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Portugal: The Director's Cut

June 10, 2002 - Jack Shit Studios - Production Offices


The large oak paneled room was filled with a haze of cigar smoke. Heavily shaded windows ran the length of one side, while on its opposite were a vast collection of pictures, each a portrait of some important person from the past, eyes burning steadily on the occupants of the room, casting judgment, and not necessarily proud of what they saw.

Around the great rectangular table, a dark, heavy, decadent piece of cedarwood furniture and it's associated velvet plush chairs, sat men in Armani and Hugo Boss suits. They were an assortment of shapes, sizes, ages, and looks. Some meek, others mild, others full of cockiness and confidence.

At the head of the table sat a chart, a great board on a large easel, filled with numbers and dark, foreboding lines. The men in suits thumped their chests, puffed their stogies, and stared at the chart, full of dismay.

Across the top of the graph, in bold letters, was a single word: RATINGS. Beneath the word, a thick black line, broken in equal parts with vertical markers, resembled a steep ski slope.

A medium built man, round of face and rounder of body, rocked back on his heels, snapping bland suspenders with a sound that caused the room to grow quiet.

Satisfied with their attention, he began in a nasal whine. "Gentlemen, ladies, we are, to put it politely, swimming in a flushed toilet." There was some uncomfortable shifting. "The spring sweeps have arrived, and we've finished behind the 'Environment Channel'." He punctuated his point by jabbing at the diagram with a stubby cigar. "It is an understatement that we must do better. We need original ideas, or heads will roll!"

There was dead silence. A tiny voice coughed and a hand went up. "How about a Judge show?"

The round man snarled, "It's been done to death!"

Another voice, "Well, we can take a group of whining losers into the Canadian Arctic and film their struggle for survival as they backstab one another for $100,000 and a nice Eskimo carving."

"It's been done."

"How about a show that deals with police officers breaking up domestic quarrels in Kentucky?"

"It's been done."

An arm went up. "Er, here, sir. I think this is original. We have a talk show where people come from all over the country and bare their souls in the most embarrassing manner with completely made up stories. Of course the viewers will think the crap is real..."

"IT'S BEEN DONE! However, one word of what you said makes sense. C-R-A-P. It's all crap!"

A thin, rakish man stood, his threadlike hair brushed across a wide forehead in a feeble attempt to cover a burgeoning baldspot. "But, isn't our motto, 'Never Overestimate the Intelligence of the Average Viewer'?"

The round man stared sheepishly at the glowering pictures along the wall. He imagined they were wagging disappointed fingers at him. "Er, ah... it is, at that. Long gone are the days of quality television."

The rakish man pressed his point. "Perhaps the average viewer is gaining in intelligence."

This resulted in an outpouring of outrageous laughter, as men and women slapped the table and derided the speaker without mercy.

Properly humbled, the man sat down, his sobs quietly filling the dark room.

Another hand went up. "We could do a science fiction series about a huge space station filled with aliens. It would be like a galactic meeting place. We could add evil aliens, and the station could become the last, best hope for mankind."

The round man nodded, slowly. "At least you don't want to do a show about a bunch of politically correct earthlings who meet various alien races each week, with cheap nose makeup, at that. However, as good as your idea is, it's been done."

The man slammed his fist on the table. "Damn!"

There was another cough, and a woman stood. She was rather bland looking, with an oval face, hair tied back in a bun and sporting large glasses. "How about a mini-series?"

All eyes turned to her. Someone said, "A mini-series? You mean quality television like that 'Band of Brothers' show? It'll never sell with the viewers. They need pabulum. They want Brady Bunch Reunion Movies, formula driven comedy shows that require a laugh track so the trained seals know when to clap?"

Pursing her lips, she continued. "I mean exactly that! A mini-series. What's the most popular non-network channel?" She waited for a response, but no one offered. She sighed, exasperated. "The History Channel! Don't you all see it? We do a mini-series based on some country. It will be an ongoing saga following some... I don't know, maybe 400 years..."

"400 YEARS!!!" The room erupted.

After the noise died down. "Well, maybe less, depending on the ratings, of course. The beauty is, we get the best talent in the market to play the key roles. And since it will be perceived as 'quality TV', the big sponsors will come on board."

Her fervor was met with quiet disdain, and slowly the woman's enthusiasm drained. She sat down.

The round man was ready to continue when a voice spoke up. It was booming and disembodied, coming from an office somewhere several floors up. "That's the best idea I've heard in months, you morons." All heads turned to the speaker tucked in the corner of the meeting room. "What country did you have in mind, young lady?"

"Well, I was thinking of Portugal, Mr. President, sir."

"Portugal. Any particular reason?"

"Well, sir. It would give us a chance to explore the world as it develops. Not only the known world, but the New World, too. There's the opportunity for diplomacy, intrigue, love, war, exploration... we could begin in say, 1419, and..."

"Enough!"

The room went silent again.

"I'm sold. You should be too, you mindless automatons. Excepting you, of course, Miss. If this show is a hit, expect to go places. Gentlemen, I want production to commence immediately. Am I understood?"

The room cleared in record time.

They would have to build sets, hire producers, directors, film crews, actors, actresses, extras, and scout locations. Above all, they would need a script...
 
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unmerged(6777)

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LOL! Well...here we go with yet another epic. :D

You're an evil, evil man...but I guess you knew that already.
 

Bismarck

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Director's cut eh? hmmm... sounds so familiar, but I can't seem to put my finger on it....

So, who are you making the DVD deal with?

M
 

unmerged(3999)

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Re: Portugal: The Director's Cut

Originally posted by Lord Durham
...It'll never sell with the viewers. They need pabulum. They want Brady Bunch Reunion Movies, formula driven comedy shows that require a laugh track so the trained seals know when to clap?"...[/B]

Bark! Bark! [balances beachball on nose, begs for fish]

Lowbrow masquerading as highbrow, or the other way around? Should be interesting. :)
 

Storey

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The phone hadn’t stopped ringing for what seemed like days to Trixie, the blond harried secretary of a ceretain medium built man, round of face and rounder of body by the name of Smithee who sat at his desk snapping his suspenders waiting, waiting for….

Trixie's voice sang from the outter office.

"I’ve got him on the line."

Smithee snapped his phone open and purred.

"Sam long time no see! How have you been doing? Yea I know we haven’t talked for awhile but you know how things go, right. Have you read the script? You liked it? I know it’s a gem isn’t it and I can’t see anyone but you doing the Captain. Yea the main part at least for the first installment. I mean were thinking of doing 400 years of history here."

He exhaled a blast of cigar smoke at the ceiling. The venetian blinds cut the sunlight that streamed in the room into a multitude of layers and caused the smoke to appear to weave in and out of the blind’s shadows.

"Yea…yea of course you were the first I called. Come on you know I think you’re the best. I can’t imagine anyone else doing it. Yea, yea…. Certainly you’ll get your own trailer. I wouldn’t think of asking you to share one. All right its a deal then? Great, My lawyers will be contacting your lawyers and once they work out the details we’ll have dinner and its on me! Ha, yea I know that’s hard to believe. See you man, you’re the greatest."

With a flick of the wrist the round man flipped the phone closed and yelled to Trixie.

"Cancel those calls to Hank, Crowe and Ford we’ve got the lead covered."

He leaned back and exhaled a smoke ring as he smiled. God he loved this business!

Good luck with your latest adventure LD:D

Edited to fit a little better.:D

Joe
 
Last edited:

Lord Durham

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Storey, you have no idea how close your post is to the mark. After mine's up you could do a few edits and it would fit right in. ;)

Bismarck, the DVD will be at least a ten-disc set with full features, commentaries and documentaries. If it gets off the ground, that is...


OK. This AAR is strictly an experiment. If it's well-received, then I'll continue. If it's not, then I won't. Pretty simple.

In other words, feedback will be extremely welcome. Your ideas could very well find their way into this project, especially if it's green lighted.

Post coming shortly.
 
Last edited:

Lord Durham

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Jack Shit Studios


The round man from the meeting sat back in a deep leather chair, feet up on an oak desk, cigar moving from side to side in a thick, rubbery lipped, full mouth. At the edge of the cluttered desk sat a nameplate, embossed in gold. It read simply, Turner Smithee.

The walls of the room were covered in photographs from past shows, major accomplishments, awards and schmoozefests. A set of golf clubs leaned haphazardly in one corner, and a hat rack in the other. Behind him was a picture window looking out over the cityscape, an imposing view from 30 floors up.

Smithee clutched a red phone in one meaty hand, while the other waved and gesticulated with each pronouncement. "Lucas? Naw! You see his last film? Won't do. Spielberg? You nuts? I still haven't forgiven him for 1941. Schumacher? Who, Rolf?"

As Smithee listened to the voice on the other end, a thin, gangly man dressed in an ill-fitting suit waited patiently by his desk, a sheaf of papers held with a reverence usually saved for the Ten Commandments, or some such relic. He coughed with each whiff of cigar smoke.

Smithee barked a condescending laugh. "It's a joke, cretin! Rolf's a race car driver. You mean Joel? Have you seen Batman and Robin? Next!... Raimi? Raimi? Now you're getting close. Last film did OK. Not fussy on his camera angles, though. Keep him in mind... Singer? Singer! That's it! The Usual Suspects, X-Men! Good ensemble films. He's young, too. He'll need his youth for this project. Call him! What do you mean 'now?'... no, moron, three weeks Tuesday... of course now!" He slammed the phone down, looked at the thin man as if seeing him for the first time. "Steele! You startled me! How long you been standing there?"

"Er, an hour or so, Mr. Smithee."

"What you got?"

"I have the cost estimates, shooting schedule, second unit requirements, wardrobe estimates..."

"Yeah... yeah... so?"

"Well, er, I need your signature, Mr. Smithee."

"My signature? Well, Mr. Steele, I think its high time you assumed some responsibility in the organisation. You sign them, like a good lad. Heh heh heh."

The door opened and a blonde walked in: high heels, long legs, mini-skirt, tight sweater housing two fiercely struggling badgers. She flashed the thin assistant a smile and winked, then sat. The badgers calmed.

Turner Smithee caught the silent exchange between his secretary and his assistant, barely holding in disgust. It was obvious they had a little something going on the side. What in God's name would Trixie ever see in a useless gopher with the unlikely name of Dick Steele, anyway? He shrugged in resignation.

"What you got, Trixie?"

The voice was high-pitched, "Well, Mr. Smithee, the phone's been ringing off the hook all morning. Seems everyone's interested in the project."

"They are? Oh, they are! Of course they are. Who's called?"

"The agents for Gibson, de Caprio..."

"de Caprio? He'll never work in this town, if I have my way! I don't need some twenty-something with the body of a 12 year-old."

The secretary crossed the name off. The badgers moved. "Clooney, Weaver, Nicholson, Sellick..."

"Selleck? Tom Selleck? Did you see him in Christopher Columbus: The Discovery? What an embarrassment to the acting profession. But Weaver... yes.... Sigourney was great in 1492. Lock her up. We'll let her reprise the role of... of..." He looked to Steele for help.

"Queen Isabel, Mr. Smithee."

"Queen Isabel, Trixie."

"Very well. Have you made a decision on the principle stars for Part One yet, sir?"

The round man glanced at Steele. "Have we?"

"We've signed Antonio Banderas to play King John I of Portugal, or King Joao to the Portuguese, and Elizabeth Hurley to play Queen Philippa of..."

"Huh? Hurley? She's English. Thick accent! Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this about Portugal?"

"Er, quite, sir, but you see, Philippa was the daughter of John of Gaunt, from the House of Lancaster..."

"House of Lancaster? Isn't that some kind of strip club?"

"Not that House of Lancaster, sir. Anyway, the Queen is English, ergo..."

Smithee waved a cigar filled hand. "Right, right... anyone else?"

"We were extremely fortunate to get Gabriel Byrne to play General Pereira..."

"Who's... ah, never mind..."


* * *

The small room was filled with a half dozen men and women, each holding a Perrier, and waving a pen, pencil, paper, or whatever else was at hand. Before each was a laptop. Unlike the Suits, this group slummed in jeans and t-shirts. On the table lay several sheaves of coloured paper.

A bookish man with round glasses and a balding head, bare except for a fringe around the back and ears, crossed his arms in finality. "OK then. This is how we start. In January of 1419 Portugal will have two weddings. One to Castile, and the other to Aragon."

A thickset woman with a butch haircut and gravely voice jumped in, "Fair enough, Sam. It should set the mood for the female demographic, but we need to introduce action as soon as possible for the testosterone set."

"Right. That's why we'll start the episode with Portugal already at war with Fez and Algiers. After the weddings, we do a cut to the sandy plains of North Africa and Gabriel Byrne at the head of the Portuguese army."

There were 'oohhs and aahhhs' from the collective writers. One hand went up. "I thought we had established that Pereira was in Tago."

"Damn. You're right. OK. Right after the wedding we cut to the General boarding ship with the army. That should work."

Another man spoke, his voice hesitant. "I think we should introduce a social element to the story. We have sex and action, but..."

"Woody, what more do you want, for Christ's sake?!" There was silence as everyone stared off into different directions.

Woody spoke again. "Why don't we give King John a crisis. Call it a crisis to establish his strength of leadership."

The others looked at him.

"It could be a Social Revolution. We could have him support this Revolution, to the detriment of the Nobility, or some such..."

"That works. Yeah, I like that. Let's put that in. OK now, let's whip this script into shape."


* * *

The second unit director threw his hands up in disgust and walked away, muttering. The stunt co-ordinater surveyed the masses of men in period costume, standing in confusion in the hot North African heat. Many of them glared at five of their own.

The second unit director counted to ten, then turned about, finger pointing. "Do you men have any idea how much time, effort and filming went into this one-shot battle sequence? Do you?"

The five looked about sheepishly. They shook their heads in the affirmative.

"Very well then. Let's do this scene again, and this time lose the Rayban sunglasses!"


* * *

Turner Smithee sat in the screening room with several other Suits. They talked of stock portfolios and vacation spots until the lights dimmed and the first flickering of the rushes began. His voice was loud, "So, what do we have here?"

Dick Steele's voice came from a corner seat, carrying clearly. "We have several years in the can now. We've shot two Royal Marriages, one with Aragon and the other with Castile. We did a Social Revolution, then focused on the efforts to colonise the Azores."

"The Azores? I thought they were already occupied. In fact, I've holidayed there..."

"Shutup, dolt. Continue, Mr. Steele."

"We have several battle scenes with Portugal invading Fez, and Algiers invading Portugal. The Algerian invasion is defeated and the Portuguese invasion is successful. They take Tangiers and Fez, forcing a peace. The peace involves receiving Tangiers and vassalising Fez..."

"Vassalising? That sounds obscene..."

"You would know, moron, now zip it. Continue, Mr. Steele."

"Well, there is some minor stuff with local Centers of Trade, raising additional troops and promoting Bailiffs..."

"Bailiffs? Bailiffs?I thought we weren't going to do a Judge Judy rip-off!"

"Er, no, Mr. Smithee, we're not. They were for tax collecting purposes, back in those days."

"Tax collecting? You mean peasant revolts and stuff like that? Good show! Continue."

"In terms of the back history, we're now in 1422 - 24. There are additional Royal Marriages with France, Austria, and Genoa, and another economic plot line involving the flooding of Genoa's Center of Trade. Plus we have initial moves on the Venetian trade-empire."

Turner Smithee clapped his hands in glee, cigar ashes puffing up in a shower of sparks. "This is bloody great. Sex, war, economic intrigue, colonising the unknown... anything else?"

"Yes, Mr. Smithee. If I can direct your attention back to the screen, you can see that we've introduced a new character. He's an explorer named Diego de Senille. The year is now 1425."

"Who is that guy? He looks familiar."

"It's Jeremy Irons, sir, in lots of makeup. Anyway, there will be a sub-plot dealing with his Caribbean explorations. Ah, here we are in 1426, and we've got yet another Royal Marriage, this time with Venice."

"Frisky bunch, these Portuguese. Here, what's this about?"

"Oh. That's how we end the episode. Those are press gangs recruiting troops, in Tangiers."

"Sounds ominous."

"It is."

The film ran out and the lights came on.
 
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unmerged(6777)

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Priceless.

I don't suppose anyone who lives outside of the Metro Toronto area would get the House of Lancaster joke...but for us insiders that's a brilliant bit. :D

It's a good thing you got Irons instead of Kenneth Brannagh or your expidition might be headed due south instead ;)

I think this is quite an original and entertaining approach to an AAR, and I must say that the writing quality (hiding under the humour and setting it up so nicely) is really great.

Will this be airing on regular cable or will I have to subscribe to HBO?
 

Storey

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Originally posted by MrT
Priceless.

I don't suppose anyone who lives outside of the Metro Toronto area would get the House of Lancaster joke...but for us insiders that's a brilliant bit. :D


Your right. I was and still am puzzled by this part. Anyone care to elucidate?:)

Joe
 

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Somewhere in the bowels of Jack Shit Studios, an internal extension is dialed...

"This merchandising? Ted! How ya doing! ...Yeah, got a project we need you boys for... a miniseries, about Portugal... yeah, well I've never heard of it either, but it was big stuff back in the Ice Age or something like that... I think the Old Man's finally off his rocker. But he wants this one to get maximum exposure, cobranding, the works. Conquistador action figures... what? Yeah, sure they could be like Transformers, desert and jungle outfits. Good idea, Ted! Maybe we keep you around for something other than those pictures you've got of Smithee... HAHAHAHA! Yeah, start on it right away. We'll need 'em for Part Three. We can package 'em in with the unleavened bread Jesuit Chalupas... I've got Taco Bell on the other line..."
 

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Originally posted by Lord Durham

... The door opened and a blonde walked in: high heels, long legs, mini-skirt, tight sweater housing two fiercely struggling badgers. She flashed the thin assistant a smile and winked, then sat. The badgers calmed.

I hope those are Granadan badgers ... ;)

... "Vassalising? That sounds obscene..."

Only when you do it to diplo-annex the victim later.

"... Ah, here we are in 1426, and we've got yet another Royal Marriage, this time with Venice."

"Frisky bunch, these Portuguese." ...

LOL! The clincher ... subscription requested. Keep up the great work!
 

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:D Brilliant stuff, Lord Durham! Absolutely hilarious!

Just to clarify, you are trying to make this "pseudo-interactive"?
 

unmerged(6777)

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Originally posted by Storey


Your right. I was and still am puzzled by this part. Anyone care to elucidate?:)

Joe

It's a very long-standing strip club in downtown Toronto that, I suppose, was once fairly good but has since degenerated into a complete gang-run dive where there are frequent charges of prostitution, drug offenses, and it's not that uncommon for a body to be found in the alleyway out back.

...err...at least that's it's reputation. neither LD nor I would, of course, have any first-hand experince with it. ;)

----------------------------------------

And I echo Sharur's question. Interactive? or should we sit back and be entertained?
 

Peter Ebbesen

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Originally posted by Lord Durham


Smithee waved a cigar filled hand. "Right, right... anyone else?"

"We were extremely fortunate to get Gabriel Byrne to play General Pereira..."

Get Gareth Bryne instead if you want more authentic battles. :)
 

Storey

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Originally posted by MrT


It's a very long-standing strip club in downtown Toronto that, I suppose, was once fairly good but has since degenerated into a complete gang-run dive where there are frequent charges of prostitution, drug offenses, and it's not that uncommon for a body to be found in the alleyway out back.

...err...at least that's it's reputation. neither LD nor I would, of course, have any first-hand experince with it. ;)

----------------------------------------

And I echo Sharur's question. Interactive? or should we sit back and be entertained?

Thanks for the info. I didn't mean to start anything with my first post. It was meant to be a one time only thing to welcome another LD AAR. I didn't think it was interactive so I hope I haven't started something I shouldn't have.:)

Joe
 

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  • Crusader Kings II: Limited Collectors Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Achtung Panzer
  • Battle for Bosporus
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Commander: Conquest of the Americas
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • A Game of Dwarves
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • King Arthur II
  • The Kings Crusade
This is quite entertaining, LD. I'll be interested to see what can you do with this.
 

Carolus Rex

Enemy of Reality
25 Badges
Dec 24, 2000
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  • Crusader Kings II
  • Diplomacy
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Divine Wind
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
Damn....not another one of ur AAR's. Now I have even more to read. :D