“Your script looks great Bob. Let’s talk integration.”
I look up and stare at the lawyer sitting across the table. He’s flashing a smile beneath arched eyebrows. A magic marker rests in his hand, hovering an inch above his copy of Serve And Protect 4.
“Sorry?” I reply, “Talk what?”
“Integration, Bob … you know, product placement.”
I freeze in fear. The lawyer ignores my response and starts flipping through pages. He finds the one he wants and stabs the sheet with his marker.
“Right here. Act 2, Scene 3 would be perfect for Ford. The building explodes just as the President and the Secret Service agent barrel out of the parking garage. They race down the street and …”
The lawyer draws a thick wedge on the page.
“… right here we have the SUV squeal up to the curb. Camera catches a close-up of the oval logo. Lots of energy building up, great image message for the brand.”
He grins at me while I shake my head.
“That’s not in my script for a reason. This is an action film, not a car ad with action.”
The lawyer sighs and slumps his shoulders before pointing the marker at me like it’s a spear.
“Look, Jean-Luc, here’s the reality. The Ford spot pays for the SUV and the building explosion. Which lowers the cost of production. Which …”
He looks down at the table and starts flipping pages.
“… gets your film made.”
He flips two more pages, stops, and stares at the sheet.
“Perfect, right here. The agent and the President are racing through town. The President says he’s starving.”
The attorney runs the pen through a line of text and scribbles in a replacement.
“We have the President say ‘Hey, there’s a Burger King. I’m famished and I love Burger King’. We get the brand name in twice.”
I glare at the lawyer and say, “Oh yeah, totally believable. Business as usual in the middle of a war zone.”
The lawyer smirks and says, “We’d have to massage a few things, but it could work. And, it would pay for the motorcycle and sidecar chase where the two jump the school bus before the missile hits it.”
I snap my fingers and then offer my own mock “improvement.”
“As the two flee Burger King the President wears a cardboard BK crown and flicks pickles out the window to deflect bullets.”
The lawyer stares up at the ceiling. He grins and says, “I like that. Cutting edge, kinda like The Matrix.”
I grimace but keep my mouth shut. In my mind I picture Bogart hugging Bergman in Casablanca before saying “We’ll always have Doritos.”
The lawyer scrolls through a few more pages. He pauses, looks off into the distance, and says, “I have no idea how we’re going to get Depends™ into an action film.”
published 27 April 2011