I know it’s a guilty pleasure but I watch all 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
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
(into her ear bud)
Talk to me!
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.
Okay, Libby. In about 100 feet you’re going to come to dilapidated shack and then a Seattle’s Finest Coffee. Make a left.
See it. Thanks.
I’ll have a half-caff with cream.
(smiling and shooting)
Libby and Rodney turn the corner, still dodging a relentless barrage of bullets.
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.
Then they better make your half-caff quick.
(breaking into a smile)
I see the contact!
A MAN with a laptop strapped to his back hangs precariously from a fourth story building.
I’m pulling up the blueprint now.
I’d say that dress does that sufficiently.
(breaks into a smile)
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.
The winter morn is cold.
But the spring night is warm.
Okay. Just had to make sure.
You can’t be too careful. Not in this business.
Know what you mean. Guns and bullets I can handle. But this lack of trust… I dunno.
Never lose that.
Libby bounds into the window, turns and offers her hand.
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
Good thing they make those laptop lighter.
(breaks into a smile)
I don’t know your name.
Ten seconds. Libby, if you don’t disarm that thumb drive it will set off a gas that will…
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.
Done. It’s disarmed.
Libby collapses in relief.
Good job, Libby.
The door bursts open and Rodney enters.
Okay, they’re all dead.
I don’t know your name either.
It’s better that way.
Oh hell, his name is Skip.
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.
(checking her watch)
Oh. Rodney. Could you do this? There’s someplace I’ve got to be.
This really is a two-person job.
She gives him a quick peck on the cheek. He swoons.
I owe ya.
She climbs out the window, grabs the clothesline, and swings out of view.
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.
Hi, Craig. Sorry I missed dinner.
She kisses him.
They make you work too many hours at the Nordstrom Rack.
Why are you covered in dirt and smell like manure?
Uh… we’re decorating the loading dock.
(buying it completely)
(in her ear)
Nothing. Thanks for doing the dishes.
No, problem. Hey, you free for lunch tomorrow?
Tomorrow? Hmmm. Not sure. Let’s talk in the morning.
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.
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?