Scripts

Life is a Breeze

Written by JD Chandler and Shirley Obitz
JD Chandler

Treatment

High school is never easy, but in the mid-twenty-first century, it’s nearly impossible.  After the National Emergency, which suspended the U.S. Constitution and saw the end of the Federal government and the passage of Oregon’s Total Crime Initiative (TCI) – outlawing most activity and making it a felony to earn less than $500,000 per year, things are bad.  The large urban areas on the east coast have been destroyed by civil war and environmental disasters.  Some of them have been designated Reclamation Zones and are being colonized.  In other areas, the people have to rely on local/state government and non-governmental agencies. For the kids of East Portland, living in the burned outhouses of the “Evacuation Zone” and trying to get an education at the Free School – housed in the ruins of Washington High School, it’s a daily battle with church and corporate militias and the Freedom Police, who enforce strict moral and ethnic codes.  The only escape is the adventures of the Mavericks, corporate-sponsored desperados who live by taking hostages and pulling off spectacular crimes for the entertainment of the vast LiveOne audience.  LiveOne, the neural-implant communication network that feeds information directly into the brains of the majority of people, has taken the place of news media and the internet and is the pervasive information/entertainment source with a 24-hour feed.

            Life is a Breeze is (satirical comedy) a one-hour format TV series that harks back to the High School series Beverly Hills 90210.  It follows the adventures of four High School Seniors (JAIMIE HOLT, LAURA HOLT, ELIZA CAPER, and ROGER STARLING) as they negotiate their last year of high school and plan for their post-school lives.  The twist is that the series is set in the 2050s and the characters have to deal with out-of-control military/police, economic, social, and environmental disaster, and open warfare.  The only escape is LiveOne, the cerebral-implant social network that allows a person to tap into fantasy and entertainment whenever they want to.

            The World of Life is a Breeze:

            Eight years ago “the Emergency” saw the suspension of the U.S. Constitution and the collapse of the U.S. government, except for the military.  In Portland, Oregon, where the story is set, the Total Crime Initiative (TCI), passed shortly after the Emergency, makes most activity criminal and makes it a felony to earn less than $500,000.  TCI also makes citizenship a privilege that must be earned; it is only a birthright for those earning enough money to be legal.  The boundaries of the city of Portland have been redefined, encompassing only the neighborhoods on the west side of the river, essentially Northwest and Southwest Portland.  Neighborhoods outside those boundaries, especially on the east side of the Willamette, have been designated Evacuation Zones and anyone living there is considered an illegal squatter.  The east side is dominated by Warlords who control their domains with religious, corporate, and political militias and the Freedom Police, which violently enforces morality and ethnicity laws.  Most of the characters of Life is a Breeze live in the Free Zone, around the bombed shell of Washington High School (which has been designated the Free School).  The Free Zone is a democratic enclave that defends values of multi-culturalism and collectivism and fights a constant battle against the remains of the government and forces of corporate-rule and rampant individualism.  Portland citizens have a somewhat protected life, although they are subject to the depredations of the Mavericks. The Pearl District – Portland’s most gentrified neighborhood which has gone from a rundown industrial district to a high-priced trendy neighborhood in less than a decade — has been covered over with an archology dome and it is a haven for the ultra-rich, where anything goes, if you can pay.

            Live One:

            LiveOne is what the internet has evolved into.  Every newborn has a chip implanted in their brain which allows them to access LiveOne, the main source of information, news, and entertainment.  LiveOne keeps us apprised of the latest news, environmental, crime, and terror alerts, and international developments through visual and auditory messages and memes.  One of the main features of LiveOne is the News Clowns, who evolved from television news.  The most popular streams on LiveOne are those of the Mavericks, who broadcast their lives and deeds twenty-four hours a day.

            Mavericks are super anti-heroes, neo-anarchistic/libertarians who are committed to the principle of Ultraviolence – violence as a cleansing redeeming force, and Neo-Anarchism – a pseudo-philosophy that idolizes the individual.  Mavericks are seen as the vanguard of American liberty.  Any action they take is an expression of their individuality and strikes a blow for liberty.  The more pointless and violent the action the more effective it is.  Mavericks are sponsored by corporations and wear their logos tattooed on their bodies in strategic spots, so they can be highlighted from time to time (sex sells).  Mavericks take hostages to help them negotiate their lives and every Maverick should always have a hostage.

            BILLY ROBINSON is the Maverick who will be mainly featured in the LiveOne feed during the show.  In the first episode, he has lost rank due to a scandal and begins his day without a hostage.  In the first episode, he takes a hostage, JOE, who will be his sidekick throughout the series.  Billy not only lost rank in his scandal, but he lost corporate sponsorship and had at least one tattooed logo removed from his body.  The bare spot bothers him every time he thinks about it.  His main goal is to pull off a spectacular job of some kind so he can win back his rank and gain a new corporate sponsor.  AURORA ADLER, a beautiful, red-haired Maverick with a unique sense of style and fashion, is Billy’s love interest, although they don’t really know each other.  They see each other and flirt from time to time, playing an endless game of push-pull.  Billy will endlessly pursue Aurora, but he is probably never able to actually catch up with her.  Whenever Billy’s interest flags, Aurora does something to put herself back into the center of his attention.

            The adventures of Billy Robinson and Aurora Adler are like daydreams that are always going on that can be accessed at any time by anyone with a LiveOne brain implant.  Aurora and Billy are very attractive with beautifully sculpted bodies; they expose a lot of skin in order for their tattoos to be as visible as possible.  Their actions are presented in a broad, cartoonish style, but with brutal and realistic violence – similar to the way it was done on the old television show Man from UNCLE.

            Main Characters:

            The main action of Life is a Breeze will take place at the Free School and the Holt Home in the Free Zone.  It will revolve around the four high school seniors:

            JAIMIE HOLT – Seventeen years old, ex-athlete, budding intellectual.  Jaimie idolizes Billy Robinson and he spends a lot of time watching his adventures.  Jaimie believes that the role of the Maverick is pivotal to liberty and vital for the proper function of society.  He is strongly committed to Ultraviolence and Neo-Anarchism – which causes a strong conflict with his father.  Jaimie is a nice, sensitive guy most of the time, but he has a strong dark side and can go into a “berserker” state during a fight.  Jaimie plans to become a Maverick after he finishes school and spends a lot of his time working on his physique and planning for the future.  Jaimie volunteers with the Free Portland Defense Force, the paramilitary arm of the Eastside Improvement League, and plans to be deferred from military service by taking the Maverick option.  While a small percentage of Mavericks are able to gain major corporate sponsorship and fame, the majority die in the attempt.

            LAURA HOLT – Seventeen, Jaimie’s twin sister.  She is smart and cynical and sees athletics as a scam. She doesn’t believe the popular media-political ideas of her brother – Corporate sponsorship means Freedom — and tends to agree with her parents who are committed to multi-culturalism and collectivism.  Laura is very smart, but she doesn’t get good grades, seeing school as irrelevant if not an outright scam.  The only thing keeping her in school at this point is her friendship with Mr. Weinstein, the history teacher.  During the first season, Laura will experiment sexually with her best friend Eliza, but will not firmly commit to being gay or straight. She volunteers with the Eastside Improvement League (EIL), a Black Panther style, community self-help organization which is the only elected government on the eastside.  Through working with the EIL she will learn about and involve herself in social and political issues.  She will also come to the attention of the Police.  She will be arrested during the first season, but whether she gets a jail sentence or not it will become clear before the end of the season that she is headed for jail.  She knows that she will be required to serve in the military when she reaches eighteen, but she does not intend to comply.  She will illustrate the new maxim: Fail to plan, plan for jail.

            ELIZA CAPER – Seventeen, Laura’s best friend. She lives with the Holts because her mother (Mrs. Caper) is unable to take care of her.  Eliza is a beautiful, intelligent young woman who is a talented dancer and musician.  She gets excellent grades in school and is being wooed by the prestigious Fast Food Management Program at Portland State University.  The prestigious program is wooing her with glimpses of a successful career and a chance to grow into the elite/privileged class.  As the school woos her she is brought to visit Portland Proper, on the west side of the river where it is possible, for some, to earn a legal salary and live as “free” citizens.  Life on the west side can be chaotic, as it is the main stage for the activities of the Mavericks.  She also gets a glimpse into the highly privileged life of the people who are able to live “under the Dome” that covers the Pearl District/Knob Hill and a good portion of Forest Park.  The Dome is a fantasyland/playground for the ultra-rich, where anything goes if you can pay.  If Eliza joins the program at PSU she will receive a College Deferment from military service. If she graduates at the top of her class she could start her career with a fashionable food cart under the Dome, where she could live as a paid servant rather than a slave and if she can gain fame she could enter the elite class herself.  Eliza will experiment sexually with her friend Laura, but does not commit to being gay and may also experiment with a boy.

            ROGER STARLING – Seventeen, Jaimie’s best friend, he also lives with the Holts.  His mother was killed during the fighting, leaving him an orphan, but she left evidence that Roger’s father is HARRY STARLING, the Warlord of Laurelhurst.  Roger doesn’t know about his father, but during the first season he will find out and he and Jaimie will take a trip to Laurelhurst to try and meet the Warlord.  Roger is a member of JR. ROTC, a right-wing militia that feeds into the US Military.  He plans to have a military career, because it provides the opportunity for citizenship – if he serves twenty years in the military he will achieve “provisional citizenship” qualifying him for a freehold in the Reclamation Zone of the east coast.  Twenty years of homesteading will make him a full-fledged citizen.  Roger is interested in military history and is fascinated by the Army’s high-tech mind control and drone equipment and specially designed Performance Enhancing Drugs.

            Other major characters:

            MALCOLM HOLT – Forties, father of Jaimie and Laura.  He is the neighborhood commander of the Eastside Improvement League, which makes him the highest elected official on the eastside.  He is a wounded combat veteran, with a prosthetic limb, who has gone into rebellion against the government.  He has to deal with warlords, refugees and various militias as well as the Police and the US Army on a regular basis. He is a very busy man and not that close with his family.

            RENA HOLT – Forties, mother of Jaimie and Laura.  She is a stay-at-home mom who devotes her life to creating a comfortable home for her family.  She is also a Block Captain with the Neighborhood Watch, a well-armed paramilitary organization that polices the free zone, aids the Free Portland Defense League in a fight and is the sworn enemy of the Freedom Police.

            GERALDINE CAPER (MRS. CAPER) – Forties, Eliza’s mother and a teacher at the Free School.  Geraldine is a damaged woman, highly traumatized during the fighting.  She is very shut down, displaying no feeling and making no contact with anyone, except in her classes. She only comes alive when she is teaching music, art or dance.  When she is teaching she is lively and passionate and a great teacher, but she can’t really function in any other part of her life.

            MILTON WEINSTEIN (MR. WEINSTEIN) — Sixties.  He is the history teacher at the Free School, but since they are badly under-funded and short-handed he is the main teacher at the school. History is his specialty and his passion, but he teaches most other subjects as well.  Mr. Weinstein is a witty and wise character, but he is very cynical and frustrated because nearly everything he has tried to do in his life has failed.  His voice echoes a sardonic laugh at society crumbling around him.

            Budget:

            This will be a moderately budgeted production, relying on unknown actors for the leading roles.  Filming in Portland, Oregon will also help keep costs down, as costs are lower than Los Angeles for film production and the state offers incentive rebates of up to 20% for Oregon-made products and services and up to 16.2% for wages paid to production staff.  In addition the fact that Oregon has no sales tax presents a typical saving of 7-8% on purchases.  One of the main costs of the production will be Computer Generated Imaging (CGI) which will help give the effect of a future Portland and war damages.  Since CGI will be used minimally that should help keep costs down as well.

            Essential links for Portland productions:

http://www.oregonfilm.org/shooting/

http://www.pdc.us/portland-film-office/filming-in-portland/getting-started.aspx

Sample Scenes:

Opening scene of Episode One

INT. MORNING.

HOLT KITCHEN.  The kitchen of a large early twentieth century house that has had extensive repairs of war damage done to it.  The kitchen has a homey feel and warm sunshine comes in through the windows.  RENA HOLT, an attractive, motherly woman in her forties, is cooking pancakes at a griddle.  Two teenage boys, JAIMIE HOLT and ROGER STARLING, are sitting at the table eating plates of pancakes.

JAIMIE

I just checked and he’s still sleeping, but he’ll have to do something…

ROGER

You mean he really went to bed without a hostage last night.

JAIMIE

There was nothing else he could do. It should make for an interesting day when he wakes up.

RENA

Are you boys still talking about that silly program?

RENA takes a few more pancakes off the griddle and puts them on the boys’ plates.  She pours more batter on the griddle and starts more pancakes.

JAIMIE

It’s not a program, Mom.  You know the Mavericks are the guardians of our liberty.

ROGER keeps quiet, it is an old family argument, and keeps eating.  RENA rolls her eyes at her son.  LAURA HOLT, Jaimie’s twin sister, comes into the kitchen.  She is dressed for school in denim pants and jacket and carries a backpack. 

LAURA

You mean our corporate freedom, don’t you?

JAIMIE

It’s the same thing.

RENA rolls her eyes again and bites her tongue to keep from saying anything.

LAURA

Says you…

JAIMIE

Says everyone.

RENA

Pancakes, Laura? They’re ready.

LAURA

Just a couple, Mom. I’m not really hungry.

RENA puts a couple of pancakes on a plate and hands it to LAURA, then she starts a couple more on the griddle.  LAURA takes her plate and joins the boys at the table for breakfast.

RENA

Where’s Eliza?

LAURA

She’s coming.  You know she takes longer to get ready in the morning.

RENA

I know.

JAIMIE (to LAURA. Insistent)

You know that the group consciousness is the basis of our new social contract.

RENA

No more politics at the table, guys.

JAIMIE and LAURA (together)

Aw, Mom.

RENA

Just eat. You don’t want to be late on the first day of school.

The three teenagers eat their breakfast. ELIZA comes in.

ELIZA

Good morning.

RENA

There are a couple of pancakes ready if you want them, Eliza.

ELIZA

No thanks, I’ll just have juice today.

ELIZA pours a glass of juice and the other three teenagers finish their breakfast then take their plates to the sink and rinse them off.  Meanwhile RENA is cleaning up the griddle and putting food away.

RENA

Ready to go, guys?

The four teenagers indicate that they are ready. RENA goes to the closet and opens the door.  She takes out a flak jacket and helmet and puts them on.  She takes a large machine gun from the closet and carries it to the door.  JAIMIE opens the door for her and she sets the machine gun on a tripod that is set up on the front porch and attaches it.  The porch is defended with sandbags and other defensive devices.  RENA makes a call on a handheld radio.

RENA (into radio)

Holt 1 calling Security Point Ten Alpha, come in.

RADIO

Ten Alpha. Read five by five. Go ahead Holt 1.

RENA

Holt 1 getting ready to move. Security check.

RADIO

All clear, Holt 1.  You can commence movement.

RENA checks to make sure the machine gun is loaded and ready.

RENA

Ok, kids. We have all clear to the Security Checkpoint.  You can move out.

LAURA, JAIMIE, ROGER and ELIZA come out the door with their backpacks.  They go down the stairs.

RENA

Have a nice day at school, kids.

LAURA and JAIMIE

Bye, mom.

ROGER and ELIZA

Have a good day, Mrs. Holt.

The teenagers trudge down the street toward school.  RENA stays at the machine gun scanning the street until they are out of sight.

FADE OUT.

Title Music: THERE’S MORE THAN THAT TO BEING POOR by HUSSALONIA begins and takes us into the TITLE SEQUENCE.

Introduction of Billy Robinson Character

NOTE: This is a LiveOne feed and should be visually very different from the main storyline scenes.

            A beautiful twilight blue sky. The LiveOne logo rises from the horizon like the sun accompanied by appropriate, uplifting music.  The LiveOne logo rises majestically, brightening the clear blue sky until the logo is firmly in the center of the screen as the music reaches a crescendo.

Voice Over: This is LiveOne.

The LiveOne logo retreats to the bottom left corner where it stays throughout the LiveOne FEED.

Fade out.

Fade in. The “It’s Billy!” logo fills the screen and then minimizes to the bottom right corner. A running band of news items and alert levels crawls across the bottom of the screen. A fanfare of Billy Theme music accompanies the logo and then dissolves into a folksy tune on banjo or guitar. The music has a slow morning feel to it.  The camera travels around Billy’s dimly lit bedroom letting us know it is the room of a macho guy. The camera lingers lovingly on the designer labels of the clothes and weapons strewn around the room. Billy is asleep, naked in the bed. The camera loves him and lingers over parts of his tattooed body, especially noting corporate logos tattooed in various spots.

Music: (folksy voice):

DOWN THE STREET THE DOGS ARE BARKIN’

AND THE SUN IS COMIN’ UP

YOU KNOW IT JUST AIN’T MORNIN’

WITHOUT GREASO IN YOUR CUP.

            Billy’s alarm clock goes off with an irritating electronic alarm. Billy stirs in his sleep and reaches for the alarm, slapping it off with his hand. The camera catches the Greaso Coffee logo on the back of his hand and freezes there.

Voice Over: GREASO COFFEE MAKES IT WORTH GETTING UP.

End of LiveOne FEED.

Montage:

Billy gets out of bed. He gets a cup of coffee from his Greaso Coffee System and enjoys it while he does a workout. Then he takes a shower. All through the workout and shower Billy poses to show off different corporate logos on his body. At the end of the montage Billy is fully dressed. He is dressed sharp in trendy clothes with conspicuous designer labels. As Billie walks into the kitchen Viewer Hints appears in text on the video image:

Viewer Hint 1: BILLY WENT TO SLEEP WITHOUT A HOSTAGE LAST NIGHT.

Viewer Hint 2: BILLY DOESN’T REALIZE IT YET, BUT HE NEEDS GROCERIES. NOT WITHOUT A HOSTAGE – LOL.

Billy walks into the kitchen and looks into his refrigerator with a forlorn expression. His kitchen is sparkling with new top-of-the-line appliances all of them have prominent corporate logos and/or designer labels.  He doesn’t find anything to eat, so he pushes the button on his Greaso Coffee system which dispenses another cup of Greaso Coffee. He sips the coffee with a wry smile and shows the Greaso logo on the back of his hands. Freeze frame.

Music (folksinger):

EVEN IF YOU AIN’T GOT NOTHIN’ TO EAT

A CUPPA GREASO TASTES MIGHTY SWEET.

Billy takes another sip of coffee and sits down at his kitchen table. He leans back in his chair and his eyes glaze over. His face goes slack. He is tapping into LiveOne

LiveOne FEED: scrolling news and alerts frame the image. The LiveOne logo is in the bottom left corner of the screen.

A beautiful woman dressed in sexy clothes flirts with the viewer as she says:

THE DATE IS JANUARY 21, 2056. THE TIME IS 0759.

TODAYS HIGH TEMPERATURE IS 84; LOW TEMPERATURE 72.

THE TEMPERATURE RIGHT NOW AT CITY HALL IS 78.

THIS IS THE 161ST DAY SINCE THE LAST RAIN.

WEATHER OUTLOOK: CLOUDY.

TODAY’S ALERTS:

AIR IS: GREEN

TERROR IS: BLUE

WATER IS: ORANGE

MUNICIPAL SERVICES IS: RED

NO BREATHING APPARATUS OR PROTECTIVE GEAR BEYOND LEVEL 1 REQUIRED TODAY.

AND NOW THE NEWS.

The MERIT NETWORK logo fills the screen accompanied by the Merit News Theme. The logo retreats to the lower right corner of the screen reveling two NEWSCLOWNS one male and one female. The newsclowns wear subtle makeup and clothing to remind us of clowns. The woman (NEWSCLOWN 1) has kinky red hair that is combed severely back from her face and held in place by a small polka-dotted hat. The male (NEWSCLOWN 2) is bald with large tufts of white hair projecting out around his ears. His nose is very red.

NEWSCLOWN 2

King William of Great Britain announced that the British government will release sixty-five American hostages it has held for more than a year.  The King says that he can no longer feed the hostages.

NEWSCLOWN 1 (laughing)

I guess they ran out of fish and chips.

NEWSCLOWN 2

Among the British demands: increased shipments of grain and water from the United States.

NEWSCLOWN 1 honks a bicycle horn and the two Newsclowns break up in laughter.

NEWSCLOWN 1

On the National scene, President Billton took the Vice-president and two secret service agents hostage in the Oval Office.

NEWSCLOWN 2

What does he want?

NEWSCLOWN 1

The President says that his term of office should have been over two years ago, but with the tie-up in Congress there have been no elections.  He demands that Congress declare an end to the emergency and schedule new elections so he can leave office.  Speaker of the House Dennison said that the House would be happy to consider the President’s bill, but not until the Representatives’ salaries have been raised and their hostages released.  Still no word from the Senate.

NEWSCLOWN 2

Hoo-boy, talk about gridlock.

SEASON ONE OUTLINE

                        Episode 1 – First Day of School

                        Episode 2 – Extra-curricular Activities

                        Episode 3 – Class Election

                        Episode 4 – Homecoming

                        Episode 5 – Classwork

                        Episode 6 – Plan For the Future

                        Episode 7 – Test Anxiety

                        Episode 8 – Budding Romance

                        Episode 9 – Commitment

                        Episode 10 – Countdown to Graduation

                        Episode 11 – Adulthood

                        Episode 12 – Graduation

NOTE: The episode titles give the theme of the storylines for the four main characters and are based on the High School year. In addition, there are story arcs for Billy Robinson and for the government alerts that will carry through the twelve episodes.

BILLY ROBINSON

            Story Arc A – Plan and execute a big job.

            Story Arc B – Romantic pursuit of Aurora Adler

GOVERNMENT ALERTS

  1. Rising state of emergency
  2. Military Emergency
  3. Slightly lower tension
  4. Rising state of emergency

An Angel Called Night

Written By Shirley Obitz

An Angel Called Night