WhaChaCallit

INT. EMPTY STORE

Jack and Anna are standing inside an empty store. The previous tenants haven’t done a great job of cleaning up after themselves. Jack is taking measurements that Anna records in a notebook.

JACK

You gotta have a great name, Anna.

ANNA

Yeah, I know.

JACK

You gotta have a name that people feel good about, laugh about, tell their friends about – but above all – you want a name that digs itself a hole right in here.

Jack jabs his right temple with two pudgy fingers.

ANNA

Hey, I don’t need to be preached at, Jack. I know how important a name is. Give me some cred, will you?

JACK

You’re next door to a Starbucks! The right name and you are gonna hit the big time in a big way.

ANNA

I have some ideas. But they seem silly whenever I say them out loud.

JACK

Well, you can tell me. I’d be the last one to make you feel silly.

ANNA

OK, like ah . . . well, what do you think of . . . Hairy Times?

JACK

You’re joking! Hairy Times?

ANNA

You weren’t gonna laugh, Jack.

JACK

That was a laugh of surprise. Hairy Times is not that bad – a little unexpected, that’s all. Anything else?

ANNA (hesitatingly)

Haricot – it’s French and if you say it the right way it sounds like “Hair I Cut”.

JACK

That’s cute, Anna.

ANNA (offended)

What do you mean – cute?

JACK

Do you remember my old ex, Suzy? She has a naming agency. She’s thought up a lot of great names. HairForce, HairPort, Hair-we-R, those are all Suzy’s Creations. Maybe you could talk to her?

ANNA

Why should I pay someone to think up banal names like Hair Force and Hairport?

JACK

. . . or better still, you and I could do this together. Let’s go next door, have some coffee, and come up with the world’s best name for your salon.

ANNA

You go first, Jack. There’ll be a line. Get me a tall latte with soya milk. I want to be alone here a minute or two – let it sink in that this place is mine now.

Jack leaves. Anna takes down a “for lease” sign. She pantomimes doing someone’s hair in an imaginary chair.

EXT. ANNA’S STORE

Anna locks up the shop. She has trouble with the unfamiliar keys. She walks over to the neighboring Starbucks.

INT. STARBUCKS

Starbucks is filled with people hunched over their laptops and iPads. Jack has found a table with soft-cushioned armchairs. He is seated with two coffees as Anna joins him.

ANNA

It’s amazing this place is still so popular. Maybe I should call my salon Starlocks?

JACK

They’d take you to court right away. With a great name like Starbucks you fight to protect it.

ANNA

Where did they get it from?

JACK

Herman Melville. Starbuck was a coffee-loving character in Moby Dick. Actually, they wanted to call it Moby Dick, but Suzy told them it wasn’t coffeeish enough.

ANNA

You’re bullshiting me! Suzy came up with Starbucks?

JACK

No, Suzy came up with Beandreams: the name that came in second.

ANNA

Beandreams isn’t that bad.

JACK

I told you. Suzy’s come up with some good ones. But now it’s our turn. We’ll just sit here and let the java jingle our jujubes – let our creative juices flow.

ANNA

Jujubes?

JACK

Use these napkins. Write down everything you think of. Remember nothing is too crazy.

They begin to jot stuff down on a stack of napkins Jack has taken to the table.

JACK

A lot of brilliant stuff first saw the light of day on napkins. Einstein conceived the atom bomb on a place mat.

ANNA

How am I supposed to think of anything with you babbling all the time.

JACK

Ok. I got something here. How about . . . Cut the Crap?

ANNA

Cut the Crap? You’re serious? That is really dumb.

JACK

Anna, we have to take the risk of saying things that sound dumb. That’s what creativity is all about.

ANNA

Being dumb? Because we are two dumb people who will invariably come up with dumb ideas?

JACK

Hey, loosen up kiddo . . .  Conventionality holds back creativity. Unconventional, brave naked brains is what we must strive for.

ANNA

You think I’m conventional because I’m a hairdresser.

JACK

Relax! I am only saying that new ideas are like little, tiny, newly-hatched birdies. If we’re not careful we will push them out of the nest prematurely.

ANNA

You’re really the metaphor dude.

JACK

People step on great ideas like those little birdies and squish them to death without ever even knowing it. To be really creative we have to let ourselves go just a little crazy – just a little stupido.

ANNA

Yeah? Well, Cut the Crap would be a pretty stupido name for my salon.

JACK

Cut the Crap was a humorous name. Humor is never wrong in naming. How about us working on the premise that everything we come up with is good until proved otherwise. I am ready to think positive about Hairy Times and Hair-I-Cut if you can relax and let me suggest stuff like Cut the Crap without biting my head off. What have you got?

ANNA (hesitatingly)

Bangs, Braids and Beyond!

JACK (doing a fanfare on an imaginary bugle)

Now that I like. That’s original!  He turns to a Starbucks employee cleaning up the neighboring table:

JACK (to Starbucks employee)

Hey miss, what would you say to a free hairdo at Bangs, Braids and Beyond?

STARBUCKS EMPLOYEE (warily)

Never heard of it.

JACK (winking at Anna)

Didn’t think so.

ANNA

Hey Jacko, take it easy with giving away my services – along with my ideas.

JACK

How about ‘Snip’ ?

ANNA

Snip?

JACK

. . . in a snap. Snip in a Snap! I really like it.

ANNA

That’s because you thought of it.

JACK

Perhaps, but. . .

ANNA

If speed was gonna be my selling point I’d call it In ‘n Out Coiffures’

JACK

Hey, I like that too – and it was you who thought of it.

ANNA

But speed isn’t. . .

JACK

Then suggest something else. Anything off the top of your head.

ANNA

Off the Top of Your Head.

JACK

Yeah.

ANNA

No, I meant that as a name – I cut hair off the top of your head.

JACK

Well good morning little Miss Shakespeare! I’m impressed. You got any more like that?

ANNA

I’ve got From Hair to Eternity.

JACK

Wow!

ANNA

And I’ve got Hairistotle.

JACK

Like the philosopher?

ANNA

Uh huh.

JACK

Love it! Love em all, girl!

ANNA

So what’s your contribution?

JACK

How about . . . Cold Cuts!

ANNA

My ass!

JACK

You’ll have air conditioning won’t you? A cool haircut when it’s hot out. . . ?

ANNA

Brilliant. And when it’s cold?

JACK

I got more. I got Anna Scissorhands, Scalpers Depot, Sheers . . .

ANNA

Wait a second. Sheers? – that already exists. It’s like a franchise or something. And several of those other names sound familiar as well.

JACK

Can I finish? . . . Headshots, Sizzl’n Scissors, The Curly Gates, The Curler Dome . . .

ANNA

That exists!

JACK

The hallmark of a good name: so natural sounding you think it must already exist.

ANNA

. . . because it does. Maybe they all do. Maybe people a lot smarter than us have already come up with all the great names.

JACK

No, Anna. Have all the great songs already been written? All the great paintings painted? It doesn’t work that way.

ANNA

And besides we have already too many names to seriously consider. No focus.

JACK

No way. We can never have too many great ideas because you know what? – We can sell them to others like Suzy does. I think we’re on to something here. I think we have what it takes. We can set up our own business. We can call it Names Unlimited.

ANNA

Or Names ‘r Us.

JACK (writing on napkin)

Yeah. Or how about Names2Go?

ANNA (writing on napkin)

Name Your Game.

JACK

You see? Don’t you feel it? We’ve found our niche. We’re natural born namers.

ANNA

Steak ‘n Cake!

JACK

What’s that?

ANNA

A restaurant chain.

JACK

hmmm . . .

ANNA

And Drink ‘n Drive.

JACK

Jesus Anna, that is pretty unethical; don’t you think?

ANNA

Drink ‘n Drive will be the name of a golf course refreshment stand.

JACK

You’re too much. Drink ‘n Drive that’s the clincher. We’re going to go into business together. We’re gonna be professional namers.

ANNA

Thanks, but I just took out a lease on my salon. Just because we’ve stumbled upon some ideas now – well that doesn’t mean we could make a living doing this. We’ve had beginner’s luck or something. Eventually we would run out of ideas? What happens when the well goes dry – huh?

JACK

That’s not the way it works, Anna. Creative inspiration is like a bottomless coke at Wendy’s – if you don’t drink it, yes, it just sits there and goes flat, but as long as you keep sipping on it, as long as you thirst for more, the muse, the waitress, will keep it filled with fresh, bubbly, liquid ideas.

ANNA

So you think we’ve got bottomless brains, Jack?

JACK

Seems that way to me.

The camera backs off as we watch Jack and Anna filling up their table with names on napkins.

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