“Opportunity Cost”

The Slide-It-Yourself contest was devised in 1999 by the SCIFI Channel. It’s one of those things where the idea is better than the execution, and for the most part it fell into disarray almost the moment Stage One ended.

After several hundred, perhaps thousands, of entries, many of which exhibited the intellect of a potato with a battery attached to it, SciFi Channel picked 10 to turn into a beat sheet. I think they picked “Opportunity Cost” because I was maybe one of four people that actually did what the rules said — namely, give an intriguing pitch. Here it is:

Rembrandt awakens to find that it’s 1995 and he never slid. Or did he? A mysterious friend may hold the answers to Rembrandt’s dilemma.

That’s it. After that I was teamed up with some people to develop a full script from that. Many thanks to Jorge Cisneros and Angela Worley for their excellent contributions.

“Cost” was a nod to the first season. Clearly, with only one original cast member left, it would be impossible to go back to the show’s roots… or was it? “Cost,” with a couple of well-placed clips from the pilot would have been a ground-breaking effort and definitely a top-notch fifth season episode. Judge for yourself.

· · ·

Beat Sheet — Final Draft
by Matt Hutaff and Jorge Cisneros & Angela Worley

TEASER

1. INT. REMBRANDT’S ROOM — MORNING

Rembrandt awakens to the radio, where he is shocked to discover himself back in his apartment in San Francisco. His mustache has mysteriously grown back, and a newspaper on the floor reveals that it’s the day he slid. Rembrandt’s manager Artie knocks on his door to make sure he’s ready for his gig at Candlestick.

ACT ONE

2. INT. REMBRANDT’S ROOM — MORNING

A parody of the Pilot shows Artie watching the Spinning Topps on television. Rembrandt sits on his bed, shaking his head to make sure this isn’t a dream.

3. INT. REMBRANDT’S APARTMENT — DAY

Rembrandt talks to Artie in his living room, asking him about the past five years. Artie is suspicious but chalks it up to performance anxiety. A delivery boy knocks on the door and hands Rembrandt a dozen roses with a card attached that reads “I wish I was there. Love, Alicia.” He puts on his gold tux and looks at the mementos he has on the walls. Suddenly, Rembrandt grabs the white pages and finds Quinn Mallory’s phone number. He calls but is treated to the scene from the pilot where Quinn and Alt-Quinn say they’ll call back. Rembrandt grabs his stuff, kisses Artie’s bald forehead and runs out the door.

4. EXT. REMBRANDT’S APARTMENT — AFTERNOON

Rembrandt runs up to his car, takes an affectionate look and jumps in. He comments on how unreal this seems, like the dream was a prophesy.

5. EXT. REMBRANDT’S CAR — AFTERNOON

Rembrandt speeds down the road as he listens to the radio discuss last night’s Giants game.

6. EXT. SUBURBAN STREET — AFTERNOON

Rembrandt drives around, looking for Quinn’s house. He curses to himself when he realizes he’s lost.

7. EXT. QUINN’S HOUSE — AFTERNOON

Rembrandt drives up to Quinn’s house only to see the vortex disappear. He missed it. Rembrandt stops the car and lets his head collapse against the steering wheel.

ACT TWO

8. EXT. CANDLESTICK PARK — NIGHT

Rembrandt walks off the field after singing the National Anthem. The crowd goes nuts. Artie walks up to Rembrandt and gives him a hug. Rembrandt tells him he wants to head into the studio tomorrow — he’s got new material he wants to commit to tape. Artie agrees.

9. INT. RECORDING STUDIO — DAY

Rembrandt plays the piano and sings “Angel” from the episode Asylum. Artie plays back the end as well as plays the beginning of “Cry Like a Man.” Rembrandt smiles and reads some sheet music. The session continues.

10. INT. REMBRANDT’S APARTMENT — NIGHT

Rembrandt puts some of his old music on the record player and sips some water. He wonders if his sliding was just a dream, and if missing the vortex was a bad thing. Did he really slide? He grows remorseful that he’ll miss out on all the fun he had while sliding even though his dream had some sadness, too. He sits down and writes a song called “Missed Opportunities” that he sings before going to sleep.

11. INT. RECORDING STUDIO — DAY

Five days have passed. As one of Rembrandt’s songs plays over the monitors, Artie tells Rembrandt that his new material is amazing and they’ll release a single to the radio station in a day or two. Rembrandt is facing success and he’s genuinely happy.

12. INT. PUB — NIGHT

Rembrandt is hanging out with Artie when he sees images of Quinn, Arturo and Wade on the television above his table. He turns the television up. A surprised look on his face.

13. INT. REMBRANDT’S APARTMENT — NIGHT

Rembrandt watches the coverage of the live press conference he saw earlier. Quinn, the Professor and Wade returned from their slide, and the three held a huge press conference alerting the world to the invention. The news recaps it as Rembrandt frantically tries to call all three, but their phones are busy from the exposure. He realizes he’s the reason they never got home. A knock on the door. Rembrandt answers. It’s the delivery guy. Rembrandt asks him what he wants, and he delivers the startling revelation that he is a Facilitator and that he placed Rembrandt on this Earth!

ACT THREE

14. INT. REMBRANDT’S APARTMENT — NIGHT

The Facilitator details what happened to Rembrandt. On Jeff’s world, Sliding is commonplace. Rembrandt was sent to a world 4 years behind because the rest of his party have been relocated. Jeff reveals that Arturo, Wade and Quinn were all relocated to ideal earths when they were separated or presumed dead. Colin has been stuck on Lipschitz World since the EM radiation anchors him. Mallory and Diana have been sent home and Maggie is living the life of her double on a world identical to hers. Everyone is happy, Jeff says. Jeff tells Rembrandt that this Earth is identical to his earth in almost every way except that Rembrandt’s double on this earth died the night before the anthem of a heart attack. Alicia A’bo is in Vegas for a week but will return in five days to accept Rembrandt’s proposal that they live together. Jeff gives Rembrandt a number to call if there are any problems.

15. INT. FBI HEADQUARTERS — DAY

Several agents pore over material. The Agent in charge stands in the shadows, smoking a cigar and tell his subordinates that they get the proof they need. There’s been interdimensional travel and an investigation is started. [The dialogue will make it look like they're talking about the Sliders, not Rembrandt.]

16. INT. REMBRANDT’S APARTMENT — NIGHT

Rembrandt calls Jeff to arrange a meeting.

17. INT. RESTAURANT — NIGHT

Rembrandt talks to Jeff about the slide. Jeff tells Rembrandt to settle in, that his days of Sliding are over if he wants. True, it’s not his Earth exactly, but his Earth has moved on since he disappeared. Rembrandt also learns that EP in Genesis was not EP. Jeff tells Rembrandt that should he decide to return to his sliding lifestyle Maggie, Diana and Mallory will be dragged back against their will to the last earth they were on. Does Rembrandt want to upset the balance?

18. INT. MUSIC STORE — DAY

Rembrandt picks up his new album. There’s a huge cardboard cutout with The Cryin’ Man in the store. An undercover agent asks Rembrandt what music he’d recommend, although it’s not revealed the man works for the FBI.

19. EXT. REMBRANDT’S CAR — DAY

Rembrandt listens to the radio. His single finishes up followed by a news report detailing what’s happened to the other three Sliders. It’s hollow, however, since Rembrandt knows they aren’t his Sliders. He wants to get back to sliding more than ever but relents because Jeff said the others are happy in their other realities.

20. EXT. RESTAURANT — NIGHT

Rembrandt eats alone when a group of young fans come up and ask for an autograph. They tell Rembrandt how much they admire his music and how glad they are he put out another album after so many years. He signs the paper and thinks to himself, “Dang, I’ve got everything I’ve ever wanted since I started this crazy journey… and I’m miserable.” Another fan yells to him and he smiles, but only momentarily.

21. INT. FACILITATOR’S HOME — NIGHT

Jeff talks to his superiors about how his situation, and they give Jeff updates on the other three Sliders through a video screen. One is extremely happy but the other two are simply itching to slide again.

22. INT. REMBRANDT’S APARTMENT

Rembrandt sits and picks up a bottle of alcohol. He eyes it and puts it down, “I don’t need any booze to be the Cryin’ Man.” Jeff knocks on the door and marvels that Rembrandt is despondent. Why aren’t you taking advantage of this? he asks. Rembrandt replies that his life as a singer and entertainer is over, and a carbon copy of his earth is not enough to help him get over the loss of his six friends. He loves his life as a Slider, for better of worse, and wouldn’t trade it in for all the harm it brings him. Besides, he’s even more upset that he’s trapped on this earth knowing that his three friends are alive and that Mallory, Maggie and Diana cannot be reached, and that if he risks bringing them back together, they might resent their one chance at happiness. Jeff empathizes, but tells Rembrandt he can’t help, that he’s already given too much information… then the door is broken in! FBI Agent Lee from Summer of Love arrests the two and moves them out.

ACT FOUR

23. INT. INTERROGATION ROOM — NIGHT

The FBI questions how Rembrandt came to this earth. They know he’s a Slider because the government has wormhole detection devices. They throw Rembrandt in his cell.

24. INT. CELL — NIGHT

Rembrandt sits alone for a couple of minutes. Jeff returns to the cell and sits down. He tells Rembrandt that he can no longer stay here and that his superiors have allowed him to return Remmy to the last world he was on. He also tells Rembrandt that it’s because of him that the other three are being forcibly returned to that world as well, without any warning. A guard comes and opens the for another round of interrogation, but Jeff zaps him with a Tazer and the two run.

25. INT. HALLWAY — NIGHT

The two run out the building. Guards follow as the klaxon sounds.

26. EXT. FBI BUILDING — NIGHT

The two run out the building into a nearby alley.

27. EXT. ALLEY — NIGHT

Jeff hurriedly configures his translocator. A wormhole opens. He tells Rembrandt to jump through. Rembrandt does. FBI agents round the corner as that wormhole closes, guns aimed. Jeff smiles and opens a wormhole between him and them. He jumps through. An FBI agent tries to follow but the gate closes.

28. INT. CHANDLER — DAY

Diana, Maggie and Mallory wake Rembrandt up. Diana and Maggie are ecstatic to see Remmy. Mallory sits in a chair looking at nothing in particular. Diana asks about the mustache. Maggie tells them about how she was reunited with Steven Jensen and how that world was perfect but she saw through the facade. Diana was home and wanted to slide, too. The only thing stopping them was the other’s happiness. Mallory disagrees. He *was* happy. He doesn’t think he’ll ever forgive Rembrandt. Remmy sees his CD on the dresser with a note from Jeff, saying “Thought you might want this.” Remmy smiles, then tells the others that all of his friends are alive and out there, and they’re going to find them, along with his real EP.

FADE OUT.