TITLE: American Corporate Culture
PREMISE: A group of socialist/anarchist invade and eventually gain control of a U.S. Corporation.
SETTING: Manhattan, New York
MARKET: USA, International
WRITER: Alan Nafzger
OTHER INFORMATION: This political and business drama explores the actual intent of Occupy Wall Street movement of 2011 and in a biting satire exposes the mind-set and agenda of socialist/anarchist ideology in America. Orwell’s Animal Farm meets 1984. If you’re on the left, you are not alone.
This is a complete and ready to shot screenplay.
LOGLINE: A group of seemingly “homeless” people invade and slowly take over a major corporation.
American corporate culture on the exterior appears to be about self-preservation and competition in the marketplace but under the surface there is an appetite for self-destruction that can be highly specific, and can look a little baffling from the sidewalk.
America’s death wish, after all, is right there on the surface, bound up with our urge to conquer and dominate. Guns and violence are central elements of the American narrative, and beneath all the bluster and juvenile fantasy throbs an obvious nihilism.
THIS FILM FEELS LIKE… A FAIRYTALE!
On one hand, “The Corporate Culture” is a fairytale, as old as the Brothers Grimm: Once you invite the devil into the house, there’s no end to your trouble. On another hand, it belongs to the tradition of demented, allegorical American horror.
The shell of the corporation is sweet and innocent; they make sugar covered marshmallow candies (something similar to Peeps). However, under the surface it is corrupt and anything that happens to them they pretty much have coming to them.
- Crony capitalism – the sell millions of candies to the government… some go to school but most are thrown in the trash.
- Dehumanization and automation – the factory has 3 human employees and 512 computer controlled robots.
- Detestable corporate officers – each of the corporate officers has a tragic flaw.
- Abuse of interns – the interns are unpaid and promised a job, but there isn’t any history of any of them in the past being hired.
Tony O’Keith – leader of the opposition.
Kendale – President of the Corporation, married but a womanizer. Fake. He smiles and shakes hands and looks like a leader but behind the scenes he is a cold hearted bastard. His day consisted of a few hours in the office gambling on sports, he has sex with Anna and a few of the young interns. Kendale, a successful businessman obsessed with office politics, is an unapologetic racist who refuses to consider hiring a nonwhite applicant for the CFO job.
Anna – Vice President of the Corporation wants power. She submits to Kendale but she knows Kendale is slowly losing interest in her. She feels that her position might be in jeopardy. Obviously she knows Kendale is a ruthless man.
Lance – Dutch Shepard and satanic assistant.
Dean – Dutch Shepard and satanic assistant.
Bree – Standard Poodle, older woman and forensic accountant.
Tonya– Miniature Poodle, woman and forensic accountant.
What we learn about the hirsute, seemingly “homeless” O’Keith at the beginning of the film is prima facie confusing. He is living somewhere under Manhattan in the subway and utility tunnels, and the opening scene reveals one of the themes of this urban horror.
A Roman Catholic priest armed with a shotgun and two hired killers roust O’Keith from his underground lair, with the apparent purpose of killing him. As O’Keith flees out of the under ground space, he makes his way toward the sidewalk. On the way he rouses several friends (Lance and Pascal) in similar dens, who’ve slept through his cell-phone calls. Are these guys vampires or demons or something? Well, maybe, but we are never entirely sure what they are. They can walk around in daylight and display no obvious inhuman traits, unless you consider the a sociopathic disregard for human life and basic decency exhibited later in the film.
Some time later, O’Keith finds himself in skyscrapers making job applications at Manhattan corporations. “Can I work and show you what I can do?” O’Keith has an excellent resume – an MBA and experience at other corporations (all now bankrupt). However, he looks like a homeless person. He has a thick unkempt beard and a old slightly dirty suit. Several corporations reject him at first sight. Other corporations consider his resume but then pass. He receives to invitations for an interview.
When he receives an interview invitation from the Marshmellow Candy Corporation, he has his foot in the door. At the job interview he encounters Kendale, a broad-shouldered, football-playing metro-corporate type, O’Keith seems to sense an opportunity. He refuses to take outright door-slamming hostility for an answer, taunting Kendale with hints that he knows his Vice President (Anna) from some unspecified past context.
When Anna comes to the office, she insists she’s never seen this tramp before and Kendale explodes, beating him with a gold club and kicking O’Keith with hooligan-like intensity. In some sense the whole movie is contained in this scene: O’Keith may be the agent of chaos, but he hardly has to do anything for the latent violence within this corporation to come to the surface.
Kendale claims that O’Keith attacked him and that he was only protecting himself. He calls security to remove O’Keith; however, Anna says that she will show him out. She never makes it to the sidewalk when Anna decides to adopt O’Keith. She invites him to stay.
Minutes after Kendale leaves for the golf course, O’Keith has been bandaged up and is resting in the corporation’s impressive health spa, hot tub, eating a salad, drinking an excellent French wine and watching a Fox Business News on TV. His shirt is off and we can see he has a tattoo of the “marshmallow” company logo on his upper arm.
Anna feels conflicted at first about taking in a mysterious houseguest but she agrees out of liberal guilt. Her attempts to conceal him are perfunctory. She gets him the corporate ID of an unpaid intern that didn’t show up for work.
The maintenance engineer and her three typically illegal immigrant janitors soon become a hypnotized audience for O’Keith’s troubling charm. O’Keith takes them individually to a bar across the street and liberally buys alcohol. He speaks perfect Spanish and entertains them with the story of the Mexican Chupacabra. When they are sufficiently hypnotized and also drunk, O’Keith takes them to a tattoo parlor and has them tattooed – with a marshmallow rabbit, bird or other various shape that company is manufacturing. After that they are owned by O’Keith.
O’Keith has some sort of unorthodox magic. The combination — alcohol, a mythical story and a tattoo – is magical and hypnotic. Once they are tattooed they are controlled by O’Keith. They become zombie-like but pass for corporate drones.
O’Keith packs his things and sets out again, saying to Anna simply that he needs a paycheck and “wants to make applications,” at other companies. It is Anna who urges him to stay. Actually, Anna urges him to reinvent himself and return in a new guise, one Kendale won’t recognize. Anna gives him a corporate credit card. O’Keith shaves his beard and buys a new suit and shoes. He buys a nice watch. He now looks like the epitome of success.
The chief financial officer will not drink or listen to O’Keith’s stories and would NEVER submit to a tattoo. The CFO is old school and not susceptible to the hypnosis. O’Keith poisons him and his wife. Lance and Dean dispose of the bodies and become employees of the company. O’Keith takes over the CFO’s home and applies for his job as well. O’Keith has a second interview with Kendale and this time, instead of being beaten, he is given the job of CFO.
Soon the security guards and the financial accounts people are “turned” by O’Keith. Before the end of the film, the entire staff will be brought under the power of O’Keith or they are killed. If they can’t be hypnotized by O’Keith, Lance and Dean arrange accidents for them.
O’Keith points out to Anna that the accounts are seriously in disarray. She agrees to hire Bree and Tonyato organize the accounts. Bree is said to be a “forensic” accountant. O’Keith hints that Kendale may have been embezzling funds form the company. Anna smells blood and wants Kendale either in prison or killed.
And if she’s troubled by the signs and portents that come along with O’Keith – like the pair of Dutch Shepard Dogs who show up at the company and explore the building – it doesn’t last long. Anna’s vice is greed and lust for power. Anna will go along with anything so long as it looks like Kendale will be removed from the top job. It is almost like Lance and Dean take the shape of Dutch Shepards, if they aren’t disposing of a body. No one working at the company even notices them. Half are hypnotized, many simply don’t care what happens at work. Anna only notices them for a moment and don’t protest.
The action builds up a heavy sense of dread as O’Keith begins controlling the minds of the employees. Sometimes O’Keith is accompanied though the building by the two obedient dogs that suggest creatures from the underworld.
O’Keith has already come to control her dreams, and she becomes convinced that Kendale is out to get her. O’Keith causes nightmares where Anna is being raped, killed and then eaten by Kendale. She is already inclined in this direction but O’Keith turns Anna against Kendale.
As the writer, what I’m going for here is a violence that is never graphic or gruesome, but is will be a mixture of brutality and comedy. If you don’t see the humor in a scene in which O’Keith and his companions dispose of bodies in a vat at the marshmallow factory and then make candies of it– then this movie isn’t for you.
Once it becomes clear that everyone in the company – certainly Anna and perhaps even Kendale – are on O’Keith’s side, the end point of the narrative should not in doubt. The end is the total obliteration of their privileged existence.
In a fit of greed and also sexual frustration, Anna begs O’Keith to kill Kendale. And of course, O’Keith agrees. O’Keith kills Kendale with an excellent (supernatural) shot; the gold ball fractures his skull and he dies before others reach him. The dogs are at a distance watching.
Kendale isn’t able to finish the round of golf (he is dead), but after a few words the other employees continue to play. They are under the control of O’Keith and are oblivious to evil. They have all be hypnotized and tattooed. The dogs disappear about the time Lance and Dean appear. After the group have moved to the next hole, Lance and Dean arrive to cart off the body.
That night O’Keith and Anna meet at an expensive restaurant. They drink the most expensive wines. O’Keith tells her the story of the Chupacabra. The audience will expect them to go to the tattoo parlor but they pass it and go to the company’s office building instead. They walk past the security guard and the two dogs. She want O’Keith to make love to her. They go into Kendale’s office, O’Keith swipes everything off the desk into the floor. O’Keith carefully lays Anna on the desk… he kisses her passionately and she dies instantly.
The next morning Kendale greets the employees as nothing has occurred.
The packaging is redesigned. The computers that control the factory production change designs. The “baby rabbits” and the “baby birds” are replaced with candy “piles of shit” and “little red devils”. We see the factory download the new designs and begin manufacturing the new candies.
In the last scene looks like something like the Pied Piper of Hamelin; O’Keith leads the employees out of the office building into the underground. The three workers at the factor leave also and we see the factory robots producing and shipping the candies without interruption. Theoretically, without a mechanical malfunction, the factory will continue operating.
With all of employees walking into the underground, we get the impression that his anti-corporate “movement” is growing exponentially. In the grimy underground utility space, O’Keith’s small army comes to an intersection. O’Keith divides his new army; he sends one group North and he sends the other groups in the other directions.
We get the impression they will spread in New York to invade other corporations.