An Introduction to Our Film Edition
INTERIOR OF A NEWSPAPER OFFICE — DAY
The clack of LAPTOP keys resounds through an open-plan office littered with the human detritus of the media game, circa late capitalism. REPORTERS, slack jawed and bleary-eyed, hunker over their machines, weighted down by crushing student loan debt.
PAN to a cranky (though rakishly handsome editor), DAEDALUS HOWELL, 50, who slices through a fistful of NEWSPAPER COPY with a BLUESTREAK PEN.
HOWELL: Dammit, Carruthers! Where’s the human angle? Where’s the heart? This is just facts! We gotta ’nuff facts—I want the blood, sweat and tears of the little guy—
CARRUTHERS (20s), a lanky, lean, mean reporting machine, looks up from his DESK, dour.
HOWELL:—and I want that bottled and labeled by the big guy, then sold back to the little guy as the Wine Country dream!
CARRUTHERS: Last time you said “no bleeding heart crap.”
HOWELL (rising from his desk): No! I said, “If it bleeds it leads!” First rule of journalism! What are they teaching in J-school these days? For chrissakes, I shoulda stayed in Hollywood—at least there a writer knows where they stand.
CARRUTHERS: Picket lines?
HOWELL shakes his head and stamps his cigar out on the AP Style Manual. He drops back in his seat, wincing.
HOWELL: Whaddya got for this so-called “film edition” anyhow?
CARRUTHERS: Maybe How to Successfully Fail in Hollywood, C.M. Conway’s portrait of “bottom-feeder actress at the end of her rope.”
HOWELL: Word “fail” makes me nervous—next?
CARRUTHERS: Ali Afshar’s Petaluma-made Casa Grande now playing on Amazon Freevee?
HOWELL: Good work if you can get it, and I ain’t got it.
CARRUTHERS: A state of the biz feature on local theatrical exhibition?
HOWELL: Local businesses survive despite studios, streaming and—gimme another word that starts with ST!
HOWELL: Kinda hung up on this labor thing, aren’t ya, kid?
Carruthers stares blankly at Howell.
HOWELL: Fine! Eleven-hundred words, Friday at noon!
Howell lights another cigar.
HOWELL: Yep. Shoulda stayed in Hollywood.
Daedalus Howell is editor of the ‘Bohemian’ and writer-director of the feature films ‘Pill Head’ and the upcoming ‘Wolf Story.’ Updates at dhowell.substack.com.