Sea Change:Out of the Box 7

By: Robert J. Crane

Out of the Box #7




1.


FADE IN:

EXTERIOR NIGHT





Albert Hammond’s “It Never Rains in Southern California” plays over a high shot of the city of Los Angeles. We PUSH IN on a blond girl, BARBARA “BOBBIE” KEEN on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, early twenties, blond, leggy, vivacious, but poor, two steps north of hipster or homeless. PAN AROUND to REVEAL her looking at a shop window, full of hope and California dreams as she looks at diamonds by herself.





BOBBIE

’Tis the season.





A guy in his mid-forties pushes past, jostling her as he goes by. The sidewalk is empty; he’s just being a dick.





GUY

Way to stop and gawk in the middle of the sidewalk, Barbie!





BOBBIE

(under her breath)

Merry Christmas to you, too, dickhead.





Katrina Forrest looked up from the page, her green eyes perplexed. Her brow failed to show a single wrinkle, even while she struggled mightily to show just how confused she was by the pages of movie script loosely held in her small, perfectly manicured fingers. “I don’t get it. Where is this going?”

She’d just met the writer of this particular work about ten minutes earlier, hustled into the meeting by her agent and producer, Aaron Taggert. She glanced at Taggert now, and he arched his eyebrows at her, his thin lips pushed together, holding in his thoughts. He sat next to the writer, Bob Humphries. She’d thought it a little odd that the character’s name in the script was Bobbie while the writer’s name was Bob, but she decided not to draw attention to it, at least not just yet.

“See,” Humphries started, gesturing at the page in her hands with a little too much excitement. Caffeine or coke? she wondered as she glanced at the small Starbucks cup in front of him. “It’s really an exploration of the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles through the eyes of someone new in town.”

“It’s practically tailored just for you,” Taggert said, arching his eyebrows and breaking his silence at last. He leaned forward on the conference table that separated them, the white walls a pale wash behind his swarthy, orange, spray-tanned face. “You wanted to branch out from the reality TV mold, Kitten? This could be the thing. We could even structure a whole season of your show around filming, make it a great storyline for you. Making a movie can be tough at times, it’d be a great opportunity to show the audience the travails, a little behind-the-scenes sizzle, some Hollywood glam, make them empathize with you even more.”

Humphries stared blankly at Taggert then shifted his gaze back to Kat. “Uhm, yeah, sure. I mean, sure, that makes sense. Kind of a cross-marketing thing to tie it in with your TV series. But, anyway, the script, it’s like LA Story meets Mean Girls. But there’s murder, and Christmas, so it’s got a little Shane Black thrown in—”

“Some real grit,” Taggert said, his dark eyes flashing. “A chance for you to really act.”

Kat felt her face flush hot, like someone had switched on a sunlamp above her. “I act all the time, Taggert.”

“You know what I mean, kiddo,” Taggert said, backing off a little. “Not for the reality TV cameras, but a performance that could potentially get you some award nods.” He smirked. “They’re not exactly handing out ‘Best Actress’ in your current genre, if you know what I mean, even though you’re acting your ass off, am I right?”

Kat settled back in her chair. It wasn’t very padded, felt kind of hard on her backside. She leaned against the wood and wondered why someone in her entourage—all waiting outside the door, except for Taggert—hadn’t brought her something more comfortable to sit on. “But the show’s going really well, I thought you said? That some of the upcoming storylines were our strongest—”

“Absolutely,” Taggert said, nodding. “And you’re tuned in with the tabloids, you got your platform and social media rocking, I mean you’ve got this thing wired, Kitten, your brand awareness is going up by the day. But it doesn’t hurt to move some eggs into other baskets, if you know what I mean, and Bob’s screenplay can make that happen. We get you on board, leverage your current successes, and boom, we move you into a new place, the burgeoning actress/reality TV star category. Opens new channels, new opportunities, some more cross-promotion, maybe some doors to some new friends that work in the scripted content universe, get you some guest roles on the popular shows—just raise your profile, you know?” He grinned, his teeth in an even line.

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