Chapter 29; Armand Laker, That Armand Laker

Waiting on Smudge

Smudge is where I waited; vegetating
before the holo, watching reruns of
progs I'd never seen, waiting and
waiting for Ahmet to contact me.

He'd get the recordings, sell them
to me and I'd create the most
significant screenplay of my career.

So I would stagnate on Smudge and wait.

I could wait on a yacht, on another planet, but wanted to be here, far from reality, embracing the mental numbness Smudge induces.

Sitting in my villa, waiting, flipping channels on the Holo, I see a unique and remarkable actor. He had such screen presence it was only when he was off camera I could focus on the plot, see the other actors.

The chap played a reluctant Mongol slave to the erstwhile star, a holo hack who never really made it.

As I knew everyone who should be known and had never seen this actor before, I assumed that during my retreat he had been discovered by a rival and was currently appearing in major presentations.

I did a search, yet all that turned up was another holo serial I'd never heard of, which unlike this sci-fi fantasy, 'Caravansary', was a 'soap opera ' called, "Live Again."

I looked for 'Ji Tewka ' in the soap and could not find him. This was remarkable as the actor's presence in 'Caravansary' was overwhelming.

I am familiar with the character actor who submerges in a role. It is a plus, often followed by awards, but in this case, to go from such prepossessing entity as Ji Tewka, who filled the screen into 'third man on the right', was shocking. Actors don't do that.

They go from bit parts to a character, but they don't go from cynosure to extra.

I went back to Caravansary and dled the first three seasons and bathed in the characterisation.

'Ji Tewka' took on a life of his own in my mind. With nothing to do except wait for Ahmet, I began blocking a script in which a clone of that character would star.

It was sheer game at first, but the script got better and I knew I authored something
worthy of my name.

Having the equipment, I archived the Ji character, gained a useable Digre to morph into my script. The problem with digital representations is that only the movements and expressions actually employed by the actor in Caravansary, played true.

To have the digre perform a 'new' action meant going screen by screen and matching stored images, (which took forever), but the 'seams' were very rarely smooth and betrayed the fact a digre was used which always cheapened the production.


I wanted the actor. If I couldn't get him, I'd need his permission, no, I'd have to get the rights to Caravansary.

Considering what he'd done to himself; (on Live Again he had short hair and lost his bulk) it might take a year for him to regain the appearance I wanted.

No.
That wasn't the full truth.
The full truth was that considering how he had defaced himself, I suspected something went 'wrong' with him, physically or intellectually, and he might be unable to portray the role I was crafting for him.

Yes, a mere impression, but based on experience.

Why not get someone else to play his role?
Simple, that character was the story.
I needed that character for this script, and for the one I'd write, if/when I got what Ahmet promised.

I needed that actor as he was when he played Ji Tewka . The body, the attitude, all of him.

I tried to contact this David Wong Pine whom I'd not heard of. Oddly, unlike other minor actors who are more than accessible, this one was harder to contact than I was!

Despite my efforts, all I could find of this David Wong Pine were old Ji Tewka fan sites.

I believe he'd written one of them himself for there were many 'I's and an explanation why he left 'Caravansary'.

Considering I had just begun to watch the show, what he'd written was startling; and I thought; this is one stupid guy.


the Opinon of an Expert

Certain presentations become 'Icons'. Even if the show fails, the characters continue
to live, and fans of the show or the character can be turned into box office.

For this David Wong Pine to have exited an iconic serial for a boring soap opera
meant either he didn't have the brains he was born with or a bad manager.

Either way, this was good for me. Pine was going to make me a millionaire.
Again.

Let me explain; I am Armand Laker. Yeah, that Laker. The King of Hollywood.

Of the fifteen flicks I'd produced in the past seven years, all made substantial profits.
Five were hits, six mega-hits. Four had sequels.

Blurbers claimed I was on Smudge because I'd 'burnt out'.
I hadn't.
Nor did I have a nervous breakdown.
I was here because of the Rumour.
The Rumour that a normal human man had passed as a Gennie.

A normal man, portraying a Gennie, had gone to Tellur and made a recording
of his experience.

As no Norm had ever gone to a Gennie world, as no one knew what happened
on Gennie worlds, if this record existed, I would pay what it cost.
Which is why I was on Smudge.
Waiting.

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