The Art World
I had a killer idea for an opening sequence to a potential screenplay.
OK: Chelsea. Front desk on a Saturday.
White walls washed over in so much light that it looks like a cheesy scene from those movies where George Burns played God. No art is visible, but you can see that there are vast rooms opened onto from all sides.
A Sunday painter lady steps to the desk and reverently thumbs a copy of the catalogue.
“I just love his use of color!” she says to an icy young woman and a disheveled young man in a suit.
“I’m gonna hit the kitchen,” the guy says to the girl, “Want anything?” “No thanks.”
The painter lady eyes them fearfully.
“How much is the book?” “It’s ninety dollars…” the girl says flatly.
The woman begins to open her shoulder bag, but as she begins to dig the girl continues, “…But it’s not for sale.
The gallery needs all of our copies to give to collectors and the artist’s friends...”
“Oh, dear,” the old lady says sadly as the young woman smiles and turns back to her computer screen.
At that moment the door opens and in walks a man. It would be hard to say how old he is because he looks ravaged.
He wears a t-shirt and battered jeans, with black work boots below. He seems stoned, or worse. Above his hollow cheeks, black shades hide his sunken eyes. He’s balding. He steps to the desk and knocks on it with his fist, prompting a look of annoyance from the girl.
“Is Anton here?” he says. “Actually, he’s not,” she replies.
“Uh...where is he?” he says, sounding confused.
“He’s at lunch with a client,” she answers.
The man steps back from the desk and turns his back to her. He digs in his pocket for a few seconds and finally produces a cell phone. He presses a speed dial button and puts it to his ear.
“Where are you?” he says after a moment. “What? No. Yeah, I’m here. What?” he turns back to the girl and his face begins to contort with rage.
“THEN WHY THE FUCK IS YOUR FUCKING RECEPTIONIST SAYING YOU’RE ALREADY AT
LUNCH!!!!!!” he screams at the top of his lungs.
The crowd is aghast. The old painter woman is mortified and says, “That wasn’t very nice.”
The man hands the cell phone to the girl, “It’s for you.” “Hello?” she says, terrified.
“You’re fired,” a man’s voice is heard to say. “What? But I...” “Do you know who the fuck that guy is?” “No, I don’t.” “Exactly, you don’t. Enough said. Take your shit and get out. You’re fired.”
The screen goes black and the opening strains of AC/DC “Dirty Deeds” start over the opening credits. As they roll out the screen is full of panning shots of gallery scenes, black Mercedes lined up, rows of glasses on a bar, auction hammers dropping, dudes lugging huge painting crates onto trucks, all rapid fire, never letting you fully absorb the image before cutting to the next one.
What do you think? Too obvious? I’m looking at it like a black comedy.
(Email message from John Mclaughlin. All names or likenesses are purely coincidental.)