SCRIPT: PILOT PART 1 / ACT 3 "The Tour Bus"

THE PILOT PART 1: Music

ACT 3

"The Tour Bus"

Written + Directed by Annie Elizabeth

DRAFT 2: 07/14/2019

 

 1 EXT: MAXWELL MARTIN’S TRAINWRECK TOUR 2005 – DAYTON, OHIO

 

Camera opens up on Maxwell Martin’s feet pushing pedals while he is playing the guitar. He’s leaning over turning knobs on an electronic board and recording beats and vocals. It’s a very creative process as the crowd of 10,000 people are watching quietly on the grassy pavilion lawn. Maxwell’s hit song Trainwreck begins playing and fans, mostly teenage girls, start screaming.

Mackenzie, Scott Mitchell, Mackenzie’s brother Andrew Kitzen and his girlfriend Jamie Williams are in the front row. Maxwell walks off the stage from his encore, seen being ushered away by his manager James Christian.

CUT TO: EXTERIOR TOUR BUS

The group is waiting by the tour bus for an autograph. Maxwell exits to a bunch of screaming fans asking for autographs and James Christian tells them no, shielding Max from all of the photos. Disappointed fans begin to complain as a group of 10 people surrounding Max rush him across the street into an apartment complex.

 

JAMIE WILLIAMS

(Starting to run after them excited)

Come on!! Let's follow them!

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

No, we shouldn't bother them. If he wanted to sign autographs he would have stopped. I don’t want to be one of those annoying fans.

 

JAMIE WILLIAMS

They're walking over to that apartment complex. Nobody will know we are following them.

 

SCOTT MITCHELL

Jamie’s right. I won't hear the end of it if we just leave now and you didn’t try to get his autograph.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

(Hesitant)

Fine, you're right. What's the worst that can happen? They say no?

 

JAMIE WILLIAMS

(Acting super excited and teasing her like a little girl with a crush)

But what is the best that can happen? You meet him and get a photo with Maxwell Martin? You know you love him.

Hurry up, we will lose them!

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

I know, I just don’t want to seem like a crazy fan stalking him. I’m 27, not 17.

(Sticks her tongue out at Jamie)

 

The four of them arrive at an apartment building but they didn't see what door Maxwell went into. A girl is standing outside smoking a cigarette.

 

GIRL OUTSIDE PARTY

Are you here for the party? 

 

JAMIE WILLIAMS

Yeah. Do you know where it is?

 

GIRL OUTSIDE PARTY

(Points to the door)

Yeah, that one. The door is unlocked.

 

JAMIE WILLIAMS

(Speaking to her group)

If anyone asks just tell them you're friend's with Joe who lives here. They will never know. If you find a Joe tell him you know John.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

Good plan. That guy who told us Maxwell won't sign autographs is his manager James Christian. I saw his photo on his message board. Let's pretend like we've met them before so they don't think we are crazy groupies.

 

ANDREW KITZEN

(laughing)

You are a crazy groupie. You've emailed hundreds of radio stations to request his song. 

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

That's because I want people to hear his music. Nobody's buying music anymore and if he can't make a living how's he going to keep making more music for me to listen to? You stole all of his music from Napster.

 

ANDREW KITZEN

It’s not my fault music is free. I’ve got about 25,000 songs now. You name it, I probably have it. You should listen to O.A.R. They are my favorite. Maybe you can be their groupie too.

 

JAMIE WILLIAMS

Whatever. She's married and you're not my boyfriend, so don't let them think you are. We're just friends. Got it? They will kick us out if they think they don't have a  shot with either of us because we have two dudes along.

(Grabs Mackenzie, hugs her and kisses her on the cheek)

 

ANDREW KITZEN

Those guys are all like 10 years older than you. (Looks at his sister) and p20 years older than you. (looks at Jamie)

 

JAMIE WILLIAMS

Shut it.

 

SCOTT MITCHELL

Fine, let's go in. No hooking up on the tour bus. Either of you. Got it?

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

Deal. But it would be really sweet to see the tour bus.

 

2. INT: RANDOM SMOKE FILLED APARTMENT – DAYTON, OHIO

As they open the door to the spoke filled apartment, the Ohioans enter the life of sex, drugs and rock & roll. Maxwell’s fame is on the rise and so is his ego.

Maxwell is sitting on the sofa smoking a cigarette with his girlfriend from the Trainwreck video sitting on his lap making out. He gets pissed at something she says and pushes her off him rather violently. She falls to the floor and starts crying. They exchange words and everyone stops to look.

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

Is there a problem?

 

MAXWELL MARTIN

Yeah, Kathryn is being a bitch. Book her a flight back to Boston.

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

Sleep it off. We'll deal with it tomorrow.

 

Maxwell walks over to the CD player and puts on Coldplay's brand new album, X&Y, grabbed a piece of pizza. Before he pushes play he quiets the room.

 

MAXWELL MARTIN

Thanks for coming everyone. Trainwreck is number 5 on the Top 40 this week. We've been working hard for this moment for years. It's exciting to see such big crowds out there every night. Just one year ago I was still playing coffee shops and college campuses. Now we're living the good life. 

Maxwell turns the volume up and Square One begins playing loudly through the room. Mackenzie is sitting on the sofa talking to one of the guys in the band and Jamie is talking to James. Maxwell sits down in the chair adjacent to Mackenzie.

 

MAXWELL MARTIN

(Smiling as if he’s hitting on her)

Hi, I'm Max. What's your name?

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

Mackenzie.

 

MAXWELL MARTIN

Hi, Mackenzie. I'm Maxwell. You probably know that though. You can call me Max.

Did you like the show?

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

Yes of course. Third time seeing you.

 

MAXWELL MARTIN

So you're not just a Trainwreck?

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

Haha funny. I'm a fan of your art. I've never seen anyone record beats and vocals like that then play them on a loop. It's really cool. It's like you're painting a canvas live on stage. 

 

MAXWELL MARTIN

Are you an artist too?

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

Sorta. I'm a designer but I went to art school. My degree is in Advertising & Graphic Design. My art is more about selling products. My dream is to design album covers for a record label. I want to help promote your music to new fans. I think it’s incredible.

 

MAXWELL MARTIN

Thank you. You might want to get another dream.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

Why do you say that?

 

MAXWELL MARTIN

For starters nobody is buying CDs anymore. What kind of job is that going to be some day?

My record label wants me to make pop records now. They have control over everything I say and do. They tell me how to dress and how to style my hair, and how to form a band, just so they can sell more records.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

(Sarcastically and playfully joking around)

Well you do kinda look like Ryan Cabrera. Did they tell you to copy his look? I saw you lip synching tonight, just like Ashley Simpson on Saturday Night Live.

 

MAXWELL MARTIN

(Gives her an evil look and stands up to leave)

That's not funny. I don’t lip synch, it’s called looping.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

I'm totally kidding. Please sit. It was a joke. I know how your music works. I also know Ryan opened for you two years ago. He knocked your style off. What a Maxwell wannabe.

 

MAXWELL MARTIN

You kinda look like Chrissie Hynde.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

(Slightly offended)

Hey, she's old! 

 

MAXWELL MARTIN

A younger version. It's the bangs and the jet black hair. You've got that punk rocker look from the 70's. At least you get to decide how to style your hair and shit. This new look and band of mine all feels so fake to me.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

Right. But when I was little I wanted to dress like Madonna and Michael Jackson. I'd run around the house with a red jacket and white glove singing Thriller.

 

MAXWELL MARTIN

Did you put on Zombie makeup to go with your look?

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

That music video gave me nightmares! I thought zombie Michael was going to bust through the poster on my wall.

 

MAXWELL MARTIN

The record label just wants to turn me into this image machine for all the tweens. There's no heart and soul anymore. If I had known what I was signing up for I never would have done it. It's all smoke and mirrors. Total bullshit and I've got 5 more years on my prison sentence to EP Records.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

I know exactly what you mean. I just sit in a corporate cubicle all day being told what to design, then it makes millions and I make nothing. I guess I'm not a starving artist if that counts for something. Victoria's Secret models wearing my designs have plenty of money to eat but they starve themselves to look like that. Sex sells, right?

 

MAXWELL MARTIN

Yep, that’s the business I’m in now. Give James your number before you go and let's keep in touch. Maybe there is something we can all do together if you ever design men’s clothes before my next music video. Not sure I'd look good in a bra and panties, but you never know. It might sell records.

 

Maxwell stands up after James Christian waves him over to meet a group of people. He gives Mackenzie a kiss on the hand.

 

MAXWELL MARTIN

I hope we get to work together someday. Enjoy the party and meet us in Indy next week.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

Absolutely. Have fun.

 

Camera follows Max over to James Christian who is smoking on the balcony. The party is getting rowdy and the music has changed.

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

Hey Max, this is Jamie Williams. She's a singer / songwriter. She’s going to send me her demo for that new duet you want to record.

 

MAXWELL MARTIN

(Takes her hand and gives it a kiss)

Hi Jamie. It's a pleasure to meet such a beauty. I can totally picture the two of us together in my next music video.

 

The camera shifts to Mackenzie and James beginning a conversation. Scott and Andrew are inside talking to a group of girls.

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

Hi, beautiful. I’m James Christian, Maxwell’s manager.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

Hi James. It’s great to see you again. 

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize we’ve met before.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

It was about a year ago on tour. I’m sure you meet a lot of girls every night.

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

That’s true but I’m sure I would remember you. So tell me about yourself. Clearly you know what Max and I do for a living.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

I’m a designer for Victoria’s Secret.

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

Seriously? How does that work? Do you design the catalogs? I have a stack of them at home.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

No silly. Although that is a job at corporate. I’m actually an accessories designer. I design a lot of those promotional items that get women to come into the store to spend money.

Spend $75 and get this FREE Weekender Bag, ONLY at Victoria’s Secret. You know the sexy voice that comes on the television.

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

Of course. Who doesn’t stop to watch those commercials?

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

Well that’s my job. To design as many things as possible for the buyers to decide on what GIFT with purchase is going to get women to spend more money. Then I have to work with the factories in China to figure out how to get my designs to be assembled for the lowest possible price. That way the company can achieve the highest possible margins if they sell more units and have a lower cost of goods.

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

That sounds complicated. We just buy a blank t-shirt and print Maxwell’s name on it and stick it in a box at the merch table every night.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

Yeah, I don’t buy that crap. No offense. Would you be hitting on girls dressed like that or dressed like Victoria’s Secret models?

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

Do you really need to ask that question?

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

No, but my job is to figure out what our customers are going to buy and I’m not going shopping at Maxwell Martin’s t-shirt table and I got his CD for free on Napster. So what do you guys have to sell me tonight? There were a lot of people in your store.

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

We have lots of great t-shirts, hoodies and baseball caps. Water bottles, keychains, mouse pads and all kinds of great Trainwreck merch.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

Come on. Is Maxwell’s record label dressing him in a Hanes Hoodie for his music video or to play in front of thousands of people? Where does Maxwell like to go shopping for clothes to wear on tour? 

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

Well now he has a stylist. They pick out clothes that make him look like a Star. It’s all about selling an image now that he’s signed to a major record label. Max isn’t liking it so much.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

So I heard. So why aren’t they selling his clothing if they are selling an image. An image to buy a t-shirt?

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

Tell me more about your job. Like how do your designs get made? Like these shoes, how do these get made? Unless it’s easier for you to explain how your bra got made.

(Comments are a little forward, James is noticeably drunk)

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

DOC’S. Nice. I used to wear those back in the 90’s when I followed around Smashing Pumpkins, Garbage, and Bush on tour.

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

Great bands. I know Billy Corgan and Gavin Rossdale.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

No way. I’m jealous. Can I have your job?

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

I’m more interested in learning about your job. The future of music is looking pretty grim right now. This is fascinating to me.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

Making money is really my art form. I’m not hired to be creative. If our team has a sales goal of $50 Million to meet each month, we just have to figure it out. Every year the company makes more money.

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

$50 Million per month?! That’s just crazy to me. How do you know people will spend that much in stores?

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

That’s just for my team. The company generates about $500 Million per month. There is a science to the merchandising math, which is not my area of expertise. That’s why there are hundreds of people who work at the corporate headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. My job is just to make things look pretty and be on trend.

The merchant’s job is to make money. They need to know what the customer needs, wants and is willing to pay. Sales meetings are boring but I need to know pricing to design within the parameters of the budget. We never really know what will sell. That’s why there’s always room in the margin to mark it off 50 to 80%. Every woman needs bras and underwear, right?

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

(smirks at the question)

Well…for what, me to take off?

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

I guess that’s the point of a Victoria’s Secret commercial. They are kinda like a Madonna music video. Sex sells. But what is Madonna selling with those videos?

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

It used to be the album. Video Killed the Radio Star but this Napster thing is about to kill the entire music business.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

Maybe you should think about getting into a different business.

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

Maxwell’s stylists at the record label tell him what to wear so they can sell more records. The music business is so caught up on selling an image.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

I know. He just told me about that. But what is the record label actually selling? I love his music but I didn’t pay for it. Now it’s going to take years before he puts out another album, right?

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

True. He’s on a tour cycle now. He’s selling tickets and t-shirts. When he’s done he’ll go back in the studio for about a year to work on another album.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

See, there is your problem. Well, the artist’s problem. Right now Max is riding high on glory. All these fans bought his CD so they could play Trainwreck. Give it 5 years and CDs are gone. Even if an artist can still sell a $10 CD, the customer only needs to spend $10. There’s no need to buy two. I’ll spend $10 on a new lipstick but buy 3 colors.

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

I think I’m following you. 

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

Next you’re selling me a ticket once a year. I’d go to a show every night if I could, but that’s not possible. Tonight’s cost $45. Then I went to the merch table but  decided I’m not buying a lousy t-shirt I will never wear. 

I’m such a big fan that I’m emailing radio stations to request his song to help him build his career. His biggest, most loyal customer will spend $55 in his store but I listen to his music all the time. I could care less about the clothing brands I buy, I just want to look the part. 

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

That’s a great point. I’m a little high right now, so I can’t really follow your numbers.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

Hey, I get it. I’m an indie music junkie but where I work we can’t get high on the job. You need to stop thinking about what you think is cool if you want to make money to survive. I get that Max doesn’t want to be a sell out. I like him still being relatively obscure, but he’s the one who needs to succeed as an artist and not be starving.

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

But music is what soothes the soul. It’s genuine emotion and that is what resonates with Max’s fans.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

On a personal level, I couldn’t agree more. I’d much rather be sitting here talking to Maxwell than Mick Jagger because his music is what resonates with me during my emotional struggles.

I was just telling Max about how I would dress up as Madonna or Michael Jackson and run around the house pretending I was a pop star. I just wanted to be like them. So I get the record label wanting to sell Max’s image. I’m a visual artist. Image shouldn’t be knocked as being self-centered.

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

My brother was an A&R guy and saw Madonna in a club in the 80’s and just thought she looked cool so he offered her a record deal.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

You’re kidding right? She’s the biggest fashion icon in the world.

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

I’m not, but that’s not real music to me. I’d rather work with artists like Maxwell who have musical talent the world needs to know about.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

I agree and that’s why I joined Maxwell’s street team to help promote Trainwreck, but I’m a fan of his original work. I hate the idea of turning him into a pop star but I like the idea of seeing artists achieve their dreams.

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

That’s why I do what I do instead of what my brother and father do.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

Wait, your father is Benjamin Christian?

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

Yes, don’t remind me.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

Well he has created the biggest fashion icons of all time. Style is what gives us confidence and success is the ultimate confidence boost.

Right now I think Gwen Stefani has the coolest style. I’m digging her Harajuku Lovers look but I used to think she was such a Madonna Wannabe. Now she’s the trendsetter.

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

Different subject. Are you on MySpace?

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

No. What is it?

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

It’s a website where we can create a profile and tell fans about our music. They can listen to it on the website, view tour dates and write messages. You should sign up and add me so we can keep in touch after this tour. You get one friend when you get started. His name is Tom. He will be your friend for life.

(James teases her)

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

I hope Tom is cool.

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

Well I think your job sounds pretty cool. I have a feeling the music business is going to change drastically so it’s good to think about all of this.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

Yeah, I’m starting to think my dream of designing album covers for a record label are over. I want to open an online store to sell merchandise. It’s a lot cheaper than having to rent store space. Maybe I can do the same thing with a MySpace profile to get the word out about my store.

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

Yeah, don’t quit your day job. If you start a store, call me. I’d love to help out. We can tell everyone about it during Max’s tour.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

That’s a great idea! You guys will see so many people in every state! I still need to design and make my own merchandise. I can’t afford to produce thousands of units with our factories in China yet. Someday.

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

China? Is that why all of our jobs have moved over to China?

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

China is why I have a job as an artist and I’m not starving. Sometimes it takes a year to design, develop, sample and fit a new bra style. Once the prototype is built we just tell China factories how many units to produce to import and ship to stores. It would cost like $280 for a Victoria’s Secret bra if we had to pay people in the US to sew thousands of units.

Do you really care who’s assembling all of the CDs Max is selling?

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

What I care about is that he’s going to have a product that has monetary value. He just signed a major record deal two years ago and now this Napster stuff is really concerning the music industry.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

Selling high volume of units is the only way to make real money. Making everything by hand isn’t going to get me anywhere. I’ve learned a lot about business. We have an annual sales goal of $7 Billion at Victoria’s Secret. Bath & Body Works has to make about $3 Billion.

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

Holy shit, are you kidding me? They each make BILLIONS each year?

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

Yeah, why? Is that a lot?

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

I’m not even sure the entire music industry combined makes that much selling CDs. Now imagine if everything goes digital and we can’t control the distribution of our product to fans.

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

I totally get it. Why should spend $1 per song or $10 per album when I can find somebody else who already has that song to burn a copy or send me an MP3? I guess all that fame doesn’t make a fortune.

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

Haven’t you heard the term, Starving Artist?

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

Of course. That’s why I went to school for Advertising not Art.

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

(Checks his watch. It says 2:15 AM)

Hey, let’s continue this conversation later. It’s getting late and we all need to get some sleep. Do you girls want to check out the tour bus before you leave?

 

MACKENZIE MITCHELL

My husband is here with my brother. We need to drive back to Columbus.

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

(sounding disappointed)

Oh, you’re married? Bring them with you. You’re all invited to our next stop in Indy. Then we’re playing Cleveland and Columbus. No strings attached. I’m just really intrigued by your career. I may need a backup plan if this music biz becomes a bust.

 

Mackenzie, Jamie, Scott and Andrew walk back to the tour bus with James, Maxwell and several other people. They climb aboard and get a quick tour. It’s 3:30 AM and they have a 2 hour drive home.

  

Cut to The Seapunk questioning of James Christian alone in one of the underground chambers.

 

3.  INT: THE SEAPUNK CHAMBERS

JANUARY 1, 2020

(5:36 PM)

 

JIMMY LOPEZ

Funny how much has changed in the last 15 years. I wonder whatever happened to Tom. He was a good friend to have. Maybe he could have made a killing selling white t-shirts.

(Jimmy jokes about MySpace)

 

JAMES CHRISTIAN

(sounding exhausted)

Look, I don’t know what happened last night. Mackenzie and I have a long history and I really don’t want to be here all night explaining everything that has happened between us over the last 15 years. It is very complicated and has taken a toll on me emotionally, mentally, and physically. I’m not sure all the money in the world could ever repair the damage that has been done.

 

Things changed when my brother Thomas got involved in Modern Material. He’s the one you need to talk to. Not me.

 

JIMMY LOPEZ

How did it change? Was your father’s music empire threatened by Modern Material?

  

JAMES CHRISTIAN

Thomas operates under a different code of ethics. He’s like my father in many ways but rides his coattails. We had everything handed to us when we were kids.

 

I wanted to start my own business and earn my own living without being involved in his business politics.

  

JIMMY LOPEZ

Is there anything else you can think of that would help us find the location of the Trainwreck?

  

JAMES CHRISTIAN

No but I have a feeling when you find the missing people there will be a message. It’s just how the music business works and it was probably filmed for a music video to look like acting but it’s really blackmail. It’s been this way since I was a kid. I’ve seen things that look like they’ve been staged for a scene in a movie but once an artist signs that deal with the devil there’s no buying back their soul.

 

That’s why I told Mackenzie to stay away from pop stars and stay off boats with drugs and guns. She doesn’t listen.

 

4.  INT: THE SEAPUNK CHAMBERS

JANUARY 1, 2020

(6:06 PM)

Camera leaves the room where James Christian is being held. Now there are about 100 people inside the Seapunk Chambers being quarantined for questioning.

 

DETECTIVE RANDY SMITH

It’s going to be a long night. We have reviewed security footage from The Seapunk last night. Each of you returned to your own units between 2am and 5am. Once you went in you never came out until morning when 22 of you existed a different apartment. Your units were all ransacked and nobody reported anything before waking up in the morning.

We will be keeping all of you here overnight in the chambers for questioning and safety reasons.