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Screaming at the Screen | Imposters S2 E2: Trouble Maybe

Mattie gets a visit from Shelly Cohen, ex-husband of Lenny Cohen, another one of The Doctor’s assassins. I have to go back and look at the last episode of season 1 because I don’t remember what happened to Lenny. She was crazy af. Shelly is there to take Mattie to meet The Doctor face to face. She makes a run for it, but he catches her and chokes her out. She picks up a book and knocks him in the head enough to get him off of her. It’s one of those books with the pages dug out and inside is a knife. She stabs him in the stomach and runs out of the house. YASS GIRL! He stumbles out of the house and gets into his car to chase her down, but he’s bleeding. The car slows down, then stops. Mattie stops running and looks back to see what he’s doing. He gets out of the car and goes after her, but because he’s wounded, he can’t run. Mattie runs into the park and finds the Cult Dude she met in the last episode. He’s a recruiter for one of those “find yourself, heal your life” kind of organizations. Mattie tells Cult Dude that she wants to go to the cult place right now because she’s falling apart . He agrees to take her. Cohen ends up passing out, but not before he gets a look at Mattie and Cult Dude getting into the car. OH, SHIT. HE READ THE LICENSE PLATE.

The 3 Musketeers, Ezra, Richard, and Jules hole up in Mexico to avoid being killed by The Doctor and the thieves who tried to con them out of the FBI’s ring. Angry Girl, Jules, pays somebody a deposit to get fake passports for them, so they can hide out anywhere in the world. They agree to step up their con game in order to come up with the rest of the money quickly.

Richard aka Mac Daddy is at a bar looking pitiful and getting wasted. Even during a loser moment, he manages to become the target of a horny cougar. He quickly tells her he doesn’t have any money. She doesn’t want to be embarrassed in front of her cheering friends across the room for failing to score, so she tells him to wave to them and kiss her. Of course. Richard has never been one to turn down any opportunity to hook up with a woman.

Ezra goes to the marketplace, pick pockets a tourist, then pretends like he found the man’s wallet on the ground and asks him if it’s his wallet. He tries to walk away, but the tourist offers him a small amount of cash as a reward. Ezra thanks him and shakes his hand. Little does the tourist know Ezra slipped his watch off. He gives the watch to a merchant that has been watching the whole thing. He gives Ezra money for the watch. YOU SURE HAVE GOTTEN COMFORTABLE WITH A LIFE OF CRIME, EZRA. In the first season, they made a promise to only steal from bad people, but we see that quickly went out the door. That makes them no better than Mattie.

The 3 Musketeers meet up back at their place. Mac Daddy shows up drunk and gives them his earnings. It’s not even $100. They get on his case about it. He tells them he can’t bring himself to take money out of women’s purses because that’s not a con, it’s stealing. EXACTLY! Ezra reminds him they wouldn’t have to steal from good people if he didn’t leave the 1.5 million dollar ring back at his house in the states. Jules reports that they need $5,000 in order to get the passports. Ezra whips out $2,500. They’re like, where the hell did you get this? He says it was going to take too long to get the money by pulling off little cons, so he stepped it up. First, he started selling maps to historical boats. Then he sold actual boat tours. Hell, why stop there? This fool managed to sell a boat he doesn’t own to a group of white guys and nobody questioned it because it was a white man who was selling it. Jules and Mac Daddy lecture him about not being dishonest and say behaving like that makes them no better than Mattie. DIDN’T I SAY THAT EARLIER? They make a pact not to lie to each other anymore.

Mattie checks into the cult motel. Weird Lady gives her the lay of the land, teaches her about wholeness. Later, Mattie calls local hospitals to see Shelly hass been checked in. She finds the right one and tells them she’s Shelly’s sister. The receptionist connects her to a detective. Mattie quickly hangs up.

We find Ezra sitting at a table in the town square writing. A pretty girl comes out of a shop and trips over his leg. He jumps up to help her. She says she doesn’t speak English well, but asks if he’s a writer. He says no. She looks at his note pad and tries to read it. She’s standing all extra close to him and he’s loving it. WHY THE HELL IS SHE STANDING SO CLOSE? Next thing you know, we see her picking his pocket. DAMN EZRA, YOU SEE A PRETTY FACE AND YOU START SLACKIN ON YOUR PIMPIN! TYPICAL. Pretty Little Thief walks away grinning. She gets down the street and checks the wallet. There’s a decent amount of money in there. Then she searches her purse frantically. Something is missing. Ezra pops up behind her holding her phone. Ha! I jumped the gun on Ezra. I thought he got ganked. I’m sorry for thinking you were controlled by the vajayjay Ezra. Pretty Little Thief had the nerve to be mad about him stealing her phone. She demands it back. He says only if you give back my wallet. They exchange items. Ezra tells her how he knew he was on to her. He says she was too flirty immediately after tripping over his foot and that the normal reaction is to show anger. He says he let her take the wallet because she’s beautiful. OF COURSE YOU DID EZRA. She tries to take off, but not so fast girl. Ezra confronts her for taking the money out of the wallet. She pouts, gives it back. She says she has to to work. He offers to walk her there. A romance is born. They end up in a movie theatre where Pretty Little Thief records the movie on her phone. DAMN GIRL, YOU’RE A BOOTLEGGER TOO? JUST TRIFLIN! Ezra offers to bring her in on his con games to make double the money. She doesn’t really trust him, but why not, right?

Max, one of The Doctor’s con men, shows up at the doctor’s office. He no longer wants to be on the run. So, we FINALLY get to meet the doctor. He was never seen in the first season. All we saw was a shadowy figure. That’s what I love about this show. The writers are good at creating tension and suspense. So, Max and the No Good Doctor discuss what happened in season 1 when their plot to con the FBI failed and Mattie ran off and the 3 Musketeers took the ring. He tells The Doctor that he wants to work for him again, if not, he might as well kill him now because he’ll be dead anyway trying to be a regular person. The Doctor tells him to show up at some hotel later and wait to hear from him, he’ll let him know then if he will agree to let him come back to work for him.

Ezra and Pretty Little Thief meet up at a cafe and flirt. He says he wants to hear her play the violin she’s carrying. He’s making sexual innuendos. The merchant is ear hustling their conversation and tells her in Spanish that he’s not really talking about her violin. She pretends to get mad and reaches for her wallet to pay for her coffee. What do you know? She can’t find her wallet. Ezra offers to pay for it, but she says no. She tells the merchant that she lives nearby and will bring the money back to him. He suggests she let Ezra pay for it because he’s not a fool. She tells him she’ll leave her violin with him to ensure she’ll come back. He agrees to that. Ezra examines the violin and tells the merchant that it’s worth 10,000 pesos. He says he can sell it and split the money with him. The merchant says no and makes him leave. Pretty Little Thief comes back. The merchant tells her he wants to buy the violin for his granddaughter and will pay double what it’s worth. Next thing you know she comes running down the street to Ezra and tells him she got 20,000 pesos for a violin only worth 5,000 pesos. I looked it up. 20,000 pesos in US dollars equals about $1,100 and 5,000 pesos equals about $277. So, they made 3 times the amount they paid for it. They celebrate with a hot passionate kiss. She tells him her name is Rosa. GIRL, THAT AIN’T YOUR NAME. They get a room and get busy.

Mattie and Cult Dude hang out at the cult house. She finds out that he’s gay and that his boyfriend is a member of the cult too. She’s shocked. He makes fun of her for thinking her brought her to the cult house to seduce her. They laugh if off.

Back at the hotel, Ezra and Pretty Little Thief lie in post-coital glow. The next morning Ezra wakes up to find she’s gone and so is his money. See, like I said, men will always be taken down by the coochie. Bless their hearts.

Ezra combs the city for Pretty Little Thief. BOY, YOU KNOW SHE’S LONG GONE. But oh his lucky stars, he finds her at the movie theatre. He fusses at her for having sex with him then conning him. She whips out a big wad of cash, tells him she doubled their money by using a trick he taught her. GIRL BYE. I’m like she’s only saying that because he found her. I don’t trust her and I don’t trust Ezra’s peen. He buys it though and they head back to the hotel for round two. SMH…

Fast forward to Mattie at the cult lair. She has dreams of her past conning everybody. Suddenly she gets awakened by some creepy lady standing over her. It’s Anne-Marie Johnson, from In the Heat of the Night, In Living Color, Girlfriends, and a million other shows and movies. She’s creepy af in this episode. Her name is Gail. She’s the advisor. It’s time for Mattie’s one on one. Creepy af “counsels” her, but it seems more like an interrogation. Mattie is shook. She’s not used to people seeing through her. Anne-Marie is such an amazing actress. She was seriously creeping me out. I was like, run Mattie!

Mac Daddy goes to the bar, tells the bartender he’s off booze and pays his tab. Two pretty travelers come in talking about they’re looking for the most funs.

Max falls asleep waiting for the doctor to show up. Next thing you know somebody puts a gun to his head. He doesn’t even look to see who it is. He tells them to go ahead and pull the trigger. It’s Sally, his former partner in crime who ran off with money they were supposed to give to The Doctor. She says she’s not going to kill him, at least not yet.

I really likes this episode. I like the Bonnie and Clyde thing Ezra has going on with Pretty Little Thief, even though she can’t be trusted. I’m curious to know what’s going to happen to Mattie at the cult house. I feel like they’re going to keep her captive or something. Gail seems like the type who dices up bodies and serves them to the others in a stew.

One of the main things I love about this show is their amazing cliff hangers. They leave you eagerly anticipating the next episode. I just found out this show was created by Paul Adelstein who played Leo Bergen on Scandal. He was Sally Langston’s campaign manager and Abby’s boyfriend. He also played in another Shonda Rhimes show, The Practice. I never connected those two characters because they were complete opposites. Leo was a ruthless shark and in the Practice, Paul played a kind-hearted doctor. The show was also created by Adam Brooks who wrote Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, Beloved staring Oprah Winfrey. I really enjoy this show. The actors are great and the writing keeps me on my toes.

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Writing Process | Story Development

Why do I always pick writing projects that are so challenging? I must like torturing myself. I’m a masochist. Yeah. That’s it. Don’t get me wrong. I love the story development process. It’s just a big beast to tackle. For me, it’s the hardest part of screenwriting and the most time consuming. I’d rather get down to crafting the script and rewriting. Those are the areas where I get to play!

My current screenplay is a one-hour pilot which I’m having a tough time getting it off the ground because the characters, world, and subject matter are complicated. My main character is an attorney who deals with racial discrimination cases. I have no clue as to how the legal system works, so I have to do a lot of research, which includes Googling law websites like FindLaw, watching mock trials on YouTube, and studying TV shows like The Good Wife. I’m trying to get my research done as fast as possible because I don’t want to get lost in research when I could be spending that precious time writing. However, I need to know the basics of the legal system to ensure that the story makes sense.

Initially, I designed my storyline to center around a different case each week, but then I decided to stretch the pilot storyline throughout the entire series, which required everything to be re-worked in a major way. Sigh… . This isn’t going to be easy. I have to figure out how to do it and keep it interesting. So, I’ve been studying two TV shows that do this successfully: House of Cards and American Crime. I’ve already watched each episode of House of Cards a million times, but now I’m re-watching and taking notes on the steps Frank Underwood takes to reach his goal of being the president of the United States, the obstacles he faces, and how he gets around them.

It’s been challenging to craft my story, but I’m up for the challenge.

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My Top 5 Screenwriters

# 1  SHONDA RHIMES | The Queen of Hearts

Best known for:  Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge

My favorite work:  Scandal

scandal promo

Why I admire Shonda:

I admire Shonda’s writing because she writes about love in an antisentimatic way.  You gets no cuddles with Ms. Rhimes.  Instead of a character telling another that they are important to them or are the only friend they have, the character will say, “You’re my person.”  That’s what Christina told Meredith in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy when she needed to provide an emergency contact person in order to schedule an abortion:

Cristina: The clinic has a policy.  They wouldn’t let me confirm my appointment unless I designated an emergency contact person.  Someone to be there in case and…to you know help me home after.  Anyway, I put your name down, that’s why I told you I’m pregnant.  You’re my person.

Meredith: I am?

Cristina: Yeah, you are.  Whatever.

Meredith: Whatever.

Cristina: He dumped me. [Meredith hugs Cristina] You realize this constitutes hugging?

Meredith: Shut up, I’m your person.

Even when Meredith shows a moment of tenderness with a hug, she tells Christina to shut up when she protests.  Very funny.

On Scandal, the entire show is based on everybody’s love for Olivia.  It may be warped, twisted love, but love nonetheless.  On any given day, Fitz is willing to give up the presidency or go to war for her.  They both do dangerous, irrational, stupid things for each other in the name of love.  You won’t find their type of love described on a Hallmark card.  It’s raw, dark, and by any means necessary.

Olivia and Fitz

Daddy Pope loves her so much that he basically stalks her and kills for her in order to keep her safe.  Same for Mama Pope.  Same for Jake, Huck, and Quinn.  Their loyalty for her is unwavering because they love her.  Abby and David lie and cheat for her.  Cyrus, her male BFF, always takes her back after she does something to jeopardize the White House.  Even creepy ass Tom thinks she has a “face that launched a thousand ships.”  Yes, Shonda is the queen of the love story, but she isn’t going to give it to you “Leave It to Beaver” style.

#2  NANCY MEYERS | The Ultimate Girl Power


nancy_meyers 4

Best known for:  Father of the Bride, Something’s Gotta Give, Private Benjamin

My favorite work:  Something’s Gotta Give

somethings gotta give 3

Why I admire Nancy:

Meyers’ films are all about grown ass women living their lives, doing their own thing.  Her characters are usually over the age of 35, which I love because, seriously, Hollywood seems to think all the world wants to see is 20 year olds bouncing around on the screen.  Nancy’s female characters have it together overall, but learn they are lacking in a certain area.  They set out to fix the flaw and wind up learning a lot about themselves that they never knew.  Now, that’s girl power!

#3  DAVID SIMON | The Realist

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Best know for:  The Wire, NYPD Blue, Treme

My favorite work:  The Wire

The Wire

Why I admire Simon:

When you watch a David Simon project, you get sucked into the world he created and you don’t want to leave.  He makes you feel like the characters are your friends and family members.  That crooked politician or drug dealer could easily be your loved one.  You feel like you’ve walked the streets of the neighborhood in the story because he paints such a vivid picture of the way of life in the city.  The characters communicate the way real people speak; yet the dialogue still manages to be full of subtext.  It’s relatable because it’s lean and mean, no fluff.

This can be seen in my favorite scene from The Wire.  Detectives Moreland and McNulty run ballistics at a crime scene.  Each time they figure out a clue, they utter, “Fuck me.”  Each time they say it there’s a different meaning behind it.  How Simon managed to give two words multiple meanings is pure genius.  And that’s some fine acting too.

#4  AARON SORKIN | The Wordsmith

aaron-sorkin

Best known for:  The Social Network, The West Wing, A Few Good Men

My favorite work:  The West Wing

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Why I admire Sorkin:

Aaah, the king of dialogue.  Sorkin’s dialogue makes me drool.  You learn a thing or two from his words because they’re packed full of knowledge and wisdom.  Those marathon monologues are like a symphony.  I think Aaron influenced Shonda when she created Scandal.  Sorkin’s dialogue keeps you on your toes too because you have to pay close attention to the rapid-fire pace of the characters’ words.  Blink and you’ll miss an important piece of information that either reveals character or is a set up for some scenario later in the episode.

#5  BEAU WILLIMON | Mr. Personality

Beau Willimon

Best known for:  House of Cards, The Ides of March

My favorite work:  House of Cards

house-of-cards

Why I admire Beau:

When I saw House of Cards for the first time, my mouth dropped open within the first minute of the premiere episode.  Willimon has a way of letting the viewers know what type of person the character is immediately.  He does this by showing the character’s trait through action.  In Season 1, Chapter 1, Congressman Frank Underwood goes to the aid of a dog that has just been hit by a car.  Frank breaks the fourth wall and tells the viewer there are two kinds of pain:  the kind that makes you stronger and the useless kind that makes you suffer.  He has no patience for useless things and demonstrates that philosophy by putting the poor dog out of its misery by suffocating it.  BOOM!  Beau doesn’t bullshit around.

There are other writers that I admire, but the above are my top 5.  Rhimes, Simon, Sorkin, and Willimon are my uber favorites because they create anti-heroes with major flaws who you love anyway.  That’s my kind of writing!

Additional favorites:

Matthew Weiner | Mad Men

Mara Brock Akil | Girlfriends