Washed Up by Richard Buzzell | Script Revolution

Washed Up



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An aging filmmaker, once at the pinnacle of the business but now fallen on hard times and desperate to finance a comeback project, secures funding from a crypto-cash billionaire, whose son will co-direct the film.

Walter Futz is a multiple Academy Award-winning writer-director who has turned into a money-losing machine. His last ten films have all gone down in flames, each one losing millions. Everyone in the industry is convinced he’s washed up, except for him.

After being turned down by every contact he has in the industry, he becomes desperate enough to resort to a crowdfunding campaign. The campaign hits the jackpot when a donor offers ten million dollars.

The offer seems to Walter to be too good to be true and when he finds out that the ten million dollar pledge is in crypto-cash, his worst fears are confirmed. However, after a sales pitch on the wonders of crypto-cash, Walter decides it’s better than nothing.

When Walter learns that Shroom, the twenty-year old son of the crypto-cash donor wants to be co-director of the film, Walter threatens to walk away. After assurances that Shroom just wants the chance to work with a master like Walter, and will cause no trouble, Walter agrees to the deal.

The first day of pre-production provides Walter’s first surprise when he learns that some people don’t want to accept crypto-cash as payment. Established actors he’s worked with in the past think he’s trying to pull some kind of a scam with the crypto-cash. It seems that his dream is falling apart before even getting started.

Shroom comes to the rescue assuring Walter that lots of actors are willing to accept crypto-cash as payment. Shroom rounds up all of the actors he knows who are crypto-positive. The problem is, none of them fit the characters that Walter has written. Again Walter’s dream seems to be collapsing.

Again Shroom comes to the rescue offering to tweak the script to accommodate the available cast. Walter doesn’t see how this is possible, but he goes along with it because he doesn’t see any other option.

Shroom is a bright guy with copious confidence but highly immature and hyperactive. He has a desire to develop a neo-Futzian vision for the movie. He wants to keep the classic Futzian qualities but bring the script up to date so that it will appeal to a twenty-first century audience.

Walter’s comedic drama of sophisticated middle-aged characters becomes transformed by Shroom’s steampunk vision of a post-apocalyptic world of endless battles between street-gangs armed with photon guns.

Shroom sees his conflict with Walter as a generational one in which Walter is refusing to keep up with the times. After a successful team-building exercise, Shroom brings Walter over to his way of thinking. Walter begins to believe that a new approach is just what his film needs to allow them to “trample the planet” as Shroom likes to say.

When Shroom’s girlfriend questions Walter’s transformation from old fusty Futz, to new future-embracing fresh Futz, Walter assures her that he’s on the right track, the one to success.

When the first reviews of the movie come out they are a combination of scathing and incredulous. Walter is stunned as the ridicule and scorn pours over him. Walter is ruined.

Walter moves back to his home town of New York and meets up with an old friend. Walter tells his friend that he’s happier than he’s been in years. “Movie-making was a prison and I’m glad to be out of it”, Walter declares.

After parting with his friend Walter approaches a woman with a crying young child in her arms. The woman explains that the child is crying because he dropped his toy over the fence next to the river. Walter offers to retrieve the toy and bends over the fence to get it. He reaches over a little too far and falls into the river.

At Walter’s funeral his old friend tells some others that Walter was clearly in denial during his last hours. Obviously the pain of losing his career was too much for him to bear. Everyone is sympathetic. They’d all seen the reviews for the final movie. One of them remarks on how sad it is that Walter was never able to accept that he was washed up and that it was time for him to spend his remaining years resting on his laurels.

Submitted: January 31, 2018
Last Updated: January 31, 2018

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The Writer: Richard Buzzell

I'm the author of fifteen feature scripts, one of which, "Robot Love," has been sold through Script Revolution. I'm an audience-oriented writer, which means that I emphasize the interests of the audience over the dictates of the screenwriting formulas. I'm attracted to drama but I have a strict "no fake drama" rule in my writing. I have a number of scripts that are especially well-suited to the streaming platforms. Go to bio

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