In our efforts to continue the evolution of ShemThePen into a multimedia entertainment conglomerate, we have recently hired a staff of young screenwriters to begin work on drafts of our first feature films. So far, the creative meetings have not gone well – one young NYU grad was tossed from a third story window for handing in a thinly veiled Caddyshack reboot. Still the work will go on until the profits from our film department rival the likes of Disney and Paramount. For now, here a few of the discarded scripts from our early meetings:
SCRATCH OFF – A crime thriller about a serial killer who chooses his victims based on a complicated formula involving the symbols on scratch off lottery tickets. McGurty, the grizzled veteran detective assigned to the case, is not happy about it, although he’s not really happy about anything. He’s hated by his bosses, hated by his ex-wives, even hated by his mailman. But he alone can discern the killer’s methods due to his own gambling addiction. Big scene: the tension of his horrifying realization of the killer’s next victim, as he scratches off a liberty bell, another liberty bell, then some cherries; “Oh my god,” he whispers with the final scratch. Also: McGurty should have a stutter and a drinking problem. And the killer should be bald, with a wry sense of humor. End with a car chase and some big explosions.
RINGS OF DRAGONS – Capitalizing on this fantasy genre nonsense. Lots of hobbits with big beards and British accents. A princess in a low cut dress, with a haughty British accent. And some dragons, with British accents. An elderly king will be poisoned, dying slowly and dramatically enough for him to impart all the necessary plot points before he finally expires. A ruggedly handsome knight engages a CGI skeleton in a choreographed sword battle, only to discover that the skeleton is actually his father who’s still angry about the bill for knight college. Scene with a bridge troll? Also, the princess takes frequent baths.
FORTUNATE SUN – A war epic about a wealthy young man who enters the military to shore up his resume for a future political career, while dodging any actual combat duty. Opening scene: Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” over a montage of shots of catering trays, cans of WD-40, and computer screens of solitaire games. Opening voice over: “Fayetteville. I’m still only in Fayetteville.” Tense moment when our protagonist, while grilling on the roof of an administration building, nearly loses a regiment of honey roasted chicken on the high flame. End with his final whispered words over ominous shots of the barracks with their cheap furniture and unreliable wi-fi: “The horror. The horror.”
BLINK TWICE FOR MAYBE – Spy thriller about a suave, debonair agent who jumps from an airplane, battles highly trained assassins, plays poker, wins a mixed martial arts tournament, snowboards down a rocky mountain, swims through shark infested waters, drives through Camden, beds a Spanish heiress, does his daily jogging atop a moving train – all without messing up his hair. Cool gadgets: a tiny device in the tip of an umbrella that can measure the saturated fat content in croissants and other specialty baked goods; special glasses that can discern any henchman’s favorite color; a torturous radio device that implants the music of Hall and Oates into the minds of its victims. Needs a cool theme song – contact the Flaming Lips?
JURY DUTY – A legal drama about a man trapped in a waiting room, desperately hoping to be excused from jury duty. In the process, he discovers a web of intrigue, and a glacially slow bureaucratic machine that just may have targeted him as its next victim. Also, the waiting room chairs are hard and uncomfortable. And the Newsweek’s are way out of date, and the only other magazines are Oprah and Woman’s Day. Cue screeching violins.