INT. DFO PRODUCTION OFFICE – DAY
A pair of sleazy Hollywood producers are – contrary to form – hard at work in their office. One – RIKKI-TIKKI-DEADLY – is standing behind the desk, hovering over a speakerphone even though he is wearing a bluetooth headset. The other – DARKEST TIMELINE ZACK MORRIS – is furious cramming paperwork into a shredder.
RIKKI-TIKKI-DEADLY: …so just tell them that all the financial records got destroyed.
RIGHT REVEREND ELECTRIC MAYHEM: [the sound a facepalm comes clearly through the speaker] I keep telling you, Rikki, if that were actually even true, your bank is going to have records of all the transactions.
RTD: Then tell them that the bank is gone, too.
RREM: I don’t think the IRS is going to accept that Grand Cayman International Bank just blew away in the hurricane.
RTD: Then please tell me, smart guy, why we even incorporated in Puerto Rico in the first place.
RREM: For the last time, Rikki, in the event that someone files a lawsuit against you…no, you know what? I’m not doing this again. I wrote this all out for you in an email, just read it.
RTD: I thought you said you’re not allowed to email us anymore.
RREM: No, what I told you is that you’re not allowed to email me anymore. Unless it’s official DFO business. You can’t just keep including me on every single email you send to Amazon because you think that means your packages are protected by attorney-client privilege.
DARKEST TIMELINE ZACK MORRIS feeds a final stack of papers into the shredder and makes a gesture as though he is washing his hands.
DTZM: All done!
RTD: Oh, good. Rev, I think we’re all set here. Say, how the family?
RREM: [confused] Uh, what?
RTD: The kids? They’re all right?
RREM: I…oh. I see what you’re doing, Rikki. I’m still billing you for this.
RTD: But this is a social call! You’re really going to bill me for just calling to say hello?
RREM: Yes, and…
DTZM: [punches a button on the speakerphone, hanging up] No point in letting him run up the score.
RTD: Good point. [gestures at a large magnetic board set up in the corner of the office] So what do you think of the new calendar setup?
DTZM: I love it! No more double-booking Mann’s Chinese Theater for premieres!
RTD: Yeah, it’s pretty much idiot-proof.
A beat as they BOTH break the fourth wall, glancing around with nervous smiles.
RTD: Have you had a look at the Halloween lineup?
DTZM: I have. I think that Mike Periera’s Tales from Under the Hood and Ryan Grigson’s Roster of 1000 (They Might As Well Be) Corpses are too similar to be coming out right on top of each other. I’m worried that they might cannibalize each other’s markets.
RTD: Oh, that reminds me – Emmit Smith wants to come in next week to pitch his Cannonball Hula Claus project.
DTZM: So I was thinking maybe we push Tales back and move up J.J. Watt’s gritty reboot of Cabin in the Woods.
RTD: But then what about The Blair Walsh Project?
DTZM: [reaches up to the board] Let’s just push it a little to the left…there. How’s that?
RTD: [strokes chin] Not bad…it’s almost perfect. We just need one more film…
— [door flies open] —
COLIN KAEPERNICK: YOU BETTER LOOK OUT…THERE’S A 7TORM COMING…
RTD: Oh, for the love of…
DTZM: [numbly] Hi Colin.
KAEPERNICK: I heard you guys are one film short for your Halloween lineup.
RTD: I don’t know who would have told you that.
DTZM: Yeah, our schedule is jam-packed.
KAEPERNICK: What are you talking about? There’s that gigantic hole, right there between Shellraiser and Dan Snyder’s Poltergeist: The Next Desecration.
RTD: Oh, that.
DTZM: That space isn’t really available.
KAEPERNICK: Looks pretty available to me.
RTD: It’s not, though.
DTZM: We’ve got…something really important we’re putting there.
KAEPERNICK: Which is?
DTZM: It’s, uh…it’s a secret.
KAEPERNICK: It’s not The Kraft, is it?
RTD: [feigns surprise] How’d you guess? Ah well, cat’s out of the bag. Sorry we can’t help you Colin…
KAEPERNICK: [smugly] Except that the league has had every copy of that film destroyed. So…you’re still one short.
DTZM: [under his breath] Shit.
RTD: Listen, Colin, we’d love to give your film a shot, it’s just that moviegoers aren’t interested in…your kind of story.
KAEPERNICK: But you haven’t even heard my pitch yet!
DARKEST TIMELINE ZACK MORRIS and RIKKI-TIKKI-DEADLY look at each other in irritation. RIKKI-TIKKI-DEADLY rolls his eyes.
DTZM: [sighs] Fine.
RTD: What have you got?
COLIN KAEPERNICK pulls out a set of storyboard images and lays them out on the desk. As he begins talking passionately about the project, RIKKI-TIKKI-DEADLY and DARKEST TIMELINE ZACK MORRIS begin to take interest. Soon their nonchalance has turned to rapt attention. As KAEPERNICK walks them through a final series of unexpected – but plausible – twists leading to the dramatic – but satisfying – conclusion, their faces are filled with outright wonder. After he finishes, BOTH sit in silence for a moment.
KAEPERNICK: It’s called Se7enteen Ghosts.
RTD: Very good.
DTZM: Very, very good.
RTD: [glances at DARKEST TIMELINE ZACK MORRIS] …great?
DTZM: Maybe. Just maybe.
RIKKI-TIKKI-DEADLY looks earnestly at DARKEST TIMELINE ZACK MORRIS
RTD: Should we level with him?
DTZM: [takes a deep breath] Yeah.
RTD: We’re gonna be honest with you, Colin.
DTZM: This has the potential to be…
RTD: …the smartest…
RTD: …most suspenseful…
DTZM: …Halloween movie ever.
RTD: [nods in agreement]
COLIN KAEPERNICK sits back and grins from ear to ear. His dreams of becoming a player in Hollywood finally seem to be coming true…
RTD: [stands up] So, anyhow, thanks for stopping by.
KAEPERNICK: Wait, I…
DTZM: [joins RIKKI-TIKKI-DEADLY in standing, extends a hand for KAEPERNICK to shake] It really was great to see you.
KAEPERNICK: But…what about my movie?
RTD: Oh! Yeah…we’re gonna have to pass.
DTZM: [shakes head sadly] We can’t do anything with it.
KAEPERNICK: I don’t understand. You said you loved it!
RTD: We do!
DTZM: We absolutely do.
RTD: We’re just not going to be able to connect on contract terms.
KAEPERNICK: [puzzled] But we haven’t even talked about terms.
DTZM: [shrugs] There’s no point, we wouldn’t be able to get to yes.
RTD: [puts an arm around KAEPERNICK, ushering him towards the door] It’s a really incredible story.
RTD: So we’ll see you at The Standard for Brick Meathook’s birthday cocktails on Thursday?
DTZM: No, no, The Edison.
RTD: Right, right, the The Varnish, nine o’clock. We’ll see you there? [doesn’t wait for a response] Fantastic, fantastic.
RIKKI-TIKKI-DEADLY more or less pushes COLIN KAEPERNICK out the door, smiling absently. He closes the door.
RTD: Man, is that kid talented or what?
DTZM: Any studio would be lucky to have him writing for them.
The two return to the board, staring at the big empty slot in their lineup.
RTD: So what are we going with?
DTZM: How about that Beer Barrel documentary feature we’ve had in the can for the last two years. The Make It Snow thing?
RTD: Saison of the Witch?
DTZM: Yeah, that’s it.
RTD: [makes a face] But it’s terrible!
DTZM: Yeah, but what else are we gonna do?
RTD: [sighs] Really too bad we couldn’t make it work with Colin.
DTZM: I bet we could have won an Oscar with him.
RTD: We probably could have.
DTZM: It’s such a shame he doesn’t fit our system.
RTD: Yep. A real shame.