Script synopses, samples, and jokes

Alan C. Baird  

Enjoy a few jokes, gleaned and polished from many sources: Screenwriter, Agent, Theater, and Novelist/Other. Also, here are four synopses of my latest specs (producers/investors - contact me if you'd like to read one, or to request my agent's number):

The Fall In Budapest [co-writer Anikó J. Bartos; 91-page screenplay; 1998 SCRNWRiT First Draft competition finalist (one of five); 1997 Writers Network quarterfinalist] Vitaly, a former KGB operative, takes a nasty tumble in Budapest's late autumn, and he's aided in his struggle back to health by the Hungarian nurse Erzsébet. The course of their blossoming romance is marred by ugly memories of the past, involving their own personal experiences, as well as the violent intersection in the chronicles of their two countries. Jared, an American undercover agent, is convinced that Vitaly's sinister "business" partners plan to wreak havoc on a cataclysmic scale, and he's willing to risk everything, including his own relationship with Colette, to stop the Russian. This action-packed romantic thriller is also an unforgettable meditation on the contemporary issue of forgiveness: cultural and historical, among individuals as well as nation-states. [444-word short-story adaptation of one scene] [book excerpt] [Wired magazine article w/quote] [interview in Budapest's Internet Kalauz magazine (English translation)]

Merlinsky [92-page screenplay; 1997 Writers Network quarterfinalist]: The endless hordes of Hollywood tourists in the late 1940's are easy marks for a con-man magician like Harry Merlinsky. He knows how to sucker the rubes and flash the ol' hamster-outta-the-fedora every now and then, to baffle 'em and dazzle 'em. But he didn't expect a naive fan like Jake, who wants to learn Harry's Old Knowledge - "real" magic. Harry's arch-enemy obliterates Jake's girlfriend, forcing Jake to become a wizard, just to stay alive. Will Jake use his newly-found powers for vengeance? The timeless myth of the Sorcerer's Apprentice unfolds against the backdrop of the Magic Castle and the "Hollywoodland" sign. [3-page sample] [chapter of novella adaptation]

Eleven Thousand Virgins [91-page screenplay; 1996 Writers Network semifinalist]: This feature has been described as "Field of Dreams with medieval chant music in place of baseball." Alex Barnett has a comfortable life in Los Angeles and San Francisco; it's probably too comfortable, although he can't quite admit to himself that an extended separation from his wife Nicole eats at his soul. An unusual set of seemingly unrelated circumstances impels him to seek out a centuries-abandoned monastery in southwest Germany, where he confronts the animate image of Hildegard von Bingen, the legendary twelfth-century mystic, prophet, and composer of ravishing liturgical chants.

Although his friend Lars believes it's a bona-fide vision, much like the visions that fueled Hildegard's own creativity, Alex cynically distrusts his deepest instincts and drives himself to search for a more acceptable answer. His quest guides him on the path toward self-awareness, through experiences both sacred and profane. One man's inner and outer pilgrimages take him to the depths of uncertainty, and, almost inexorably, to the peak of actualization.

However, lest you think this film is impossibly high-minded, rest assured that there are generous, steamy helpings of undelayed gratification and downright debauchery... the final blackout scene alone is guaranteed to keep the audience riveted to their seats long enough to read the entire credit crawl! [6-page sample] [Hildegard discography]

Twi§ted P@ir [31-page virtual cyber-drama in one act, for 3 women + 3 men]: Riding fences along the electronic frontier can breed loneliness and alienation; the connection to everyday life is tenuous at best. This new zone provides the backdrop for a dramatic tale, leavened with unexpected moments of humor.

Malcolm is just your typical hormone-addled teenager. He hates his real name, and prefers the moniker "Zeus" whenever he's online. Delcie cruises the chatrooms as "Bunnyfluff" because it accentuates her pubescent teasing. But when Malcolm's lecherous grandfather accidentally discovers their provocative virtual world, the innocence of young flirting becomes a volatile concoction.

The seductive lure of this uninhibited artificial territory entices contemporary characters to spawn new personas, and validate them against eternal truths. [2-page sample]

Bangin' Out That First Screenplay: A Substitute For Psychotherapy [381-word article at Denmark's ScreenTalk] "Whatever happened to your first script? Are you pleased with it? Ashamed?! It's highly unlikely that you're indifferent...."

Homestead Your Own Patch Of Screenwriting Cyber-Turf! [934-word article at ScreenTalk] "You thought you needed to be a technoweenie in order to set up a website, din'tcha? Well, that's all changed, buckeroo. If you've ever hankered to establish a world headquarters in cyberspace, it's never been easier...."

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