INT – A SCRUFFY CONFERENCE ROOM, LATE AFTERNOON
One by one, the bleary-eyed IndieWIRE staffers stumble into the room, looking in vain for the bagels and coffee.
JONNY LEAHANWhere’s the spread? Who the f(*& schedules a meeting this early and doesn’t order breakfast?
No one even looks up. Managing Editor WENDY MITCHELL, facedown on the table in a slowly expanding pool of drool, stirs briefly at the sudden noise, but doesn’t move. From this position, her jacket collar separates from her neck, which turns out to be covered with fresh hickeys..
BRIAN BROOKSNan da, korya!, baka-baka-shii jikan tsubushi. Hima ja nai, ore. Maa, jitsu wa hima da kedo…
J.D. ASHCRAFT(wearily spitting out the punchline to an office joke gone stale) Suntory Time!
ANTHONY KAUFMANCut with the Lost in Translation, already.
BROOKSOre no daihon was saisho datta! Sofia no Tokyo Story to zenzen chigau!
KEN TABACHNICKDude, she beat you to it. It’s over . She won.
He headnods to WENDY, who still clutches a MoMA giftbag from the night before.
Write about something else, Kahane. Move on.
BRIAN BROOKS(low, hissing growl) Kisama, “Kiru Biru” mo, nihongo no dialoggo wo tsukatte iru, ze
A slightly-more-awake BRIAN CLARK enters the room nursing a big chai. Everyone’s there now except one person.
LEAHANWaitaminnit, who called this meeting? What are we all–
Look, even the suit’s here.
He headnods to ASHCRAFT; no one responds.
LEAHANOh, (*#$. I know what this is. Drugtesting. Eugene said he was gonna do it, and now he finally has.
LEAHAN lights a cigarette and cracks open the heavy, paint-encrusted window. At the mention of drugtesting, everyone in the room snaps to attention. Their eyes follow LEAHAN as he paces back and forth.
ASHCRAFTJonny, some of the more–mainstream sponsors just get a little nervous–
LEAHANWah wah wah, some pussy from Chrysler has a headache at Deer Valley, and now we all have to pay, is that it?
ASHCRAFT(getting worked up) First, it was VW, and second, they had to close the whole mountain to get the guy down from the gondola. Your “Get the sponsor baked so he’ll fund my movie” stunt nearly lost us our accreditation
LEAHANHow was I supposed to know it was his first time? Come on, it’s Sundance! What’s the point? And accreditation? There’s nothin’ indie about accreditation, pal. Crash, or burn, J.D. Gun and run, (takes an annoyingly long drag) crash and burn. JAMES ISRAELDo you think it’s really drugtesting? I mean, maybe we’re getting laid off or–
TABACHNICKTo get fired, James, you have to be getting paid something. No, it’s worse than that. I think drugtesting is just the tip of the iceberg. Eugene’s selling us all out.
EVERYONEWhat? Wha? Shinjirarenei
TABACHNICKI saw him talking with Jules Asner the other night for like two hours. He said he was trying to get on the set of Oceans Twelve, but he kept rambling excitedly about dental insurance. (pause)
I think Eugene’s planning to sell IndieWIRE to E!
Stunned silence fills the room, broken only by the grating ring of MITCHELL’S cellphone. She answers it in a muffled voice without raising her head from the desk.
(pause) Again? Tell him I said to stay in my room. (pause)Then tell him he’s not trapped; and you do like his work, but that you have a piece to write for me, and I said not to bother him.
(pause) No, don’t! Tell him to make it himself. Tell him we don’t have a cook, and he can make his own damn coffee.
(getting agitated) Tell him no, I don’t want 20 napkin rings; I don’t want the Japanese box version of his DVD; and I don’t want to carry extra luggage to Cannes for him. Tell him if he wants to leave, I don’t–hold on, there’ s my other line.
(pause) Yeah. He is??!
MITCHELL bolts up with an abruptness that silences the room’s Asnerian pothead chatter.
He’s coming! He’s in the elevator now!
A Chinese firedrill ensues as people take their seats. LEAHAN stubs out his cigarette, starts waving his hands in a panicky motion to dissipate the smoke, then stops, frozen by dangerous realization.
He pulls a wrinkled plastic bagged bundle from the inside pocket of the biker jacket he bought in Rotterdam, and without warning, stuffs it into the pants of a stunned, speechless ASHCRAFT. Raising a silent finger to his lips, he slides into his chair and folds his hands together like nothing happened. EUGENE HERNANDEZ enters the now-quiet room, talking on his cell phone headset.
EUGENE HERNANDEZGreat, no, we’d love for you to do it. Tell Gus I’ll see him in Mougins. Gotta go, love ya, amigo.
His hand fumbles for the phone at his waist.
HERNANDEZJohn Huston used to call everyone “amigo.” Didja know that?
HERNANDEZI’m sure you’re wondering why I called this meeting. Something this early in the day, must be big, right?
HERNANDEZI’ve been thinking a lot about what this company, this community, this movement needs right now. What challenges are we facing? What’s holding us back, keeping us from reaching our full potential?
TABACHNICKPlease sir, don’t fire me! This is the only job I’ve been able to hold onto for longer than ten days.
(turns to ISRAEL, plaintively) Dammit, Jim, I’m a filmmaker, not a miracle worker!
ISRAEL(to HERNANDEZ) Sir, if you’re going to fire me, could you wait for me to get my camera? It’d be great for the doc.
HERNANDEZKen, James, don’t worry, amigos. If any of us was employable, we wouldn’t be in this industry to begin with.
LEAHANSo what is it, then? Drugtesting? &^% that, man. I’m not having any part of it. Take your pee-in-a-cup corporate sellout bull#(&$, cut it into lines, and snort it up Jules Asner’s E!-loving schnozz. Entertainment, my ass.
HERNANDEZWhat has gotten into you people? I’m talking about blogs here. IndieWIRE Blogs for Everyone.
Stunned, confused silence.
MITCHELLWhat the &(*& is a blog?
HERNANDEZOh, it’s great. It’s like an online diary where you rant about stuff and link to people. Then they link back to you. Everybody’s doing it, and so will each of us. And then we’ll ask our filmmakers we like and industry friends to do them, too. I was just talking to Gus Van Sant’s people about doing one for Tarnation. It’ll be so cool. It’ll be like an online magazine we all write together.
KAUFMANBut we already write an online magazine, all together.
BRIAN CLARKI already have a blog.
HERNANDEZBut this way, you may get famous. Write about whatever you like, that way it’ll be different from work. It’s life. What you talk about, what you hear, what interests you–
ISRAEL…But what if I’m already using that for the doc?
HERNANDEZ(ignores him)…what you did last night…
At once, everyone looks at MITCHELL
MITCHELL(indignantly returning their stares) What. What?
HERNANDEZWrite whatever you want, whatever’s on your mind, in your heartThat’s life, amigos. We can get started right now, if you want to.
(turns to LEAHAN) Jonny, where’s your stash?
LEAHANIn Ashcraft’s pants, sir.
HERNANDEZBreak it out, J.D. And close that window.
LEAHAN deftly rolls a fatty, then tosses the bag and papers to HERNANDEZ, who rolls himself one, lights it and takes a long, deep pull.
HERNANDEZSo. What do you think? The Passion: indie or not?