Vaccinate My Heart: a 2020 period piece (satire)

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Graphic Design by Sequoia Clark

Barron and Cole Trump-Sanders, Co-CEOs
Los Angeles Creations Production Studios
3600 Wilshire Blvd.,10th Floor
Beverly Hills, California
Earth
March 10, 2060

Re.: Historical Movie Pitch: “Vaccinate My Heart”

Dear Barron and Cole,

I hope all is well with you. I’m sorry I missed your 20th wedding anniversary party, but I couldn’t get a ticket down from orbit. I’m writing you with a new script idea that I think you’ll both adore. I know my movie pitches at our virtual roundtables haven’t been the best lately. I understand now that replacing Timothee Chalamet with a zombie for the remake of “Little Women” may not draw in the same audience, but if you would just hear me out on this one, I think my new idea could truly be our generation’s “Mean Girls.” A COVID-19 high school romantic comedy: this could completely turn the industry upside down. As you know, most big production companies have stayed away from COVID-related movies since the D’Amelio Studios catastrophe back in 2045. (Personally, I thought that teenage snails working together to throw a giant secret birthday party in the middle of a global pandemic was a great premise for an animated children’s cartoon, but alas, cancel culture got all hung up on the snail social-distancing rules of the time period.) I can’t believe people still obsess over that—as if COVID-58 wasn’t so much worse! Oh well, working remotely from my orbiting space cottage with only my 12 cats for company, sometimes I feel like I’m losing touch with the current culture. Anyhow, I think the general populace have long ago moved on from the barbaric ideas of cancel culture, and it is high time that LA starts to cash in the content gold of 2020.

So here is my pitch:
The main characters are two high school sophomores. Their genders can be determined later. I don’t have a strong preference, although we must remember that this is a period piece, and young people back then had a quite a limited understanding of gender fluidity. Their pronouns must be decided at some point before filming, however, because they’ll be part of their Zoom names. Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself—I just can’t wait to start filming! So, back to the plot. Our characters (I’ve been calling them Johnny Mask and Covida Jones for now, but we can tweak that for a real Montague and Capulet feel) meet in a Zoom breakout room in their English class. They both realize they’ve accidentally left their cameras on, and as they frantically reach to turn them off, their eyes meet for a moment on the screen. The instant connection is obvious, and it’s strong enough to move the socially anxious teenagers to break all the social norms of the times: they decide to keep their cameras on, and engage in real conversation. Crazy, right? But the audience will believe it as long as the actors really sell it.

Johnny and Covida’s flirtation makes it awkward for the other students in their breakout room. (Side note: I think for comic relief throughout the movie we should periodically cut to short scenes showing what the other students are doing during class: sleeping, cooking, scrolling through Instagram, etc.) Johnny and Covida begin texting, and after their cursors touch romantically while working on a Google Slides project together, they decide it’s time to take the next step. They go on a couple of socially distanced dates. We’ll film them practicing actual social distancing (unlike the real teenagers of the time) because we want to send a message that the characters take socially distancing seriously. That should prevent any D’Amelio Studios drama. The climax of the movie occurs when Johnny’s dad tests positive for COVID-19, and Johnny continues to hang out with Covida without telling her. It’s selfish– but he’s doing it for love! Tensions rise when Covida’s mother finds out. (We’ll have some wacky hijinks at the CVS when she’s in line, picking up some essential oils and healing crystals, and overhears Johnny’s mother talking to the pharmacist.) Covida’s family are strict social distancers, and Covida’s mother forbids her to see Johnny anymore.

We then cut to a montage of traditional rom-com “breakup” scenes, with Dixie D’ Amelio’s “Sometimes I Don’t Want to Be Happy” playing softly in the background. Covida now leaves Google Slides as soon as she sees Johnny’s icon pop up in the top right corner. She is now only a sad orange square with the letter “C” in the breakout room. She clicks and clicks, searching for the “J,” but it never appears. The viewers think the romance is over.

But on the last day before the Google Slides project is due, Johnny opens the Slides document at about 11 p.m. to do his entire section. Covida’s section has been done for days, but Johnny procrastinated, from both grief and an addiction to Mineblocks Building Game. (Side note: I think that’s what it was called—we can change it based on whatever the studio’s historical researchers come up with. My cats and I aren’t entirely sure.) To his surprise, he sees Covida’s icon! He frantically tries to find the slide she is on before she leaves the document, so he can type out a heartfelt apology for not telling her the truth about his dad’s test. To his surprise, however, when he finds the slide, she is already typing.

“Johnny,” she types, “in a different world, without this stupid virus, we could have been together…”
Johnny watches with love and sadness as he sees her cursor slide gently across the screen. “No,” he types in response, “we can be together in this world, Covida! I heard that a vaccine is on the way.” (Side note: Johnny doesn’t pay attention to national news, but he thinks he heard his parents talking about it, and he thinks it will impress Covida if he’s informed on world events.)
“Oh, Johnny, I just hope that’s true, and I’ll wait for you until that moment, because you have vaccinated my heart.”
They touch cursors one last time. Then Covida leaves the Google Slide and the scene fades out.
So that’s my pitch! I hope you guys like it, and I’ll see you at our virtual roundtable on Monday. And tell little Bernie Junior congratulations on his acceptance to Harvard University’s lunar campus. He is always welcome to rocket up for dinner at my space cottage. My cats would love the company!

Your orbiting servant,

M. Mason
P.S Barron, I know I said I would take a break from the zombie pitches, but have you considered other species of monster? I could really see Johnny Mask as a vampire!