Monday, September 24, 2012

Johnny's Advert

I thought you might like to see the script for the advert hawking Johnny Cocktail's services which appears at the start of "Obscured By Masks", the advert that gets him into so much trouble. This differs slightly from the recorded version, which you can see on YouTube here or buy it on DVD.

This section of script is pretty much written by me, though of course when filming it with Robert we tweaked bits together. Anyway, here we go...


We are watching an old Anglia TV break bumper ident (or ITV Night-time). Video-effect crackle. Then cut to:

Cheapo graphics out of the centre of the screen:


Now a succession of shadowy shots:

  • Chink of light from door into a dark room.
  • Hands juggling money badly.
  • Cup of tea smashes on floor.
  • Mascara teardrops down a cheek.

Door opens from lightened hall into darkened room where person is on their knees crying. Person looks round in hope.

GRUFF COCKNEY V/O: [over these] Are you weak? Are you feeble? Are you at the end of your tether?

Cut to XCU of JC's gruff cockney mouth.

JC: Well listen up!!

XCU - JC beats his fist down on the table he's sat behind. A tumbler wobbles.

JC: Cos there's millions of others... [uses hands to get out of chair, cut to side view as he rises – now we see him properly]

JC: the same position.

Close-up of his stern face, still in side-on.

JC: Now are you gonna sit there... [turns to the front again, cut to front view]

JC: Or are you gonna do something about it? [Number appears on screen, JC points to it] Make the call.

Keep the phone number up as scene changes – background music swells (Terrahawks-style synthesized heroic theme) – now a montage of JC at work:

  • In library taking down book on Man Skills
  • Cracking a Sudoku with pencil, ruler and calculator
  • Peering down a microscope
  • Writing a computer program
  • Outward bound with map and rucksack (in urban park)
  • Performing a simple sleight-of-hand magic trick – piff paff poof!
  • Taking flowers to an old lady who gives him the wink
  • Brandishing a pistol Professionals-style
  • Soloing on a guitar
  • Changing a lightbulb

JC V/O: [Over all these] I've been helping people in a professional capacity for upwards of thirty years. From the poorest in the land, to old members of Saxon. From the stockroom to the shagroom. From John O'Groats to John O'End, and beyond. I'm getting everywhere. You spacemen can watch out an' all! I'm always on hand, not just for birds, but little old ladies too. Even helped me mum out the day I was born...

Close-up of paper bag – JC's fist comes through it towards camera. We see his mouth behind.

JC: Punched me way out didn't I!

A toy helicopter shoots across the sky.

A painted JC figure skydives towards the camera...

...real JC lands on the ground with a roll.

JC V/O: [Over all these] Sign up before March 30th and get this free fact pack...

GRAPHIC: “FREE FACT PACK if you sign up before March 30th”
CAPTION BOTTOM RIGHT (very surreptitiously): “Only available in R.O.I.”

Stylised gunshots down the screen superimposed with each item.

V/O: ...with a guru lollipop, Johnny's threadworm leaflet, and this... limited edition print.

JC is running manfully past the camera, the screen is seared outward with a ring of fire and we now see the printed monstrosity full screen.

V/O: How futuristic is that?! It doesn't even have a face on it!!

Cut back to JC, leaning against his desk. Meaningful guitar music. Phone number up again in corner.

JC: Make the call, my friend. I stay up half the night so you don't have to.

JC picks up his empty glass of scotch and holds it near his mouth for some seconds while the advert fails to end.