Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Fixer (Repped Week 3 of 5)

For those who have forgotten, this is three in a series of five scripts I'll be reviewing this week from represented writers who have not sold a script. The exercise is meant to explore the level of quality it takes to obtain agency representation. Enjoy!

Genre: Action-Thriller
Premise: Train wrecks. Plane crashes. Sinking ships. The Fixer silently removes evidence from these accident sites, shielding powerful men from blame. But when he is caught in the act, he must find a way to save himself before he becomes the next problem to be “fixed.”
About: Motlong is represented over at Paradigm. He is managed by Kaplan/Perrone.
Writer: Craig Motlong

The Fixxxxxxxxxer. I saw that title and was like, "It's done! That's the one I'm gonna read." See stuff breaks down in my place alllllllll the time. Light bulbs, ovens, fake fireplaces. If anyone needs a fixer, it's me. Needless to say I was stoked that someone actually wanted to write a script about this phenomenon. Things randomly breaking down in houses is something the people in this country have had to deal with for years. Just the other day my DVD player stopped working. Why?? Who the hell knows?? That's why you call in The Fixer!

Errrrrr........... well, maybe not so fast. It turns out The Fixer wasn't about fixing random household items after all. Which sucks because how am I going to get the motivation to fix my DVD player now? I'm not going to hold this against Motlong. His premise is still fun. But it sure would be nice to sit in front of the fire again. :(

The Fixer (the "real Fixer") works in the shadows. Whenever a catastrophic accident occurs - an airplane crash or a tanker collision - our calculated craftsman arrives immediately afterwards and fixes everything up, erasing all evidence of fault before the proper authorities arrive. They call him, The Fixer. Problem is, Montana, an attractive NTSB agent I imagined looking a lot like that woman from Fringe, is almost as quick on the scene as The Fixer. Apox? How can such a thing be possible?? The Fixer is the fastest! But with each monumental tragedy, she gets there quicker and quicker. It's like the bitch has cheetah in her bones.

Fringe Cheetah

When a disastrous train crash occurs, the two race their way to the accident site and this time, Montana catches The Fixer in the act. What Montana doesn't know, and what The Fixer knows all too well, is that this means they're both fucked! See there's a blond bombshell known as "The Cleaner". The Fixer may fix problems. But when problems can't be fixed, The Cleaner cleans them up. And let's just say that The Fixer and Montana are in the mother of dirty bedrooms. Oh, and in case you were wondering where the orders are coming from, they're coming from The Canadian. Just like those Canadians. Pretending to be all prim and proper. It's good that the truth is finally coming out. Mayonnaise on their fries. How dare they.

The Fixer and Montana go on the run, enacting a shakier truce than the US and Cuba. The only way for the Fixer to ensure he'll live is to kill Montana. The only reason Montana doesn't kill The Fixer is because he holds the lone evidence proving what she's suspected all along, that a corporation has been covering up these accidents for years. Actually, if we're being honest, the one constant in all these disasters is a 1977 bolt that was manufactured at an enormous steel company. That bolt is being insured by one of the biggest companies in the world. And it is that company that has employed The Fixer to go in and erase all of their problems - the idea being that a major lawsuit against them would cost billions, whereas employing The Fixer never reaches more than 8 figures. -- Hey man, the economy. (side note: Don't you love how you can now use "economy" in any excuse now? "Where were you last night Carson? I waited at the movie theater for 45 minutes." "The economy Sarah. The economy...")

See here's the thing about insurance companies: They have every angle insured. They have insurance for their insurance. And their insurance against The Fixer are The Cleaners - yes, plural - who fan out over the countryside looking to "ensure" that The Fixer and Montana don't get enough evidence to prove what this gigantic corporation has been doing. They're totally going to take them down: by killing them!

The Fixer felt a bit like a Bourne movie with more of a hook. Did I like it? Well, the concept didn't play out the way I had hoped. Making the bad guys a giant insurance agency didn't exactly have the same weight as, say, a governmental body. Although that's been done to death so I can accept the 'original' argument. I also thought Motlong showed his cards too early. One of the interesting things about The Fixer was the mystery behind these special bolts that had been found all over the accident sites. The way the characters talked about them gave them a mythical quality. I thought the revelation behind them was going to be much more spectacular and I didn't think we'd find out what they were until the very end. But Motlong lets us in on the bolt secret at the mid-point, leaving no more mysteries left to solve. That was disappointing. Finally, I have a problem when dialogue sounds almost exclusively like it's supposed to be in a trailer. There are a lot of snappy comebacks here. Too many. And when you cross that line, reality becomes but a distant memory. I wanted these characters to talk like real people so I could get to know them. And they did sometimes. But those times were few and far between. I think this might be my problem though because I bring it up to a lot of writers and they don't seem to think it's a big deal.

Still, I love Motlong's crisp writing style. He's got such a breezy way about him, reading his stuff felt like I was riding up PCH, top down, hair blowing in the wind. And his action scenes are top-notch. They read like you're right there watching the movie. The man's definitely got the goods. I just couldn't get behind The Fixer.

[ ] What the hell did I just read?
[x] barely kept my interest

[ ] worth the read

[ ] impressive

[ ] genius

What I learned: Bolded sluglines! Use'em? Don't use'em?? Oh the humanity! No more than six months ago, I saw about one script with bolded sluglines for every hundred I read. Now, that number's up to maybe 7 or 8 per hundred. Opponents say that it disrupts the natural reading flow of a script. Proponents say it helps distinguish and divide up scenes better. I was always on the fence about this, but I'm starting to think bolded sluglines are our future. Just behind our children. They rarely affect my reading, and it does help clue you in - especially when you're reading fast - when a new scene or location has arrived.