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The Upsizer (Drama)

Log Line

After a pandemic causes nationwide financial devastation, a thriving downsizer reexamines his life when he falls for his new assistant while conducting a layoff in her rural town.

Script Info

Script Type: Feature
Genre: Drama
Length: 94 pages
Est. Budget: $1M - $5M

Screenplay Synopsis

In the wake of a pandemic, a savvy corporate downsizer, OSCAR JOHNSON, 40s, fires a manufacturing employee in North Carolina. Oscar later boasts about his expected continued success. Meanwhile, in Indianola, Mississippi, Dixie Pride's CEO, JACK, 50s, meets with the CFO to discuss how to cut costs for the fish processing plant. When the business doesn't improve, Jack hires Oscar.

Oscar meets KELLY GIBSON, 30s, his assistant, who is out of sorts due to a phone argument with her ex-husband. He also meets BERTHA, 50s, a feisty black cleaning woman who intrigues him. That night, Kelly deals with her son, CALEB, 13, who is struggling with bullying at school and Asperger's. The next day, Jack informs the department heads of the pending layoff, prompting a hostile reaction from WAYMON, 30s, who is loyal to the plant workers. The next day, Bertha runs into XAVIER, 30s, a friend and co-worker, and learns that his wife is bedridden with a difficult pregnancy.

Two weeks later, at a work dinner in Kelly's home, Oscar meets Caleb, and they take a shine to each other. Soon after, Kelly informs Oscar about Caleb's Asperger's and mentions he might have it. Oscar later researches Asperger's online and is shocked by the symptoms. Officially diagnosed with Asperger's, Oscar only decides to take the medication after fantasizing about a life with Kelly and Caleb.

The layoffs begin, sending Xavier into a tailspin and panicking the remaining workers. Oscar informs Kelly of his diagnosis and offers to exercise regularly with Caleb. Over time, Oscar and Caleb grow close, and with advice from Oscar, Caleb overcomes his fear of reciting in front of his cruel classmates. Oscar witnesses several incidents where laid-off people struggle, and now medicated, he feels empathy for their plight.

After Xavier's wife and unborn child die, he holds Jack at gunpoint in front of Bertha, Oscar, and Kelly. Bertha talks Zavier down, and as he surrenders the pistol, it misfires, seriously injuring Jack. Later, in the hospital, Jack undergoes surgery, and Xavier winds up in the mental ward.

Oscar, Kelly and the managers brainstorm ideas to reinstate laid-off employees. Weeks later, Oscar witnesses an intimate moment between Kelly and her ex, prompting Oscar to leave town on a new job and forcing Kelly to present the proposal to Jack alone. In Detroit, Oscar discovers his killer instinct for terminating people is gone. He returns to Indianola and learns Jack vetoed the proposal due to the costs and that he misinterpreted the event between Kelly and her ex. Oscar declares his feelings for Kelly.

Oscar puts up the money needed to implement all the ideas they developed, stipulating Kelly as operations co-manager and Bertha as daycare manager. Six months later, at a Birmingham convention, Caleb makes an opening speech about the advantages of the pilot program in Indianola and introduces Oscar as his new stepfather, with Kelly and Bertha looking on proudly.

About This Screenplay

THE DOWNSIZER is thematically similar in some areas to UP IN THE AIR with a captivating male lead who embodies some of Melvin Udall’s issues (AS GOOD AS IT GETS). The male lead will attract an A-lister. The script has two female co-starring roles, one for an African American. There are also a few supporting roles for other diverse characters.

This screenplay received a recommendation from Jacob Stuart, founder of “Screenwriter Staffing” [www.screenwritingstaffing.com] and "Script Gods Must Die" [www.scriptgodsmustdie.com].