Magic Cinema – Who Framed Mark Rosewater?

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It’s my first Magic Cinema in a while and I’m going to do more of a short than a single scene. Some of you will recognize the title and the poster and kinda guess where this is going, but I’m going to deviate from that a little bit. It’s said that in writing that one shouldn’t get too caught up in love with a single scene or line because that warps the whole writing; don’t let the whole work suffer because of one section.

But that’s different in parodies. You want to reference that one line or that one scene because that’s the whole point of the parody, to make fun of something while using another reference to do it. While there’s no official “laws” in comedy, I believe that there needs to be common reference points or there’s no joke. If someone doesn’t get what you’re referencing, they won’t find it funny.

That’s how a lot of stand-up comedians work: “You ever notice,” is a common start of a bit. Basically he/she is telling you “This is what I’m going to talk about. Remember it, get the reference.” Here’s a link to a short of Saturday Morning Watchmen on YouTube. If you’ve never read Watchmen or seen the movie, or know anything Alan Moore, you wouldn’t get the joke; there’s no frame of reference for you. While I won’t go into all of the jokes (there’s one in every frame) the fact that some people don’t find anything funny sometimes is because there’s nothing for them to compare it to.

So, why all this? Well, I’ve wanted to do more of a traditional Film Noir, the one with the voice over and the trench coat; typical Humphrey Bogart stuff. Trouble is, most people wouldn’t get that, so I picked the next closest thing I could find: a children’s film, something everyone should have seen. You’ll see a hybrid of “traditional” noir with Roger Rabbit thrown in. Plus, there’s a scene and a line in here (if you’ve watched the movie you’ll recognize it), that I want to parody. Really bad.

Who Framed Mark Rosewater?

EXT – INSTANT AND SORCERY CLUB – NIGHT

A guy walks down the dark ally between two brick buildings. He wears the traditional TRENCH COAT and FEDORA as any good, or cheesy, private eye would do. With his hands shoved in his pockets, he slowly makes his way to an old, beat up door.

ROBBY
(V.O.)
Being a private eye has it’s perks; you can work the hours you want, the pay can be decent if you can find the work, and you’re helping somebody out. But this time, it was different. Someone needed my help on something so stupid I almost didn’t take it. ‘Course, nothing sounds stupid when they drop an incentive so great you can’t help but take it.

INT – ROBBY’S PRIVATE EYE’S OFFICE – NIGHT

It was just like any other private eye’s office: hardwood floor, window in the door, a desk and chair sitting under the large window on the wall opposite of the door. Sitting at his desk ROBBY is playing Magic: The Gathering Online on his computer. A soft knock on the glass and ROBBY doesn’t look up from his computer.

ROBBY
Come in.

In walks a tall raven-haired woman and shuts the door behind her. Sitting down, she slides an MANILA ENVELOPE across the desk. ROBBY finally looks up and sees her.

ROBBY
(Cont’d)
How can I help you, Miss…

She takes out a cigarette from her purse and lights it, revealing her face for the first time.

ELSPETH
Elspeth. You can call me Elspeth.

Click for full art

ROBBY grabs the envelope and opens it up. He pulls out a SINGLE PICTURE. An art with six planets on it, scribbled with writing.

ROBBY
Alright Miss Elspeth, it’s the art for Time Reversal. What are you getting at?

ELSPETH
I need you to find out if Wizards are making a sixth color.

ROBBY
(Laughing)
Are you serious? That’s just a crazy rumor. They’re never going to do that.

ELSPETH
Do you see the signs? Here, they’ve perfectly referenced purple, which was always rumored to be the new color. The other colors match so perfectly in this it’s gotta be more than just a coincidence. Mark Rosewater even tweeted that they’ve got something new in one of their future sets.

Reaching into her purse she pulled out a SLIP of paper and handed it to ROBBY. It reads: Not only does Shake have something new, it also has something old, something borrowed and something blue.

ROBBY
(Shaking his head)
That’s just something they say for Wedding Dresses. He’s just being his tricky self. Listen lady, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

ELSPETH
They’ve been hiding clues right in front of our eyes for years. How about that whole Walking Atlas mix-up where they left off artifact on the card type?

ROBBY
(Dismissing)
Printing error.

ELSPETH
They were going to print purple in Planar Chaos.

ROBBY
And that was their one chance to get away with it but they left it off the table.

ELSPETH
MARO plays puzzles and mind tricks on us all the time. What makes you think this isn’t one of them.

ROBBY
Doesn’t make sense. This kind of thing isn’t worth my time.

Thud. ELSPETH had tossed an unopened box of M11 on the table.

ELSPETH
What would it cost to make be worth your time?

EXT – INSTANT AND SORCERY CLUB – NIGHT

A knock on the door and a peephole opens up to reveal a GORILLA TITAN’S eyes.

GORILLA TITAN
Password?

ROBBY
Richard sent me.

The door opens and ROBBY walks in.

INT – INSTANT AND SORCERY CLUB – NIGHT

Walking down the entrance steps, ROBBY checks out the club: a large stage that juts out into the white linen table dining area; this place can rival the swankest places in Vegas. There’s a GIANT SPIDER behind the bar dealing out drinks while MONS GOBLIN WAITERS are running around in tuxes serving all of the well dressed patrons watching the show. On stage there are two GOBLINS tossing around knives and swords lit on fire. Mixed in with their antics, there are several more Goblins running around doing Vaudeville-type antics: hitting each other with cream pies, slipping on banana peals while ragtime piano music is playing in the background. The audience is loving it, tears are streaming down their faces from laughing so hard.

ROBBY shrugs his shoulders and makes his way to an open table down front. One of the Goblin waiters came up to him and hands him a menu; ROBBY gives the menu back.

ROBBY
Jack and Coke.

The Goblin leaves.

ROBBY
(To Goblin Waiter)
And I mean the drink!

A sigh and ROBBY takes of his fedora and sets in the table. The show continues on as the Goblins run faster and faster, trying to perform all the tricks at the same time. The GUY next to ROBBY laughs loudly as all of the Goblins are now on fire running around the stage. Looking leeringly over at him, he sees an older man dressed in a flannel shirt and jeans. It’s MARK ROSEWATER, head of Design at Wizards of the Coast. MARO catches his eye.

MARO
(To ROBBY)
What, you don’t think this is funny?

ROBBY
Sorry, physical comedy ain’t my thing.

The Goblin waiter comes back to the table and drops off ROBBY’S drink: a Jack-in-the-Mox in his Coke.

ROBBY
(Cont’d)
Or puns.
(Sighing)
Goblins.

MARO
Cheer up. Laughing is one of the best things for you. Why, when I was working for Roseanne

ROBBY cuts him off.

ROBBY
Yeah, Yeah, I know who you are. You’re Mark Rosewater. Everyone’s who read your columns knows you used to work on Roseanne.

MARO
Well, it’s always good to meet a fan.

A flaming Goblin’s head flies by them as MARO can’t stop laughing. Their attention turns back to the stage as the Goblins finish their act. The curtain drops on them as the audience stands up and cheers. ROBBY hears a female voice behind him.

CIGARETTE GIRL
Moxes? Lotuses?
(Beat)
Robby?

ROBBY turns and sees SERRA ANGEL with a box of lotuses and moxes she’s selling. He smiles when he sees her.

SERRA ANGEL
It’s good to see you Robby. What are you doing here?

ROBBY
I could ask you the same thing.

SERRA ANGEL
Well, work’s been kinda slow since Wizards published that new Angel and her five abilities. But I still got it, Robby.

He smiles with a fondness of nostalgia.

ROBBY
Yeah, you sure do.
(Nodding toward MARO)
What’s he doing here?

SERRA ANGEL
Oh, don’t you know? He likes to come down and hang out with all of his creations. Especially when Chandra is performing. What about you?

ROBBY
Case I’m working. I heard that Chandra might help me to get to either Mark or Aaron Forsythe. Looks like I was right.

The lights went dim in the club as all of the men rushed the stage to get a good spot. ROBBY looked over at MARO, who was buttoning up his shirt.

ROBBY
(Cont’d)
What’s with him?

SERRA ANGEL
Obviously you’ve never seen Chandra perform.

ROBBY
Big fan of Planeswalkers, huh?

MARO sees ROBBY staring at him and excitedly points to the stage, as if he were a school girl. ROBBY switches his gaze back to the curtain, rolling his eyes.

A spotlight his the center of the curtain. A JAZZ CLAM TRIO begin their slow jam of “Why Don’t You Do Right” as a long, feminine leg slips out from behind the curtain.

CHANDRA
(Singing)
You had plenty money in, 19-22.

The curtain opens fully revealing the Clam trio, but, more importantly to the men in the room, CHANDRA. No longer in her usual tom-boy adventuring gear, she’s wearing a tight, sparkly red dress hugging every curve of her body. Her long red hair is no longer held back by her goggles as it flows down her back. She walks out on stage, completely owning it and loving that everyone’s eyes are on her.

CHANDRA
(Singing, Cont’d)
You let other women make a fool of you,
Why don’t you do right?
Like some other men do.

ROBBY’S jaw is on the floor. Leaning over to SERRA ANGEL, his eyes never leave CHANDRA.

ROBBY
(Whispering)
That’s Chandra?

SERRA ANGEL shuts ROBBY’S mouth for him. CHANDRA continues to sing as she seduces the men in the front row who’ve come to gather at the stage. She stands in front of MARO and ROBBY as she smiles down to the older man. Standing up, MARO gives her a hand and steps off the stage. She pushes him back down and sits in his lap singing directly to him.

CHANDRA
(Singing)
Get out of here.
And make me some money too…

CHANDRA stands up and walks over to ROBBY. She sits down in front of him on the stage, crosses her legs, grabs his FEDORA and puts it on. Looking into her eyes as she sings, as if she’s singing only to him in the crowded room.

CHANDRA
(Singing, Cont’d)
Why don’t you do right? Like some other men…

Grabbing ROBBY’S TIE, CHANDRA brings him to his feet and their faces together, almost touching lips. The band stops playing and the room is silent during this beat as every can feel the tension between them.

CHANDRA
(Singing, Cont’d)
…dooooooooooooooooo.

She holds out the note as the band kicks in. Sliding her hand down his tie, she lets go and climbs back up on stage. ROBBY stays standing as he watches her strut back to the band and disappear behind the falling curtains. The crowd goes wild; wolf calls and whistles are about as loud as the clapping. After a few seconds he slumps down into his chair, just staring at the stage. When he looks over at MARO, there’s no one there.

INT – BACKSTAGE AT THE INSTANT AND SORCERY CLUB – NIGHT

The backstage hallway is filled with doors leading to other performers dressing rooms. JACE, THE MENTALIST. GARRUK AND HIS ANIMAL SHOW. ROBBY is walking down the hallway looking for CHANDRA’S door, hands jammed in his pockets, his mind still thinking about a few moments ago. He passes her DOOR, then backtracks to it. Adjusting his tie and his hat, he knocks on the door.

CHANDRA
(O.S.)
Who is it?

ROBBY
My name is Robby, I’m a P.I. I need to ask you a few questions.

The door opens and CHANDRA stands in the doorway staring at him. She gives him the once over and a smile appears on her red glossy lips.

CHANDRA
Oh, it’s you. What about?

ROBBY
Rosewater and Forsythe. I know MaRo’s here.

CHANDRA
I know you know that.

ROBBY
You know where they are?

She steps out of the way and displays her lavish green room. Besides the make-up mirrors and the costumes strewn all over the place there’s a pair of COUCHES.

Sitting on one is MARO, the other is AARON.

MARO takes a drag off his cigar, puffs some smoke and motions ROBBY to join them.

MARO
I wonder when you’d find your way back here.

ROBBY takes off his hat and steps inside as CHANDRA closes the door.

INT – CHANRDA’S GREEN ROOM – NIGHT

He looks around and sees various artifacts from her travels covering the walls and counter space. Making his way over to the couches AARON stands up and gives ROBBY a handshake.

AARON
What can we do you for?

AARON hands him a cigar as ROBBY sits down next to him. MARO lights it and ROBBY takes a deep puff. ROBBY coughs a little and looks over to CHANDRA who’s looking at him.

ROBBY
(To CHANDRA)
I’m sorry, I just didn’t picture you as the girly type.

CHANDRA
You don’t know how hard it is being a woman looking the way I do.

ROBBY
You don’t know how hard it is being a man looking at a woman looking the way you do.

CHANDRA
I’m not bad; I’m just designed that way.

CHANDRA grabs her coat and walks to the door.

CHANDRA
(Cont’d)
Gentlemen…

She leaves.

MARO
So, what are you here for?

ROBBY opens his coat and sets the TIME REVERSAL ART on the table. The two WotC employees look puzzled.

AARON
So?

ROBBY
I’ve been told that you guys are going to be printing Purple…

MARO cut him off.

MARO
Told, or someone assumed that we were?

ROBBY
(Beat)
Assumed.

MARO and AARON both sigh and lean back on the couch.

AARON
We’re not printing Purple. We’ve messed around with the idea, but we’re not going to do it.

MARO
(Leaning forward)
Listen, the human mind wants to see patterns, clues for things to make sense. That’s why those damn National Treasure movies and Dan Brown books like The Da Vinci Code keep getting written. People want to look for clues to explain something. Having things other there with loose ends make people mad.

ROBBY
Like Kodama of the North, South and Center Tree, but no East and West?

AARON
Exactly. What would make people think about us debuting a whole new game changing idea such as a sixth color on card art while the card doesn’t have anything to do with the mechanic?

ROBBY
What about Cruel Ultimatum with the shadow of Nicol Bolas on it and he appeared in the next set? Or Riptide Replicator and the return of Slivers.

AARON
Both of those things were dictated by story. We can put hints of things coming ahead in art, but that’s only for story purposes. I mean if you take this art as literal, then clearly we’re getting rid of Green since that planet is getting destroyed.

AARON picked up the art, pointed at the Green planet and tossed it back on the table.

AARON
(Cont’d)
Why would we get rid of one color that’s so beloved and entrenched in Magic, it has identity and a place to put a new color that you have to shoehorn in to make sense? Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

He takes a big puff on his cigar.

ROBBY
So, no Purple?

MARO
No purple. Even though we’ve played around with the idea, I don’t think it’s going to happen. You want your game designers to test boundaries, see what they can do with the game. That’s how you get Hybrid, and Planeswalkers; ideas everyone loves. But for each of those ideas there are hundreds that don’t see the light of day. Purple most likely will be one of those.

EXT – INSTANT AND SORCERY CLUB – NIGHT

ROBBY lifts up his collar to protect him from the RAIN that’s starting to fall. He starts walking back out of the alley.

ROBBY
(V.O.)
Good old Seattle summers. So I didn’t get the info I wanted. I mean, I knew all along that they weren’t going to do it, but at least I was able to get some information. Of course, there will still be people who won’t believe them and continue to call them out on the “clues” they leave behind. As long as people still believe in The Grassy Knoll, TuPac sightings and Area 51, you’ll get people believing in a sixth color.

Standing at the corner of a street, he watches traffic race by while waiting for the light to change so he can cross the street.

ROBBY
(V.O. Cont’d)
And that idea of paranoia, that inquisitiveness, that wanting answers is what makes us human. We as a species want to know more and more, and will never be satisfied until it consumes us all.

The LIGHT changes and ROBBY starts walking across the street.

ROBBY
(V.O. Cont’d)
And good thing too. Or otherwise I’d be out of a job.

A loud SCREECHING noise is heard as ROBBY turns to see a vehicle breaking towards him. He looks at the license plate:

WUPBRG.

FADE OUT

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2 thoughts on “Magic Cinema – Who Framed Mark Rosewater?”

  1. OK, this was pretty funny. The license plate was a nice touch.

    Isn’t Chandra’s hair literally fire, though? Can she even let it down?

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