MARTIN: Hi, thanks for coming in.
JESUS: Oh it's my pleasure. I just want to say thank you for seeing me. It's been a long road with the unsoliciteds, and finally getting to sit down with someone...you know, and hash it out, well, it's really gratifying.
MARTIN: Well it's gratifying for us too. Please have a seat.
JESUS: Thank you.
MARTIN: I'm Martin by the way, and this is Gloria. I'm guessing we can't call you J...
Forced laughter all around.
JESUS: Yeah sorry about that, I just don't like to go with my normal name for publishing. Assuming I can! (titters) J. C. O'Nazareth seemed more like a book cover than just plain old Jesus.
MARTIN: Okay, so Jesus. Nice. Great to meet you. No last name?
JESUS: Um...no, it's not that common where I'm from.
MARTIN: You must be from Madonna’s neighborhood.
Forced laughter again.
JESUS: Well we're not from the same place, but hahahah yeah.
MARTIN: So let's get down to it. You have a piece you're looking to produce?
JESUS: Yeah, it's...Okay, so it's me, basically, and I climb a mountain.
MARTIN: So like a one-man show, or...
JESUS: It's...yeah, it's kind of like that. Like a speech. A monologue.
MARTIN: Is it stand-up?
JESUS: Well sort of. But it's not that funny exactly. But it's got funny bits.
MARTIN: Good to hear - comedians need their own followings before we can sign them. Do you have a following?
JESUS: Well, my neighbors and stuff seem pretty interested in what I have to say...haha...but no, not really. I mean not yet.
MARTIN: I guess that's where we come in, huh?
More forced laughter.
JESUS: I guess so!
MARTIN: Okay, so what are we looking at here?
JESUS: It's like a...sort of an inspirational...
MARTIN: Like a motivational speech? Tony Robbins-ish?
JESUS: No, it's meant more to...like a speech on how to live your life.
GLORIA: Is this one of those self-help things? Like seven steps to a happier you?
JESUS: Um...no, not really. It's like....it's more like...poetry.
MARTIN: Oh like Howl? Are you a beat poet?
GLORIA: Should we snap our fingers at the end?
JESUS: Haha, no no...that's not it either. It's like a...poetic speech. I'm going for an inspiring address.
MARTIN: Like a President or something?
GLORIA: Just please don't tell me you're trying to sell us the Gettysburg Address.
MARTIN: It's not a good idea to get too ambitious with your first piece. Just a friendly pointer from someone who's been in it a while. You’re what - 25, 26?
JESUS: 30, actually. (Uncomfortable pause.) Are you a writer?
MARTIN: Why don't we stick to you? So you have an inspiring address you'd like to sell us on. Can we hear it?
JESUS: It's...I don't know that it would come off the right way...
MARTIN: Come on. Don't be shy. We've seen a lot of people do this before.
JESUS: Um. Huh. Okay. So....I go up on a mountainside and these people follow to listen. (Clears throat.) Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they -
Gloria's phone rings. She starts texting.
GLORIA, looking up briefly: Go on.
JESUS: Blessed are the righteous, for they -
GLORIA, low to Martin: Do you want thai for lunch? Samantha's putting the order in.
MARTIN: Yeah, tell her to get me the chicken pad thai. (to Jesus) Sorry about that - it's almost lunch.
JESUS: Blessed are the merciful, for they -
MARTIN: You know, I think we're getting a strong sense of what you're going for.
JESUS: I should stop?
MARTIN: Why don't you just try to condense it for us?
JESUS: Like...summarize what I'm going to say?
JESUS: Okay. Um...let's see. (Consults notes.) I already said the meek shall inherit the earth...
GLORIA: Yeah, I don't get that.
JESUS: Excuse me?
GLORIA: The meek shall inherit? What's that supposed to mean?
JESUS: The earth. The meek shall inherit the earth.
GLORIA: Okay. And what does that mean?
JESUS: That...um, that people who don't, who aren't the strongest or the fastest or the loudest, that despite everything, they'll...you know, that they're eventually going to win.
MARTIN: Things move fast in this business. If it’s happening, people expect it to happen quickly. I'm not sure the audience can connect with a character who's too much of a loser. No offense.
JESUS: No, I get it.
GLORIA: Speaking of characters, I’m not seeing any. I mean who is the meek?
JESUS: Uh...the meek aren’t...it’s nobody in particular. It’s everybody who’s meek.
GLORIA: Yeah, you know what the problem is there? You’re trying to do too much. The audience has to identify with one character’s story.
JESUS: Well, it’s sort of more about everybody who’s ever felt -
GLORIA: You know what’s a good rule of thumb? If you try to write about everybody, you won’t write about anybody.
MARTIN: You get lost in the vagueness. People are looking for people on the screen, not abstracts.
GLORIA: This all sounds a little abstract to me.
JESUS: I understand. There are a lot of big ideas here. But I think that’s what’s so exciting about it. It’s passionate. It’s engaged. It’s about something.
GLORIA: It kind of sounds like it’s about everything.
MARTIN: Which basically means it’s about nothing.
GLORIA: Yeah, this doesn’t feel focused enough to me.
JESUS: Well I just did the first few lines. It’s building to something.
Martin and Gloria exchange a look.
MARTIN: I’m sure you develop your ideas as you go along, but good writing’s good from the start. You know right away. And I’ve got to say Jesus, I don’t know about this.
GLORIA: I’m unsure myself.
MARTIN: You see? That’s not a good sign.
JESUS: I think if you just gave it a little time, you’d find that it really has something. This isn’t just like any script. I mean, this is my best work. This is what I’ve been trying to do since I was a kid and I found out I...since I wanted to become a writer. This...it has a soul, Martin. It’s worth taking seriously.
MARTIN: You know, I’m sure you’re right. I don’t know that it’s right for us though.
GLORIA: We have a pretty full list, and this doesn’t really fit. But we’re really grateful to you for sharing your work with us.
MARTIN: I’m sure you’ll find someone else who’s better matched to represent your work.
GLORIA: We just have so few resources, we really have to be excited about something to jump in with it.
MARTIN: Send us the next draft when it’s ready, we’ll take a look.
JESUS: Oh. Okay. I’ll do that.
JESUS: Well thank you so much for seeing me.
MARTIN: It’s our pleasure. Thank you so much for coming in.
JESUS: Of course. Thank you. Okay, well - you have my sample?
GLORIA: We do.
JESUS: Great. Well, thanks again and, uh...hopefully I’ll see you again sometime.
MARTIN: I’d like that.
They shake hands. Martin and Gloria stay seated.
JESUS: Martin. Gloria. So nice to meet you both.
GLORIA: Thank you for coming in.
JESUS: Alright, take care.
He heads out.
GLORIA: Is it weird if we both get chicken pad thai?
MARTIN: I thought you liked the shrimp?
The door clicks shut.