Fiction Writing for Techies: “A Startup Thriller”
A STARTUP THRILLER (screenplay by Michael Yuen) GENRE: Thriller LOGLINE: A startup invented a nano drone called the Dragonfly and trouble ensues. ACT I: Early morning in San Francisco, an old Victorian converted into a startup house. It was a madhouse. Engineers, designers, interns moving about, a VC dropped in to visit. Everyone was in except Kevin, the co-founder and back-end engineer who was always late.
Assassins entered the house and shot everyone in sight.
VC: I'm a partner at KP! Gun blasting! Kevin entered the house to find everyone dead with one shot to the head or chest. It was a professional hit.
Kevin pulled out a business card: Fred, partner at a VC firm. He called. Fred told him to come into the office. Kevin entered a large complex on Sand Hill Road. He spotted someone suspicious down the hall and started walking away. Gunmen opened fire on him, but missed. He drove away thinking out loud.
Kevin: What the hell is happening? Why are they killing us?
Close-up on Kevin's face, digging deep into his own memory, remembering the founding of his startup ...
Six months earlier ...
At a recent workshop called “Fiction Writing Workshop for the Bay Area Tech Community,” Michael Yuen read his script draft aloud, while half a dozen other tech workers listened attentively. The setting: A small conference room of a co-working space in San Francisco’s SoMa district.
Before him, a young woman had read a story she’d written from the perspective of the Vietnamese developer who invented the successful cellphone game Flappy Bird. The other writers had liked how she’d played with the tension of “just wanting to build something cool” and “making lots of money.”
Workshop leader Donna Levin, wearing a colorful cocktail dress, said she founded the group after getting a little bored with coaching the usual memoir fare — and after realizing how interesting the stories coming out of tech workers were.
As Yuen read, Michael Bernick, another student in the seminar, suddenly interrupted: “Wait … wasn’t there a dead VC in a swimming pool in your last screenplay?”
Yuen, founder of Showbucks.tv by day and screenwriter by night, nodded: “I’ve been through a few startups.”