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THR Classic: Pasty screenwriter suffers severe burns after eight minutes in sun

Script sale celebration goes horribly awry

Screenwriter Alan Befflestein is in stable condition with third degree burns on his chest and face after what would’ve been a routine day at the beach for most people. Unfortunately for Befflestein, whose lily-white skin has not seen the light of day in nearly a dozen years, just a few minutes in the sun was almost enough to kill him.

“I knew it had been a while since I went outside,” said Befflestein. “But I actually thought the sizzling sound was someone having a beach barbecue or whatever. You can imagine my surprise when I realized it was the sound of my own flesh being fried by UV rays.”

According to friends and family, Befflestein has been a hermit since the mid-90s, when he moved to Los Angeles to embark on a screenwriting career.

“He came out to a party a few years ago,” said Jerry Denton, Befflestein’s former roommate. “It was at night, though. I honestly can’t remember the last time I’ve seen him outside during the day. He’s usually holed-up at home…just writing away. Another few minutes and he would have been cooked.”

Dateless since early 2004, Befflestein believes the brush with death will be good for him.

“Luckily I just sold my first script, so I can use the cash on the 10 or 12 skin graft surgeries I’ll need to regain my below-average looks,” he said. “Then I’m gonna get back out there and rejoin society…the moment I finish my next script, of course.”

** This THR Classic was first posted in June 2009 **

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Script Track – June 23, 2010

Hidden Valley Ranchers
Period piece based on the popular salad dressing.

Other World Cup
The United States soccer team is recruited by the government to face off in the first-ever intergalactic football tournament.
Michael Bay pitch.

The Sellphone

A car salesman gets his hands on a magical iPhone that gives its owner unprecedented powers of persuasion.
Writer: Allan Beck

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Hollywood proposes on/off switch for moviegoers’ brains

Town’s best innovation in years

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers recently held a special press conference to unveil their response to slumping box office numbers.

“We call it the FlickSwitch,” said AMPTP spokesperson Mark Noble. “It’s a small toggle device that is surgically implanted into the audience member’s head, allowing them to literally turn off their brains while watching whatever dreck we’ve slapped together this month.”

The move saves the industry the hassle of producing better content.

“That’s really difficult,” said one producer, who has a deal with Fox. “This new brain thing will be the best thing to happen to film since special effects, and that’s really saying something.”

Before settling on FlickSwitch, officials considered other, more descriptive names for the revolutionary device.

“We almost dubbed it the ShitToggler, but the double-t was confusing,” said Noble. “Then there was the OscarMaker, but we couldn’t secure the rights. At the end of the day, the name doesn’t matter, especially since people will have their brains turned off anyway.”

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Screenwriter stands up for himself

Everyone in room shocked, appalled

WGA member Allan Burns surprised a conference room full of people more important than him on Thursday, meekly uttering the word “no” when asked if he could change the love interest in his drama script from a 35-year-old divorcee to a 19-year-old exotic dancer.

“At first I waited for him to finish,” said studio exec John Sharper. “Like maybe he was going to say ‘no problem’ or ‘no way would I ever dream of saying no to you, sir.’ But then he just sat there, sweating, his sentence completed. It was weird.”

And what followed was even weirder: nobody objected.

“First of all, it’s pretty disgusting to see a little piss-ant word jockey talk back to the marketing department like that. At the same time, it’s no big deal,” said Sharper. “We’re bringing in a new writer next week anyway.”

According to Burns, he just felt it was time to make a stand.

“I’ve been agreeing to changes ever since I started writing. Last story meeting they brought the janitor in to give me character notes,” he said. “I finally got fed up and decided to stand my ground.”

Unfortunately, the courageous moment was canceled out when Burns later agreed to rewrite the entire script for free, after someone in the room claimed he was “being difficult.”

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Desperate studio exec can’t find a single original idea in all of Netflix

‘Where else am I supposed to look?’

Confused studio exec Marvin Jones searched for six hours yesterday, but was unable to find anything that hadn’t already been turned into a movie.

“Why is this so hard?” he complained, close to tears. “It’s almost like I have no clue how to locate — or even recognize — original ideas. Do they mean like ‘original’ as in ‘before 1987?’”

Jones isn’t alone.

With remakes and adaptations failing at the box office this summer, Hollywood’s big wigs are turning to original ideas. They just don’t know where to find them.

“I heard a story about some producer back in the 90’s who made an original film,” said Disney exec Jennifer Wilson. “I wonder how he discovered it…like in a book or something? Hey, we should make a movie about that – the search for ideas. Does that count?”

Instead of turning to screenwriters, many confused studio execs have scoured toy store shelves, tabloid pages, other studios’ websites, and comic book stores.

“We’ll find that next original idea,” vowed Wilson. “Maybe it’s on a cereal box, or maybe it’s already been shot for television. Either way, we’ll deliver audiences something they’ve never seen before, at least not in theatres…during the last decade or so.”

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Script Track – June 16, 2010

Death Star!
Caught up in the reality show craze, Darth Vader forces his underlings to compete in a talent competition to determine who will get to press the button on that laser destroying Leia’s home planet.
Sequel remake.

Provocative Fucking Title
Writer: Johnny Steel

What A Croc
Based on the popular footwear brand, this taut drama centers on a man who can’t find comfortable shoes that don’t make him feel like a douchebag.
Writer: Kevin Smith

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Terrible script causes industry-wide outbreak of Reader’s Block

Bob Benson’s romantic comedy about two beat cops who fall in love was recently linked to a crippling strain of Reader’s Block, affecting everyone from his own mother to many of Hollywood’s busiest assistants.

“I don’t know anyone that’s been able to get past page four,” said ICM assistant Sally Weaver, referring to ‘To Beat Or Not To Beat.’ “In fact, the script has affected my other reading duties. Ever since I put it down, I’ve been unable to read anything else without feeling nauseous.”

Benson’s mother was not yet convinced her son’s script is the cause of her Reader’s Block.

“Oh I don’t think this has anything to do with Bobby’s stories,” she said. “I’ve been meaning to get new glasses for months. That’s probably the cause of it. He’s so talented. Now could you be a dear and read this shopping list for me? Words repulse me. You know, because of the glasses.”

New cases of the strain are being discovered hourly, prompting many agencies and production companies to instruct their personnel to postpone all reading until copies of Benson’s script can be deleted from their computer systems.

“We have to stop this now before it spreads,” said one industry insider. “God forbid someone finishes the script and gets coverage of it in the hands of executives. The entire industry could grind to a halt.”

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Hollywood sign altered to reflect creative state of industry

Proving once again that nothing is sacred in Hollywood, the city’s iconic sign has been re-imagined with the number “2” at the end.

“The postcard revenues alone will bring untold millions to the industry at a time when we really need it,” said a Disney exec, who asked not to be named. “At first we were going to make the sign 3D – then we realized it already was! So we did the next best thing and turned it into a sequel.”

When asked if he felt the new sign improved upon the old one, the exec shrugged.

“I don’t understand the question,” he said. “It will make us money. People liked the old sign, so it stands to reason they’ll like the rebooted version even more.”

According to producer Michael Bay, this wouldn’t have been possible as recently as five or six years ago.

“The industry has changed,” he said. “Now nobody blinks an eye if you slap a ‘2’ or ‘3’ on something and call it a day.”


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Man takes out home equity loan to pay for movie ticket, medium popcorn

Kevin Wellmeyer recently borrowed against his Pasadena home in order to pay for a night at the movies. Just don’t expect him to be upset about it.

“It’s totally worth it,” he said. “That new A-Team movie looks awesome! And so what if I had to leverage my house because I wanted a reasonably-sized popcorn?”

According to Wellmeyer, “they could raise ticket prices 3000%” and he’d still pay to see movies like The Karate Kid, Sex And The City 2, and Shrek Forever After.

“First of all, the quality of films just keeps better and better, so I’m willing to pay more,” he said. “Secondly, this is really my only entertainment option when you think about it. What else am I gonna do, watch something online for free?”

Once the equity of his house is fully tapped, Wellmeyer plans to pay for future trips to the theater by selling his organs on the black market.

“No price is too high,” he said. “I’d trade a kidney for a ticket to Toy Story 3 any day.”

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