Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Screen Story #9: "Flexmaster 2000"

Here is a short screenplay treatment in my new "atomic" format...

"Flexmaster 2000"

SET-UP: Sometime in the late 20th Century, A FAT MAN is sitting in a padded recliner in his cramped, dimly-lit living room watching an old-style television. He is flipping through channels when he comes to an infomercial for a piece of exercise equipment. It is the "Flexmaster 2000," a big, complicated device with many arms, wheels and pulleys that supposedly turns fat men into thin and muscular ones. The buff men who use the machine who are seen attracting sexy bikini-clad women. The machine guarantees results in two weeks or your money back. The ad warns, however: "Some assembly required." The announcer urges the FAT MAN to "make the call now and change your life forever."

IGNITION: The FAT MAN calls the number on the screen.

ACTION: A week later, the Flexmaster 2000 arrives in a huge box. With great exertion, the FAT MAN pulls the box into his living room, then he follows the extremely convoluted instructions for assembly while the television plays in the background. Eventually, the complicated machine is assembled in the middle of the living room, facing the television. The FAT MAN then changes into a comically stylish workout outfit, including matching sweatpants, sweatshirt, headband, leg warmers and running shoes. He mounts the machine, facing the television and prepares for his first workout. He presses "Start."

TWIST: A bendable arm from the machine swings out and smashes the screen of the TV set, rendering it inoperable. The machine doesn't appear to do anything else.

RESOLUTION: The FAT MAN is stunned. He looks at his beloved television, then at the infernal machine that killed it. Then he looks at the door. Around the edges of the door, we see bright outdoor light and we can faintly hear the sound of children playing. Still in his workout outfit, the FAT MAN cautiously approaches the door. He turns the doorknob, opens the door and steps outside into the sun.

© 2008, Glenn Campbell, PO Box 30303, Las Vegas, NV 89173.

This is my 9th screen story (see Index) and my second treatment in my new atomic format.

Notice that I have changed the header terms slightly: Set-Up/Ignition/Action/Twist/Resolution.

SET-UP is the background condition. It describes a setting in which nothing much has happened.

IGNITION is the point where some sort of action is initiated, destabilizing the Set-Up.

ACTION is the activity that naturally unfolds as a result of the Ignition.

TWIST is a sudden and radical change in perspective.

RESOLUTION shows the transformation that has taken place in response to the twist. The Resolution only happens in a complete film. If this is just one scene in a larger film, then there is no Resolution. Instead, the Twist just leads us into the next scene.

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