Filmmaker Wannabes: Action! (...Please)

Tyler Sebert just wants to make the perfect indie film. Along with his best friend and personal camera man Rich Cornell, anything in his mind is capable. Even though they have a terrible script on their hands and lousy actors, Tyler isn't fazed. But when their producer suddenly drops by for a surprise visit...that's when things take a turn for the worst.

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1. ACTION! (....Please)

Setting:
Tyler’s living room. It’s a wide open space with all the furniture pushed back so they have filming room. There’s a digital camera mounted on a tripod in the middle of the room. 
Time:
Current day, just minutes before scheduled shooting time for the movie scene. 

(WARNING: The following play has adult language and discussions)
Curtain Rise:
(TYLER and RICH stand in the middle of 
TYLER’S living room setting up a shot)
TYLER:
What time is it?
RICH:
Nearly three. 
TYLER:
Nearly three? That doesn’t exactly give me a direct time placement for where we’re at. Tell me the exact time.
RICH:
Fine. My watch says five till. 
TYLER:
Thank you. Five till? Huh, they’re nearly late. 
RICH:
Yeah, but not exactly. It’s not three o’ clock yet so technically they can still arrive early. 
TYLER:
Hence why I used the word “nearly.” You should open up your ears a little more, buddy. 

RICH:
Well sorry. Besides, don’t you find it a bit strange that Tanya would arrive late? She’s usually the first one here. 
TYLER:
Ah, yes. About that…Tanya’s sick and won’t be able to make it to today’s shoot. 
RICH:
What? 
TYLER:
Yeah. She caught the pneumonia. 
RICH:
And you didn’t bother to tell me?
TYLER:
I figured you would have found out once her understudy walked through the door-
RICH:
I totally need to send her a get well card now.
TYLER:
Eh, forget about it. It’ll clear up in a few days. Now when her understudy arrives with Butch, we’ll quickly jump to filming. I want this last shot to be perfect so I can quickly edit the thing together and send it to the festival in time. 
RICH:
But won’t it look weird to have a totally different actress in the scene before this one when you piece the finished product together?
TYLER:
I’ll fix it all in post. Maybe add some subtitles or something to explain the character change. You know what!? I’ll throw in some melodramatic writing stating we, as the audience, see her as a completely different person since she stabbed herself. The critics will love that schmaltz. 
RICH:
Gotcha. So which understudy are we working with today? Emily, Abigail, Trish?
TYLER:
Rebecca.
(A beat)
RICH:
What!? Rebecca? She can’t act her way out of a wet paper bag. 
TYLER:
Hey now, that does disservice to the paper bag. Now trust me on this, Rebecca can pull off the dialogue we wrote for the character perfectly. 
RICH:
But why her!? We wrote the part for Tanya because we knew she could pull the role off. Why not Emily?
TYLER:
Out of town.
RICH:
Abigail?
TYLER:
Family reunion.
RICH:
Trish!?
TYLER:
Also had pneumonia. Now that you think about it…could she of been the one to give it to Tanya?
RICH:
Tyler…
TYLER:
That would be kind of hot-
RICH:
Tyler!
TYLER:
Right! Onto the scene. Now where are they?
RICH:
Not here. 
TYLER:
Great. Then they’re late. I’ll have to call them.
RICH:
But why, Tyler? Why cast Rebecca in this scene?
TYLER:
Why not cast her in this scene?
RICH:
We wrote the role of a woman giving her final words to her boyfriend before she enters the kingdom of Heaven! That takes a lot of compassion and commitment. 
TYLER:
Which Rebecca has. Have you ever seen her cry while watching a soap opera?
(The doorbell rings)
TYLER (cont…)
Great, they’re finally here! Set the shot up. We’ll need to get this down on film quickly. 
(TYLER exits)
RICH:
We’re filming on digital!
(Enter TYLER with REBECCA and BUTCH)
BUTCH:
Nice spread.
RICH:
Spread?
TYLER:
It’s hip lingo, Rich. Butch uses it all the time. You know, spread? Probably relates to home slice and all that jazz. 
BUTCH:
Excuse me?
TYLER:
Nothing. Please make yourself comfortable. 
REBECCA:
Tyler, I’m so ready to be a part of your new movie. I can’t believe you picked me to be your leading lady! 
RICH:
Trust me, neither can I. 
TYLER:
Butch, Rebecca…I believe you already know Rich. Now before we start shooting, are there any questions you have for me as your director?
REBECCA:
I do!
TYLER:
Yes, Rebecca?
REBECCA:
I looked over the pages you faxed to me this morning-
RICH:
You just sent them to her this morning!?
TYLER:
Silence please! Let the lady speak.
REBECCA:
Yes, well…I was wondering, um….why does my character die?
TYLER:
Because she was stabbed, sweetie. That happens in the scene before this one. 
REBECCA:
But who stabs me?
TYLER:
You stab yourself. 
REBECCA:
Why?
TYLER:
Because you’re suicidal.
REBECCA:
 But why am I suicidal? 
TYLER:
Because you don’t think your boyfriend loves you. 
BUTCH:
Hey, I thought I was playing the suave guy here.
TYLER:
You are in your mind. In reality, you’re a jackass. 

BUTCH:
Pshh. 
REBECCA:
So I technically kill myself?
TYLER:
Yes, sweetie. Done? Wonderful. Places everyone!
REBECCA:
But if I try killing myself, why am I seeing the gates of Heaven? Doesn’t God frown on suicide?
TYLER:
I’m sure he doesn’t-
REBECCA:
I believe he does. 
TYLER:
Where does it say that?
REBECCA:
The Bible. 
TYLER:
What verse? 
REBECCA:
Verse number-
TYLER:
What page!?
REBECCA:
Page number-

TYLER:
Which chapter!?
REBECCA:
I’m pretty sure it’s-
TYLER:
Fine, we took some liberties. 
REBECCA:
You can’t take liberties with the Bible. 
TYLER:
Why not? 
RICH:
Because it’s the Bible.
TYLER:
Stay out of this, cameraman. Now Rebecca, everything can’t be perfectly rounded in one remnant of literature. To make a film, one has to bend the rules a bit. Was The Hunger games one hundred percent accurate to the book? Or The Shining? I heard Stephen King hated the film adaptation of it. So I’m pretty sure God will take no offence to us stretching a few lines he wrote down in his good book.
REBECCA:
Of course he won’t. His prophets wrote the Bible. He didn’t. 
(A beat)
TYLER:
…let’s get to filming. 
BUTCH:
Hey, question chief. 
TYLER:
What is it?
BUTCH:
What’s my characters name? In the script I’m labeled as Brian but earlier, I was called Philip. 
TYLER:
It’s easy. You’re leading a double life because your character is such an asshole.
BUTCH:
I swear I’ve read this somewhere before. 
RICH:
Yeah, you did.
TYLER:
No, he did not. 
RICH:
Dude, you stole that bit from the Governor story arch of The Walking Dead graphic novel series. 
TYLER:
Stole? Have you never heard of the word homage!? I think not. Now places everyone!
(Everyone gets into places. RICH and TYLER stand behind the camera with REBECCA and BUTCH standing before it)
TYLER:
Now when I say action, act your hearts out. 
REBECCA:
Um, how do you want me to say my first line?
TYLER:
Your first line? Say it with immense remorse. You obviously care about this man-
BUTCH:
Even though she’s killing herself because of me.

TYLER:
Shut up, Butch. Now you obviously care about this man a whole lot so milk these lines for every cent they’re worth. Say it as though they are the last things you’ll ever say. Say it as though they are glittery pieces of gold. Say it as though-
BUTCH:
Say it as though you want to fuck me. 
REBECCA:
What?!
TYLER:
Excuse me!
RICH:
Well this day just got better. 
TYLER:
She’s on deaths floor mat! I don’t think sex is on her mind at the minute. 
BUTCH:
Who knows? It might be. Perhaps she’s thinking about it for a few moments and decides that before she leaves, she might want a goodbye dicking. 
TYLER:
Um…no. 
REBECCA:
I don’t think my character would do that.
TYLER:
Exactly!
REBECCA:
Especially in front of God. If I’m entering the kingdom of Heaven, why have sex in front of our Lord and savior?

BUTCH:
Maybe he has a twisted sense of humor.
TYLER:
Are we really having a discussion about having sex before God?
RICH:
Oh yeah.
TYLER:
I thought so. Now please! Let me call action and no! Don’t say those words as though you have a humming in your britches!
(A beat)
RICH:
A humming in her britches?
TYLER:
Nobody is going to fuck! Now roll the camera. 
RICH:
Rolling. 
TYLER:
Annnnnd-
(The doorbell rings)
TYLER:
Shit! Who can that be? This is a closed set. 
(TYLER storms of stage)
REBECCA:
So how many movies have you been in?

BUTCH:
Just two. Both directed by these two clowns. 
RICH:
Ahem. I’m just the cameraman. 
(TYLER enters with VINCENT POLK)
TYLER:
Rich, allow me to introduce you to Vincent Polk. 
RICH:
Umm, hi. 
POLK:
Hi?  
TYLER:
Rich! Allow me to emphasis Vincent Polk. He’s one of the founders of Bug & Polk Industries aka one half of our producers. 
RICH:
Oh….OH! Why hello Vincent Polk! 
POLK:
Hello. Rich, Tyler, may I speak to you two in private?
TYLER:
Why yes! Butch, you and Rebecca go run lines in the kitchen. 
REBECCA:
You got it, Mr. Director!
(REBECCA and BUTCH head off)
TYLER:
Isn’t she a doll?
POLK:
She your leading lady?
RICH:
Not exact-
TYLER:
Yes, she is! Best actress in this whole damn community! Now what honor may we have bestowed on us by your entrance into my humble home?
POLK:
Enough with the dick sucking, Sebert. I’m here because I’ve had enough of your shit brained ideas you call “films.” I’ve seen the dailies of your latest creation and it is scum. I have no idea why my partner insists on throwing money at you two bumbling con artists.
TYLER:
We’re not con men, Mr. Polk.
RICH:
We’re indie film makers.
POLK:
Close enough. So to make sure you weren’t wasting another precious cent of mine, I booked a flight down here last night and will personally oversee todays shooting. What scene are you filming?
RICH:
The climax. 
POLK:
What happens in the climax?
TYLER:
Our main character, played by the amazing Rebecca, dies in the arms of her lover played by Butch. 

POLK:
Does Butch not get a moniker? Only Rebecca?
RICH:
What do you mean?
POLK:
You called Rebecca “amazing.” Is Butch not amazing as well. Is he just some cheap understudy?
TYLER:
Of course not! He’s a class-A community actor!
  RICH:
Mhm. We picked him up right after he did Les Miserable!
POLK:
Les Miserable you say? At which venue?
TYLER:
The palace!
POLK:
For which tour?
TYLER:
The…Happy Fun-Fun tour. 
POLK:
There’s such a thing called the happy fun-fun tour?
RICH:
….yeah. 
POLK:
A happy-fun-fun tour which hosted a show as happy and fun, fun as…Les Miserable. 

TYLER:
They did the alternative ending where everyone lived and picked daisies together. Rebecca, Butch, get in here!
RICH:
Wait till you see this scene, Mr. Polk. It’ll knock your socks off. 
POLK:
I doubt it. These are Gucci. 
TYLER:
Ah, well good ole’ Germany! Look, here they are. 
(REBECCA and BUTCH enter)
REBECCA:
Tyler, I’ve been thinking it over and I think my character would in fact want one last good memory of her boyfriend before she died. 
TYLER:
I told you we are not having sex. 
POLK:
Having what?
RICH:
Checks! Checks! He said we’re not signing the checks just yet. You know how actors want their checks up front nowadays. 
BUTCH:
Wait, we’re getting paid for this shit now? Awesome!
REBECCA:
Not sex exactly. I think we can meet half way. You know, fifty-fifty? 
TYLER:
How do you meet half way for sex?
BUTCH:
She blows me.
POLK:
What!?
TYLER:
Oh, dear God in Heaven. 
POLK:
You are about to shoot a death scene where the dying girl blows a man?
REBECCA:
Before Christ.
TYLER:
Not helping!
POLK:
That’s just putrid. How dare you write such a revolting tale.
RICH:
But we didn’t write that. It’s our actors trying to adlib. 
TYLER:
Which I am totally against. 
POLK:
You’re against adlibbing? 
TYLER:
Yep.
POLK:
So you don’t believe actors should express their inner creativity?

TYLER:
Yes! No, wait…no. 
RICH:
I think we should shoot the scene, minus the blowjob!
BUTCH:
Awe, come on. 
POLK:
And this man was in Les Miserable?
BUTCH:
I was in what? 
TYLER:
Places, everybody!
BUTCH:
Nah, I think you have me confused with my brother. He was in a ménage a trois.
TYLER:
PLACES!
(Everyone goes to their places as before with POLK behind the camera)
RICH:
We’re still rolling from before. 
TYLER:
That’s okay, I’ll edit all the dead space out. 
REBECCA:
Wait-
TYLER:
Why!?
REBECCA:
Don’t you think we should have some makeup or something? You know, like fake blood to make me look like I’m really dying?
POLK:
She has a point.
TYLER:
That’s not the exact route we want to go with this scene. To grisly of makeup can take away from the passion.
BUTCH:
I think blood would be awesome. 
TYLER:
I think stapling your mouth shut would be feasible. 
POLK:
Ahem.
RICH:
I can easily get you some ketchup and splotch it on your costume if you like.
REBECCA:
And ruin my new jacket?
POLK:
I’m sorry but ketchup!?
TYLER:
Yeah! This’ll be in black and white so nobody can tell the difference. 
REBECCA:
I don’t want to ruin my clothes. 
POLK:
Did these idiots not give you a costume to wear?
REBECCA:
I wasn’t told anything about costumes.
BUTCH:
Me neither. 
POLK:
Oh really? Then why did my copy of the budget show a cost for costumes?
RICH:
Yeah, Tyler. Why?
TYLER:
Because! The costumes simply never arrived.
POLK:
Arrived?
TYLER:
Yep. I ordered them online and they have yet to show up. 
RICH:
Damn Ebay!
POLK:
Why didn’t you buy something from a thrift shop?
TYLER:
I couldn’t. 
POLK:
Why?
TYLER:
I have terrible luck at thrift shops. Plus they scare me.

POLK:
Scare you?
TYLER:
Yeah. You see, my mother was trampled to death in a thrift shop once. Scared me for life. 
RICH:
Damn clearance sales. 
POLK:
Interesting. When did your mother pass?
TYLER:
Six years ago. I think.
POLK:
Then why when I came in, I saw a family portrait with a middle aged woman and a fully matured you?
TYLER:
That? That wasn’t a family portrait. That was me and my-
RICH:
His girlfriend’s family!
POLK:
Girlfriend’s family?
REBECCA:
You have a girlfriend?
POLK:
Where was she in the picture? All I saw was you, that middle aged woman, and another grown adult male.
TYLER:
Um, that middle aged woman is my girlfriend. 
POLK:
I beg your pardon?
TYLER:
She totally is. I like them at that age. Full of spry and…age.
RICH:
He’s like the anti-cougar. 
POLK:
Then who is the male alongside her?
RICH:
That’s her father. 
TYLER:
Rich is correct. 
(A beat)
POLK:
This is just creeping me out. 
TYLER:
Yes! Let’s just film this scene. 
RICH:
Still rolling. 
TYLER:
Here we go. Annnnd….action!
BUTCH:
It’s going to be okay, Elicia. It will all be alright.
(REBECCA coughs as though she is in agony. The following monologue is of sheer beauty)

REBECCA: 
No, I’m dying my love. But that’s okay. I was a fool to think you were a terrible man. I love you with all my heart. I may be dying now but someday we’ll be reunited. I can see it now. Both you and I frolicking on the golden streets of paradise. I’ll be there, you’ll be there, and peace shall be united. There will be no more pain. I love you honey, I truly do. May God take me away now so these final words can be our solemn promise. Good bye. 
(A beat)
TYLER:
And cut. 
BUTCH:
I still think a blow job would fit-
POLK:
That was beautiful. 
RICH:
Excuse me?
POLK:
That was beautiful. I was expecting shit but that…that was something truly marvelous. The dialogue was terrible but my God, she really pulled it off. 
TYLER:
It’s all thanks to my amazing direction. 
POLK:
Sure, sure. 
RICH:
So shall we go for round two?
POLK:
About that, boys. After witnessing that scene, it’s pretty clear to me that your actors can do anything. I won’t be needed to look over your shoulders. As long as your dailies turn out to be that good, I might throw a few extra dollars into the budget.
RICH:
Gee, thanks Vincent. 
POLK:
Call me, Mr. Polk.
TYLER:
Got it. Shall I show you to the door?
POLK:
I’ll show myself out. Keep up the work, gentlemen. 
TYLER:
Don’t you mean good work?
POLK:
No.
(POLK exits)
TYLER:
I can’t believe we got him off our backs. I’m apparently dating my own mother but we actually got Vincent Polk out of our hair. 
RICH:
That was a miracle.
REBECCA:
Hey, um, can I retry that with an English accent?
TYLER:
Why?
REBECCA:
I’ve always wanted to play an Englisher before. 

TYLER:
I say we keep the scene we just shot. 
RICH:
Dude, that was only a thirty second shot. The scene goes longer. 
TYLER:
I’ll cut it down in post. 
RICH:
Then the scene won’t make sense. 
TYLER:
Screw it! I’ll delete the scene. Thank you, you two for coming today. I’m off to sip a nice warm espresso and have a good cry. Ta, ta. 
(TYLER exits)
RICH:
…..
(RICH follows and exits)
BUTCH: 
So.
REBECCA:
So.
BUTCH:
Wanna try that scene once more but with a few personal modifications?
TYLER (offstage)
Out of my house!
(REBECCA and BUTCH quickly exit)
END

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