As he's being chased down La Brea by two possibly phony cops in a menacing SUV, Mayor Russell Napolitano — the fictional mayor of Los Angeles — slips his precious map of the methane pockets under Wilshire beneath his seat. He phones the city traffic control desk and requests that all the southbound lights be switched to green, drawing a cynical response from the woman on duty: "Got a big crowd over at Pink’s tonight?" Yes, in fact, there is the usual lineup outside the hog dog stand. But when the SUV bumps his Lexus, the action picks up in this week's installment of the LA Observed Script Project. Story editor Eric Estrin blogs about the newest pages:
How do you take a car chase that we’ve seen a thousand times and make it pop?
Like Fred Astaire, dancing with a chair and a broomstick, you start with what you have -- in this case, the mayor’s Lexus, a car in pursuit with powerful headlamps, and La Brea Blvd. after dark
“I thought to myself, what could possibly make this scene more interesting,” said Elizabeth Cosin, a television writer and author of two Zen Moses detective novels, “and then I realized the only thing we need here is traffic. After all, it's the theme of the whole script.”
A long-time Angeleno now living in California’s wine country, Elizabeth no longer has to worry much about congested streets except when she visits Los Angeles, which she frequently does -- both in actuality and in her thoughts.
“I love writing about the city,” she said. “Even now in the midst of a sabbatical from L.A., it's still all I write about. Reading the pages about Napolitano driving down La Brea put me right in that neighborhood at night.”
Her pages worked for me — this story is getting goooood. Elizabeth wins the coveted LAO T-shirt this week. You could be next. Read up on the project at Eric's Script Notes, and catch Mayor Napolitano's Passover message to the people of Los Angeles.