Part 1: Super Santa

Our original screenplay that drove an illustrated novel trilogy

Mookie Spitz
39 min readFeb 26, 2024

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Background

Knee-deep into my sexless marriage, I needed a job. Recently getting canned from a corporate nightmare, I was batting .000 and took drastic action. Waltzing into a consumer healthcare marketing agency in Orange County, CA with infinite enthusiasm and infinitesimal credentials, I had no idea what to expect, so expected the best. Lo and behold, it happened.

“My prerequisites for considering a candidate for this junior copywriter role,” announced Lisa, the managing director reviewing my resume with overt contempt, “is a BA in science, preferably with a minor or double-major is English — and you have neither.” “Then why did you bother scheduling our interview?” I asked, curious. “Why, indeed,” she nodded.

Lisa hated my resume, but loved my cover letter. “I can instantly tell if someone is a good writer, and you seem to at least have that. But far as everything else goes…” Trying to confirm my scientific bona fides, I showed her a manual I edited, Semen Analysis: A Practical Guide. “Look!” I boasted. “Cambridge University Press.” She was underwhelmed, and appalled.

Brought in as a freelancer, I was literally seated beneath the agency’s stairs like Harry Potter at his evil aunt Petunia’s. Within a few weeks I wrote the website copy for an osteoporosis drug to expectation, and Lisa — much to her own dismay — hired me full time. I quickly gained a reputation for pounding on keyboards, loud enough to resonate throughout the building.

Clack-clack-clack — click-clack-clack! “Write with blood,” wrote Nietzsche in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, “and you will find that blood is spirit.” Well, I wrote like a body builder doing bench presses with the keyboard, or a crazed gorilla smashing luggage in a zoo cage, making it count. And if that didn’t drive everyone nuts, then my ADHD-fueled volume and restlessness did.

I fit right in, best gig I ever had, and one creating a career that peaked and crashed long after it should have. Addicted to caffeine and unable to sit still, at this early phase I kept well hydrated by visiting the kitchen every twenty minutes. Each time I went downstairs I ran into Rusty, a recent emigre from Ukraine who must have been equally thirsty and jittery.

We became fast friends, me a first generation American, he fresh off the boat. In addition to feeling like strangers in a strange land, we had complementary creative skills, and a lust for storytelling, too. He shared a good idea that I liked: A Syrian refugee girl makes a Christmas Wish for her family to be safe from harm, then appeals to all the world’s Santas for help.

“I call the story Team Santa,” said Rusty. “When one Santa isn’t enough, she recruits Santas from France, Germany, Mexico…” I hadn’t thought about Santas from various countries before, had never thought about any Santa at all, let alone an international team of them, but the concept sounded intriguing. Everyone loves Santa — who wouldn’t love a dozen of them?

We tossed the idea around for a week, and I wrote a treatment. Aside from the little girl’s wish being fulfilled, what was the goal? Where was the Bad Guy? Then it hit me: If we can feature a Japanese Santa, and an English Santa, then why not a Super Santa? After all, Saint Nick delivered millions of presents every year, clearly a superhuman feat, so not much of a stretch.

The multinational Santas had their own origin stories, indigenous clothing and traditions — what about our Super Santa? We needed a “Why?” and found it by depicting Traditional Santa as boring to today’s kids, who instead love their video games, action movies, and superheroes. Feeling like a has-been, Saint Nicholas supers-himself-up to become cool again.

The Syrian refugee became an American girl who witnesses the holiday being commercialized by a Santa Claus intoxicated by fame, forgeting about the true “Spirit of Christmas”. Unable to change Saint Nick’s mind, she recruits Team Santa to snap him out of it. But we still needed that Bad Guy — and found him through a “real” Superhero who takes advantage...

The backbone of the story set, Rusty and I got to work writing a screenplay. We chose the classic “30–60–90” storytelling arc, and imagined it as a Pixar style, full length, animated movie for kids and their parents. Still employed despite our frequent kitchen breaks, we met in my office for a couple hours weekday mornings before each workday started.

A copywriter, I did the frantic typing, Rusty reading what we cooked up that evening, and bringing in fresh ideas the next day. We argued over the details and dialogue within each scene, but had a shared vision that grounded us, and made our creative collaboration greater than the sum of our individual contributions. We loved working together, and had a blast.

We completed SUPER SANTA within a couple months, and fine tuned it for a few more weeks until deeming it ready for pitching in Hollywood. Rusty had a few contacts at various studios, and we did our best — but as industry outsiders, chances were slim of getting the thing read, let alone optioned. From the get-go I thought of a book version, and pitched Rusty on that.

With industry enthusiasm for our script starting at zero and going down from there, I wrote a simplified version as a bedtime storybook for younger kids. Rusty, a professional illustrator, did sketches, but the book version didn’t gain steam, and we eventually forgot about it and the screenplay, moving on to complete another script with a totally different theme.

Fast forward from 2008 to 2021: I moved to NYC, and thirteen years after finishing SUPER SANTA the idea strikes me to reignite the book version, but this time as a satirical holiday novel for adults. Instead of toning it down, we could go wild, and indulge our irreverent, cynical, quirky humor, and let the absurd situations evolve, and characters tell their own tales.

The first step was for me to transcribe the screenplay into long form prose. I could have kept the book simple, but the process grew on me, and as scenes became longer and more detailed narratives, I sensed we were onto something. Months in, the mechanical prose morphed into a deeper, complex story, the momentum of the project building into a creative surge.

Originally restricted to a film with a running time of 90 minutes, a page a minute, Rusty and I had to be as succinct as possible with descriptions, characters, and story elements. Now that our screenplay canvas expanded into a novel, those boundaries vanished giving us freedom — and with it plot gaps that became evident, the story screaming for emotional resonance.

Most glaring in the movie was our predominant focus on Santa and the Superheroes. Later in the story, the little girl Emily is missing, and the family flies to California to find her. I wrote a scene from scratch featuring her parents and brother on the plane, and realized that SUPER SANTA demanded an entirely new, parallel narrative centered around her family.

That’s when the heavy lifting began for me — a couple hours a day turning into five, six, sometimes eight or more hours of writing alongside my consulting work. I had a vision of what the novel could be, and the delta I saw on the page drove me to pound away on the keyboard — clack-clack-clack — click-clack-clack! — like never before. I was learning to write a novel.

Somewhere between fifty and a hundred thousand words, Rusty saw we were onto something, too. Springboarding off his early sketches and his still-birthed childrens’ book art, he developed a distinctive Super Santa illustration style, bringing our scenes to life. We worked cross-country within a dynamic Google Doc, leaving comments, embedding images.

The joy we shared partnering up to write the screenplay proportionally increased with the sheer size of the burgeoning novel, which blew up into a trilogy. Published last September, the first of our three SUPER SANTA books contains 141,000 words, and 181 illustrations. We’re set to launch the next two this year, ready in time for a boxed gift set for Christmas 2024.

In case you’re curious about the novel and evolving trilogy, here’s another blog post with more background, and a sample of the first chapter:

And here’s the original screenplay. Rereading and posting it here is an homage to our friendship, and memento to the creative process. Enjoy it as much as we did!

SUPER SANTA

by Mookie Spitz & Rusty Yunusoff

WGA# 1306100

CHRISTMAS EVE, 2008

EXT — FRONT OF AMERICAN SUBURBAN HOUSE, NIGHT

Property is decorated with Christmas lights. Snow falls lightly, having already covered the roof, landscape, and decorations.

We see into living room, where TOMMY (age 10) and sister EMILY (age 7) sit on a couch in front of their TV.

INT — TOMMY AND EMILY’S HOUSE, LIVING ROOM

A Christmas tree blinks. A role-playing video game is in progress on the TV.

TOMMY controls the muscular, gadget-laden superhero MR. ASTONISHING.

EMILY controls his size-shifting side-kick NANO-GAL.

CLOSE UP of ONSCREEN ACTION.

SUPERHEROES battle the villain MEDIAFRENZY, a large robot shaped something like a walking octopus, with dozens of video monitors strung on every writhing tentacle, each streaming a series of scary images.

MEDIAFRENZY tries to grab NANO-GAL (EMILY), who distracts and eludes him by shrinking into smaller sizes, enabling MR. ASTONISHING (TOMMY) to blast it with high-tech gadgets.

TOMMY
(frantically working controls)
We got him!

EMILY
Bring down the cage!

Large CAGE plummets on top of MEDIAFRENZY, who is trapped.

MOM (V.O.)
Tommy! Emily!

TOMMY
We’re playing, mom!

EMILY
Almost done!

MOM (V.O.)
It’s 10 o’clock! Time for bed!

TOMMY and EMILY
Be right there!

MR. ASTONISHING blasts the caged MEDIAFRENZY a few more times, weakening him so that NANO-GAL can pull his plug.

ONSCREEN TITLE OVER:
“Superheroes Win!”

TOMMY
(arms up)
Yay!

EMILY
(hugging TOMMY)
We did it!

TOMMY
(pushing her away)
Now we’re ready for “Mr. Astonishing II”!

EMILY
I can’t wait!

TOMMY
Do you think we’ll get it for Christmas this year?

EMILY
I sure hope so.

MOM (V.O.)
Tommy!! Emily!!

TOMMY and EMILY
We’re coming, mom…

INT — TOMMY’S BEDROOM, 3 HOURS LATER

TOMMY is snoozing in his bed.

INT — EMILY’S BEDROOM

EMILY is snoozing in her bed.

INT — LIVING ROOM

Lights are off, except for blinking Christmas tree.

Commotion by the chimney, some dust. Moments later SANTA CLAUS comes crawling out with his big bag of presents.

SANTA, visibly bored, yawns loudly and removes presents and arranges them around the tree like he’s been doing this same routine for centuries, which, in fact, he has.

SANTA accidentally drops a tree ornament, which falls and shatters on the floor with a loud crash.

INT — TOMMY’S BEDROOM

TOMMY stirs in bed, sits up, turns on the light.

TOMMY listens for a moment then gets out of bed and exits. We see that he’s wearing pajamas with the SUPERHEROES on them.

INT — EMILY’S BEDROOM

TOMMY opens EMILY’s door slightly, peers inside.

TOMMY
Psst! Psst!
(whispering)
Emily! Did you hear that?

EMILY stirs in her bed, but rolls back over, breathes deeply, starts to snore softly. TOMMY shakes his head, closes her door, and heads downstairs.

INT — LIVING ROOM

TOMMY descends to the bottom of the stairs, stops, squints, rubs his eyes.

POV of SANTA arranging the last few presents.

TOMMY
Oh, it’s just you.
(waving blandly)
Hi, Santa.

SANTA
(turning nervously around, whispering)
Shhh! You’re supposed to be sleeping!

TOMMY
Did you bring it?

SANTA
Shhhhh! Get back to bed!

TOMMY
(whispering)
Well, did you? Did you bring the game?

SANTA
Which game?

TOMMY
(raising his voice)
What do you mean which game? “Mr. Astonishing II”!

SANTA
Shhhh!
(SANTA looks around nervously)
These presents are none of your business until you get to open them in the morning.

TOMMY
Come on… please?

SANTA
(pointing to stairs)
Go!

TOMMY
Pretty please? What kind of Santa are you, anyway?

SANTA
Upstairs!

TOMMY
All right, all right…

TOMMY starts to head for the stairs, then suddenly turns back and lunges for a present, which SANTA pulls away.

TOMMY and SANTA race around the Christmas tree and throughout the living room.

Tired out, SANTA and TOMMY sit next to each other, both of them breathing heavily.

SANTA
Is Mr. Astonishing… all you care about?

TOMMY
Who else is there… to care about?

SANTA
How about me?… You weren’t even surprised to see me!

TOMMY
You’re just Santa Claus.

SANTA sighs, and tosses TOMMY the present.

TOMMY
I got him!

TOMMY takes hold of the present and eagerly rips it open.

TOMMY
(loudly again)
“Mr. Astonishing II”!
(waving game, jumping about)
Awesome!

SANTA sadly watches TOMMY excitedly run up the steps.

SANTA
(sarcastically)
Merry Christmas, Tommy.

SANTA sadly throws his bag of presents over his shoulder, and dejectedly creeps back into and up the chimney.

EXT — CHRISTMAS EVE SKY, NIGHT

SANTA CLAUS steers his nine REINDEER across the stars.

SANTA
(lack of enthusiasm)
Ho, ho, ho.

Without breaking their mid-air stride, a couple of REINDEER turn and look back at SANTA, raising their eyebrows.

SANTA
(clears his throat, forced enthusiasm)
Ho, ho, ho!

If REINDEER could shrug, they do, and turn back to their galloping across the stars.

EXT — ANOTHER HOME, ROOFTOP, LATER

SANTA lands his sleigh and half-heartedly grabs his bag of presents, even more apathetic than he was before.

SANTA leaps down the chimney, a wisp of dust as punctuation mark.

INT — ANOTHER HOME, LIVING ROOM

SANTA exits the chimney and sneaks across another living room with a blinking Christmas tree.

SANTA unloads presents for a moment then looks contemplatively up the stairs…

INT — BOY’S BEDROOM

SANTA enters the room silently, careful not to wake up the sleeping BOY.

SANTA sees posters, action figures, and other knick-knacks of the superhero character MR. ASTONISHING.

INT — GIRL’S BEDROOM

SANTA enters the room silently, careful not to wake up the sleeping GIRL.

SANTA sees posters, action figures, and other knick-knacks of the superhero character NANO-GAL.

INT — KIDS’ PLAY ROOM

SANTA enters the room and sees even more posters, action figures, video games, and other knick-knacks of the SUPERHEROES fighting their nemesis, MEDIAFRENZY.

SANTA gazes into a full-body wall mirror and compares himself to a life-sized poster of MR. ASTONISHING.

SANTA tries to suck in his gut and flex his muscles to match the superhero pose, but gives up, sighing deeply.

As he exits, SANTA turns for one final peek at the room.

POV of all the action figures, video games and other knickknacks of the SUPERHEROES and their VILLAIN gazing back at him as if mocking SANTA, who stands there visibly wrecked.

EXT — CHRISTMAS EVE SKY

SANTA steers his nine REINDEER across the stars.

The sleigh flies over a TOY STORE, featuring enormous animated and glowing advertisements for SUPERHERO TOYS.

The sleigh flies over Christmas decorations. The glowing plastic Santas and lighted reindeer look shoddy and reused, with faded colors and burned-out light bulbs.

EXT — NORTH POLE WORKSHOP, SLEIGH AREA, LATER THAT NIGHT

SANTA lands and drags his empty bag back into the enormous wooden building situated out in the snowy tundra.

His REINDEER, still bridled, watch for a moment, then turn to munch on reindeer chow brought by WORKER ELVES.

WORKER ELF #1
What’s up with Santa?

WORKER ELF #2
(shrugging)
Beats me.

INT — NORTH POLE WORKSHOP, MAIN ROOM

SANTA enters the immense room, full of bustling machinery and hustling WORKER ELVES.

SANTA is greeted by his chief ELF, clipboard in hand, delegating responsibilities.

ELF
(points to huge wall map of US)
Eastern seaboard covered, Santa.
(points to his wrist watch)
Looks like we’re right on schedule!

SANTA gazes at the large but very ancient North Pole facilities, as if for the first time.

ELF
Some heavy snow in the Midwest, boss, you might want to bypass Chicago for now —

SANTA tosses his empty bag at his ELF’s feet and walks off without saying a word.

ELF follows him.

INT — NORTH POLE WORKSHOP, BY SANTA’S ROOM

They go to a wooden door with a sign that reads: “SANTA CLAUS”.

SANTA opens door, enters, and swings the door. But the ELF sneaks in half-way, holding the door slightly ajar.

Numerous WORKER ELVES stop and watch. ELF gestures for them to get back to work then quickly enters, closing the door.

INT — NORTH POLE WORKSHOP, INSIDE SANTA’S ROOM

Big furniture for big SANTA, who sits with his head in his hands.

ELF
You OK?

SANTA
A boy saw me tonight.

ELF
How could you let that happen?

SANTA
That wasn’t the worst of it.

ELF
What could be worse than that! No child should ever —

SANTA
The boy who saw me couldn’t have cared less.

ELF
He wasn’t surprised to see you?

SANTA
He ran off soon as he got his superhero toy. Kids these days love superheroes more than their old, fat, Santa Claus.

ELF
Come on! That’s just a toy.

SANTA looks critically at the ELF, then reaches into a pocket and pulls out an unwrapped box, handing it over.

ELF
(genuinely beaming)
Mr. Astonishing! Awesome!

SANTA
Keep it.
(pointing to door)
— And get out!

SANTA angrily pushes ELF out, slams the door shut.

INT — NORTH POLE WORKSHOP, BY SANTA’S ROOM

ELF
(knocking again)
Santa! Santa! Open up!

SANTA (V.O.)
I said go away!

ELF looks at the closed door, then at the box. ELF opens box, removes action figure, and gives it a good study.

After a few moments ELF rubs his chin, his eye twinkling.

ELF
Come on out. I have an idea.

SANTA (V.O.)
I, don’t, care!

ELF
Suit yourself.

ELF turns away and starts walking from the closed door.

ELF
(mumbling to himself)
Stubborn, out of touch, fat old man…

SANTA (V.O.)
What was that?!

ELF stops, turns, and walks back to SANTA’s closed door.

ELF
(cupping his mouth, speaking loudly)
I said: “Stubborn, out of touch, fat — “

SANTA swings the door open.

SANTA
How dare you!?

ELF
(holds up toy, winks)
Trust me.

INT — NORTH POLE WORKSHOP, DRESSING ROOM

SANTA stands with his arms extended to either side, mirrors all around.

ELF directs SEAMSTRESS ELVES and HAIR BURNER ELVES as they give SANTA a (very bad) makeover.

ELF
A little more here… Less there… Better… Almost…

MAKEOVER MONTAGE seen from POV of SANTA:

SEAMSTRESS ELF #1
OK, if you say so…

HAIRBURNER ELF #2
Wait ’til you see this!

SEAMSTRESS ELF #3
Any tighter and he’ll burst.

CUT TO scene of WORKER ELVES and REINDEER waiting impatiently in front of a closed curtain. ELVES gossip loudly.

ELF comes out from behind the curtain.

ELF
Elves and reindeer, allow me to introduce…

ELF pulls the curtain open as POV shifts to SANTA’s again:

ELF
“Super-Santa”!

WORKER ELVES jaws drop and REINDEER stop chewing their cud.

INT — EMILY’S BEDROOM, LATER THAT NIGHT

Door creaks open and TOMMY enters.

TOMMY
(shaking her leg)
Psst! Emily!
(shaking harder)
Emily! Wake up!

EMILY
(up suddenly)
What? Who? Tommy?

TOMMY
Guess what I have?

EMILY
Huh?

TOMMY, who’s been holding something behind his back, now brings his hands forward and shows her his new video game.

EMILY
“Mr. Astonishing II”?!

TOMMY
Let’s go down and play it!

EMILY
Tommy! We’re not supposed to open any of our presents until Christmas morning!

TOMMY
I, know. But guess who gave it to me?

EMILY
Who?

TOMMY
Santa Claus!

EMILY rolls her eyes and lies back down.

TOMMY
Seriously!

EMILY
I’m going back to sleep…

TOMMY
You don’t believe me, do you?

EMILY
(angrily leaning up)
You’ll make anything up so you can open your presents early!

INT — TOMMY AND EMILY’S HOUSE, LIVING ROOM

CLOSE UP of hand intentionally dropping a tree ornament, which falls and shatters on the floor with a loud crash.

INT — EMILY’S BEDROOM

EMILY
What was that?

TOMMY
Come on!

EMILY gets out of bed and runs out of her room with TOMMY.

INT — LIVING ROOM

TOMMY and EMILY rush into the living room.

SUPER-SANTA (V.O.)
Ho, ho, ho!

Noise and dust as SUPER-SANTA crawls out of the chimney and jumps into the living room in his zany new costume.

SANTA now sports new hairdo, his coat replaced with red and white fur-lined tights, with a big “S.C.” emblazed on his chest and his fur-lined cape.

SUPER-SANTA
Mer-ry Christmas!

EMILY
Oh, my, GOD!

TOMMY
Santa?

SUPER-SANTA
(posing)
Super-Santa, at your service!

Belt flies open and roll of belly fat plops out “bloop”.

TOMMY and EMILY burst out laughing.

SUPER-SANTA is shocked then confused, and steps defensively backward, right into the Christmas tree, knocking it down.

Pandemonium as SUPER-SANTA tries to set things right again.

TOMMY and EMILY laugh even louder.

SUPER-SANTA frowns and vanishes back up the chimney in a cloud of dust and smoke.

TOMMY keeps laughing.

EMILY stands there, looking very confused and concerned.

EMILY
What was that?

TOMMY
I think Santa was trying to be a superhero, like Mr. Astonishing.

EMILY
Did you have something to do with this?

TOMMY
You gotta admit that was pretty funny!

EMILY
Tommy! This just isn’t right.

TOMMY
Come on! Let’s go play the game…

EXT — CHRISTMAS EVE SKY, LATER THAT NIGHT

SUPER-SANTA lashes the reigns as the REINDEER pump the air, the sleigh weaving erratically across the sky.

EXT — URBAN NEIGHBORHOOD, INSIDE AN ALLEY

Sleigh plummets, sails into the alley, and skids to a rough stop by some dumpsters.

The nine REINDEER watch SUPER-SANTA leap out and scamper down the alley.

EXT — CITY STREET

SUPER-SANTA walks dejectedly down the street, his empty bag dragging behind him.

Outside a store is a SALVATION ARMY SANTA with red bucket and ringing bell.

SALVATION ARMY SANTA
Ho, ho, ho!
(looks at SUPER-SANTA)
Hah, hah, hah!

INT — CONVENIENCE STORE

SUPER-SANTA buys a large container of eggnog.

STORE CLERK rings him up, looking at SUPER-SANTA with dismay.

EXT — CITY STREET

SUPER-SANTA staggers down the street.

SUPER-SANTA
(drunken singing)
Jingle, bells. (Hiccup!)
Jingle, bells. (Hiccup!)
Jingle, all, the… waaaaaayyyy…

RED LIGHTS flash around him, sound of a squelching siren.

PATROL OFFICER (V.O.)
(through PA)
You! Step up to the curb!

INT — CITY POLICE STATION, JAIL CELL

CLOSE UP of SUPER-SANTA sitting in a cell.

PULL BACK reveals he’s with a bunch of DRUNKS, many of them dressed in Santa Claus costumes.

DRUNK SANTA #1
Who’s that, Peter Pan?

DRUNK SANTA #2
He’s too old and too fat.

DRUNK SANTA #3
“Super Santa”!

DRUNK SANTA #1
“Super Santa”?

All the DRUNK SANTAS laugh uproariously.

DRUNK SANTA #3
Wonder if he comes with an Elf?

DRUNK SANTA #1
A super elf!

INT — CITY POLICE STATION, FRONT OFFICE

POLICE OFFICER sits at a desk, doing paperwork. Bell rings. He sees nobody. Bell rings again. OFFICER hits button.

Waist-high door separating the WAITING ROOM from the FRONT OFFICE buzzes and opens, revealing ELF, who scampers in.

OFFICER stands, does a double-take seeing the ELF.

POLICE OFFICER
Let me guess: You’re here to retrieve a Santa?

ELF stands there waiting. ELF clears his throat.

POLICE OFFICER
Ho, ho, ho. Let’s go.

POLICE OFFICER escorts ELF farther inside to the cells.

JAIL CELL
Cell doors open, all the SANTAS look up.

POLICE OFFICER
OK, which one is yours?

ELF
Leotards, cape, Elvis side burns, can’t miss him.

DRUNK SANTA #1 points to ELF, then to SUPER-SANTA, and gestures to DRUNK SANTA #3.

DRUNK SANTA #1
You were right! There’s his Elf!

DRUNK SANTAS laugh again.

ELF helps SUPER-SANTA up, guides him out of the cell.

EXT — CITY STREET

Yellow lights flash as ELF and distraught, embarrassed SUPER-SANTA watch their sleigh lowered from a tow truck.

ELF opens the door for SUPER-SANTA, who stares at him and then reluctantly climbs in.

ELF follows, closing the door behind them.

They sit there for a few moments.

SUPER-SANTA
Now what?

As if on cue, a large horse trailer pulls up to the curb.

DRIVER exits the cab and walks over to the sleigh, then holds out a clipboard and a pen for the ELF.

DRIVER
You wanna sign for these nine flying reindeer?

ELF signs, DRIVER returns to the trailer.

Back door swings down as nine unhappy REINDEER clop out of the back.

EXT — CHRISTMAS EVE SKY, LATER THAT NIGHT

ELF steers the sleigh, while SUPER-SANTA lies utterly wiped out in back.

REINDEER openly snicker at them.

INT — NORTH POLE WORKSHOP, DRESSING ROOM, SAME NIGHT

SANTA stands with his arms extended, mirrors all around.

ELF directs SEAMSTRESS ELVES and HAIR BURNER ELVES as they turn SUPER-SANTA back into SANTA again.

SUPER-SANTA
I can’t do this anymore.

ELF
The kids are waiting for you. The kids are counting on you.

SUPER-SANTA
The kids are laughing at me.

ELF
Not anymore they won’t.

SUPER-SANTA
This was all your idea.

ELF
We’ll talk about it later. For now, you just have to finish Christmas. OK?

SUPER-SANTA stands there, the ELVES still working on him.

ELF
OK?
(pause)
OK?

SUPER-SANTA is now back to being SANTA, looking at himself in the mirrors, disappointed yet somewhat centered again.

SANTA
OK.

EXT — CHRISTMAS CROSS-COUNTRY, A LITTLE LATER

MONTAGE: SANTA flies back and forth from his NORTH POLE WORKSHOP to various cities, getting through the night.

INT — RANDOM HOUSE, LIVING ROOM, THAT NIGHT

SANTA tosses presents underneath yet another tree. One present falls to the side and SANTA kicks it under tree.

EXT — RANDOM HOUSE, ROOFTOP

SANTA gazes down a chimney and hesitates a moment. SANTA looks both ways then tosses presents down there.

EXT — INSIDE FLYING SLEIGH

SANTA looks down, thinks a moment and then tosses presents over the side.

Some presents land in the front yard of another home, strike the Christmas decorations, breaking and knocking them down.

SANTA
(zero enthusiasm)
Ho, ho, hum…

SANTA falls asleep, keeps snoozing away as the sleigh continues flying farther and father west.

EXT — BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA, NIGHT

Sleigh descends through neighborhood of large mansions, swimming pools, manicured landscapes, etc.

EXT — INSIDE FLYING SLEIGH

SANTA leans heavily to the side in his sleep, and rolls out of the sleigh.

SANTA plummets downward, falling right into the chimney of one of the mansions, his bag following him.

INT — BEVERLY HILLS MANSION, LIVING ROOM

Room screams wealth and power. Tall Christmas tree, loaded with fancy holiday ornaments, blinks in the semi-darkness.

Commotion as SANTA plummets to the bottom of the chimney. Large bag of presents follows and strikes him on the head.

SANTA brushes himself off and throws the bag over his shoulder. He sneaks toward the tree and sees a large family portrait above the fireplace, depicting MR. ASTONISHING and NANO-GAL.

NANO-GAL (V.O.)
Did you bring me something special tonight?

Startled SANTA drops bag and turns around suddenly.

NANO-GAL walks slowly down a large spiral staircase.

NANO-GAL
Ever since I was a little girl I’ve always believed in Santa Claus.

NANO-GAL reaches the bottom of the steps and sashays over.

NANO-GAL
And now…
(arms extended)
Here you are!

NANO-GAL holds SANTA’S hand.

SANTA blushes.

NANO-GAL
(curtseying)
“Nano-Gal,” at your service!

SANTA
You’re real?!

NANO-GAL
Funny hearing that from you!

SANTA
But the toys, the games…

NANO-GAL
Of course I’m real!
(she pinches his belly)
Real as Santa Claus!

NANO-GAL pirouettes, and pushes SANTA back into a large, comfy armchair.

NANO-GAL sits delicately on SANTA’S lap, turns to him and smiles.

SANTA blushes even redder.

NANO-GAL
Can I make a wish?

SANTA
What does a real-life superhero ask for?

NANO-GAL
Don’t be silly! Everybody has a wish.

SANTA
(sadly)
Sometimes I just wish someone could grant me a wish.

NANO-GAL
What could Santa Claus possibly wish for?

SANTA
(turns away)
I feel like the kids have forgotten about me. They just want their “superhero” toys.

NANO-GAL
I’m so sorry…

SANTA
I wish the kids would think that I’m cool, too.

NANO-GAL thinks for a moment, then beams.

NANO-GAL
Let me help you!

Sad SANTA gently pushes NANO-GAL off his lap and stands.

SANTA
I tried everything. The kids are still laughing at me.

SANTA throws bag over his shoulder, returns to chimney.

MR. ASTONISHING (V.O.)
Going somewhere, old boy?

Startled SANTA watches MR. ASTONISHING walk into frame, muscle bound and well coiffed, superhero robe and slippers.

MR. ASTONISHING
(extending hand)
Leaving so soon?

SANTA
(drops bag)
Mr. Astonishing!

MR. ASTONISHING
I see you’ve met my sister.

SANTA
Your sister?

NANO-GAL winks.

MR. ASTONISHING
Stay awhile?

SANTA
The kids are waiting for their toys…

MR. ASTONISHING
And not for Santa. Yes, a shame, I couldn’t help but overhear.
(gestures to NANO-GAL)
Some drinks for the big boys?

NANO-GAL sighs, heads toward the bar.

MR. ASTONISHING gestures, SANTA sits.

MR. ASTONISHING lightly kicks the bag of presents to one side then sits down next to SANTA.

MR. ASTONISHING
Celebrities need to change with the times, Santa.

SANTA
I’ve never thought of myself as a “celebrity”.

MR. ASTONISHING
That, old boy, is your problem. As a celebrity, you need professional help.

SANTA
What do you mean?

MR. ASTONISHING
Let real superheroes show you how to do things right.

SANTA
Will the kids think I’m cool?

MR. ASTONISHING
The kids will adore you, just like they adore us.

SANTA
What do I need to do?

MR. ASTONISHING
If I grant you your wish, then all you have to do is grant me mine.

SANTA
Sure! But making a wish doesn’t mean it’ll come true.

MR. ASTONISHING
Really now?

SANTA
It all depends on whether you’ve been naughty or nice.

MR. ASTONISHING
That’s it? I can manage that! Do we have a deal?

SANTA
Yes!

MR. ASTONISHING
Excellent. We’ll make you one of us…

NANO-GAL returns with the drinks.

MR. ASTONISHING toasts.

MR. ASTONISHING
Welcome to our team!

Glasses “tink” together.

INT — SUPERHERO DRESSING ROOM, A FEW MINUTES LATER

SANTA is led up to a circular podium, where he stands.

NANO-GAL
Raise your arms, close your eyes.

Several WORKER ROBOTS (like hovering mechanical elves) appear and start fussing over SANTA and his dimensions.

WORKER ROBOT #1
Stand still!

WORKER ROBOT #2
Arms out to your side!

WORKER ROBOT #3
Who did this outfit?

A 360 degree mirror descends, reflections into infinity.

MONTAGE of SUPER-SANTA getting an all-pro makeover, and transforming into a very convincing SUPERHERO-SANTA.

NANO-GAL
Open your eyes!

SUPERHERO-SANTA sees himself, flushes with satisfaction.

WORKER ROBOT #1
Not bad.

WORKER ROBOT #2
You should have listened to me on the cut.

WORKER ROBOT #3
He looks fabulous!

MR. ASTONISHING and NANO-GAL applaud, followed by the WORKER ROBOTS.

SUPERHERO-SANTA beams.

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Ho, ho, ho!

MR. ASTONISHING
Give it another whirl, could you, old boy?

SUPERHERO-SANTA
(clears throat)
HO, HO, HO!

INT — TOMMY’S BEDROOM, LATER THAT NIGHT

TOMMY is snoozing in his bed.

INT — EMILY’S BEDROOM, LATER THAT NIGHT

EMILY is snoozing in her bed.

SUPERHERO-SANTA (V.O.)
HO, HO, HO!

TOMMY stirs in his bed, listening.

EMILY stirs in her bed, listening.

SUPERHERO-SANTA (V.O.)
Mer-ry, Christmas!

INT — TOMMY’S BEDROOM

TOMMY gets out of bed as EMILY comes rushing into his room.

EMILY
Did you hear that?

TOMMY flings the window open.

POV of the sleigh, flush with TOMMY’s bedroom window, hovering there.

TOMMY and EMILY gape in awe.

TOMMY and EMILY
Cool!

SUPERHERO-SANTA tosses dozens of presents at TOMMY and EMILY, who duck.

The presents fill TOMMY’S BEDROOM.

TOMMY and EMILY
Whoa.

SUPERHERO-SANTA is about to take off…

TOMMY
I wish you could do this every night!

SUPERHERO-SANTA
For you kids, why not?

TOMMY
Super-Santa does Super-Christmas, oh yeah!
(pumping the air)
Awesome!

EMILY
Thank you, Santa!

SUPERHERO-SANTA smiles broadly, zooms off.

TOMMY and EMILY furiously unwrap presents, paper all over the floor.

INT — NORTH POLE WORKSHOP, BREAK OF DAWN

A mess, the floor covered in wrapping paper.

WORKER ELVES are resting, drinking eggnog, taking naps.

The front door bursts open and SUPERHERO-SANTA enters.

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Ho, ho, ho!

Startled WORKER ELVES fall off machines and wake up.

ELF
(pointing to watch)
Finally!
(pointing to SUPERHERO-SANTA)
Santa! What happened to you? Where’d you get those clothes?

SUPERHERO-SANTA
(tossing down bag)
I need more toys!

ELF
No you don’t, we’re all done.

SUPERHERO-SANTA
I shine one night a year, while the real superheroes are cool all the time!

ELF
This was my stupid idea.

SUPERHERO-SANTA
No, it was brilliant!

ELF
I just did it so you’d cheer up and finish Christmas.

SUPERHERO-SANTA
It worked! Look at me now! You had the right idea, but it took real superheroes to make me cool. Why “Santa”?
(poses)
When you can have “Super-Santa”?

ELF
Oh, oh.

SUPERHERO-SANTA
And why “Christmas”?
(flings presents)
When you can have “Super-Christmas”?

ELF
“Super-Christmas”?

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Presents delivered every night of the year!
(poses)
Get me ready for tonight!

ELF
This is absurd. You should get rid of those clothes, and we all should get some rest.

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Rest? Superheroes never rest.

ELF
Since when are you a superhero? You’re Santa Claus! We have Christmas once a year. Now stop this nonsense, and get some sleep.

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Look at me! I’m the real deal! Get the place ready!

ELF
But we always get a whole year to get ready for Christmas Eve!

SUPERHERO-SANTA
You’ve never let me down. I’m counting on you.

SUPERHERO-SANTA exits, ELF surrounded by WORKER ELVES.

ELF turns a page on his clipboard, clears his throat.

ELF
OK, you heard the man. “Elf chores and elbows,” let’s go!

WORKER ELVES begrudgingly get back to work.

WORKER ELF #1
They’ve got to be kidding.

WORKER ELF #2
I’m too old for all this work.

WORKER ELF #1
And too short.

WORKER ELF #2
Overtime pay?

WORKER ELF #1
Like that’ll happen.

WORKER ELF #3
Psst! We need to get organized…

EXT — PLAYGROUND AREA, EARLY EVENING

KIDS play, snowball fights, making snowmen, etc.

KID #1 sees a streak across the sky, points.

KID #1
Look! Up in the sky!

KID #2
Is it a bird?

KID #3
Is it a plane?

KID #2
It’s… Super-Santa?!

PRESENTS rain down on them.

All the KIDS cheer and applaud as SUPERHERO-SANTA zooms by at low altitude in his sleigh.

EXT — CHRISTMAS EVE SKY, SECOND NIGHT

MONTAGE of visibly excited SUPERHERO-SANTA deliveromg presents across the country, presents falling like rain.

EXT — CITY STREET

SALVATION ARMY SANTA stands tinkling his bell in front of a store.

SUPERHERO-SANTA roars by, tosses presents at him.

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Ho, ho, ho! Mer-ry Super-Christmas!

SALVATION ARMY SANTA
What the…?

Sleigh zooms across the sky.

CLOSE UP of SUPERHERO-SANTA smiling, triumphantly pumping the air with his fist.

EXT — CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY, LATER THAT NIGHT

SUPERHERO-SANTA steers his sleigh along highway.

DRIVER gives “thumbs up” as SUPERHERO-SANTA zooms off at high speed, past a HIGHWAY PATROL MOTORCYCLE behind a billboard.

PATROL OFFICER
(looking at radar gun)
Whoa.

CLOSE UP of radar gun shows “122 mph.”

HIGHWAY PATROL MOTORCYCLE with siren blaring takes off after SUPERHERO-SANTA, who sees him in rearview mirror and pulls to the side.

Tough guy PATROL OFFICER struts up.

PATROL OFFICER
(opening ticket pad)
Pushing your reindeer kind of hard tonight, eh, Santa?

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Lots of presents left to deliver, officer.

PATROL OFFICER
(looking at huge bag)
I can see that. Say, wasn’t Christmas Eve last night?

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Sure was.

PATROL OFFICER
Putting in a bit of overtime? Forget to visit some kid in Fresno or something?

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Nope. I’m making Christmas every day of the year!

PATROL OFFICER
You’re kidding, right?

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Not at all. From now on, every night’s Christmas Eve!

PATROL OFFICER
All right then.
(tapping ticket pad)
But the rules of the road are the rules of the road, and you were going a bit fast…

SUPERHERO-SANTA
(gestures to bag)
Got anything special in mind? Got anyone special in mind?

PATROL OFFICER looks at the bag of presents, smiles.

CUT TO the PATROL OFFICER on the side of the road, holding a large pink teddy bear and baseball bat.

PATROL OFFICER waves “bye-bye” to SUPERHERO-SANTA, who zooms off.

EXT — CHRISTMAS EVE SKY, LATER THAT SECOND NIGHT

MONTAGE of SUPERHERO-SANTA zooming back and forth between major American cities and the North Pole to load up on presents.

INT — NORTH POLE WORKSHOP, ASSEMBLY LINES

WORKER ELVES frantically scramble to keep up.

Steam pours from the machines as mountains of presents get created.

A small group of WORKER ELVES, clearly exhausted, take an impromptu break by one of the wrapping machines.

WORKER ELF #1
I’m wiped out!

WORKER ELF #2
I don’t think I can handle any more of this.

WORKER ELF #1
What’s gotten into Santa? Mid-life crisis?

WORKER ELF #3
I’m telling you, we should do something about this…

ELF sees the idling WORKER ELVES, and rushes over.

ELF
(clapping hands)
Back to work, no time to dawdle!

WORKER ELF #1
“Dawdle”? Are you kidding?

ELF
Santa will be back any second!

WORKER ELF #3
Will he now?

WORKER ELF #2
Yeah, why don’t you start wrapping?

WORKER ELF #3
We’re on strike!

WORKER ELVES nod to each other, cross their arms across their chests, and sit down in defiance.

ELF
Back to work!

Defiant WORKER ELVES are now joined by hundreds of other WORKER ELVES throughout the NORTH POLE WORKSHOP.

SUPERHERO-SANTA bursts in, tossing empty bag on the ground.

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Load me up again!

ELF stands there.

Hundreds of WORKER ELVES sit there.

SUPERHERO-SANTA
What’s going on?

ELF
They’re on strike.

EXT — TRENDY BISTRO ON MELROSE AVENUE IN LA, DAY

MR. ASTONISHING and NANO-GAL sit at a patio table, sipping drinks looking at everybody trying not to look at them.

SUPERHERO-SANTA walks across the street to their table, aware of everyone trying not to look at him.

MR. ASTONISHING
Welcome back to LA, old boy!

NANO-GAL
Hi, Santa! Tinsel town is buzzing with your name. Super-Christmas was a hit!

SUPERHERO-SANTA blushes and sits.

NANO-GAL takes SUPERHERO-SANTA’S hand and puts it in hers.

NANO-GAL
Something wrong, Santa? Would you like a salad?

SUPERHERO-SANTA
I… My elves are on strike!

MR. ASTONISHING
(laughs)
That’s grand. Hard to find good help these days, eh?

SUPERHERO-SANTA
They’re exhausted. Having Christmas every day of the year has wiped them out.

MR. ASTONISHING
I think we can help you.
(calling out to WAITER)
Check!

INT — NORTH POLE WORKSHOP, EARLY EVENING

SUPERHERO-SANTA bursts in and is greeted by hundreds of still-picketing WORKER ELVES, holding “ON STRIKE!” signs.

ELF
Where have you been?

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Pack it all up! We’re moving!

ELF
Moving? They’re not doing anything at all!

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Start packing!

ELF
Where we going?

SUPERHERO-SANTA
We’re going to California!

ELF
For vacation?

SUPERHERO-SANTA
We’re moving the North Pole Workshop to Beverly Hills!

ELF
(eyes open wide)
Why?

SUPERHERO-SANTA
I’ll tell you all about it later. You’ll love it!

EXT — BEVERLY HILLS MANSION, FRONT LAWN, MORNING

ELF stands in front of the SUPERHEROES’ BEVERLY HILLS MANSION, hands across his chest, shaking his head.

PULL BACK reveals moving trucks rolling onto the driveway. Truck doors open and dozens of WORKER ELVES scurry out, carrying an amazing assortment of stuff from the NORTH POLE.

NEIGHBORS gape. Passing cars slow down and stop.

INT — BEVERLY HILLS MANSION, INSIDE

WORKER ELVES pour into the mansion, carrying in all the NORTH POLE stuff, gaping at their new digs.

VIGNETTES of WORKER ELVES experimenting with the contemporary lighting, appliances, and state-of-the-art electronics.

INT — BEVERLY HILLS MANSION, WORKSHOP AREA

MR. ASTONISHING and NANO-GAL escort SUPERHERO-SANTA into the converted factory-area of the MANSION.

MR. ASTONISHING
Welcome to your new home.

Dozens of Elf-sized WORKER ROBOTS toil away, creating, wrapping, and stacking presents.

MR. ASTONISHING
I think this will solve your staffing problem, old boy.

INT — BEVERLY HILLS MANSION, GARAGE

MR. ASTONISHING and NANO-GAL escort SUPERHERO-SANTA inside.

A sheet covers something large parked between two superhero cars on either side.

NANO-GAL
We’re sure you’ll like it!

MR. ASTONISHING pulls off the sheet, revealing a shiny red, turbo-jet powered SUPER-SLEIGH, scintillating in the light.

SUPERHERO-SANTA is visibly stunned, touching it.

MONTAGE in “PIMP MY RIDE” STYLE

MR. ASTONISHING
(pointing where appropriate)
Check out these rails, perfect for those really steep rooftops… Now this retractable baggage compartment is tip-top…

SUPERHERO-SANTA
This is a totally new level!

SUPERHERO-SANTA sits inside, looks at the dashboard, is about to press the BIG RED BUTTON.

SUPERHERO-SANTA
What’s this button for?

MR. ASTONISHING gives him a mischievous smile.

EXT — BEVERLY HILLS MANSION NEIGHBORHOOD, OVERHEAD SHOT

Garage doors burst open and SUPER-SLEIGH roars out.

WORKER ELVES get their hats blown off, dive for cover on the lawn.

SUPER-SLEIGH tears across the sky.

NINE REINDEER chew their cud, looking up at the sky, seeing the SUPER-SLEIGH zoom off.

ELF pets REINDEER reassuringly.

EXT — INSIDE SUPER-SLEIGH

MR. ASTONISHING demonstrates how to steer the SUPER-SLEIGH, SUPERHERO-SANTA and NANO-GAL sitting with him.

MR. ASTONISHING
So, old boy. What do you think?

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Amazing! I can’t begin to thank you enough.

MR. ASTONISHING
My pleasure, old boy.
(beat)
But now that you mention it, perhaps we can talk about you granting me my wish.

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Of course, of course… Soon as I can…

MR. ASTONISHING raises an eyebrow and smirks as he banks the SUPER SLEIGH back to the MANSION.

INT — TOMMY AND EMILY’S HOUSE, LIVING ROOM — MORNING

Presents are stacked in piles all around the room.

CLOSE UP of ONSCREEN ACTION: TOMMY controls MR. ASTONISHING, EMILY controls NANO-GAL.

TOMMY
Any blueberry pancakes left?

EMILY
Some. Why don’t you get them yourself?

TOMMY
Can’t you see that I’m busy? “Mr. Astonishing XXVI” is awesome!

EMILY
Awesome? I’m bored. It’s just like the other twenty games we played.

TOMMY
So?

EMILY
So? What fun is it when the bad guy keeps coming back?

EMILY stops playing, tosses the game controller aside.

TOMMY
If you don’t wanna play, then pass me some more pancakes.

EMILY reaches over and passes a plate over to TOMMY.

EMILY
Here you go, fatso.

TOMMY
Who you calling fat?

EMILY
You.

TOMMY
Why so mean?

EMILY
This Super-Christmas stuff isn’t what I thought it would be.

TOMMY
We can never get enough presents!

EMILY
Or enough food.

TOMMY
What’s your problem today?

EMILY
Look at yourself, Tommy! All you do is eat all day and play video games.

TOMMY
And your point is…?

EMILY
Buh-bye.

EMILY stands and tries to open the jammed front door.

EXT — TOMMY AND EMILY’S HOUSE, FRONT LAWN

EMILY pushes and the door opens into a pile of presents.

Wrapped and unwrapped presents are like snow.

A present comes flying right at EMILY, who ducks.

EMILY follows the trajectory to KIDS playing in the street, pitching and swinging at presents instead of softballs.

KID #1
Woo-hoo!

KID #2 throws a present at KID #1, fight breaking out.

EMILY
Stop that! Right now!

KID #1
Who says so? You?

EMILY
Enough is enough!

KID #2 throws a present at EMILY, who ducks and rushes back into the house.

Another present strikes the closed door.

EXT — BEVERLY HILLS MANSION, POOL AREA, EARLY MORNING

WORKER ELVES suntan in elf-sized swim trunks and sunglasses, rubbing each other with oil, sitting on beach recliners, sipping umbrella drinks in tall glasses, tossing beach balls, floating by on inflatable pool chairs.

ELF enters, sees them all chilling by the pool.

WORKER ELF #1
Hi, Boss. What’s up? Want some suntan oil?

ELF
What’s going on? It’s Super-Christmas! Shouldn’t you guys be busy?

WORKER ELF #2
Don’t worry about it! The robots are taking care of everything!

ELF leaves quickly.

INT — BEVERLY HILLS MANSION, WORKSHOP AREA

ELF walks in to discover the WORKER ROBOTS making terrible mistakes: big toys scrunched into small boxes, one robot wrapping another robot, general mayhem.

INT — BEVERLY HILLS MANSION, POOL AREA

ELF rushes back, pointing at the WORKER ELVES.

ELF
You’re fired!

WORKER ELVES pick up their stuff, and walk out of the pool area carrying surf boards, towels, and umbrella drinks.

WORKER ELF #1
You can’t fire us.

WORKER ELF #2
We quit!

INT — BEVERLY HILLS MANSION, KITCHEN AREA

NANO-GAL opens the refrigerator, finds the ELF in there.

NANO-GAL
What are you doing in here?

ELF
I miss the North Pole. This place makes me feel at home.

NANO-GAL
Come on out, silly.

NANO-GAL helps the ELF out.

ELF
What are you doing here?

NANO-GAL
Getting a drink for “Mr. Astonishing”.

ELF
If he’s so astonishing, why doesn’t he get his own drink?

NANO-GAL
He’s always been the boss.
(shrugs)
Sometimes I feel like I’m nothing more than a servant.

ELF
Tell me about it.

NANO-GAL
But you like working for Santa, don’t you?

ELF
It’s what I do and who I am. But for you it’s different.

NANO-GAL
What do you mean?

ELF
You have real powers. You have… personality.

NANO-GAL
So does my brother.
(smirking)
He’s everyone’s favorite.

ELF
That guy? He’s just a bunch of gadgets and effects. He’s envious of you.

NANO-GAL
You’ve got to be kidding!

ELF
You’re the real deal. You’re the genuine superhero!

NANO-GAL
Really?

NANO-GAL blushes, shrinks to make eye contact with the ELF.

NANO-GAL
You’re so sweet. Nobody’s ever told me that before.

NANO-GAL kisses ELF delicately on the cheek.

ELF blushes.

A moment’s awkward silence and NANO-GAL grows back to her standard size.

NANO-GAL
I have to go…

NANO-GAL exits. ELF watches her go.

EXT — BEVERLY HILLS MANSION, BALCONY

NANO-GAL brings drinks to SUPERHERO-SANTA and MR. ASTONISHING.

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Well, it’s been a long Super-Christmas night. I think I should be going to sleep.

MR. ASTONISHING
Sleep? The day’s superhero work has only just begun!

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Are we going to fight some bad guys? Save some kids?

MR. ASTONISHING
First things first, old boy. We have more important things to do…

INT — PHOTOGRAPHER’S HIGH-RISE STUDIO

POV of flash bulbs bursting around a set up.

MR. ASTONISHING, NANO-GAL, and SUPERHERO-SANTA pose for the PHOTOGRAPHER.

INT — INSIDE LIMOUSINE

SUPERHEROES are being driven to their next task.

MR. ASTONISHING
How’s my wish coming along, old boy?

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Soon, soon.

INT — GYMNASIUM IN HOLLYWOOD

MR. ASTONISHING is running smoothly on a treadmill.

NANO-GAL keeping pace.

SUPERHERO-SANTA out of breath.

INT — INSIDE LIMOUSINE

SUPERHEROES are being driven to their next task.

MR. ASTONISHING
We ready for my wish, Santa?

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Not quite yet…

INT — MASSAGE THERAPIST OFFICE

MR. ASTONISHING getting some deep rubs.

NANO-GAL on the next bed.

SUPERHERO-SANTA on the last bed, his face contorting in pain.

INT — TANNING BEDS

MR. ASTONISHING getting bronzed.

NANO-GAL getting bronzed.

SUPERHERO-SANTA on last bed, his beard smoldering.

INT — INSIDE LIMOUSINE

SUPERHEROES are being driven to their next task.

MR. ASTONISHING
Have we forgotten something?

SUPERHERO-SANTA
No, I remember…

INT — RESTAURANT ON MELROSE AVENUE

MR. ASTONISHING and NANO-GAL look down approvingly on a plate of sprouts.

SUPERHERO-SANTA looks down approvingly on a plate of cookies stacked high.

He’s about to eat as the plate is snatched away, substituted with plate of sprouts.

MR. ASTONISHING
Bon appetit.

INT — INSIDE LIMOUSINE

SUPERHEROES are being driven to their next task.

MR. ASTONISHING
Now?

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Later.

EXT — RODEO DRIVE

CROWD has formed around SUPERHEROES.

MR. ASTONISHING and NANO-GAL rapidly sign autographs.

SUPERHERO-SANTA spends quite some time signing a single autograph in detailed calligraphy, impatient KIDS standing around watching.

INT — INSIDE LIMOSINE

SUPERHEROES are being driven to their next task.

MR. ASTONISHING
My wish?

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Yes.

MR. ASTONISHING
Really?

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Just kidding. Patience…

MR. ASTONISHING looks visibly angry as the limo pulls into the BEVERLY HILLS MANSION driveway.

INT — BEVERLY HILLS MANSION, SANTA’S BEDROOM, EVENING

SUPERHERO-SANTA enters and collapses onto the bed.

He falls asleep instantly, snoring loudly.

TIME PASSES as seen through changing light outside.

Alarm clock goes off, SUPERHERO-SANTA grunts and hits the snooze bar. Alarm goes off again, SUPERHERO-SANTA is up.

PULL BACK reveals new digs, featuring all the modern extras.

SUPERHERO-SANTA in a mirror, strikes a superhero pose, but is too exhausted to hold it and collapses back in bed.

ELF enters, clipboard in hand.

ELF
Ready to rock, Santa?

SUPERHERO-SANTA snores away.

ELF
(shaking him)
Wake up, Santa! The kids are waiting!

SUPERHERO-SANTA mumbles, turns. His snoring doubles-up.

ELF
(shaking him harder)
Let’s go! Up, up, up!

SUPERHERO-SANTA mumbles, opens his eyes, sits up.

SUPERHERO-SANTA
This schedule is killing me.

ELF
Super-Christmas was your idea, remember?

SUPERHERO-SANTA
But don’t you just love it out here? This is the life!

ELF
The smog is killing me. There’s no snow. It’s too hot. My elves got fat, sunburned, and lazy and I had to fire them.

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Do me a favor. Tonight. Can you cover for me?

ELF
Are you kidding? No way!

INT — BEVERLY HILLS MANSION, GARAGE, NIGHT

ELF, wearing an over-sized SANTA CLAUS outfit and boots, fake beard, drags bag of presents into the garage.

ELF looks at the SUPER-SLEIGH, opens the door, and shakes his head at the rows of buttons and gizmos.

ELF then turns, sees the nine REINDEER standing around by SANTA’s old sleigh, chewing their cud.

ELF whistles.

EXT — SUBURBAN NEIGHBORHOOD, NIGHT

ELF, eyes barely peering over the dash, steers SANTA’S old sleigh onto a rooftop, bouncing and skidding to a stop.

ELF tosses bag of presents then leaps out.

ELF drags bag over to the chimney and hefts it down, leaping after it.

MONTAGE of ELF struggling with SANTA’S job around town.

INT — EMILY’S BEDROOM

Commotion from downstairs wakes EMILY, who sits up.

EMILY
Santa! I’m going to give that man a piece of my mind!

EMILY leaps out of bed and storms out of her bedroom.

INT — TOMMY’S BEDROOM

EMILY opens door slightly.

EMILY
Psst! Psst!
(whispering)
Tommy!

TOMMY sleeps in bed, game controller in one hand and piece of pizza in another.

EMILY shakes her head and exits.

INT — TOMMY AND EMILY’S HOUSE, LIVING ROOM

ELF is doing his best when the living room lights come on, revealing ELF-as-SANTA (facing away from EMILY).

EMILY
Santa! We need to talk. All my friends are spoiled rotten. My brother plays video games all day getting fat. Toys are everywhere! What are you —

ELF turns around, lifts his hat.

EMILY (con’t)
You’re not Santa!

ELF
Shhhhhhhhhhhh!

EMILY
What did you do with him?

ELF
Shhhhhhhhhhhhh!
(whispering)
He’s sleeping — which is what you should be doing.

EMILY
I, will, not.

ELF
Could you at least turn the light off?

EMILY
Who are you?

ELF
I’m Santa’s Elf, covering because being a superhero has tired him out. Now shoo! Go back upstairs!

EMILY
I need to talk to Santa. I need to tell him that Super-Christmas is wrong. Can you take me to him?

ELF
It’s against the rules.

EMILY
Please?

ELF
No! Go, to, bed.

EMILY scowls, turns, and goes back up the stairs.

EXT — TOMMY AND EMILY’S HOUSE, ROOFTOP

ELF tosses the bag into the sleigh, and walks around to the other side.

EMILY pops her head out of the chimney.

EXT — SUPER-CHRISTMAS EVE SKY, NIGHT

ELF steers SANTA’s nine REINDEER across the stars.

CLOSE UP of little charcoal handprints along the sleigh’s back.

Sleigh flies over Southern California landscape of palm trees, stucco rooftops, hills, freeways, and ocean vistas.

INT — BEVERLY HILLS MANSION, GARAGE

ELF skids sleigh inside, grabs bag, and goes inside.

EMILY peers out from the sleigh, looks around.

INT — BEVERLY HILLS MANSION, ELF’S OFFICE

ELF enters his office, pulls off Santa Claus outfit, sits in his office chair — landing right on top of the AGENT.

AGENT looks just like the ELF, only wearing a fancy suit.

ELF
What?

AGENT
Hey!

ELF
Who are you?

AGENT
(gives ELF his card)
I’m Santa’s Agent. Do you have representation?

ELF
Santa doesn’t need an agent.

AGENT
The old Santa didn’t need one, but the new Superhero-Santa can’t live without one.

ELF
But I was his assistant!

AGENT
Not anymore. I fired you.

ELF smirks, lunges at AGENT, who jumps on desk.

ELF chases him around the room, catches and starts to choke him.

SCREAM (V.O.)
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

ELF stops, both of them turn in direction of the scream.

ELF and AGENT
Santa!

ELF and AGENT disengage and go running out of the room.

INT — SUPERHERO-SANTA’S BEDROOM

ELF and AGENT burst in to find SUPERHERO-SANTA standing in his bed, quaking in fear, pointing to the window drapes.

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Something’s there! Underneath the drapes! Some monster!

AGENT cowers back.

ELF starts to slowly approach the lump in the drapes.

ELF pulls back the drapes, revealing EMILY.

ELF
Ah!

SUPERHERO-SANTA and AGENT
Whoa!

EMILY
Wow, oh, hey.

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Emily? Emily Brown?

ELF
It’s not my fault. I told her she couldn’t come here!

EMILY
I need to talk to you, Santa. It’s really important.

AGENT steps down from the bed, brushes himself off.

AGENT
We can schedule you an appointment. How’s next Thursday at 2pm sound?

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Please, Emily, sit.

EMILY
I’m not doing anything until you fix Christmas!

AGENT
Do you have any idea who you’re talking to?

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Oh, don’t mind him, Emily. He’s my new agent.

EMILY
Your “agent”? Santa Claus has an agent?

AGENT
All superheroes have agents, little girl.

EMILY
But Santa Claus isn’t a superhero. Santa Claus is just, you know, Santa Claus.

SUPERHERO-SANTA
That was the old me, Emily. Welcome to the new me, “Superhero-Santa!”
(leaps out of bed, poses)
And welcome to my new holiday, Super-Christmas!
(reaches out to her)
Isn’t it cool?

EMILY
What was wrong with the old Christmas?

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Christmas got old and tired, kids got bored, and I became uncool. Now Christmas is every day of the year, and I’m as popular as the Superheroes! In fact, I am a Superhero!

EMILY
How does that make Christmas more interesting? How does that make you cool? You’ve spoiled the kids rotten!

SUPERHERO-SANTA
You’re brother Tommy wanted this! Kids are now happy all year long!

EMILY
You’re wrong, Santa. Presents alone don’t make kids happy.

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Then what would help?

EMILY
Be yourself. Do what you do best.

SUPERHERO-SANTA
I am myself! I can’t go back to how I was. I can’t go back to the ice and cold. I can’t keep doing what I’ve done only to have kids ignore me, and eventually forget about me… forever.

EMILY
I’ll never stop believing in Santa Claus.

Tears burst from EMILY.

ELF puts his arm around EMILY, they start to go.

SUPERHERO-SANTA is visibly moved by this, reaches out to them.

AGENT
Let them go, Santa. You’re a superhero now!

AGENT flicks a button. Wall monitors display images of Super-Christmas, new toys and game designs.

AGENT
After everything you’ve gone through, why do you want to throw it all away?
(pointing to images)
“Superhero-Santa” is a star! With ever-expanding lines of toys, games, movies, and more. Think about the terrific front-end profits and eye popping residuals! Think about the epic sales volumes created by non-stop, year-round demand!

EMILY starts to cry again.

SUPERHERO-SANTA comforts her.

SUPERHERO-SANTA
(looking at the AGENT)
Get out!
(pointing to the door)
Get out now!

AGENT scowls, hits button as all the monitors BLACK OUT.

AGENT
I’ve got other clients…

AGENT turns to leave.

ELF is ready, opening the door for him, shining a big fake Hollywood servant smile at him.

INT — BEVERLY HILLS MANSION, OUTSIDE SANTA’S BEDROOM

AGENT walks down the hallway, mumbling, stops at a door with a large “A” on it, and knocks.

MR. ASTONISHING, wearing jammies and slippers, opens the door.

MR. ASTONISHING
This had better be good.

AGENT
Superhero-Santa wants out.

INT — BEVERLY HILLS MANSION, SUPERHERO-SANTA’S BEDROOM

SUPERHERO-SANTA paces back-and-forth.

SUPERHERO-SANTA
You were so right Emily! I have to fix Christmas!
(looks at ELF)
Tell everyone! We’re moving back to the North Pole!

ELF and EMILY smile, then give each other a “high-five.”

ELF and EMILY
Yes!

SUPERHERO-SANTA gives them both a great big SANTA HUG.

The three are all still embracing. Wall of monitors all turn on, white noise. Monitors start moving, cable-like tentacles disengage from the wall, carrying the monitors with them, headed right for them.

SUPERHERO-SANTA, EMILY, and ELF still hugging, but sensing something. They all slowly turn to see the white noise on the monitors become scary images of eyes, staring them down.

Monitors slowly surround them like a menacing umbrella, humanoid figure taking shape.

MEDIAFRENZY roars, a sound like electronic devices feeding back.

ELF, EMILY, and SUPERHERO-SANTA cower into a corner.

INT — BEVERLY HILLS MANSION, HALLWAY

Roar echoes through the HALLWAY as NANO-GAL runs toward SUPERHERO-SANTA’S BEDROOM, stopping at MR. ASTONISHING’S door, which is ajar.

INT — BEVERLY HILLS MANSION, MR. ASTONISHING’S BEDROOM

NANO-GAL rushes inside, looks around.

NANO-GAL
MediaFrenzy has broken free! Brother! Where are you? Hello?

NANO-GAL looks around, sighs then runs back out.

INT — BEVERLY HILLS MANSION, SUPERHERO SANTA’S BEDROOM

NANO-GAL rushes into the room, and sees EMILY, ELF, and SUPERHERO SANTA attacked by MEDIAFRENZY.

NANO-GAL
Get back, monster!

MEDIAFRENZY turns his monitors toward the door, and howls.

As NANO-GAL charges him, MEDIAFRENZY whips several of his arm tentacles around to combat her.

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Elf, get Emily out of here!

MEDIAFRENZY pummels NANO-GAL then turns his attention back to SUPERHERO-SANTA.

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Go! Go!

EMILY
Santa!

SUPERHERO-SANTA pushes ELF and EMILY away from MEDIAFRENZY, ELF taking over and pulling EMILY out of harm’s way.

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Run!

EMILY sees the floor suddenly open up, creating a gaping hole into which SUPERHERO-SANTA is pushed by MEDIAFRENZY’S tentacles, the floor closing back up.

SUPERHERO-SANTA
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

EMILY
Noooooooooooooo!

ELF grabs EMILY who resists and then lets go as they both run, MEDIAFRENZY’S tentacles chasing them.

INT — BEVERLY HILLS MANSION, GARAGE

ELF and EMILY enter running, slamming the door closed on a few of MEDIAFRENZY’S tentacles, which writhe in the door.

We see sleigh, PAN over to the SUPER-SLEIGH.

ELF makes a decision and tosses EMILY into the SUPER-SLEIGH.

EMILY
I don’t want to go home.

CLOSE UP of SUPER-SLEIGH’S complicated controls, which look more like an airplane’s panel than a car dashboard.

Tentacles stuck in the door feel for the door knob.

EXT — INSIDE THE SUPER-SLEIGH

ELF is trying to figure out how to fly this thing.

EMILY
Hurry!

Tentacles find the door knob as door bursts open. Tentacles head straight for the SUPER-SLEIGH, grabbing the rails.

INT — INSIDE SUPER-SLEIGH

EMILY sees tentacles and SCREAMS.

ELF hits red button and fire pours out, burning writhing tentacles, which release them.

EXT — BEVERLY MANSION WORKSHOP, OUTSIDE DOOR

Sound of a jet engine roaring as the SUPER-SLEIGH blazes out of garage.

ELF and EMILY
(dopplered screams)
Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Continued in Part 2…

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Mookie Spitz

Author and communications strategist. His latest book SUPER SANTA is available on Amazon, with a sci fi adventure set for Valentine's Day 2024.