Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Part 2 - Jack Would Rather Be in the Coffin Than Giving the Eulogy

(Please read the previous episodes before reading this posting)
Part 1 - Meet Jack Collins

Jack has an opportunity to really show off his leadership skills but old doubts begin to plague him.

INT. GENUINE LOGIC OFFICES – DAY.
Jack walks to his cubicle nodding or saying “Morning” to coworkers. He sits at his cubicle and busies himself with paperwork, booting his computer etc.

The walls of the cubicle have pictures, buttons and other movie memorabilia similar to his apartment (from opening credits). The red message light in his phone is flashing. Jack sits and stares at it. The red light rarely means good news.

A stack of files sit in his “In” basket. He picks them up, shuffles through them, and moves the pile to the “Out” basket. A second later, someone walks by and deposits an equally large pile
of new files in the “In” basket.

Jack can no longer avoid the red message light. He groans, PUSHES THE SPEAKER BUTTON and follows the instructions to access his voice mail.

VOICE MAIL LADY
You have one new message. Message one:
VOICE OF DANIELLE, JACK’S GIRLFRIEND
Morning Jack. How’d you sleep without me? I
couldn’t sleep well without you.

JACK lunges for the receiver to get to voice off speaker, and knocks over an old cup of coffee.
VOICE OF DANIELLE
(now only heard in the earpiece)
I’m sorry I didn’t want to stay over last
night, but you had to prep for the meeting,
I had work to do and, to be honest, I’ve
seen The Right Stuff as many times as I
want.
JACK
(under his breath)
It’s an Oscar winner.
VOICE OF DANIELLE
I know it’s an Oscar winner, but I don’t
always want to watch movies. Sometimes,
well... sometimes I just want your
undivided attention.
There is a long pause in her message. Jack wipes up the spilled
coffee with some napkins while he waits.
VOICE OF DANIELLE (CONT'D)
Anyway, I just wanted to say good luck this
morning. Don’t forget about dinner tonight.
Call me later. Bye.
A man in his late twenties comes up behind Jack. He is wearing a suit that is a little too dressy for this office. This is BRYAN BETTMAN, the Project Manager on Jack’s project. He thinks he’s
charming, but to everyone else, he’s an under qualified suck up.
BRYAN BETTMAN
Hey Jack. You getting ready to phone in
that presentation or will you do it in
person?
Bryan laughs at his own joke even though no one else is around to hear.
JACK
(pretending someone is on the
other end of the phone)
Thanks for calling Hon. Gotta go. I’ll call
you later.
Jack hangs up and turns to Bryan.
JACK
Nope. I’m all set.
BRYAN
Super. I hear it’s all the Executive can
talk about.
We hear the BLOOD START POUNDING in Jack’s ears.
JACK
(hesitantly)
Super.
BRYAN
Good stuff there Collins. Let’s show the
Exec what this team’s made of! Right?
Bryan laughs as he POUNDS out a little drum roll on Jack’s back.
JACK
(voice pulsating through the
pounding)
Thanks. I gotta go get ready.
Jack turns his back busying himself with papers on his desk. Bryan gives Jack the old ‘double thumbs up’ before turning on his heels. Around Jack, the programmers pop out of their cubicles and mimic Bettman’s thumbs up to Jack. We hear MUFFLED LAUGHTER.
JACK
(unenthusiastically)
Yeah.
A SENIOR CORPORATE EXECUTIVE walks by and Bryan hustles off after him to the conference room.

BRYAN
Some final round at Pebble Beach yesterday
huh Mr. Gavin?
Jack slowly rises from his desk, grabs a file folder and the CD. He gulps down a glass of water and follows Bryan. He walks as though to the gallows. Just before he reaches the conference room
he quickly ducks into the washroom.

INT. GENUINE LOGIC WASHROOM – DAY.
Jack is alone standing over the sink. He is breathing heavily, bracing himself with both arms.
JACK (TO HIMSELF)
You’re a lean, mean fighting machine. A
lean, mean fighting machine
Splashes water in his face. Jack violently shakes his head from side to side as though he has just swallowed a rotten egg.
JACK (TO HIMSELF)
Cinderella story. This former greens
keeper, about to become Master’s Champion.
Jack straightens his tie and clenches his teeth into a smile
JACK (TO HIMSELF)
Go ahead. Make my day.
Jack exits the washroom.
INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY.
The room is dark, crowded and hot. The meeting has been going on for some time and Jack’s presentation is one of the last. In the light of the projector we see people struggling to pay
attention as the time drags. Heads nod, people check their PDA’s, pencils are tapped and fall on the floor. On the screen is a projection of a graph and pie chart with trending arrows. All the text is too small for anyone to read.
PRESENTER
And in conclusion, the return on investment
for Phase Three of the Endowment Management
Unit… which we call what everyone?
ASSEMBLED CROWD
Emu.
The response lacks energy as the group has been asked to repeat this less-than-brilliant nickname numerous times so far.
PRESENTER
That’s right.
He clicks a remote and the screen image changes to a cartoon emu staring stupidly at the audience. We then recognize an uncanny resemblance between the mascot emu and the presenter.
PRESENTER (CONT’D)
Thank you.
There is a smattering of APPLAUSE as he collects his material
MEETING CHAIR
(she reads from the agenda)
Okay. Next item on the agenda -- these
lights are so low, I can’t see. Jack
Collins of the -- Mean Machine Team? Is
that right?
Jack rises from the group and moves to the front of the room. The sounds of COUGHING, PAPER RUSTLING show the general fatigue of a meeting that has run over two hours.
JACK
(awkwardly into microphone)
Yes, Mean Machine. It’s from The Longest
Yard, the original, the, uh -- the one with
Burt Reynolds.
There is a MURMUR of assent from the floor, but stony silence from the Executive Panel. Jack starts to sweat at the realization that this is a very tough room.
JACK
Okay.
He clicks the keyboard for the first screen
JACK (CONT’D)
Good morning.
ANONYMOUS VOICE
Not anymore it’s not.
JACK
(laughs uncomfortably)
I’ll, uh, try not to take too much time.
Behind him the images on the screen come to life showing various business, education and lifestyle scenes swirling around the words: Fund Based Secure Transaction Encryption.
JACK (CONT’D)
For your consideration, I would like to
present our proposal for the development of
a Fund Based Secure Transaction Encryption
System.
Jack COUGHS, and pulls at his collar. His palms are growing sweaty as the struggles to keep a grip on the remote control. The words on the screen contract to spell “FuBaSTE”.
JACK (CONT’D)
Genuine Logic has set itself up as the
leader in data management solutions for --
small to medium sized financial
institutions.
JACK’S voice begins to break as the nerves start to get to him. His mouth is dry.
JACK (CONT’D)
Excuse me.
He wipes sweat from his brow with his forearm and drops the projector remote control loudly on the table. An anonymous hand emerges from the darkness and gives it back to him.
JACK (CONT’D)
Uh, where was I?
BRYAN
(from the side of the room)
Data management solutions.
JACK
Right. Thanks Bryan. While we have
performed well with organizations willing
to live on the cutting edge...
Jack pauses as the blood pounding in his ears becomes too loud to ignore.
JACK (CONT’D)
Uh, we haven’t had stable AR/AP security to
satisfy the needs of big institutions.
His stage fright is become too great as the room starts to SPIN. He presses several keys at once and the screen goes dark.
JACK (CONT’D)
Oops. Sorry, I...
Jack fumbles for a second and the presentation re-emerges on the screen.
JACK (CONT’D)
(hoarsely)
And, um, we have performed well with, um --
the, uh -- the applications needed for the
institutions, that is, uh -- the enterprise
solution I was talking about...
He clicks the remote and a new screen shows “FuBaSTE - Goals of Project”
JACK (CONT’D)
Uhh...paradigm shift...aligning
priorities...
Long pause before Jack CLICKS the remote to proceed. Jack doesn’t bother looking at the screen. There is an uncomfortable silence in the room.
CUT TO:
ED HARRIS in “Apollo 13” repeating “Failure is not an option!”.
CUT TO:
CLOSEUP of Jack’s eyes. The camera PULLS BACK from Jack in his trance. He suddenly snaps back to the present.
JACK
So I think you’ll agree this project will
be critical to Genuine Logic’s next steps.
Thank you.
There is a puzzled silence, followed by random APPLAUSE. We see heads turning as people whisper about what’s going on. Chairs are being shifted.
MEETING CHAIR
Is that it?
Bryan jumps to the front of the room applauding with energy. He slaps Jack on the shoulder.
BRYAN
Thanks for that overview Jack. I’m sure
everyone is as excited about our plan for
“Fubaste”.
Bryan starts to lead Jack out of the light.
BRYAN (CONT’D)
If it’s all right with you Jack, I think
maybe I’ll just go over the highlights of
the proposal again.
JACK nods absently as he DISAPPEARS into the darkness. Bryan begins to do the presentation that Jack abandoned. We see JACK sink back into his chair beside WARREN. He is ashen
and grey. His face is sweaty.
WARREN
(with kindness)
I thought that went well.
The sound of BRYAN proceeding to give his presentation fades as the camera CLOSES IN on Jack’s downcast eyes.
FADE OUT.

3 comments:

Mama Dawg said...

I was totally wincing throughout that whole presentation. I could really feel his anxiety and embarrasment.

Good job.

Glenda, saved by grace said...

me too, I was sliding down into my chair for poor old Jack.
very convincing!

Mother Goose said...

yikes, I was sweating right along with Jack!