Screenplays

Peter Jones, right, wrote and voiced the trailer for “Brittle Glory,” one of Tony Curtis’s final films. Photo by Larry Laszlo

Copies of screenplays are available to industry professionals upon request.  Email: PJones@Journalist.com

Character Flaw

Logline:

Middle-aged loser realizes he is a fictional TV character when the serious actor who plays him gets lost in the pointless role.

Synopsis:

Kenny Vandershell has not changed much since high school.  He still hangs out with the same friends, does the same drugs, listens to the same hard rock music and hopelessly pursues the same perpetually immature relationships with women – assuming such weekly misadventures as “hoggin’ night” can be classified as “relationships.”

For decades, Kenny and three like-minded friends have met regularly for an array of brainless debauchery.  But as Kenny pushes into his late 40s, he becomes increasingly unstable and puzzled by his surroundings.  Inexplicable sounds of otherworldly laughter, incongruent life events and strange visions seem to mock his pointless existence as the middle-aged teenager begins to question his life choices … or lack thereof.

Meanwhile, in another world called Hollywood, Sandy Evans has problems of his own.  Unlike Kenny, Sandy has relentlessly pursued his career ambitions.  But in doing so, the actor has grown distant from his devoted fiancée and young son.  His new part on an offbeat cable sitcom may be just the break he needs, but the self-styled Method thespian has taken the half-baked role – as Kenny – a little too seriously for his own good.

One day, Kenny and Sandy meet, sort of.

Is Kenny in the midst of an existential crisis, or is he a work of television fiction, the product of Sandy’s obsessive need to bring his shiftless character to life?  Or has the emotionally distant actor simply taken a plunge too far into mental illness?  As Kenny and Sandy slowly come to terms with their differently troubled lives, will one give way to the other, or can they meet in the middle?

Narrowcasting

Logline:

Journalism school graduate’s dream job turns comic nightmare when he meets an eccentric plastic surgeon.

Synopsis:

Sam Allen, an ambitious young journalism school graduate, lands his first job at a start-up radio station.  His boss, Dr. Goldberg, an eccentric plastic surgeon, runs his station like an expensive toy, frequently making irrational format changes and obliviously driving his small staff crazy.  A multi-tasker, Goldberg holds staff meetings in his operating room during liposuction procedures.

Sam and his friend Clinton are pop culture junkies still living in their parents’ basements.  The two spend most of their free time and intelligence memorizing trivia and watching odd ball television — old esoteric reruns, campy religious broadcasting etc.  When bookish Clinton isn’t busying himself with his bedroom’s vast array of computer and electronic equipment, he bides his time with grandiose, self-generated, but nonpaying projects that virtually guarantee his continued parental dependence.  During a jocular moment, Sam and Clinton make a wager.  Whoever flees his respective basement first wins.

Based in a small house adjacent to Goldberg’s medical office, the poorly constructed radio station leaves much to be desired. For one, the production room where commercials are produced doesn’t have an on-air light, even though the room’s back door opens directly on to the alley parking lot.  The door also happens to be Goldberg’s entrance of choice, when clad in his cap and bloodied surgical gown and carrying a nonerasable marker, he greets the wary staff with his daily proclamation: “Changes! Changes! Changes!”

When the frustrated general manager resigns on his first day, befuddled 20-something Sam is inexplicably appointed GM.  Meanwhile, WMDR is attracting a broad range of misfits, including Gary, the top salesman, a toothless reprobate, who despite his grungy attire and foul language, sells far more ads than Emily, the perky, highly professional, six-figure-earning sales manager.  She spends most of her days scratching her chin and endlessly planning the station’s sales kit.  To no one’s surprise, incompetent talk hosts and embarrassing programming have the local radio audience keeping its distance.

As the doctor tires of his flirtations with urology talk and heavy metal radio, the novelty wears thin and he is increasingly frustrated by the worthlessness of his toy.  Intending to dump the station as soon as he can, Goldberg fires everyone, except lucky Sam, whose salary is nonetheless eliminated.   Instead, Goldberg lets Sam run the station and keep any money he manages to make, as long as he keeps the station on the air for legal reasons.  Aided by Todd, a homeless ex-con living in the station, Sam sells vanity talk shows to gadflies, psychics and anyone else with cash in hand.

Sam, who had foreseen an eventful high-profile career in broadcasting, eventually resigns himself to his plight, much as Rosemary did in agreeing to raise her famous baby.