Entourage:2039 Chapter one

This is the debut of my new weekly feature, Entourage:2039. It’s a piece of speculative fiction about where the characters from HBO’s Entourage will be in 30 years. Entourage:2039 will be published every Monday. Eventually I will probably migrate it to its own blog, but for now it’s here. I think it goes without saying this is not endorsed by or associated with HBO or the producers of Entourage in any way.

Come back Monday for chapter two!

_ _ _ _ _

Chapter One: Vince.

Vincent Chase, at 60, is a disgrace.

Once this beautiful boy bestrode the Earth like Colossus of old. The foreign markets fell to his boyish grin and tangled hair as if he had been Caesar- and he could have been Caesar, too, if he hadn’t lost the lead in the $80 million dollar Roman epic when a bitter D-girl ex- of Eric’s screwed them over with the studio. But something else came up, there was always another role, the timing was infallible, like someone somewhere was pulling the strings to give Vince just what he needed just when he needed it – they started to joke about it after a while. But Vince starred in the biopic of Giorgio Armani and it was a hit and he walked out the other side bigger than ever, with all wrongs forgotten, having fucked his leading lady and both of her stand-ins. And he got a shitload of free suits, too.

The sun would always shine on Vinnie Chase, because someone was always reflecting it there.

But now. Now he was fat. His once beautiful hair, his pride and joy, hung dirty, unconditioned and untouched for years by hands of two-hundred-dollar stylist. Alone he sat, alone in the penthouse condo high above Vine Street. He’d paid 14 million dollars for the place when the building went up, paid it without batting an eyelash because he was Vincent Chase, often the biggest movie star in the world, and because from his immaculate terrace he could actually look down on the rooftop swimming pool of the W hotel on the next block.

It had been Turtle who had conceived and executed what came to be known among those lucky enough to be invited to Vincent Chase’s penthouse as simply The System. It was a thing of genius in its way. Without ever leaving the comfort of Vince’s bachelor pad, they would observe by high-powered telescope the nubile bikini-ed beauties at poolside. A bellman at the hotel was a weed contact of Turtle’s- a quick text message with a description of the women in question, a discreet message sent to poolside indicating the interest of the man who was either or would soon again be the World’s Biggest Movie Star, and the women (or girls: Turtle’s connection would check IDs when their target’s youthful appearances merited it), were on their way to Vince’s place and a story they could tell their grandkids.

Turtle. Vince tried to remember the last time he had seen his face. The least talented of his inner circle, but somehow the the most real. People always liked Turtle, because they could relate to him. Just a guy who got lucky. Vince sometimes used to wonder if he kept Turtle around as some kind of trophy of humility and authenticity- just to prove that he, Vince, was still just a guy from Queens, that being the world’s being movie star, then not, than the world’s biggest movie star again, and so on, hadn’t changed him, not really, not at his core.

No. He had never been that cynical. He loved Turtle, always had, always would. And Eric. And Drama, his own brother. They looked nothing alike, but Johnny had been his own flesh and blood, or half anyway. How long had Johnny been gone now? Ten years? More? Vince fingered the platinum locket with Johnny’s picture in it.

Later. The high persistent whine of the door buzzer brought him out of his reverie. How long had he been sitting there like that, staring into the bewildered eyes of his brother, Johnny- a man who had always been lost, in his way, but was now lost irrevocably. With an effort he stirred himself and went to the intercom. There were multiple layers of security in place to restrain unwanted guests and overenthusiastic fans, but Vince pressed the button without even bothering to ask who it was. He knew who it was. For years now, he had only had one visitor.

Two-and-a-half minutes later, Vince, affecting his best remaining approximation of perfect movie-star ease, unlocked the six locks and opened the door to his visitor. She smiled at him like he was the one person in the world she wanted to see more than she had ever wanted anything else.

But then, hadn’t they all?

Chapter One: Vince.

Vincent Chase, at 60, is a disgrace.

Once this beautiful boy bestrode the Earth like Colossus of old. The foreign markets fell to his boyish grin and tangled hair as if he had been Caesar- and he could have been Caesar, too, if he hadn’t lost the project when a bitter D-girl ex- of Eric’s screwed them over with the studio. But something else came up, there was always another role, the timing was infallible, like someone somewhere was pulling the strings to give Vince just what he needed just when he needed it – they started to joke about it after a while. But Vince starred in the biopic of Giorgio Armani and it was a hit and he walked out the other side bigger than ever, with all wrongs forgotten, having fucked his leading lady and both of her stand-ins. And he got a shitload of free suits, too. The sun would always shine on Vinnie Chase, because someone was always reflecting it there.

But now. Now he was fat. His once beautiful hair, his pride and joy, hung dirty, unconditioned and untouched for years by hands of two-hundred-dollar stylist. Alone he sat, alone in the penthouse condo high above Vine Street. He’d paid 14 million dollars for the place when the building went up, paid it without batting an eyelash because he was Vincent Chase, often the biggest movie star in the world, and because from his immaculate terrace he could actually look down on the rooftop swimming pool of the W hotel on the next block.

It had been Turtle who had conceived and executed what came to be known among those lucky enough to be invited to Vincent Chase’s penthouse as simply The System. It was a thing of genius in its way. Without ever leaving the comfort of Vince’s bachelor pad, they would observe by high-powered telescope the nubile bikini-ed beauties at poolside. A bellman at the hotel was a marijuana contact of Turtle’s- a quick test message with a description of the women in question, a discreet message sent to poolside indicating the interest of the man who was either or would soon again be the World’s Biggest Movie Star, and the women, or girls (Turtle’s connection would check IDs when their target’s youthful appearances merited it), were on there way to Vince’s place.

Turtle. Vince tried to remember the last time he had seen his face. The least talented of his inner circle, but somehow the the most real. People always liked Turtle, because they could relate to him. Just a guy who got lucky. Vince sometimes used to wonder if he kept Turtle around as some kind of trophy of humility and authenticity- just to prove that he, Vince, was still just a guy from Queens, that being the world’s being movie star, then not, than the world’s biggest movie star again, and so on, hadn’t changed him, not really, not at his core.

No. He had never been that cynical. He loved Turtle, always had, always would. And Eric. And Drama, his own brother. They looked nothing alike, but Johnny had been his own flesh and blood, or half anyway. How long had Johnny been gone now? Ten years? More? Vince fingered the platinum locket with Johnny’s picture in it.

Later. The high persistent whine of the door buzzer brought him out of his reverie. How long had he been sitting there like that, staring into the bewildered eyes of his brother, Johnny- a man who had always been lost, in his way, but was now lost irrevocably. With an effort he stirred himself and went to the intercom. There were multiple layers of security in place to restrain unwanted guests and overenthusiastic fans, but Vince pressed the button without even bothering to ask who it was. He knew who it was. For years now, he had only had one visitor.

Two-and-a-half minutes later, Vince, affecting his best remaining approximation of perfect movie-star ease, unlocked the six locks and opened the door to his visitor. She smiled at him like he was the one person in the world she wanted to see more than she had ever wanted anything else.

But then, hadn’t they all?

Two ideas inspired by HBO’s “Entourage”

There are yet more comedy sketches in the archive (and video of live performances), but I’m going to deviate from that at least partially and start creating new material.

I had two ideas in the last week, one of which I will be following through on a lot sooner than the other.

1) Entourage:2039

I was watching “Entourage” and I got to thinking about the “lifestyle porn” aspect of it. Vincent Chase has the life that everyone (allegedly) wants: he’s young, handsome, rich, famous, and gets every girl he wants without even trying. But all things must come to an end. I started to wonder where Vince and the gang would be in 30 years.

So, starting this coming Monday, I’m going to be posting chapters of an ongoing piece of what I guess you could call “fan fiction,” although I think by the end it will have strained that semi-genre close to or beyond the breaking point. At any rate, I’m only being semi-sarcastic when I say that cashing in someone else’s already popular idea is one of the best ways to get noticed yourself. So that’s what I’m doing.

2) Mis-Shapes

I’ve been sort of wanting to do a web series for a while now. I will update more on this later, as I am falling asleep now.

“Show” part 6 (conclusion)

This is the end, finally. I must admit, five years later, to still finding the concept of a blooper reel for the Universe rather amusing. Performance video to come soon.

Previously:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five

– – – – –

Everything is very quiet for a good solid 8 seconds or so.

HOST
(very drunk)
So we destroyed the universe. I
guess we’d have to concede that
Project Sketchlite was not a
complete, unqualified success.
Sure, we’ve been scattered into the
incomprehensible void where time
and space have no meaning, but that
doesn’t mean Hollywood can’t still
give something back. So we put
together an All-Star tribute to the
ultimate reality show- the one
called the Universe!

EVERYONE (LIZ, JENNA, MIKEY, SARA)
(singing)
We can’t bring the Universe back,
so we’ll do the next best thing/
have an all-star tribute and sing,
sing sing!
(slow sad tempo)
Who can forget the universe/
it was such a special place/
It had everything from every time/
not to mention all that space!/
(tempo picks up)
The mysteries of existence, “what
happens when you’re dead?”/
Pluto’s moon, Crab Nebula, Ozzy bit
off a bird’s head!/
Spanish inquisition, Val Kilmer,
bear attacks, STDs/
Joan of Arc, Diff’rent Strokes,
Guiness-record-setting beard of
bees/
Periodic table, Russian revolution,
Spanish American war/
Whitesnake, Winger, Poison,
Warrant, The Earth’s red hot molten
core
A hundred eighty six thousand Miles
per second is the speed of light/
Affleck won an Oscar, for a screen
play he didn’t write!
Ancient Rome, The Odyssey,
Parthenon, Trojan Horse/
boobies, frottage, S and M, anal
intercourse!/
Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Vishnu, and
Mohammed too/
Tommy Lee injected liquor, on
“Behind the Music – Motley
Cruuuuuuuue!”/
black holes lead to other
dimensions, Napoleon exiled from
France/
Stallone in “Stop or my Mom Will
Shoot,” T-rex doing a tap dance!

T-Rex (FRANK) enters and performs an awkward tap dance, his little arms flailing wildly.

EVERYONE
(singing)
hidden messages from the Bible, in
the DaVinci Code/
too much smug satire, makes re-al-i
ty explode!

Everyone does jazz hands.

EVERYONE
(out of breath)
Universe!

BLOOPER REEL

HOST
Of course, the Universe was a big
production, and like all big
productions, they didn’t always get
it exactly right on the first take.
So now here are some never before
seen bloopers we thought you might
enjoy.

Throughout the bloopers, the Host stands at the side and watches, and laughs a big fake laugh.

LIFE IMITATES TANGO AND CASH

Two GUYS standing around.

GUY #1 (RYAN)
So, did you ever find my frisbee?

GUY #2 (LIZ)
Nah, I looked-

Sylvester Stallone from “Tango and Cash” (JOHNNY) storms on the stage.

STALLONE (JOHNNY)
Blowing a man’s head off with a
hand grenade is a touch much, don’t
you think?

GUY #1 (RYAN)
What the fuck happened?

GUY #2 (LIZ)
I don’t know. It was like, all of a
sudden, life just turned into the
movie “Tango and Cash.”

GUY #1 (RYAN)
Ah it was probably just some kind
of fluke, let’s try that again.
So, did you ever find my frisbee?

GUY #2 (LIZ)
Yeah, it’s a funny story. I was in
the back yard, picking my homegrown
yams, when-

Stallone re-enters, with pistol and police badge.

STALLONE (JOHNNY)
Stop- or my mom will shoot!

The blooper sound-

[BEEP]

-plays, Stallone exits. The two guys go back to their positions, doing another “take.”

GUY #1 (RYAN)
So, did you ever find my frisbee?

GUY #2 (LIZ)
Nah, I looked-

ABE LINCOLN (IAN) enters.

LINCOLN (IAN)
Four score and seven years- wait,
where am I?

Everyone laughs.

[BEEP]

GUY #1 (RYAN)
So, did you ever find my frisbee?

GUY #2 (LIZ)
Nah, I looked-

Gary Richrath of REO Speedwagon (MIKEY B) enters, and starts rocking out- music plays- “Take It On the Run” by REO Speedwagon. (flashing “rock video” lights if possible)

GUY #1 (RYAN)
Now where are we?

GUY #2 (LIZ)
Looks like the video to “Take It On
the Run” by REO Speedwagon.

They shrug and rock out to the music.

Suddenly T-Rex lumbers in. The music stops.

GARY RICHRATH (MIKEY B)
T-Rex? What the hell are you doing
in my video?

T-Rex answers by thrashing around and doing damage.

GARY RICHRATH (MIKEY B)
But it’s 1982- REO Speedwagon, led
by me, Gary Richrath, is at the
height of its powers- and T-Rex has
been extinct for over
(counts on fingers)
thirty thousand years!

T-Rex gives a “I dunno” gesture with his little arms. Richrath signals for the music to start up again. T-Rex goes to the side of the stage and waves people on.

Stallone, Lincoln (with guitar), Host, and Sara and Jenna (as historical characters) all enter and rock out to the music.

CREDITS

<em>Previously:
<a href=”../2009/07/09/show-part-one-2004/”>Part One</a>
<a href=”../2009/07/13/show-part-two/”>Part Two</a>
<a href=”../2009/07/16/show-part-3/”>Part Three</a>
<a href=”../2009/07/20/show-part-four/”>Part Four</a>
</em>

“Show” (part five)

Previously:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

SCANDAL REUNION

Host enters, then rest of cast filters back on.

The Host is looking very tired and sneaking a drink from a BOTTLE at the side of the stage just before he comes on and speaks.

HOST
And you also get the Project
Sketchlite Scandal reunion special!

The cast together again, this time without any of the makeup to make them look older.

Everyone’s grumbling, not much enthusiasm.

EVERYONE
Hey. Great to see you again. I
can’t wait to reminisce about the
times we had.

DISHWASHING SCENE

Repeat of Johnny and Melissa washing dishes.

JOHNNY
We weren’t really, you know,
washing the dishes.

MELISSA
Yeah, I mean like we were putting
the wash cloth on the dishes, and
kind of moving it around, but there
wasn’t even any detergent!

JOHNNY
The soap bubbles were added later,
by CGI.

MELISSA
Boy did we have a good laugh about
that one.

ANOTHER SCANDAL

[Ryan positioned in balcony]

Johnny is no longer wearing his “fat” towel, but other cast members are wearing affectations such as fake mustaches, wigs, etc. etc. Sara is dressed with a tie, “Avril-style.”

JOHNNY
Hey, remember when they made me
wear that towel, so it would look
like I got old and fat?

DONALD
Yeah. Those were crazy times.

LIZ
Hey, I know! Let’s do a big
Broadway number about this whole
crazy scandal!

She scrambles around trying to get everyone to line up in “Broadway formation.”

LIZ
(singing)
Scandal! It’s more than you can
hand-

Everyone screws up the dance routine they’re supposed to be doing- they’re all supposed to turn one direction, but half turn the wrong way and crash into each other.

Donald’s fake mustache falls off.

Jay tries to help him pick it up, and the silly wig he’s wearing goes flying.

Everyone else joins in, and the stage is covered with silly affectations. Everyone gives up trying to pick them up.

SARA
Dammit, you guys screwed it up
again. And you’re all horribly
horribly ugly.

The cast filter offstage disappointed, again.

Nothing happens for a while. Finally the out of breath reporter runs on.

The reporter enters, running down stairs from balcony.

REPORTER (RYAN)
(out of breath)
Sorry.
(beat)
It’s a scandal! The participants in
Project Sketchlite scandal weren’t
really six hungry young Hollywood
up-and comers participating in a
scandal- they were six hungry young
Hollywood up-and comers, hired as
actors to play the role of six
hungry young Hollywood up-and
comers participating in a scandal!

Drunk host clambers onstage (from funny entrance?)

HOST
(wearily, drunk, drinking
from bottle)
Can’t get enough of that crazy
“Project Sketchlite Scandal”
scandal?

Waits a few beats of silence for a response. Jay and Sara filter back on.

HOST
Me neither. Well now’s your chance
to get even more of the “fake
reality-show-parodying scandal”
scandal antics you love- on the
Project Sketchlite Scandal Scandal
Super Scandalous Scandal-about-a
ScandalVison five-point-one edition
DVD! You get never before seen
outtakes-

JAY
(very ashamed, near tears)
I am from Jersey. But not New
Jersey. The isle of Jersey, in the
English channel.

SARA
The character of “Sara” – the Sara
in the show is nothing like, me
Sara, and she’s hardly anything
like “Sara,” the one who was
playing “Sara” but was really me
playing the Sara who was playing
Sara, who was…

She trails off, confused.

SARA
Anyway, I really am hot. I wasn’t
just acting.
(strikes pose)
And I’ve got this new screenplay.
It’s based around the concept: We
all know Shakespeare fell in love.
But what if- he had fallen in love
with the Titanic? A romance between
the greatest playwright of all time
and the biggest Ship… that
sank… Of all time. You know what
they say, opposites attract! Let me
read you some:
(very silly Shakespeare
voice)
“Shakespeare: oh thou art the most
comely and mighty ship that ever-”

A SCIENTIST (FRANK) in a white lab coat and nerd glasses enters.

SCIENTIST (FRANK)
Stop the show!

HOST
What?

SCIENTIST (FRANK)
I must warn you- you’re in great
danger! A scandal about a scandal
about a parody of a show that
simulates reality!? You’ll create a
time-space paradox- I’m not sure
the universe can handle it!

Sara rips off the lab coat and knocks off the glasses.

SARA
This guy isn’t a scientist, he’s
just an actor in a lab coat and
glasses! It’s a scan-!

“SCIENTIST” (FRANK)
(frantic)
No! No it isn’t! No more scandals!
Man was not meant to toy with the
fabric of reality like this! The
universe is going to explode!

Some sound effects and flashing lights start.

HOST
(drinking more)
Can’t get enough of that crazy
“Project Sketchlite Scandal”
scandal fake scientist time-space
paradox the universe is going to
explode scan-

The universe explodes.

BLACKOUT

“Show” (part four)

Previously:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

THE REUNION SPECIAL

BLACKOUT (Mikey B returns to stage, Ryan to backstage, “fat” Johnny to front row, rest of cast already onstage)

HOST
(very insincere)
Wasn’t that just super?
(beat)
Some time later, we got the
Sketchlite gang back together to
reminisce about the reality show
parody then created together-
Underwater Musical Model Jungle
Comedy Bachelor Search in Space!

The cast, minus Johnny, assembles behind the host, around the couch.

MELISSA’S MARRIAGE MEMORIES

A wistful Melissa takes center stage.

MELISSA
Project Sketchlite will always have
a special place in my heart. I came
to the show with the goal of
getting married, and that’s exactly
what I did. To Donald, then Jay.
Then Johnny. Donald again. Jay.
Johnny. Sara. That one was fun.
Then, let me think…
(beat)
Donald and Jay at the same time.
That was embarrassing. Especially
when Liz caught us.

Sara takes center stage, passing Melissa. Melissa makes a kissy face and “call me later” gesture at Sara.

SARA
Project Sketchlite was wonderful- I
always knew I was incredibly
attractive, but this writing thing
was great for me! I mean, you never
know how truly beautiful you are,
until you surround yourself with
writers and see the contrast. Like
a diamond surrounded with cubic
zirconias. Not that I’m saying the
other cast members were
unattractive. They were just
unattractive compared to me.

She strikes a supermodel pose.

DONALD
Sketchlite was my first step
towards bigger things, of course.

Johnny is sitting in the front row of the audience.

JOHNNY
Yeah, you moved up to eating ten
inch weiners!

Johnny cracks up at his own joke, and encourages the audience to laugh along with him.

Then he climbs on stage and shoves Donald aside.

JOHNNY
I always loved being on stage, but
after “Sketchlite,” I finally found
my true calling. I became a
professional heckler. I’m available
for weddings-

A MINISTER (JOHNATHAN) speaks from offstage.

MINISTER
Do you take this woman…

JOHNNY
Whore!

The bride is heard bursting into tears offstage, Johnny encourages everyone to point and laugh at her (off stage
LEFT).

JOHNNY
(to audience)
Bar Mitzvahs-
(to a Jewish boy O.S.)
Hey jewey McJewBoy you suck!

He is handed the yarmukle from offstage LEFT-

JEWISH BOY (RYAN)
Hey get off!

-and Johnny frisbees it into the audience.

JOHNNY
And of course funerals.

MOURNER (JOHNATHAN)
(offstage)
Why? He was so young!

JOHNNY
Way to die, corpsey!

The mourners all sob uncontrollably (offstage). Johnny, points and laughs at them.

SARA
In retrospect, it was probably a
mistake to set the whole thing
underwater, and in outer space.

LIZ
But the families of all the people
that we lost were so understanding.

DONALD
I don’t want to get into the
physics of it, but drowning, and
exploding from lack of pressure at
the same time, while in a jungle-
not fun. Especially while Melissa
is trying to marry you. You’d think
they could’ve just build some sets,
but they insisted it had to
actually be filmed in outer space,
yet simultaneously underwater in a
jungle.

JOHNNY
Remember when that one guys head
exploded? He was all like “Oh my
God! Oh the pain!” And I’m all like
“nice head, no head. Way to not
have a head anymore!”

JAY
And then there was the jungle.
People would try to get out the
underwater part of the space
station, and they’d end up lost in
the jungle! Let me tell you,
there’s nothing hungrier than a
tiger who’s been launched into
space and forced to live in an
artificial jungle as part of a
reality show parody created by six
Hollywood up-and-comers!

SARA
But the model search went great,
all things considered. That one
girl from Iowa had so much spunk.
She wrestled that tiger so hard- I
really thought she had him…
(quietly)
Until he grabbed her by the neck
and drowned her. Then threw her out
of the airlock into outer space.

LIZ
Oh, I loved those tigers. They were
such good dancers in the musical,
they just loved Broadway so much.

MELISSA
My marriage to Kimba only lasted a
few days. He was always so angry. I
kept saying why don’t you just talk
to me about your feelings, and all
he would is just roar and eat zebra
entrails. And then he found out I
was dating his best friend, Timba.
That wasn’t pretty.

LIZ
Hey guys! You know what we should
do, just for old times sake?

Everyone starts to grumble “oh no” etc.

LIZ
Make up a song about where we are
now!

LIZ
(singing)
Where are we now/
everybody wants know/
it’s the least that we can give
you/
for sitting through this show!

MELISSA
(singing)
I’ve been married and divorced/
thirty-seven times/

DONALD
(singing)
I’m no longer allowed around child
actors/
since I was accused of certain
crimes

JAY
(singing)
I wrote a play about the history/
of the medieval cooood-piece

LIZ
(singing)
I like to do fourteen jello shots/
and karoake songs from “Grease!”

SARA
(singing)
Washed-up model-actress/
now down on her luck/

JOHNNY
(singing)
I’m older and much fatter now/
but I still love saying “FUUUUCK!”

As Johnny sings, the towel falls out of his shirt.

JOHNNY
Uhhh…. That towel was there for
medical… uhh…

DONALD
Balls!

The Cast looks ashamed and files offstage.

A REPORTER (Ryan, with one of those hats that say “press”) jumps into the scene from the front row (where he’s been sitting, jotting down notes).

REPORTER (RYAN)
It’s a scandal! The participants in
Project Sketchlite weren’t really
six hungry young Hollywood up-and
comers- they were six hungry young
Hollywood up-and comers, hired as
actors to play the role of six
hungry young Hollywood up-and
comers!

The Host has been enjoying a drink in the front row. He looks around worried, doesn’t know what to do, finally hops on stage and comes up with:

HOST
Ummm… can’t get enough of that
crazy “Project Sketchlite” scandal?

Waits a few beats of silence for a response.

HOST
Me neither! Well now’s your chance
to get even more of the fake
reality-show-parodying scandal
antics you love- on the Project
Sketchlite Super Scandalous
ScandalVison edition DVD! You get
to know the real cast, in never
before scene Project Sketchlite
Scandal outtakes!

Sara and Jay re-enters.

SARA
My real name’s Sara. I’m an
actress. I wasn’t surprised when I
saw the character “Sara” on Project
Sketchlite, another cheap bimbo,
the kind of role I always get. But
there’s so much more to the real
Sara. For example, did you know
that I wrote my own screenplay?
(pulls out SCREENPLAY)
It’s an adaptation of a Victorian
comedy of manners, but set on an
asteroid that’s on a collision
course with the Earth. I call it
“Emma-geddon.”
(getting excited)
I really think I can pitch this.

She flips through the pages, only the first ten actually have anything on them.

SARA
There’s not actually any dialogue.
In fact, there’s nothing on the
paper at all after page ten. But, I
mean, that’s what uncredited
writers are for, right? And it’s
really nice paper.
(notices something while
flipping)
Oooh, there’s a picture of a cat I
drew.

JAY
(ashamed)
I’m actually from Jersey.

Desperately seeking writer’s group

I really really want to be in a writer’s group again. I used to be in one and I miss it a lot. If anyone knows of something a) in L.A., b) partially or completely focused on feature films, and c) where people use the phrases “industry” and “what sells” as little as possible – please do let me know.

Upcoming Projects

There are quite a few things in the works. I realize all I have done so far is upload old comedy sketches, which gives readers (if any) a somewhat outdated and inaccurate view of both of current writing style and my ambitions.

So here’s what’s coming:

1) “Let it all burn down,” The Nightbirds music video. I conceived and directed this video for Eagle Rock band The Nightbirds. We shot in late March on the Red One camera, and it’s done except for the final effects. I should be able to post something in the next few weeks. We’ll be submitting to festivals that take music videos, and my ultimate dream goal is to have it shown at SXSW in Austin next Spring,.

2) Untitled Short Film that takes place in a meadow. I have an outline and will be writing a script soon. I plan to shoot as low budget as possible with my Nikon D90.

3) Director’s reel. I want to cut together the best of everything I’ve done and use it to hopefully get representation and investors for future projects.

4) “The Modern Unicorn’s Guide to Love and Magic” feature film script. Probably about 70-80% done. This is a feature version of the short I made a few years back. I’d like to shoot it in the next year or so with a budget around $80-100k. I need investors, obviously. You can see clips from the short under the “film” category.

5) Original blog content. I want to post some new and ongoing stuff that reflects where I am as a writer and filmmaker right now. I am proud of my comedy sketches and shows but they are at least 4 years old and that’s not really where I want to go with my career necessarily.

For those who don’t know me, I work a dayjob, at least forty hours a week, in addition to all this. My goal is to do as much as I can as soon as I can, while keeping my sanity and still enjoying my life a little bit.

-Ryan

“Show” (part 3)

Upon further reflection, I think I actually had co-writers who contributed a few bits. The “Dijonaise” part was by Brian Sauer I think.

Previously:
Part One
Part Two

– – – – – –

COMMERCIAL

The Host re-enters, dressed slightly differently (GOOFY JACKET).

HOST
Hey folks! Did you enjoy this
season’s biggest reality show
parody parody sensation, “Project
Sketchlite?”

PLANTS (FRANK and RYAN) in the front row cheer and yell enthusiastically.

HOST (CONT’D)
Then you’ll want to order the brand
spankin’ new Project Sketchlite DVD-
what would you say if I told you
you could buy it now for only
$29.99?

MIKEY B enters RIGHT carrying a big cardboard SIGN reading “$29.99”

An audience member (FRANK) jumps up out of the front row.

FRANK
NO! THAT’S FAR TOO MUCH YOU EVIL
BASTARDS!

Frank jumps onstage and starts pummeling the guy carrying the cards.

HOST
No wait! It’s just a gimmick, where
we keep coming down until we get to
real price!

Frank continues whaling on the card guy.

CARD GUY (MIKEY B)
God no! Let me die!

HOST
Let’s just look at some scenes from
the “Sketchlite” DVD.

BLACKOUT (everyone offstage, confessors line up at LEFT)

MELISSA’S CONFESSION (TITLE CARD?)

Melissa enters (LEFT) and sits with her head in her hands. She looks up at the camera, nearly in tears.

MELISSA
Donald and I had a fight.

She pauses to take a breath.

MELISSA
We were making ham sandwiches and
talking about stuff. It was quite a
flirtatious sandwich prep if I do
say so. Anyway, so I went to the
fridge to get some… condiments.

She has to re-gather herself as she’s on the verge of tears.

MELISSA
So….I asked him if he wanted some
dijonaise. And he said no. I said
why not, it’s good. He said it was
the most evil condiment ever
concocted and it was bad for me.
All I said was that I kind of like
it. He…he just stormed off. Left
his sandwich and everything. I
really didn’t know what to make….

SARA’S CONFESSION

SARA
I was at the coffee shop the other
day, working on my new screenplay,
“Total Eclipse of the Heart” – it’s
a romantic comedy. And I was having
some really personal, innermost
thoughts about how it would be just
perfect for me to star in, probably
with one of those hot young actors
with lots of stubble. “Stubble.”
That’s a funny word. I could say it
all day. Stubble. Stubble. Stubb-

Johnny bursts into the cubicle and moves Sara along.

JOHNNY
Alright honey, time’s up. Get
moving.

JOHNNY’S CONFESSION

JOHNNY
Lately… I’ve been really
interested in breasts.

A long silence- that’s all he has to say.

DONALD’S CONFESSION

DONALD
But you know, my next project is
going to address all these issues,
I feel like with all the violence
in our society, the next step is
like violence shouldn’t just be for
those for have achieved the age of
majority- my next project is
entitled “Malcolm in the Middle…
Of Hell!”

He gets so excited when he says “of Hell!” that he maybe knocks something over.

DONALD
It’s going to star Hillary Duff and
of course the wonderful Frankie
Muniz, truly the most underrated
(and handsome) actor today I
believe working in the filmic
milieu.

THE EDITED VERSION FOR TV

[rest of the cast are in position on the furniture, in the dark]

HOST enters and takes spotlight, Donald is left in the dark but won’t stop talking.

HOST
Do you long to live in a
fantasyland insulated from the foul
language and sexual innuendoes-

DONALD
It’s like we’re always confessiong-
its everywhere in today’s society-
reality televsion, the XFL, the
situation in Uzbekistan-

The Host gets the pointy stick and chases Donald off the stage.

DONALD
(being chased)
See the violence infesting our
society?? This is a perfect
illustration!

Donald crashes off the stage, the Host returns to SPOTLIGHT and takes a moment to compose himself.

HOST
Do you long to live in a
fantasyland insulated from the foul
language and sexual innuendoes of
the modern world? Do you wish those
damn kids would get off your lawn?
Are you eighty? Then you’ll love
the Project Sketchlite edited
version!

LIGHTS UP on the cast, on the furniture.

LIZ
Okay you guys, here are my latest
pages.

She distributes PAGES amongst the group. Johnny reads his for a minute then throws them down.

JOHNNY
No way are we doing ANOTHER song.
We got way too many fucking
songs…

As Johnny says the word “fucking” a loud “beep” noise comes over the stage PA (JOHNATHAN on mic).

LIZ
Your part is small. You don’t have
to sing much even. And you get to
say the word “buttpoker.”

JOHNNY
Hang on a second. Did you guys hear
something a second ago?

DONALD
I didn’t hear anything.

LIZ
Nope, nothing.

JOHNNY
No I distinctly heard something. I
think it was when I said the word
fucking…

Again as he says it, the “beeping” noise goes off.

LIZ
That’s weird.

JOHNNY
Yeah it is. It’s like I’m being
edited. If I say asshole…

As he says “asshole” the offstage voice says “butthole” over him.

JOHNNY
That voice sounds nothing like me.

DONALD
True.

JOHNNY
Man that’s fucked up.

The voice says the word “messed” over fucked.

JOHNNY
Fuck! Fuck! Fucking fuck!

Each time he says fuck, the voice says “darn!” over him.

Johnny flips out and tries to attack Donald.

JOHNNY
You fucker! I’ll kill you!

DONALD
Bring it on, homo erectus!

There’s a loud beep over the PA and their next lines are replaced by very fake sounding voices, while they still appear to be fighting:

JOHNNY (JOHNATHAN)
I’m sorry we were fighting. I was
wrong.

DONALD (SARA)
I was wrong too. Let’s hug and get
to understand each other better and
volunteer to help homeless lesbian
native Americans.

They stop fighting and stand staring at each other. The Host prods Johnny with the pointy stick until he very reluctantly steps forward and hugs Donald.

Standing “O” from the fake audience (played over PA, some cheesy sitcom theme music plays?)

BLACKOUT

COMMENTARY – WASHING DISHES (TITLE CARD)

[need to plant Ryan in front row, Mikey B in balcony here]

HOST
(wiping away tear)
Wasn’t that wonderful, folks?
(beat)
Do you enjoy listening to
incompetent hacks claiming their
work has artistic merit in the face
of indisputable visual evidence to
the contrary? Then you’ll love the
commentary tracks from the
Sketchlite cast!

A scene of Johnny and Melissa washing the dishes. (SPOTLIGHT)

The commentator, Donald, sitting in the DARK.

DONALD
What is this- when they were
washing the dishes? Yeah.
What I was trying to say in this
scene, is like, in some way, aren’t
we all the dishes?

Donald watches, getting angry.

DONALD
Alright, stop, stop, this is all
wrong people!

Donald walks to the kitchen area and starts giving direction to the dishwashers.

DONALD
Counter clockwise, not clockwise!
For God’s sake, you’re cleansing
your soul- do I have to tell you
people every little thing?

Johnny turns around from washing dishes and him a look.

JOHNNY
What are talking about, you queer?
And how come you never help out
with the dishes?

DONALD
I can’t
(making hand quotes)
“help” with the “dishes.” I’m not
really “here.” This “scene”
happened months ago. I’m doing a
commentary track.

JOHNNY
Whatever. That’s the oldest excuse
in the book. Why don’t you just say
you’re too lazy to do the dishes?

DONALD
I’m not lazy. It’s metaphysically
impossible for me to do these
dishes. These dishes no longer
exist.

JOHNNY
Whaddaya mean “no longer exist?”
What, did they just disappear?

DONALD
No, there are still dishes, but not
the dishes that existed at this
particular instance of space-time.
It’s patently impossible for
commentary track Jay to interact
with Project Sketchlite principal
photography-era cutlery.

JOHNNY
Just do the fucking dishes or I’ll
kick your ass, gay boy!

Donald starts to do the dishes.

The same audience member from before stands up, with a DRINK.

AUDIENCE MEMBER (RYAN)
(in commentary voice)
When I was watching this scene, I
was thinking, this seat is a little
bit uncomfortable. I ordered a gin
and tonic from the waitress, and
like forty minutes later she comes
back, and it’s not even a gin and
tonic, it’s-

Someone else up in the balcony and starts commentating.

MYSTERY COMMENTATOR (MIKEY B)
When I was watching my son watch
this scene, I felt a deep sense of
disappointment. Is that how I
raised my boy, to not even be able
to concentrate on a simple sketch
comedy scene, because his precious
drink isn’t just the way he likes
it?

The audience member looks up in the balcony.

AUDIENCE MEMBER
Dad, is that you?

MYSTERY COMMENTATOR/DAD (MIKEY B)
My son is an alcoholic who can’t
even pay attention to a relatively
straightforward commentary sketch
without his booze!

AUDIENCE MEMBER (RYAN)
Oh dad I’m sorry! I have a problem!

MYSTERY COMMENTATOR/DAD (MIKEY B)
It’s OK son! I forgive you!

They run towards each other and meet on the staircase, hugging.

AUDIENCE MEMBER (RYAN)
I love you dad!

MYSTERY COMMENTATOR/DAD (MIKEY B)
I love you son!

“Show” (part two)

Previously: Part one.

_ _ _ _ _

PICKING ROOMMATES

JOHNATHAN enters LEFT in the spotlight.

HOST
In week one, the Project Sketchlite
crew struggled to settle into the
house and find a way to work
together. The first step was
choosing roommates. Of course the
usual squabbles arose.

Lights come up to reveal MIKEY B at CENTER. Other cast members are lounging around on furniture @ back of the stage.

JAY
No! I simply refuse! There’s simply
no way you can make me spend months
upon end in a room with one of…
Them!

HOST
But this whole experience is
supposed to be about getting to
know people of various backgrounds
by creating a reality show parody!

JAY
(pointing to Johnny)
But I simply will not cohabitate
with a… A… Stand-up comic! Oh
the dick jokes, the inane patter-
oh the puerility of it all!

Jay bursts into tears.

Liz takes center stage.

LIZ
(speaking dreamily off to
the audience)
Ever since I was a little girl, I
dreamed of having a roommate. I
used to put my dolls in the same
room in their dollhouse and imagine
they were building a relationship,
punctuated by late-night heart-to
heart talks, racial and cultural
misunderstandings, and the
occasional make-out session. But
now my day is here- I’m really
going to have a roommate- I wonder
what he or she will be like?

Liz and Melissa’s eyes magically meet from across the stage.

LIZ AND MELISSA
(singing)
The roommate of my dreams/
will be brave and true/
We’ll be from different cultures/
with so much to learn and do/
maybe a screaming argument/
maybe feeling each other up/
when you have a roommate/
life’s a half-full cup!

As she’s singing, Liz and Melissa cross the stage to each other and join hands, and the other roommates pair up in the background. (JOHNNY and FRANK, SARA and MIKEY B).

BLACKOUT

THE CONCEPT REALLY STARTS TO COME TOGETHER

JOHNATHAN enters in host spotlight (the light comes on and catches him sneaking a drink from his bottle).

HOST
(hiding bottle, trying to
act sober)
After a month of living and working
together, the cast had become a
well-oiled reality-show-parodying
machine.

The cast are sitting around on furniture, looking depressed.

Johnny picks up some papers and reads them.

JOHNNY
This is horrible- the concept is
due tonight, and we haven’t come up
with anything decent.

DONALD
It’s hopeless. We only have two
hours left. I guess we failed to
create a reality show parody that
would make us all Hollywood stars.

Everyone looks sad.

SARA
I guess we might as well just go
home.

LIZ
Wait! You guys can’t give up!

She jumps up and strikes a perky pose.

LIZ
We’re six young Hollywood up-and
comers!

Slow, sad, music starts to play.

LIZ
(singing)
When you’re down and out/
and nothing’s going your way/

Johnny jumps in front of her.

JOHNNY
No! No! stop it!

LIZ
What’s your problem?

JOHNNY
I can’t stand this shit anymore!
Look, if we overcome adversity and
join together at the last moment to
come up with the best reality show
parody ever, will you promise not
to sing anymore?

Liz steps forward and the music starts up again.

LIZ
(singing)
Can I give it up?/
Singing is my life/

Johnny suddenly looks offstage (RIGHT) at Ian at the keyboard.

JOHNNY
(pointing)
This is all your fault!

Johnny jumps off the stage and approaches the piano.

JOHNNY
You’re an enabler, man! Every time
she wants to burst into song, you
start playing!

IAN
Hey- I’m just doing my job!

Ian continues trying to play, as Johnny tries to wrestle him away from the keyboard.

Meanwhile, on stage, everyone is arguing.

FRANK crosses to RIGHT to yell at Johnny.

JAY
(to Johnny)
Leave him alone, man- he’s just a
pianist!

DONALD
(to Jay)
Shut up assbutt!

They start fighting and fall over the furniture.

Sara and Melissa square off, arguing.

SARA
Being hot is so a lifestyle choice!

The host enters, breaking up the fights with his pointy stick.

HOST
(to cast)
OK, we’ve got about twenty seconds,
here we need the concept.

Everyone somewhat composes themselves.

DONALD
It’s an underwater-

LIZ
(does jazz hands or similar)
Musical!

Johnny jumps back on stage.

JOHNNY
Stand-up comedy-

DONALD
Jungle-

SARA
Model search-

MELISSA
For a bachelor-

Jay, emerges from the furniture.

JAY
Symbolically-

DONALD
In space!

HOST
Project Sketchlite will return
after these messages.

BLACKOUT