Berman and Braga Unemployed, Chapter 1: “The New Movie”
Written by Jason Reichstetter
All is well around the Paramount Studios lot. Several cast and crew for Frasier are making their way to the eatery, hoping to get some food. However, on this bright, sunny spring day, an ominous storm cloud is looming over the Paramount Pictures Executive Suites, sending people touring the studios fleeing back to their cars. The storm clouds are emanating from the office of Jim Richard Ewing, the new president of Paramount, who is in a discussion with Rick Berman.
Ewing: So, Rick, how are things?
Berman: Good. Good. We’re getting strong numbers for “Star Trek: Nemesis”, and I was wondering if we could get some funding for a new Star Trek adventure.
Ewing: Things are going well, you say?
Berman: Quite. (Berman pulls out his copy of Variety magazine) “Nemesis” is still doing strong in its second week, pulling in a healthy two point seven million, bringing its two week total to $10 million dollars.
Ewing: (Chuckles to himself) Um, Berman...
Ewing: (Eyes suddenly go red with hate and rage) $10 MILLION DOLLARS IS NOT A LOT OF MONEY!
Berman: Sure it is! A typical episode of Voyager costed $2 million. That’s like... (Berman counts on his fingers) Uh, seven million more, or something. And “Star Trek: Insurrection” did well, too, pulling in $70 million worldwide. That ranked it as the number 470th movie of all time!
Ewing: EIGHT MILLION, YOU JACKASS!
Berman: Right. (Berman pauses) Anyway, what’s your point?
Ewing: Let me see that Variety magazine a second, will you?
Berman: Sure! (Hands it over) There’s a really good pic of Britney Spears on the cover, I was just going to go to the bathroom and make use of it.
Ewing: (Flips open to the movie grossing page) Let’s see here... we’ve got “Star Wars: Episode Two - Attack of the Clones” pulling in $147 million the first two weeks, “Fellowship of the Rings” pulling in $250 million in ten days... (he scrolls on down the list) Ever heard of Miramax Pictures?
Berman: Yeah. They did “Crimson Tide” with Gene Hackman didn’t they? That was a well- thought out movie. Very good.
Ewing: That was Hollywood Pictures, moron! And “Crimson Tide” sucked! If the XO of a real nuclear submarine EVER opposed his captain like Denzel Washington did to Hackman, he would be stripped of rank, shot, and made the janitor of the entire US Navy. He would NOT be commended for disobeying a direct order to launch tactical nukes. (He pauses) Miramax did “Pulp Fiction” and “Clerks.” Miramax is a low budget film company. Generally, the typical budget of a Miramax film is anywhere from $2 million to $5 million.
Berman: (Sarcastically) Well, I’ll be damned...
Ewing: Do you remember what the budget for “Star Trek: Nemesis” was?
Berman: Um, no.
Ewing: $80 million! (He flips the paper at him violently) Look at the number five movie! “Sling Blade 2: The Wrath of Doyle” was made with a one million dollar budget and is raking in more money than “Star Wars” and “Lord of the Rings” combined!
Berman: Good for them! (Berman looks impressed)
Ewing: Uh, Rick...
Ewing: It may be good for them, but it’s bad for us!
Berman: Got it.
Ewing: (Gets up and walks over to Berman) Rick Berman, I hereby strip you of your rank and am firing you from your job as executive producer of Star Trek!
Berman: (Starts sobbing) But it’s all I have! Nobody will hire me!
Ewing: Oh, somebody will hire you... (a smile comes across Ewing’s lips) In fact, I noticed Taco Bell had a “Now Hiring” sign in their window on my way to work.
Berman: Jerk! (Wipes his nose) At least Brannon will be able to continue on in my place while I’m gone...
Ewing: Which reminds me, take monkey-boy and his big-titted girlfriend with you.
(Berman runs out of Ewing’s office, screaming and crying. The second in command at Paramount, Sherry Lansing, comes into Ewing’s office)
Lansing: What was that all about?
Ewing: I had to do some spring cleaning. (Ewing laughs maniacally) We must replace Rick Berman and Brannon Braga. Our cash cow needs milking. Get me Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay immediately.
Lansing: Aye, sir.
At the Star Trek production offices, Brannon Braga is busily hammering away on a script. Berman walks into his office, wiping snot off of his nose with his sleeve.
Braga: Hey, Mr. Berman!
Berman: Hey, Brannon... (Berman says mopily)
Braga: Why so glum, chum?
Berman: (Sighs and sits down by Braga) What are you working on?
Braga: I’m writing a script for Enterprise which I call “Everybody Freeze!” It deals with the Temporal Cold War and Silik and the Suliban come back in time and trick Captain Archer and Enterprise to go into a nebula, where some space creatures like electric eels shock the ship. Captain Archer has to polarize the hull and ram the eels to get away.
Berman: Sounds nifty.
Braga: It’s pretty high-concept. Do you get the title?
Berman: The title?
Braga: Yeah! It’s called “Everybody Freeze!” Get it? The Temporal COLD War? FREEZE? COLD? FREEZE?... (Berman shakes his head and Brannon Braga starts sobbing loudly)
Berman: (Pats Braga on the back) Ol’ buddy, I need to tell you something. Our days of ruining Trek are over.
Braga: (Squeals) WHAT?
Berman: We’ve been canned. Have to leave immediately.
Braga: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! What will we do for money?
Berman: I don’t know. We’ll find something. We’ll go over to the WB and try to create a new “Homeboys In Outer Space” show. We’ll find something.
(Braga starts crying louder, which shorts out his computer)
Braga: It was that damned John Logan wasn’t it?
Berman: It DID deal with “Star Trek: Nemesis"...
Braga: I’ll KILL John Logan! I told him the Nemesis script needed to be accessible to the general audience! I told him to stuff as many references of Worf being a Klingon as possible! I told him to put in some gratuitous skin-tight uniforms for Deanna and Dr. Crusher! But would he listen? NOOO! I’ll beat the crap out of him! I’ll...
(The door to Berman’s office opens, and Hahn Jobbe, the head of Paramount security enters)
Jobbe: Eht’s tahm to go, Mistah Behmahn.
Berman: Give us just a few more minutes.
Jobbe: No. Mistah Ewing sahs you must go NOW!
Berman: (Eyes glow red) JUST A MINUTE DAMN YOU!
Outside, Kelsey Grammar was walking along talking with the script coordinator for “Frasier”, discussing a new plot development to have Frasier sleep with a hot chick. Grammar stops when he hears some girlish screaming.
Grammar: What the hell is that?
(He hears two THUNKS behind him and turns around. Berman and Braga are sprauled out contortedly on the concrete, blood running down their faces)
Berman: I said just a minute!
Jobbe: (Standing in the door) Heah! Take this piece of shit with ya! (Jobbe throws a typewriter and hits Berman in the head, knocking him out. Jobbe throws a script and hits Braga in the nuts, then slams the door)
Braga: Come on, Mr. Berman, let’s get out of here. (Suddenly, some dobermans are released from the security fence and start running toward Braga. Braga picks up Berman’s arm and starts running and dragging him behind)
TO BE CONTINUED...
Berman and Braga file for unemployment! Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay talk with J.R. Ewing! Ben Affleck and Matt Damon get an offer they can’t refuse! Stay tuned!