Everyone’s in a panic except the producer when unsubs digitally mess up a film. 2,382 words. Story and illustration by Mark Fearing.
The producer Bernie Polon sat behind his desk preparing for the emergency concerning the film he’d worked on for the last three years. The director had demanded a meeting in Bernie’s office at eight o’clock in the morning. Bernie wondered if people really have meetings at 8 a.m.? But he had to accommodate Desmond Bright, who was a temperamental British helmer that everybody hated to love. But the filmmaker shot fog-smothered landscapes with gauzy figures delivering modestly indecent lines while fighting Vikings or aliens or demons better than anyone. Also called into the meeting was Jon Wright, the film’s editor with all those credentials Hollywood needs an editor to have.
Though Bernie was pretty sure that soon eighth graders would be doing all the editing in town. Hell, in a dozen years, eighth graders might be doing Bernie’s job the way things were going in the movie business.
“OK, what is so fucking important that we need to meet in person?” Bernie demanded of Desmond, making it clear they weren’t going to be friends today. “Haven’t you learned how to use American technology yet? It’s called an iPhone and it has Facetime.”
Desmond’s cheeks sucked in. “My film’s been hacked!”
The producer had been in the movie business for 35 years and knew that the technical jargon of film changes every 30 seconds. But this was a new situation, even for Bernie.
A famous actor and renown director find themselves in a terrifying scene together. 3,867 words. Illustrations by John Donald Carlucci.
Lew Baird removed his suit jacket and hung it in the closet, pleased to find actual wooden hangers, the kind that most hotels are afraid the guests will steal. He thought of removing his pants as well, just to keep them from wrinkling, but on the off chance that a maid popped in and found him in his BVDs, he decided against it. She’d probably sell the information or post it online and his Twitter account would explode with the pros and cons of his underwear choices.
Picking over the fruit and cheese basket, he decided to sample neither. The cheese would give him stink breath and the pineapple fiber might get lodged in his teeth. He had brought neither a toothbrush nor floss to the film junket. Of course, he could always ask some publicist to run out to a drugstore and get some. Seemed like an awful lot of trouble; not the act of dispatching someone to CVS, but rather the effort of having to summon a flack and convey his wishes.
Hang in there, just one more interview and the day will be over, he told himself as he eased into an armchair, shut his eyes and took a few of those deep relaxation breaths which Bo, his trainer, had taught him. If Lew could only think of a way to blow off that meeting tonight with Alice and her investor and ask Greta up for dinner. They could have Chinese or Italian and watch one of the Academy screeners gathering dust on the shelf of his home screening room. Then he remembered that his assistant had flown home for a family emergency. And since Lew didn’t travel with a posse, he had no one to pick up take-out from Mr. Chow or Spago. He couldn’t very well expect Greta to bring her own food; and he certainly didn’t want to be seen in public with her. The relationship was too new for that.
Before he could think on it further, he had fallen asleep. He was awoken by a meek looking woman. “Mr. Baird,” she said in a supplicant tone. “Sorry to disturb you, but we’re ready for your 4:15.”