Tunnel vision

What would it be like to be a high-profile L.A. mayor, framed for murder, who goes on the run in his own city and, with the police and media in hot pursuit, elects to live by his wits underground until he can clear his good name?

This week, KP Mackie joins the array of talented writers bringing this improbable scenario convincingly to life in our tag-team script project, “Right of Way.”

With plot threads buzzing around overhead like local news choppers, KP’s pages 94-97 smartly focus on Mayor Napolitano’s temporary escape through a maze of subway tunnels and the mysterious benefactor who lights his path.

Possibly without realizing it, KP and two previous writers who put the mayor below ground in the first place have turned up a great central image for our script -- the movie’s poster, if you will:

Napolitano fumbling around in L.A.’s dark underbelly, searching for a way out of the hole he’s dug himself.

(Of course, if this were a 1940s- or '50s-style poster, we’d include a few striking secondary images as well: Rachel, the slinky seductress; Larry, stuffed with peat in a men’s room urinal, the sexy widow Celeste crying on Napolitano’s shoulder; Duvane in his Order garments under a plasma-screen cosmos....)

KP has never tried to push a subway project through a soul-deadening bureaucracy, nor to my knowledge has she ever undertaken Napolitano’s singular quest for redemption. But in some ways, she has exhibited the same kind of tenacity and perseverance as that of our fictional mayor.

This entry was her nineteenth consecutive submission to our project, shattering Dianna Brown’s previous record of 12.

“I tend to be a bit overzealous," she says. "My kids have another word for it.”

She exhibited the same kind of commitment while voluntarily reading and reviewing more than 75 scripts for Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s “Project Greenlight,” a pursuit that got her hooked on the allure of good screenwriting.

A San Diego mother of three teenage sons, KP has had our script on her mind pretty much constantly for more than four months now. “I hear about writers who sit down and start writing immediately, and I am in awe,” she says.

“I jog and use that hour to solve dilemmas. I also read other fiction. I have subscriptions to ’Creative Screenwriting,’ ’Script,’ and ’Entertainment Weekly,’ and am amazed how many ideas I steal, I mean borrow, from those publications.

“I've heard these exercises referred to as stalling.”

Speaking of which, the Script Project will be dark next week, as I head north for a family vacation. Deadline for the next submission will be midnight, August 10, after which I expect to solicit only a couple of additional contributions before writing the script’s final pages myself.

Those of you who don’t know what to do with yourselves while I’m away are encouraged to get to work designing our poster.

Are you listening, KP?

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