The Devil's in Los Angeles

Age rating: 17 and older
After his residuals run dry, a failed, drug-reliant screenwriter turns to robbery to pay his debts - only to find that robbing a bail-bonds office isn't that different from writing a screenplay.
Synopsis: Failed screenwriter Chester "Chet" Martin finds himself living in a deep rut of failure, attending rehabilitation meetings once a week and living off of residuals from a past film. After attending what seems like an average meeting, he hears the story of Jan: another member of the group and a raging alcoholic. He details the story of how he used the last of his money to bail his incarcerated brother out of jail, and that he feels his brother is thankful for this. Chet then talks with the leader of the group after the meeting, who tells him that he only really cares about his clients for the money they're paying him for each session.

We then find Chet at a laundromat, waiting for his clothes to wash in a stupor of self-pity and depression. After finding his clothes have been dyed by a cheap spiderman mask caught in the meshwork, he returns the article of clothing to a pregnant woman and her nephew; the woman thanking him and making polite, but awkward, conversation. Chet doesn't think much of this and returns home where he takes the first trip of LSD we see.

He begins to have distorted visions before passing out from the drug, waking to morning sunlight and the neighbouring apartment's tenants arguing loudly. He yells at the tenants to quiet, and after some arguing, they oblige.

He then arrives at a distributor's office, where he meets Raymond; an elderly film distributor responsible for Chet's past debut. Raymond, after light conversation, gives the bad news that Chet's residuals have run dry. Chet leaves the office in a bout of desperation, only to be assaulted by his former stunt worker Derek. Derek details the past event where Chet only paid half of his salary during the film, and that he wants the other half.

Chet, now with no source of income, tells Derek that he can double his pay with another plan. Derek is skeptical but his greed gets the best of him and he listens to Chet's idea. Chet tells Derek about a bail bonds office and the amount of money that moves through it. He devises a plan to rob the office and Derek accept after some persuasion.

A week passes and Chet stands at a phone booth outside of the second AA meeting, speaking to one of his past associates that acted in his previous film. Chet says he has a plan to make a quick, but large, buck and the actor accepts; telling Chet to meet them at an improv club.

Chet hangs up the phone just in time to catch Jan's brother (Jackson), who is just beginning to drive away after picking up Jan. Chet, with knowledge of Jackson's criminal history, details the robbery plan to him in hopes that he will help. Jackson, fresh out of jail and absent of a job, accepts.

Chet, Jackson, and Jan then arrive at the improv club and meet in the back with Polly and Gus; two B-list actors that formerly worked with Chet. Chet recruits both of them after more persuasion, though loses out on another actor that joins the conversation late. In need of another, the group turns to Jan.

We are now back in Chet's apartment, Chet already high from LSD. He hears a disembodied voice that tells him about doubt and greed, cueing Chet to pass out from the high. He wakes up later into the night and notices that, in his drugged state, he has typed a screenplay detailing the events of the robbery. At the bottom of the script, the need for a gun is pressed.

Chet takes to the streets, buying a weapon from a thrift shop before finding himself in a museum, slowly coming down from the LSD high. He meets a foreign museum coordinator within the exhibition, who takes him through a piece of artwork that he was enthralled in. The artwork (The Worship of Mammon) shows a woman praying to the god of money and greed, something that Chet knows all too much about. Chet, slightly spooked by the paintings resemblance to his own life, leaves.

The next day, Chet and his gang of future robbers sit in a cafe; discussing their plan of action. Chet gives them all copies of the robbery screenplay and the others are doubtful before he reassures them that everything is slowly coming into place. They agree hesitantly and prepare for the coming heist, which they plan to happen at noon of the following day.

Back in Chet's apartment, he falls into what seems like his final trip of LSD; the neighbouring tenants now arguing once again. Chet, almost drugged to the point of insanity, fills with rage and assaults one of the tenants. He then goes back to his own apartment and falls asleep to the now silent facilities.

He wakes up to police pounding at his door and escapes through the fire escape, arriving at Jackson's car where the rest of the group wait in anxiety. They then go through the script once more before proceeding with the robbery.

The beginning of the heist slowly goes according to plan, though Chet recognizes one of the patrons as the pregnant woman from the laundromat. He doesn't let this faze him and proceeds with the plan; half the group moving into the back of the office.

They find a man dialing for 911 and knock him out, but not before the wail of sirens begins to grow in the distance. They move through the office, arriving at a safe and use the secretary to open the device. They take the money and begin to exit before finding a second, hidden worker.

He pleads safety before recognizing Jackson from when Jan bailed him out. Derek takes this as a sign of danger and kills the man, throwing Jackson into a fit of rage. Jackson shoots Derek and the three exit the office.

On the street, the group runs into multiple police and are pursued before escaping, but not before Jackson is shot and killed and Gus is wounded. The now-four arrive at the AA meeting church and hide inside, where the leader unknowingly gives them shelter. Chet, dismayed by the multiple deaths and tired from the chase, tells the leader he needs to make a call and leaves the church for the phone booth.

While making the call, police burst into the church with a copy of the robbery screenplay which Gus dropped during the chase and make the arrests; Chet silently leaving his crew to face jail.

We then cut to a few days later, where Chet sits in another AA meeting. The leader, who knows what Chet has done, is angry but does not say anything until after the meeting. He argues with Chet before telling him he is going to turn him in. Chet realizes that this is the right thing to do and does not protest.

Back at Chet's apartment once more, Chet is high for the final time as police bust through the door and cuff him. He shakes away from them but only for a moment before he is shot and killed, falling to the floor with a vacant smile; finally at peace from the greed of his world.

Latest Work

  • Script 1 - Ryan's Original Draft
    Creative Notes:
    Added more unique, character-building scenarios to further the emotional backdrop set around the primary cast. This also allowed for more opportunity to build upon the underlying ideas, which promote audience interpretation.