direction.

CARD:
Hold on!

EXT. HOLLYWOOD STREET -- AFTERNOON

CARD talks as he makes a u-turn, tires squealing.

CARD (cont'd):
This is the part of the tour I enjoy the most:
tracking down disaster as it happens!

MAN TOURIST:
What are you doing?

CARD: It's all right, I'm a professional.

WOMAN:
Shouldn't we pull over and let them go by?

CARD:
And give up our place in line? This is the Death
Tour! If there's carnage to be found, I'll put
you in the middle of it!

CARD races off after the fire truck, tires and tourists wailing.

TOM has pulled over for the fire truck and is just pulling away from the curb when CARD goes by leaning on his horn, forcing TOM to the curb again.

INT. TOM'S NEW CAR -- AFTERNOON

CARD's VW heads off into the distance as TOM grips the steering wheel, breathing heavily. Someone appears at the driver's side car window.

VCR MAN:
Excuse me

TOM looks up to see a MAN carrying a VCR and an open box of videotapes.

VCR MAN (cont'd):
Would you like these? There's lots of good tapes.
Please, they're my despair.

TOM:
Well, I....

VCR MAN:
Please. I'm trying to let go.

TOM:
Um, well, okay.

The VCR MAN puts it all in TOM's arms.

VCR MAN:
Hey, thanks. You take care.

The VCR MAN takes off. TOM is trying to figure out what to do with the armload of stuff.


CUT TO:

CLIP FROM "SUNSET BOULEVARD"

William Holden is dead in the pool, the police and reporters arrive. Gloria Swanson descends the stairs, psychotic.

INT. GRAND OLD MOVIE THEATER

TOM sits in a nearly empty old movie palace watching the end of "Sunset Boulevard" and eating popcorn.

EXT. MOVIE THEATER -- EARLY EVENING

TOM walks out into the light of the lowering sun, shielding his eyes. He walks toward his BMW, taking his keys out of his pocket. As he approaches, he notices:

The window in the passenger door has been bashed in and the radio is gone from the dashboard, along with his luggage from the back seat.

He stares at the car, stunned, then looks up and down the street, as if he might see someone running off with his stuff. A transvestite hooker stops by TOM.

HOOKER:
What happened, someone fuck up your pretty
car for you? That's too bad.

TOM, dazed, hands the HOOKER the keys and registration to the BMW.

TOM:
Here, you can have it.

TOM walks off, styrofoam peanuts blowing by his feet. The HOOKER calls after him:

HOOKER (cont'd):
Thank you!

TOM walks away. Someone leans out a window above him and calls to another person walking by in the opposite direction:

GIVER
Excuse me, would you like a stereo? I need to
let go.

TAKER:
No, thanks. Hey, d'you have a videocamera by
any chance?

TOM walks on. An ambulance goes by, its siren wailing.


CUT TO:

INT. STEREO STORE

A SALESMAN addresses the camera feverishly, waving his arms around.

SALESMAN:
Our prices are wacky! Our prices are bonkers!
Get down here and take advantage of us before we
come to our senses! We've got it all: stereos to
wear on the street, stereos to keep at home, stereos
to give away, VCR's, laser disc players, home theaters,
and SPEAKERS, SPEAKERS, SPEAKERS! Everything we sell
comes with a choice of removable cartons or permanent
designer cartons for easier divesting. COME ON DOWN!
THIS SALE IS SO BIG IT MAY EMPTY THE STORE!

INT. CLOSE-UP OF TELEVISION IN HOLLYWOOD CONDO -- EVENING

The television is a beautiful widescreen, stereo model on which the commercial continues. The SALESMAN is engulfed in a crowd of people running past him with the sound of a stampede as the image jiggles to simulate tremors from the running crowd. The shoppers are grabbing stereo components and throwing themselves around in a near riot. The store's logo flashes over the scene.

ANNOUNCER (v.o.)
Ernie's Stereo Asylum, open every day and every night.

INT. HOLLYWOOD CONDO -- EVENING

As the commercial ends, we hear noises of someone eating and someone else off in a kitchen. We gradually open out to see TOM sitting in a recliner in a lovely, nicely-furnished condominium.

Most of the electronic items and appliances in view are in cardboard boxes with holes cut in the cardboard for access to the controls.

TOM has a linen napkin as a bib and is eating a gourmet meal. The ex-owner of the apartment (JEFFREY, a pleasant-looking balding man, 47, wearing glasses) enters, wiping his hands on a dishtowel. It's apparent that he has been serving TOM. On the television, the commercial has given way to a news program.

JEFFREY:
How is everything? Okay?

TOM:
I really like these little round things. What are
they?

JEFFREY:
Squid.

TOM puts his fork down, no longer hungry.

TOM:
What are all the cardboxes for?

JEFFREY:
It makes it easier to I've everything away. Would
you like something to go with your meal? Some
chianti maybe or a nice Chateau-Neuf-du-pape?

TOM:
Do you have any Hawaiian Punch?

JEFFREY:
I... I don't drink Hawaiian Punch. I'm sorry.

TOM:
How about a Dr. Pepper?

JEFFREY:
(hopefully)
I have some nice sparkling water.

TOM:
Okay.

JEFFREY exits to the kitchen. TOM appears a bit uncomfortable on the recliner. His attention is caught by the news. Two anchorpeople, a man and a woman, engage in jocular banter.

NEWSMAN:
...two goats and a vat of lard.

They laugh.

NEWSWOMAN:
There's a lesson in there.

NEWSMAN:
Yes, there is: don't shave in public.

NEWSWOMAN:
Not during hunting season, anyway. Well, as you've
probably noticed, today is Divestiture Day.

NEWSMAN:
Hard to believe it's that time of the year already.

NEWSWOMAN:
It's true. Divestiture Day, as you know, is a day to
celebrate cutting the bonds of materialism, a day to
highlight something that's becoming a way of life
to Californians: giving away your possessions.

The television screen cuts from the NEWSWOMAN to a clip of people giving possessions to other people in the street.

NEWSWOMAN (cont'd):
This event seems to get bigger every year. Behind it
is the non-sectarian organization called The Way of
Letting Go, and behind this organization is its founder...

The television screen cuts to SHIRLEY, a pleasant-looking, well-dressed late-40s brunette, talking with an interviewer.

NEWSWOMAN (cont'd):
...the charismatic teacher and lecturer known as
Shirley, who built the organization...

The television screen cuts to a shot of a building surrounded by palm trees that is headquarters to The Way of Letting Go. People come and go, as do vans emblazoned with the words "LET GO."

NEWSWOMAN (cont'd)
...from a fringe New Age enterprise that started in
a garage in Van Nuys into the influential spiritual
organization that we know today.

The television screen cuts from the building to another interview clip with SHIRLEY.

INTERVIEWER:
How do you explain the phenomenal growth of The
Way of Letting Go?

SHIRLEY:
Well, the message, but also I think the timing of the
message. We came along at a time when a lot of
people felt an emptiness in their lives, a feeling that
their lives lack meaning.

SHIRLEY's image freezes and moves to the upper left-hand corner of the screen as the NEWSWOMAN reappears.

NEWSWOMAN:
Simply put, the followers of the Way believe that our
focus on material comfort not only prevents personal
fulfillment, it is responsible for the growing decay
and violence in this country.

NEWSMAN:
Gosh, it all sounds awfully serious.

The co-anchors laugh. JEFFREY has returned with a glass of mineral water and hands it to TOM. As they talk, the TV continues in the background, and a clip of another interview with SHIRLEY appears.

JEFFREY:
Isn't she wonderful? She saved my life.

TOM:
Really? Her?

JEFFREY:
No, Shirley.

TOM:
Oh. Do you know her?

JEFFREY:
Not personally, but through her teachings, yes, I
feel like I know her.

TOM:
Huh.

JEFFREY:
Well, I'll be going now. Here's an extra set of keys.
All the information about the utilities and the Deed
and so on are on the desk in the bedroom, and also
my sister's telephone number. You can reach me
there if you have any problems. I'll be staying with
her while I start my new life. I hope you like it here.
It's been a good home for me.

TOM:
You know, I can rent a room somewhere. You
really don't need to do this.

JEFFREY:
Oh, no, I really do. I'm sure the reason I ran into
you tonight was so you could free me from my
despair.

TOM:
Um. Well. What are you going to do after this?

JEFFREY:
Oh, the Way will provide. I just have to let go.

They look at the TV.

INTERVIEWER:
So tell us, why divestiture?


CUT TO:

INT. TELEVISION STUDIO -- EVENING

SHIRLEY answers the INTERVIEWER'S question.

SHIRLEY:
Life flows on all around us, and if we hold on to
things we only keep ourselves from flowing with it.
The key to finding peace is letting go.

INTERVIEWER:
Well, thank you for coming in to speak with us. I
know how busy you are.

SHIRLEY:
Oh, it was a pleasure.

The INTERVIEWER addresses the camera.

INTERVIEWER:
Next, an interview with the cannibal of Reseda,
after these messages.

The cameras go off, SHIRLEY gets up and shakes hands with the INTERVIEWER.

INTERVIEWER (cont'd):
Thanks again

SHIRLEY:
Thanks for having me.

SHIRLEY walks off the set and is joined by ARNOLD (40's, a bodybuilder with an Austrian accent). They walk out of the studio.

ARNOLD:
You didn't plug your book.

SHIRLEY:
Oh, the book is old news. They want to hear about
D-Day

ARNOLD:
I notice you didn't mention your thoughts on leaving
us and going back to private life.

SHIRLEY:
One thing at a time. Wait 'til I actually figure out
what I'm going to do with myself

ARNOLD:
Listen, what do you think about the new TV spots we
talked about yesterday?

SHIRLEY:
I think they work, and the person I had in mind for them
was a big, burly ex-movie actor with a funny accent.

ARNOLD:
Oh, thank you, but you know I don't perform any more.

SHIRLEY:
Then how does the name Karl Malden sound to you?

ARNOLD:
Karl Malden?


CUT TO:

EXT. STREET -- AFTERNOON

A thief breaks into a car by shattering the driver's window. KARL MALDEN appears, taps the thief on the shoulder and gives him the car keys. The thief is confused. KARL MALDEN walks away from the car addressing the camera:

KARL MALDEN:
Go ahead, divest. Leave home without it.


CUT TO:
EXT. BURBANK STREET -- LATE MORNING

The gate of a movie studio lot. The sides of the studio buildings facing the street have giant ads for forthcoming films. On top of one of the buildings is a billboard with a large ad for the Way which reads: "DIVEST! Let it all go!"

Hollywood/show biz/southern California folks walk in andout of the gate. TOM approaches the gate and enters.

EXT. MOVIE LOT STREET -- LATE MORNING

TOM walks down a street on the studio lot. People pass him on golf carts, styrofoam peanuts blow by in their wake. He passes a huge open door; scenery is being constructed inside.

He passes several sound stages. Each door has a plaque with the title of a film being shot inside: "Two African Queens," "Briss of Desire," "Naked Uzi Babe Rampage," "Coed Martian Bloodsuckers Go Hawaiian."

Finally, TOM gets to the soundstage where "Sperminator V" is being filmed. He sees the sign and stops. The red light over the door goes off. TOM looks around and slips inside.


INT. SOUNDSTAGE -- LATE MORNING

A makeshift office in a corner of the soundstage. CARD is on a phone call.

OLIVER REED, dressed as a blood-and-gore-stained mutant, with a third arm extending from his stomach area, walks repeatedly in and out, having a fit.

There are voices, hammering noises, and the sound of things being dragged across the floor. CREW MEMBERS walk in and out as CARD talks on the phone.

CARD (into phone):
So that's $120, plus tax. How will you be paying for this?

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT:
Card.

CARD (into phone):
By card?

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT:
Card! What's the deal with the blood order?

CARD:
I phoned it in. Should get here later.

The PRODUCTION ASSISTANT exits. CARD speas into the phone as he picks up a second phone.

CARD (cont'd, into phone):
Hi, could I ask you to hold for a minute?

He puts them on hold without waiting for an answer and punches another number.

CARD (cont'd, into phone):
Hey, Sid. Card. Listen we need another load of blood, pronto. Pronto, as in yesterday. Good, you know where to bring it.

He returns to the original call.

CARD (cont'd, into phone):
Hi, thanks for holding. Will that be MasterCard or Visa?

As CARD takes the card number, the scene moves from the makeshift office out into the soundstage where SPERMINATOR V is being shot.

The set swarms with people at work. Two people moving equipment yell at TOM.

TECHNICIAN 1:
Heads up! Move it, please!

TECHNICIAN 2:
Get out of the way!

TOM is shoved aside, lurches into something and almost falls.

Off to the side there is a chalk body outline where a POLICE OFFICER (beefy, mid-40's, in uniform), an INSURANCE ADJUSTOR (40, slick looking, in a suit) and a NURSE (mid-30's in a white outfit, businesslike) are taking measurements, writing in noteboks and conferring.

The set is a disaster scene on a two-minute break. Mutants, undead, and mutilated humans abound.

A PRODUCTION ASSISTANT hectors a terribly maimed man laying in a pool of blood who is smoking a cigarette.

We see ENRICO ZEFFERBERG, the director, a short man who speaks in broken, Italian-accented English, surrounded by the retinue that follows him around the set: PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS, a PERSONAL ASSISTANT who writes down everything ENRICO says, and CARMELINA, a short, elderly Italian woman with a cooking cart. She makes sauce, pasta, and flips cutlets of some sort.

PROD. ASST. 1:
Plase don't move around. We're just taking care of a technical glitch. This is not a break.

A woman-mutant pulls a can of soda from behind a rock on the set and drinks it through the top of her head.

ENRICO speaks to the people around him. His COO puts a bib on him as he talks, which he immediately takes off and waves around as he speaks.

ENRICO:
Hard to say, someting kosher is not.

PROD. ASST. 3:
Absolutely, Enrico!

ENRICO:
Someting sit with me not okay.

RROD. ASST. 4:
You're on to something there, Enrico!

ENRICO:
But my little fingers cannot be put on it.

ENRICO speaks to the extras.

ENRICK (cont'd):
Please, please, dis not a break!

As ENRICO talks, two of the PROD. ASSTS. who hover in his wake walk carefully out onto the set and remove the cigarette and soda can, browbeating the extras.

TOM has been trying to stay out of the way, but he is momentarily entranced when a beautiful, scantily-clad woman (JULIE, 5/7", age 25) walks by him, and he steps into an open can of "blood".

He tries to get his foot out, slips, and winds up on his back covered with "blood". The POLICE OFFICER, INSURANCE ADJUSTOR and NURSE immediately appear next to him. The NURSE examines him as the ADJUSTOR begins filling out forms.

OFFICER:
Are you all right?

TOM:
I, I... yeah, I think. I mean, yes, I....

NURSE:
There are no apparent fractures that I can find. Does this hurt?

She touches TOM in two or three places.

TOM:
No.

NURSE:
How about this?

She twists one of TOM's arms up behind his back.

TOM:
Yes!

NURSE:
Good. He's fine.

ADJUSTOR:
Good. Sign this release, please.

The ADJUSTOR hands TOM a pen and holds out a form on a clipboard that TOM starts to sign, then pauses to read.

The NURSE pulls his arm up behind his back harder and TOM signs the form.

The NURSE lets TOM go and the POLICE OFFICER offers her a towel for her hands.

OFFICER:
Here.

NURSE:
Thank you.

The INSURANCE ADJUSTOR takes back his pen, rips off a copy of the form and hands it to TOM.

ADJUSTOR:
This is your copy.

TOM takes the copy. The ART DIRECTOR (afro-american women, 45, medium height and build) appears, sees the mess.

ADJUSTOR (cont'd):
Thank you very much.

ART DIRECTOR:
Oh, terrific. (Yells:) Where is the Assistant Director?

The POLICE OFFICER, INSURANCE ADJUSTOR AND NURSE have disappeared. CARD appears instantaneously.

TOM is trying to drop the paper, but it is stuck to his right hand by the blood. He tries to shake it off, to no effect.

CARD: Here! Here! Here! What's going on?

ART DIRECTOR:
That was the last of the blood. Get someone to take care of it, okay?

The ART DIRECTOR walks off.

CARD:
What the hell happened here?

TOM speaks as he gets up, slipping around before he finds his footing.

TOM:
Sorry, I just, I saw these, um, got distracted by this, um, it was my fault, sorry, I just, um....

CARD:
Goddammit, Julie, this is why our insurance rates triple when you're in the cast. You're a menace. Put some clothes on between takes.

TOM:
I'm sorry. I'm really so sorry.

CARD:
Fine. Keep your mind on the job. Where's your Hawaiian shirt?

TOM gestures vaguely.

TOM:
Um, over there?

CARD:
Put it on. Get Hawaiian. You can worry about the lay later. BILLY! CAESAR! Clean this up or cordon it off or something!

CARD walks off as crew members start clea-up and containment.

JULIE:
A big mess, huh?

TOM:
Yeah.

JULIE:
You new on the set?

TOM:
Uh-huh.

JULIE gingerly takes TOM by the point of his lapel and moves him away from the spill.
JULIE:
Where you from?

TOM:
Manhattan.

JULIE:
Hey, no way! I'm from Flushing.

TOM:
No kidding. Um, should I have a Hawaiian shirt?

JULIE:
You want a Hawaiian shirt?

TOM:
Sure, I guess.

JULIE:
Follow me.


CUT TO:

INT. COSTUME TRAILER -- LATE MORNING

JULIE leads TOM to a trailer outside the soundstage that serves as the production's costume department. MARGE (a grizzled 50ish woman with salt-and-pepper hair), the wardrobe mistress, irons clothes, a cigarette hanging from her lips, while checking a long list attached to the wall. She sees TOM.

MARGE:
Don't you dare come in here with that stuff all overyou. Take those clothes off.

TOM:
Oh. Um.

MARGE:
Go ahead. We won't stare.

TOM starts to peeloff his clothes without tearing the insurance form as the women stare. MARGE grabs a trash can.

MARGE:
Deposit those directly in here.

JULIE:
He needs a shirt.

MARGE:
I'll say. Are you an exploding appendix or a disembowelment?

TOM:
I'm not sure.

MARGE consults a list on a clipboard.

MARGE:
What's your name? Why weren't you here earlier?

TOM:
I'm new.

MARGE:
Uh-huh. And you are who?

TOM:
Tom.

MARGE:
I don't see you on the list here, Tom.

TOM:
Tom Vincent.

JULIE:
He's new. He won't be on the list. Give him a disembowelment. They're flashier.

MARGE gets a shirt, addressing JULIE.

MARGE:
If you want to take over my job, Miss Cleavage, speak to the union before you step in here and start issuing instructions.

OLIVER REED enters, still ranting. His third arm has come off and he brandishes it at MARGE:

OLIVER:
Look at this cheap trash! You ought to be ashamed of yourselves!

MARGE:
Oh, Ollie, you're not ripping your costume apart again, are you?

OLIVER:
I don't have to rip it apart -- it disintegrates at the slightest touch.

MARGE gives TOM a shirt, then takes the arm from OLIVER REED.

MARGE:
Ollie, I love you, but you are a goddam trial.

OLIVER:
I didn't have to do this film, you know. I didn't have to do this tripe. I could have been in Paris doing Macbeth.

MARGE:
Hey! Don't you ever say that name in here! You now better than that.

TOM:
Macbeth?

JULIE clamps a hand over TOM's mout, muffling the second syllable of "Macbeth."

MARGE:
What did I just say?

OLIVER:
Oh, bloody hell! Incompetents, sluts and whores! I could have been the toast of Paris. Instead I'm dying in this festering cesspool of a city. My life is falling apart! I've been condemned to hell! Hold me, Marge!

OLIVER REED throws himself into Marge's arms.

MARGE:
Jesus, Christ, Ollis, get a grip on yourself. What kind of example are you setting for the rest of the mutants?

JULIE helps TOM into his costume to get him out of there faster. OLIVER REED addresses TOM.

OLIVER:
Stay out of this business, son. You're young. It's not too late. Think of your future. Look at you. They'll bleed you dry here. They'll suck out your innards and eat them and dry clean your socks. Go back home. Where are you from?

TOM:
Manhattan.

OLIVER (sobered):
Oh. Well, then, you're probably better off here.

JULIE pulls TOM out of the room.

JULIE:
Come on, we gotta get back to the set.

OLIVER REED flings himself into Marge's arms again.

OLIVER:
Save me, Marge. Take control of my life.


[continued in part 2]




MORE FOCUSED BLATHERINGS


Travels:
London '01
Pamplona
Italy '03
U.K. '03
Sevilla
Casablanca
Stoke-on-Trent
Barcelona
Québec/Ottawa
Boston/Lisbon/Madrid
Italy '04
Montréal
La Sierra

Events:
Madrid -- arrival
9/11
Emergency Room I
Holidays 2001
Holidays 2002
Holidays 2003
Holidays 2004
Holidays 2005
A neighbor's passing
Madrid -- March 11 bombings
  and aftermath
Emergency Room II
Israeli friend/Madrid Marathon
Madrid -- Royal Wedding
The DELE exam

GONE, a novel:
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10

THE BASTARD CHILDREN OF
JOE ROCCO, a novella:
-- Part 1
-- Part 2
-- Part 3

BURBANK SHRUGGED,
a screenplay:
-- Part 1
-- Part 2
-- Part 3
-- Part 4

Short stories:
Murphy's Wife
Another Autumn
La Queja de Una
  Hermanastra Muy Conocida

Autobiography
-- Personal History
-- Hormones On Parade
-- Accidents, Random Mishaps,
    Personal Problems

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People/Weblogs:
dooce
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out and about
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fanatical apathy
baghdad burning
wfuv's music blog
kexp's music blog
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between the miles
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the impossible cool
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Good Clean Fun:
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internet archive
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Makin' Musical Whoopee:
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