So there's this movie playing inside my head, one of those over-the-top action flicks starring a swashbuckling cameraman and a few wisecracking sidekicks. It's not so much a buddy flick'cause the protagonist is something of a loner. I haven't even caught his name yet, but everyone just seems to call him 'Photog'. Anyway, he's all Billy Bad-Ass when it comes to laptop editors and live trucks and such - but drop him in a fancy ballroom without his camera and he's just another mumbling schlub. I suspect deep down inside he may have super-powers but I haven't gotten that far yet. All I know is dude schleps from one glittering set-piece to the next; slingin' lenses and droppin' one-liners as crackheads, dirty cops and his own bellowing bosses propel him from cinematic adventure to the next. Toss in a sexy weather bunny and few slow-motion fireballs and you got 'Franchise', baby!
Let's just say it's trilogy for argument's sake. We could spend the first film setting up the characters at breakneck pace. You know, place a few key characters at the edge of peril, then dispatch our tortured hero there 'to put some eyes on it'. Once on scene, our leading lenslinger could do something heroic. I know - he could shoot exclusive video of a ghetto beatdown, then erase the tape to spare River City the inevitable riot! Or ... he could crash a hostage stand-off with lenses blazing, befuddle the bad guy while the counter girl escapes! How 'bout some a natural disaster? Send our princple into the teeth of a hurricane with an ailing sat truck and an ornery drama queen? Here's the thing though: No matter how our hero saves tHE day he never, ever, ever gets credit because - as we finally reveal in the last few minutes of Part 3, The Station is out to get him! Huh? Huh? Am I a genius or am I a genius?
O - Kay, you don't seem thrilled so let's switch gears. What say we make this little puppy The Feel Good Hit of the Year? You know, Friday Night Football Games, Independence Day Parades ... maybe toss some hapless pet poodle down a possibly toxic hole while our champ tracks a small town's uplifting fight to KEEP LITTLE FLUFFY ALIVE! Can't you just feel the tearful tension as a square-jawed cameraman risks life and limb to get the shot - shirtless, of course. Heck, I'm gettin' verklempt just thinking about it. Who knows how females 18-49 will respond once our Single Dad Photog zooms in on a bruised pooch, repentant drill instructor handicapped quarterback? I know, work in a love interest subplot with a grubby studio chick (one who cleans up well in Act Three) and you got a classic case of Dirtbag Love in the Land of the Pretty People! Forget the video rights, I smell Oscar!
Then again, we'll never get Denzel to play a photog ... Hey, here's what we can do: Make it a Raucous Comedy! God knows the photog life is rife with parody! You think 'Anchorman' was goofy? Knock down that newsgathering schtick a couple of paygrades and you got laughs by the carload! Speaking of which, let's saddle our addled lenser with a couple of reckless interns! Come on, nothin' says funny like bumbling assistants - especially if one's a petulant wedding shooter and the other's a bosomy foreign exchange student! Send that crew to a campus protest or underwater wedding and you'll get more box-office business than when that guy made a date out of that apple pie! Are you with me? NO? Well, Why Not?!? I got template-fitting scenarios that scream to be a feature film. Drop the genre and I'll pick it up and run, confident in the fact that no fiction can compete with what I've seen( with only one eye!) while running around, making news.
Still unimpressed? Okay, how's this: A network cameraman stows away on the space shuttle just as aliens descend on 30 Rock...
(Special Thanks to Gonzo Photog for the mental storyboarding.)