Microfiction – ‘Starship Hunters’ – A Screenplay

Last week I said something on Twitter to Jewel Staite and Brent Spiner that got a few likes:

I tweeted it as a joke, but part of me thinks ‘this could totally work as a FunnyorDie sketch.’ You know I’m a huge fan of both actors, what if they did a small production like this? Might be funny in a ‘Landlord‘ or ‘Best in Show‘ kind of way. With that in mind, I knocked together a pilot episode – see what you think:

Starship Hunters

                              STARSHIP HUNTERS

OPENING CREDITS - COLD OPEN
SCENE: WYODEVIL 7 - A JUNK PLANET
TITLE CARD: WYODEVIL 7 - A SUNNY JUNK PLANET - ANY RESEMBLANCE TO LOS ANGELES IS 
            PURE COINCIDENCE

JEWEL STAITE - A TOUGH, BATTLE-HARDENED SHIPS ENGINEER WITH A HEART OF GOLD: 
Brent, are you sure this is the place?

BRENT SPINER - A SMART, SENSITIVE VETERAN OF MANY DEEP SPACE ADVENTURES 
This is what they told me. Wyodevil 7, check out Monk's Gravity sink. I think we're
supposed to ask for a guy named DAVE.

JEWEL STAITE
(Points) Or several. Look

BRENT SPINER
(Turns, disappointed) Oh, another rejected clone

DAVE- A FAILED GENETIC CLONE THAT LOOKS LIKE ONE GUY WITH TWO OTHER FAKE HEADS
Greetings, and welcome to Monk's Gravity Sink. We're you're one-stop shop for 
all intergalactic voyages!

BRENT SPINER
Thanks, we're just looking right now.

DAVE
Yes, of course - obviously, the fact that you brought a camera crew with you means 
nothing!

JEWEL STAITE
We're from a place called Hollywood. You have to bring a camera crew with you.

BRENT SPINER
(Staring intently) Yeah, it's the law. We have a camera crew, and you're going 
to let us in.

DAVE turns to leave.

JEWEL STAITE
How did you do that?

BRENT SPINER
... Jedi mind trick?

TITLE CREDITS

JEWEL STAITE (voiceover): 
We've spent over twenty years traveling the universe with you ...

BRENT SPINER (voiceover): 
... And now, we're looking for a new challenge.

JEWEL STAITE (voiceover): 
Most people think space travel just happens. The fact is, it begins with a 
good ship.

BRENT SPINER : Finding great spacecraft or helping old ships become new, 
that's our mission now.

JEWEL STAITE (voiceover): We comb the best starcruiser junkyards ...

BRENT SPINER (voiceover): ... to find the best deals in the entire galaxy

JEWEL STAITE  / BRENT SPINER: We're STARSHIP HUNTERS

SCENE ONE - Looking at Ships
[Like 'Best in Show' - actors are improvising based on premise.]
IMPROVE PREMISE: 
Both characters are mildly self-aware of their role as ships' engineers. They 
express frustration about being the people everyone needs, but no one seems to 
want. Some jokes are based on FIREFLY and STAR TREK, but they can expand into 
other areas as the scene or character chooses. 

Additional improv ideas:
- Characters are in therapy; hate each other
- Have a pet (Tribble?) and it makes a mess
- Argue with producers about rider details
- Previous customers angry about bad deals 
  ("I have altered the deal ..." "... and my lawyer calls that 'breach of contract.'")
  ("I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the 
    shoulder of Orion." "Was it one of our ships?")
  (Opening car door, "Speak friend, and enter." "That is, like, the worst car alarm
  ever.")
- "In space, no one can hear you scream" "But everyone can fart in your life support."

Many of the broken-down set pieces give them a chance to make fun of other shows 
- Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, Space 2000 and even Firefly and Star Trek. 
Good opportunities to show JEWEL STAITE making fun of the ENTERPRISE and Brent 
Spiner making fun of SERENITY, getting alternate characters' response in 
CONFESSIONAL-CAM.]

Scene ends when they approach DAVE, who has a dilapidated Star Cruiser for sale.

SCENE TWO - The Barter / Flying Away With the New Ship
IMPROVE PREMISE: 
Both characters like the ship and do CONFESSIONAL-CAM descriptions about what
they like and what they don't like. They go over the craft, 'House Hunters'-style
pointing out different features with SAUL, the three-headed clone. Make sure to
include information about budget, how much the ship will cost to acquire, refit
and sell. Obviously fake, and played up. Include CONFESSIONAL-CAM from SAUL: "I
know they're doing a TV show but what the heck, I got ships to sell."

IMPROVE PREMISE 2:
Now it's time to buy the ship. BRENT SPINER and JEWEL STAITE will negotiate with 
DAVE, 'Pawn Stars'-style to buy the spacecraft. They go back and forth, complain
that they don't know enough about the ship to fix it. (DAVE: "Give me a break, I
know what kind of ships you fly!" "I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.") 

DAVE negotiates for a while, then melodramatically drops his head like the folks on 
'Pawn Stars' when they've agreed to the deal in their head but haven't said it yet. 
Price is agreed, ship is theirs! BRENT SPINER and JEWEL STAITE fly away with their 
new purchase.

SCENE THREE - Final joke before credits.
BRENT SPINER
Wow, I can't believe we got such a good deal!

JEWEL STAITE
Do you think he has any idea how much money he left on the table?

BRENT SPINER
I doubt it. I mean, come on ... it's not like he's an Earthling!

BOTH LAUGH DERISIVELY

DAVE
CONFESSION-CAM: I can't believe they bought that thing, the reactor core's been
leaking for months. 

JEWEL STAITE / BRENT SPINER 
(React to strange noise)
What was that?

(Ship alarms sound, spacecraft begins to smoke.)
Oh no!

JEWEL STAITE / BRENT SPINER scream as ship spirals in for a crash landing.

END CREDITS


So, there you have it. Spiner and Staite are brilliant, funny actors. They deserve a moment of their own in which to shine. Hope you enjoyed this.

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.