Friday, March 12, 2010

Magpie Entry #5

“I thought you’d have been able to glance at the script by now; you’ve had it three weeks.”
“Look at this pile of scripts on my desk. I’m supposed to read all of these, and more come tumbling in every day.”
“Yeah, but we’re family. What’s the use of having a sister married to a producer if he won’t read your script.”
“Well, she wouldn’t let up on me till I read the dam’ thing. So I read it.”
“Norman, let me put it this way. There’s a point where the phrase ‘Not very good’ turns into ‘This is nuts.’ That’s the point I’ve reached with your script.”
“That’s it! That’s it! ‘Weird,’ that’s the word you’re searching for, isn’t it, Max? And that’s just an ancient Anglo-Saxon word to describe what we today call ‘surreal.’ And that surrealism is what is going to make this moderate-budget movie into an international blockbuster!”
“Moderate budget? Fifty mill?”
“Today that’s moderate. As you read the script, couldn’t you see the universal appeal of this project? Think of it. The story of Pinocchio, who started out life as a little wooden boy, who grew up and fell in love with a beautiful young lady who had started out life as a little wooden girl.”
“That has universal appeal – to mebbe five-year-olds.”
“Yes, and that’s why we’re making sure we appeal to adults as well as kids.”
“That’s where Shakespeare comes in?”
“Right. The little wooden boy has grown up; his name is now Jonny Cedar.”
“What’s the girl’s name – Natalie Wood?”
“Max, you kill me.”
“That thought has crossed my mind. Say, maybe you could name the guy Jonny O’Cedar. We could get some great commercial tie-ins because the O’Cedar Company makes great mops, brooms and dustpans.”
“I see. Max, you simply haven’t understood the magical potential of this project.”
“What I do understand is the staggering cost of CGI production.”
“Again, you’ve hit upon it! There’s no computer-generated imagery involved! This will all be stop-motion. Frame-by-frame animation. Which means we can bring production costs way down. Fifty million? Forget about it. We plan to bring that down to, at the most, forty-five.”
“Whew. For a while there I thought you were expecting me to risk some real money. So you’re planning to use the same type of animation they used in making ‘Robot Chicken’?”
“Right. In a way this will be another ‘Robot Chicken,’ though raised to a higher intellectual level.”
“That won’t be easy.”
“Ha. Max, you should do stand-up.”
“I’m glad I wasn’t standing up when I read your script. So your two leads are basically animation figures?”

“You might put it that way. Here. Look at this. We don’t have the whole figure made as yet, but look at this, the girl’s hand. Exquisite work, right? Now, try to picture the famous balcony scene of ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ Jonny Cedar delivers those incredibly beautiful lines: ‘See how she leans her cheek upon her hand. O! that I were a glove upon that hand, that I might touch that cheek.’ That will become one of the most emotionally-moving moments in cinematic history.”
“Yeah, there won’t be a dry seat in the house.”
“I have to say, Max, I’m a little disappointed in your attitude.”
“Look. Even if your script made some sense, it would have a hard time making it up to the level of ‘lousy.’ In the first place, there’s no real conflict. Conflict, Norm! Conflict is what interests audiences, conflict is what sells.”
“Well, sure. We could add some conflict.”
“How about this? The young woodenish couple is parked on Mulholland Drive late at night and sort of making out.”
“I don’t think…”
“I know you don’t, Norman. So just listen. Out of the darkness of the night that surrounds them, and accompanied by heavy, threatening music, comes a terrifying figure – a woodcutter!”
“I see. Well, Max, thanks for your time. I’ve got to get over to Disney; they’ve shown some interest.”
“Good luck, Norman. Maybe you can get Woody Harrelson for the voice-over.”


Derrick said...

I'm sure you could work this into a proper script! And I love the touches of humour you include. You don't waste any time with these prompts, do you?!

Berowne said...

Thanks so much -- again -- for your interest, Derrick.

chiccoreal said...

How is a woodchopper threatening? Oh yah, I get it...they're puppets! hahah! They'd be sawdust. Like to see that! Lively piece ARE definitely the new Disney; and you won't have to pull any of the execs strings to get this released!

Berowne said...

chiccoreal: " ARE definitely the new Disney."

Now THERE is a comment I never expected! :-)

Thanks, chiccoreal.

Ronda Laveen said...

I totally think you can get backing and Woody Harrelson for voiceovers.

Berowne said...

I totally think you're right, Ronda. :-)

Jeanne said...

I've always wondered what happened to Pinocchio (my daughter used to call him "Pinochi-nose") after he grew up....

Sandy said...

You are a very patient man.

Berowne said...

Jeanne: "I've always wondered what happened to Pinocchio (my daughter used to call him "Pinochi-nose") after he grew up...."

Please tell your daughter that the little wooden boy grew up to marry a little wooden girl. :-)

Berowne said...

Sandy: "You are a very patient man."

H'mm. An enigmatic comment. It's clear that it will take me some time to figure out what it means. :-)

joanny said...

I started laughing right after it turned "weird"
this was like being invited to watch the crew from Dick Van Dyke show invite Wood Allen to help write the script... Loved how you wove that story around wooden puppets I almost forgot it was a magpie -- very clever indeed,..

Berowne said...

What a wonderful comment, Joanny; thanx.

Peter Goulding said...

Personally, I think forget the animation. Go for big-name stars - Spruce Willis or Redwood Fox in the lead role.
Great fun as usual Berowne!

Anonymous said...

You are at it again.. making pictures. Great job, Berowne. Did you like "The Producers"?
Have a great weekend, fine sir! :) The Bach

Berowne said...

Peter Goulding: "Go for big-name stars - Spruce Willis..."

What fir?

Berowne said...

The Bach: "Have a great weekend."

Thanks to you and my other cyber friends, I'm doing just that. :-)

Madame DeFarge said...

Reminds me of a funnier version of 'The Player'.


How delightful and entertaining... nicely done!

R. Burnett Baker said...

and the scene ends with Jonny Cedar "pining" for his sweet maple syrupy Juliet...

I really like how I read a kindof 1940's rapid fire dialogue between your characters! Really, Berowne, you should put these writings together into a series of comedy vignettes! I love 'em!


Brian Miller said...

lol. the comment thread is hillarious. fun love quirky though, so you never know...smiles.

little hat said...

Berown, your piece is great but the comments are pretty close on its heels. Honestly, you were really just fishing for more material weren't you? And you've struck gold. Touch wood.

Suz said...

You had too much fun with this....
and we loved it!
and without conflict there is no story
I was so amused by the lurking threat
..a woodcutter!

Catalyst said...

As you brought in the woodcutter, my mind flashed on "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." Great fun, Berowne!

willow said...

Squawk! Woody Harrelson?! Good one, Mr. B. I'm really enjoying your Magpie tales.

tattytiara said...

Well that was a fun read! Mulholland Drive. Hm. Now I can't stop thinking about what David Lynch would do with a stop motion story about Pinocchio's later years.

Eric S. said...

A Movie script Too much fun. Your producer is a patient man, but I have to say I like the script writer.

A great way to spend the evening reading this fun scene. Then we have the added benefit of a truly fantastic comment thread. I'm actually nearly laughed out loud, instead of LOL.

Berowne said...

To all my dear Cyber-type friends: My state and city were hit by the huge storm of a couple of days ago, the worst such storm in the 35 years that I've lived here. I have been without power for days and they're now encouraging us by saying it probably won't be back on before Friday. I'm spending the night at a local hotel and using their computer. I was afraid that this might possibly mean my humble Magpie Entry #5 would not get read, but I see it got through alive and kicking, which is more than I am. :-)

So I apologize for posting your comments rather late. They're great comments, though, and very encouraging. My thanks to all.

Berowne said...

willow: "Good one, Mr. B. I'm really enjoying your Magpie Tales."

You started it, willow! You're the one to blame! :-)

Vicki Lane said...

I want to see RoboChicken!

spacedlaw said...

And yet it sounds like a burning idyll!

Berowne said...

Thanks, spacedlaw, for your comment.

Berowne said...

Vicki Lane: "I want to see RoboChicken!"

Sorry. The droid had her for lunch.

Jennifer Morrison said...

Oh Jonny Cedar - I can see it now! Hang in there Jonny - you're destined for great things! Love your scenemaking Berowne - always entertaining.

Pat said...

That's painfully funny. Painful because I have just sent the last chapters of my book to my son for his perusal. I don't hold my breath:)

Berowne said...

Thanks also to Jennifer Morrison and Pat.

Jim Swindle said...

I enjoyed your bentwood sense of humor. You nailed the scene. I won't hammer home the point any further, but wooden it be a great movie?

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