Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Spanner R4 Update: Chapter 4 - The Meeting at Mudlark House, Take 1

Believe it or not, there's three versions of the pivotal meeting at Mudlark House in Spanner Chapter 4, and they're all unsatisfactory. One, they don't have enough of the characters; two, the plan's still too explicit like in a heist movie; three, there's not enough ominous foreshadowing. The versions are those from the Third Revision, the initial Fourth Revision outline, and the Script Frenzy script.

In addition to host Willa and her teenage relatives involved in organizing the Student Union that plays such a pivotal role in the School Arc between Chapters 5 and 21, Hope has brought several disgruntled teachers who, unlike her (and the three sexy librarians who serve as mentors to the Student Union activists), have not been purged from the Teachers Guild — yet. Problem: the Guild is using the Conservative Revolution as an excuse to transform itself from a workers' organization into a private employment services corporation which its management hope they can list on the stock exchange. Bigger problem: it's the Guild that owns the private Seattle Public Education Corporation that's already notorious for treating both teachers and students so contemptuously. Shira announces she'll be going "into the belly of the beast", meaning she plans to undermine SPEC from within.

I guess this scene will have to work like the ones in heist movies — in fact, the TV version in its final form should be in part a homage to heist movies, and to those war movies in which the heroic raiders work out their plan to, for example, bomb the bridge over the River Kwai or the Nazi gun emplacements at Navarone. But this being Chaos Angel Spanner rather than, say, Topkapi or Inglourious Basterds, anything can happen and every plan requires a Plan B. Shira's tagline is, after all, "expect the unexpected". Point and counterpoint: to properly set up the School Arc, I will need to contrast the flexibility of Shira and her crew (the future Team Spanner) with the pointed inflexibility of the management within the "revolutionary government" of SPEC. The meetings at Mudlark House and SPEC headquarters should reveal two completely opposite worldviews, the Populism and Corporatism that will clash head-on in Chapters 22 and 23, once the School Arc has come to its explosive conclusion.

There will be two more scenes related to the Mudlark House and SPEC meetings: the emergency meeting at Drusilla's cult complex to determine the succession to the chairmanship of Biotron after Shira's delivery to Dr. Thorwald blows up; and a Socialist Revolutionary terrorist action involving hostage taking and, well, a meeting to plan an even more audacious action, this time aimed at SPEC and its chairman, Peter Ross.

Ah, Peter Ross. I'm going to give him a character arc like the infamous "Papa Doc" Duvalier who started as a doctor and ended as a genocidal dictator. Ross started as a teacher whose politics were pretty liberal and who was a friend of the even more liberal Hope Reston. Now he's a militantly corrupt neoconservative Corporate, and Hope is his radical nemesis. But he personally blacklisted her, so her daughter Shira Thomas will have to serve as her point man. In Chapter 6, Ross reveals just how unamused he is.

Now back to crafting the Mudlark House scene. I want it to work, so I need to get it right.

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