In Too Deep: The Brian Futz Story

Zack R. Smith

Book Cover



    Core Theme



    1980s & '90s











    30 years after the murders of the most prolific screenwriting duo of the 1980’s, their final screenplay has, at long last, been brought to life -- ‘In Too Deep’ is the story of a disgraced college swimmer returning to the pool at age 40, looking for a shot at redemption.



    Target Audiences

    Age: 18-34,35-54

    Target Gender: Universal,Male Leaning


    Los Angeles / Southern California / College Campus / Aquatic Center / Aquarium

    Based on a True Story


    Starting Description

    A story within a story - Beginning with the unsolved murder of the most prolific screenwriting duo of the 1980's (Lucien Thorne/David Baxter Donnelly) their last script has finally been brought to life - the story of 40-year-old disgraced college swimmer, Brian Futz looking for a shot at redemption.

    Ending Description

    Through unlikely problem solving and unexpected romance, Futz does find redemption. And the audience gets one step closer to solving the murders of screenwriters Thorne and a Donnelly

    Pitch Adaptation

    In 1986, the most prolific, high-profile, and controversial screenwriting duo of the decade met their shocking demise - gunned down outside Rodeo Drive’s most exclusive brasserie. And what heinous villain killed Lucien Thorne and David Baxter Donnelly? Theories abound. South American drug lords collecting on Thorne and Donnelly’s gargantuan cocaine debts? The Russians? Perhaps 9-time Olympic champion, Mark Spitz? Now, thanks to the dogged work of the Beverly Hills Police Department, a final script from Thorne and Donnelly has been discovered. One last classic 80’s comedy, filled with absurd plot twists and ludicrous sexual innuendo. That final movie? ‘In Too Deep: The Brian Futz Story’ is the tale of a disgraced college swimmer returning to the pool at age 40, looking for a shot at redemption, in 1986. With super-human hip flexors that generate twice the power of a normal man, Futz could have had it all. Fame, fortune, Olympic gold. But no fabric can withstand the full churn of his flexors, leaving Futz naked in the water, at the most important swim meet of his life. 20 years later, Futz lives in a studio apartment, pays alimony to a Jazzercise instructor, cleans shark tanks for a living, and drinks way too much. But thanks to a chance encounter at a college recruitment fair, Futz meets the three people who will change his life. Intercut throughout ‘In Too Deep’, Terrence Meriwether guides us through the murky waters of the Thorne and Donnelly murder case.

    WGA Number

    The author has not yet written this

    Mature Audience Themes

    The author has not yet written this

    Plot - Other Elements

    Happy Ending

    Plot - Premise

    Voyage and Return

    Main Character Details

    Name: Brian Futz

    Age: 40

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Clumsy,Desperate,Underdog

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Riki Rojas

    Age: 40

    Gender: Female

    Role: Emotional

    Key Traits: Aggressive,Charming,Aspiring,Engaging,Honorable

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Scotty Farmer

    Age: 20

    Gender: Male

    Role: sidekick

    Key Traits: Aspiring,Aggressive,Narcisstic,Confident

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Chadwick P. Pickering

    Age: 40

    Gender: Male

    Role: antagonist

    Key Traits: Villainous,Greedy

    Supplemental Materials

    Information not completed


    30 years after the mysterious disappearance of a popular 80s screenwriting duos, their final script has emerged--"In Too Deep: The Brian Futz Story." Brian Futz is a 40 year old ex-swimmer who goes back to the college where he was once a celebrated champion before a humiliating incident rid him of Olympic dreams and a bright future. Now the school and the man are both shadows of what they once were, but Brian returns for redemption both in the pool and in his personal life.

    What We Liked

    - This story is a great satire of "classic" 80s movies that stays self-aware while managing to take itself seriously enough to maintain the story. The funny tongue-in-cheek nature of the format supports the film's overall positive messages without ever overly ridiculing its main characters. It's nostalgia with the nuances of our modern time.
    - This script is for a movie and definitely should include all of the Terence Meriwether scenes--it's possible to frame it as if it's a real unlocked script archived from the eighties.
    - Key points: Nostalgic; Funny; Happy Ending; Satisfying conclusion to mysteries; Multiple strong funny characters.


    Terence Meriwether, an older man in a gentleman's room, invites us from his armchair to watch "In Too Deep: The Brian Futz Story," a lost movie from the 80s that was recently unlocked in an archive. Meriwether notes, through sips of his snifter, that the story behind the script may be as interesting as the movie itself--this is the last known script of two prolific 80s writers, Lucien Thorne and David Baxter Donnelly. Thorne and Donnelly were famous for their fun 80s movies and fun party lives before their mysterious disappearance--there was a shootout, but no bodies were ever found. No murderer was ever fully held responsible, although Meriwether hints that an ex-Olympian may be to blame. Meriwether invites us all now, 30 years later, to watch this with him.

    Brian Futz is a slightly overweight pool cleaner with a Tom Selleck mustache. He visits his ex-wife, Blair, at her jazzercise studio, and she boasts about her new boyfriend, Ascot Pickering, of the Pomona Pickering Pickle empire. Blair mocks Futz for never following through on anything--college, his marriage, his hopes, his swimming career. Brian had once been a star swimmer at his college before a humiliating incident during a meet turned him away from swimming competitively and led to him dropping out of school without ever finishing his degree. While cleaning a local high school's swimming pool, he sees a table for his old college at a college fair. He meets Riki Rojas, a firecracker with a plate full of pupusas, and Scotty Farmer, an artsy film student, who convince him to re-enroll in school to finish his degree. The Dean, Moobury, is an old rival of Brian's from back in his school days, but helps him sign back up to finish out his marine biology degree. Futz goes by the old pool and sees that his old coach is still working there. He learns from his coach that the team is now one of the worst in the league, and the coach jokes that he wishes Brian would join the swim team again.

    Brian goes to a bar to get drunk and befriends the bartender, Mary Kate Ashley. Mary Kate Ashley is a student at his school and Brian's delighted to have found a friend, even though she soon is harassed by Blake Pickering and the TKEs, a fraternity of messy party boys. Pickering is head of the swim team, helped by the fact that his father donated the new aquatic center. Pickering invites everyone to a frat party, and when Brian shows up, he sees Riki Rojas there with Mary Kate Ashley, who is her daughter. Riki and Brian talk outside of the party for a while, and she tells him about her dream of selling her uniquely flavored pupusas. After a while, the two enter the party, but Brian finds himself in a fight with the drunken fraternity men. The next day, Brian goes to a swim meet, and watches as his college team performs incredibly poorly. The game is a mess, and many people get violently sick from the hot dogs, creating vomit spills that Brian later has to clean up. Brian's coach convinces him to rejoin the team, and Riki and Scotty Farmer decide to help him retrain.

    Brian trains for a while and opens up to Riki about his humiliating incident--his unique level of friction created while swimming the butterfly shred his Speedo while swimming and left him naked and embarrassed in the pool. Brian competes in the next match and performs well until his swimsuit again shreds. He tries out different variations of the suit, studying shark skin in his marine biology classes and even trying wearing multiple pairs at once, until finally he has a prototype of a suit that won't shred. Meanwhile, Riki is trying to make a commercial for her pupusas, and Brian accidentally misses it. Riki is upset with Brian for putting his dreams before hers and the two break up.

    Brian is ready to give up on it all until he meets the head of the Pickering clan, Chadwick Pickering, an old man with an affinity for goats who is disappointed with his son and grandson and their lack of a business ethic. Brian convinces Chadwick to invest in Riki's pupusas. It is the final swim meet, and Brian shows up in a ridiculous looking suit, but it works and doesn't shred despite his fierce butterfly strokes. Riki takes him back and the two confess their love for each other. Brian even tells Blake that he needs to focus on his studies and shape up his personality and it seems to actually impact the unruly frat bro. Mary Kate Ashley ends up with the handsome, airheaded frat bro and Scotty Farmer is excited about his film footage. Meanwhile, back in the gentleman's lounge, Terence Meriwether, who has gotten significantly drunker as the film has gone on, muses about whatever happened to the original screenwriters.

    We then see them on a boat with Brian Futz, today, partying it up, as they have in secret for the past thirty years.

    About The Author

    Zach R. Smith is the founder of Wet Otter Productions. He is a writer, producer, videographer, editor, and creative visionary. He is the recipient of numerous honors for his work, including four Emmy Awards and numerous screenwriting prizes at film festivals in New York, Los Angeles, San Jose, Las Vegas, and more.