Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I've written an action-adventure pilot you can read










I know it’s a guilty pleasure but all summer I’ve watched those action-adventure shows on USA and TNT. And like most people who watch TV, I thought: “Hey, I could do that.” So I decided to knock out a pilot for my own action-adventure series. After studying the genre carefully, I think I’ve artfully woven in all the standard conventions. So what do you think?

GUNS & EMO

By Ken Levine

FADE IN:

EXT. BOGOTA, COLOMBIA – DAY

(Actually New York Street, Paramount but some trucks and a well-placed burro accurately create the desired effect.) Crowded (within reason).

There’s a commotion. Someone is being chased. It’s beautiful, athletic, resourceful, tough-but-vulnerable LIBBY LANGER, dressed in clingy summer dress, toting a pistol, hauling ass.

Running alongside is RODNEY her young, good-looking, charming, self-deprecating, slightly-ethnic-but-we-don’t-know-from-where partner who is always available for a quick quip or another gun clip.

They’re being hotly pursued by THREE ANGRY GUNMEN with M-16’s. Thousands of rounds are fired at our heroes, just missing them.

While running, Libby turns back for a split-second. She fires one round and kills one of the gunmen.

CLOSE UP – Libby’s feet, running. Her high heels are a blur.

BACK TO SCENE

LIBBY
(into her ear bud)
Talk to me!

CUT TO:

INT. G.I.A. (GLOBAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY) COMMAND CENTER – SAME

Hundreds of monitors line the walls of this high-tech monitoring station. Fortunately there are video cameras on every corner in Bogota.

HERBERT, nerdy-but-handsome, skinny-but-athletic surveys the monitors.

HERBERT
Okay, Libby. In about 100 feet you’re going to come to dilapidated shack and then a Seattle’s Finest Coffee. Make a left.

INTERCUT THROUGHOUT:

LIBBY
See it. Thanks.

HERBERT
I’ll have a half-caff with cream.

LIBBY
(smiling and shooting)
Oh, Herbert.

Libby and Rodney turn the corner, still dodging a relentless barrage of bullets.

HERBERT
Remember Libby. You and Rodney have to get that thumb drive of the secret formula of the undetectable nerve gas to your contact within the next 90 seconds otherwise the additional chip that’s been planted in it will detonate a dirty bomb releasing the gas that will kill everyone within a thousand miles.

LIBBY
Then they better make your half-caff quick.

HERBERT
(breaking into a smile)
Oh, Libby.

RODNEY
(pointing)
I see the contact!

A MAN with a laptop strapped to his back hangs precariously from a fourth story building.

HERBERT
I’m pulling up the blueprint now.

LIBBY
Not necessary.
(to Rodney)
Cover me!

RODNEY
I’d say that dress does that sufficiently.

LIBBY
(breaks into a smile)
Oh, Rodney.

Libby leaps up on a café table, hurtles onto the café awning, which serves as a trampoline springing her high into the air where she grabs hold of a clothes line and uses it to swing up to the exact spot where the man is holding on for dear life.

LIBBY
The winter morn is cold.

MAN
But the spring night is warm.

LIBBY
Warm?

MAN
(correcting himself)
Warm-ish.

LIBBY
Okay. Just had to make sure.

MAN
You can’t be too careful. Not in this business.

LIBBY
Know what you mean. Guns and bullets I can handle. But this lack of trust… I dunno.

MAN
Never lose that.

Libby bounds into the window, turns and offers her hand.

LIBBY
Here. Grab it.

He reaches up and even though he’s 250 pounds and she’s 100 she manages to hoist him inside easily. They tumble into the room.

INT. ROOM -- SAME

LIBBY
Good thing they make those laptop lighter.

MAN
(breaks into a smile)
Oh…
(realizing)
I don’t know your name.

HERBERT
Ten seconds. Libby, if you don’t disarm that thumb drive it will set off a gas that will…

LIBBY
Yeah, yeah. Got it.

She hands the thumb drive to the man who inserts it into the USB port. Libby holds her breath, bracing for the worst. But nothing happens.

MAN
Done. It’s disarmed.

Libby collapses in relief.

HERBERT
Good job, Libby.

The door bursts open and Rodney enters.

RODNEY
(re gunmen)
Okay, they’re all dead.

LIBBY
Rodney, meet…
(realizing)
I don’t know your name either.

MAN
It’s better that way.

HEBERT
Oh hell, his name is Skip.

HERBERT
Your job now is to escort him back to headquarters. If he’s abducted by the wrong people they could use his expertise to recreate another formula he was working on that would cause half the population of the planet to fall asleep and the other half to tuck them in.

LIBBY
Right.
(checking her watch)
Oh. Rodney. Could you do this? There’s someplace I’ve got to be.

RODNEY
This really is a two-person job.

She gives him a quick peck on the cheek. He swoons.

RODNEY
Yeah… okay.

LIBBY
I owe ya.

She climbs out the window, grabs the clothesline, and swings out of view.

SMASH CUT:

EXT. NEW YORK STREET (PARMAMOUNT) -- NIGHT

Dressed to look like a New York street.

INT. KITCHEN – SAME

CRAIG, boring-but-handsome, is emptying the dishwasher as Libby bursts in.

LIBBY
Hi, Craig. Sorry I missed dinner.

She kisses him.

CRAIG
They make you work too many hours at the Nordstrom Rack.

LIBBY
I know.

CRAIG
Why are you covered in dirt and smell like manure?

LIBBY
Uh… we’re decorating the loading dock.

CRAIG
(buying it completely)
Okay.

HERBERT
(in her ear)
Good one.

LIBBY
Shut up!

CRAIG
What?

LIBBY
Nothing. Thanks for doing the dishes.

CRAIG
No, problem. Hey, you free for lunch tomorrow?

LIBBY
Tomorrow? Hmmm. Not sure. Let’s talk in the morning.

SMASH CUT

EXT. ASHTIYAN, IRAN – NEXT DAY

(New York Street on Paramount lot. Sand and some bazaar tents should do the trick. Same extras re-dressed.) Libby sits at the Seattle’s Finest outdoor patio. She’s on her cellphone.

LIBBY
Hey, Craig. Something came up. Afraid I won’t be able to make it for lunch.

ANOTHER SHOT – LIBBY THROUGH THE VIEWFINDER OF A SNIPER’S RIFLE.

SUPER: TO BE CONTINUED

CUT TO BLACK.

Tomorrow: Part two. Are you at the edge of your seat?

23 comments:

Wilhelm Svenselius said...

If I was the networks, I'd buy this immediately.

Ruprect the Monkey Boy said...

I sure hope the bad guys get what's coming to them in a clever and completely expected way in Part 2

Ger Apeldoorn said...

There's no mythology! Is she secretly a descendant of the Greek Gods, but doesn't know it and they are putting her through a series of tests to see if she is worthy of joining their elite world ruling class, but when she finds out she doesn't like them and starts goig against them?

Atlanta said...

"Warm-ish." Made me snort.

Anonymous said...

Hebert/ Herbert? If I had my red marker...

Anonymous said...

No monkey with a hat? Sheesh.

Great Big Radio Guy said...

All that before the opening credits, don't forget.

If it doesn't have the overpowering and mind-crushing sound effects that HAWAII 5-0 had last night, I'd stay after that very special edition of WWE Monday Night Raw to watch.

benson said...

Saw Ken's Tweet on Mike and Molly. I wasn't as appalled as he was. Good thing NHL channel was showing a Hawks game from June. And MNF wasn't bad either.

wv: kihines...Hawaiian cojones?

Chris said...

Raise the stakes!
We dont like her enough!

How about you introduce shapeshifting?

Brian T. said...

So far, this is a pretty good parody of Covert Affairs.

I can't wait to meet the friend who alternates between providing comedy relief and having a vast, vaguely defined network of contacts and resources that can provide whatever help the plot requires in practically no time at all.

Presumably, the friend just seems like a goofy sidekick at first but then you find out that he (or she) is a former spy who turned to crime because it was more fun.

Jeffrey Leonard said...

I chewed off all of my fingernails...I can't wait until tomorrow for the dramtic conclusion. Please throw me a bone, a hint, something...please!

Anonymous said...

I saw this last night. I think it was called "Chase", or maybe "Hawaii 5 something?.....

chuckcd said...

You have WAY too much time on your hands! Time to create another series...

l.a.guy said...

Network Suit: "We love the story, but can you make it edgier-- more like Inception, and can Herbert be a vampire?"

Erika @ Health and Happiness in LA said...

I love the character descriptions. So true.

Tom Quigley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Quigley said...

Network executive notes:

1) Can you give Herbert a British accent? -- Maybe make him sound like Gerard Butler. A Head of Intelligence who's British always sells.

2) Change the locale to Baghdad -- Bogota is so Tom Clancy/Jack Ryan yesterday.

3) Change Libby's shoes from whatever she's wearing to Prada -- we can get some product placement money out of that.

4) At what point are you planning to include a GLEE-like musical scene?

Get back to me and I'll meet with you after Study Hall...

Blitzen said...

Oh, Ken!

This is exactly like every non-Chuck spy show I've ever seen. Which is, to say the least, disheartening. I'm sure actual spies would use more lingo.

Jake said...

not sure about Rodney as a name for an action character. Check out Only Fools and Horses (British) to see why!

WizarDru said...

"(Actually New York Street, Paramount but some trucks and a well-placed burro accurately create the desired effect.) Crowded (within reason)."

Umm, Ken, you spelled 'Toronto' incorrectly. Shocking mistake for a writer of your experience.

iain said...

Ken,

I think I can guarantee Marty will come on board, but only on the condition that you have Libby say the words "Hello Dere!" at least once per episode.

Call me.

YibbleGuy said...

Tune in tomorrow, for another thrilling episode of "tl;dr Theater"!

David K. M. Klaus said...

No, he didn't misspell "Toronto", he misspelled "Vancouver."

(And the CGI people will show either Serenity from Firefly or Colonial One from Battlestar Galactica cruising overhead in your first shot which includes sky, just because they can.)