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The Michael Bays of the cinematic landscape know movie-making is really about the moola, but sadly,
too many directors opt to try something “different” and end up with far too
much critical acclaim and very little monetary compensation. So for all those
prospective filmmakers out there looking to cash in and get out, we present Player
Affinity’s step-by-step guide to constructing one of many popular (and bankable)
Stage 1: Meet the Seamy Government Agent
Let’s set the scene: a
sleek looking spook in an Armani soot, cufflinks and high-gloss wingtips
confidently struts down a polished marble corridor; his feet making a distinct
echo as he proceeds to his superior’s office. As he hurriedly approaches the
secretary, he ignores her as she glances up, immediately proclaiming “he’s in a
meeting.” Easing the door open to the glass-walled corner office with couth
resembling a rhino, he slams down a leather-bound file, smugly uttering just
three words: “We found him.”
Stage 2: Unveil the Hideout
Tracking Shot: a swooping, gliding camera rockets over remote wilderness/a vast, blue sea. The angle then switches to reveal a jet-black helicopter/motorcade nearing a remote (rather run-down) abode. Exiting the vehicle is a well dressed man, complete with aviator sunglasses and a Bluetooth earpiece. He approaches the house as two guards stand at alert a short distance behind.
Stage 3: Introduce the Elite Badass
One knock, two, then three. With no answer the mystery man enters. The room is dark, dusty, with no sign of their intended intercept. “Hello _____,” a rough voice murmurs from a shadowed corner, half-empty liquor bottle and butt-filled ashtray visible nearby. “______, been a long time” replies the suit. “Not long enough” retorts the man as he slowly emerges from his hiding place, flicking the safety back onto his sidearm.
Stage 4: The Payoff/Promise of Freedom/Chance for Revenge
Stage four can go in a number of ways, depending by what realm of motivation you feel your character is driven. Various combinations can be helpful if you find yourself unable to decide. “We need your help” the boss would mutter, a string of back-and-forth’s ensue containing phrases such as “too old for this ****”, “you burned me once”, “you’re the best there is” and “I’m out of the game”, at which point our grizzled hero turns his back ready to leave for good. “It’s ______,” the suit reluctantly reveals. “You do this and your slate’s wiped clean. You’ll have a life again and we’ll give you enough compensation that you can look after ______ forever”. *dramatic pause*. “I’ll do it”…
Stage 5: Assemble Team
…“but I’ll need to visit a few old friends first.” *cheeky smile* At this juncture, cue the montage outlining a slowly assembling team, comprised of the protagonist’s past comrades (preferably discovering them at menial jobs, jumping at the chance to taste the “old life”). It is very important to represent all genders and ethnicities equally, such as the Asian martial arts expert, wise-cracking black man, innuendo-spouting bombshell and tattoo-covered muscle head. Without uttering more than the phrase “I’ve got a job,” they should drop everything and wander after you like lemmings.
Stage 6: The Plan
Aside from the climax, be
sure to set aside a good portion of the budget for special effects for this — the planning stage. Voice-over blaring, the crew will huddle around a table
clad with a scale model of the bad-guy’s hideout, the gloomy metal walls of a remote
warehouse enclosing them: “here’s the plan.” A great deal of editing is now
key, as your tracking shot will show every intricate detail of security,
layouts, positioning, timing, etc, perplexingly (and forever mysteriously)
obtained over the course of an hour. Have members of the crew shout clichéd
slogans such as “_____ you’re nuts!” or “look I got a family, I don’t need
this.” Be sure that the hero reveals the true importance (i.e. revenge/huge
cash payoff) until everyone is just about to leave.
Stage 7: Enter Love Interest/Old Flame
The devious plot is coming to fruition, the necessary people are in place. Then, at the most unexpected juncture emerges the gorgeous detective tracking the movements of an old pro/the embittered (but still in love) spark of our man in arms. Accompanied by a slap and a promise that she will stop him at all costs, she will indirectly pledge loyalty and prove an invaluable asset down the road. Note: an inopportune make-out sequence or PG-13 implied intercourse can be implemented anytime henceforth.
Stage 8: Execute Plan
Toast the bread and spread the butter — it’s mealtime. As per the steps discussed in the planning stage, the plot will unfurl just as expected until about two thirds of the way through when they will encounter a hitch. Altered pass-codes, additional guards, the arrival of police nearby will all suffice. On the spot the lead will “go to plan B” and pyrotechnics and death-defying stunts will ensue. This is the juncture at which the love interest/old flame should appear, providing invaluable aid when all seems to be lost.
Stage 9: The Narrow Escape/Noble Death
Again, depending on the film’s tone you may wish to opt either for a narrow victory in which at least one member of the team is killed in a heroic fashion, or have the protagonist sacrifice himself nobly to protect his team/love or dispose of his enemy in blazingly suicidal fashion. If your lead is one with a troubled past and a death-wish, knocking him off honourably in the arms of/right in front of his best friend/love interest works quite well. Have him cling to life for a few seconds, smile, mutter “we got him, _____” and pass away peacefully.
Stage 10: Epilogue
Especially in the case of
an ambiguous ending whereby a massive explosion has seemingly killed our aging
hero, having the remaining team members reminisce fondly serves as a nice
Example: Leaning on the rails of a rusting bridge just outside of town, Friend A stares off into the distance, dangling a beer over the side, letting it gently sway over the gurgling stream far below. Friend B approaches with a “hey.” Without breaking his gaze, Friend A bends to his side, plucking another beer from the case and handing it to Friend B. “They never found the body,” says Friend B, “but they say the fire was hot enough…”
“Even if he did make it out of there, he wouldn’t want to be found” responds Friend A, finally breaking his silence and thousand-yard stare. Friend B sighs, “Well, here’s to ____, the toughest son-of-a-bitch and best team leader I ever knew." As they clink bottles, the camera pans away slowly, changing course, rounding the corner of a decrepit building some half mile away. A figure clad in a non-descript hoody and jeans leans on the corner gazing at the two men on the bridge. He drops a cigarette as the musical score mounts. The man turns, revealing it to be our protagonist. With a cocky smile he flips up his hoody and disappears into a dark alley.