Chop Shoppers

“CHOP SHOPPERS”

written by Mark Turner, Casey Markovic, Bryan Gorlin


LOGLINE:

 

It’s Entourage meets Boiler Room revolving around three broke college students who are schemers always in over their heads, that fall into the mortgage business at its peak in 2004.  Catapulted from rags to riches seemingly overnight, the boys quickly realize you don’t need to be a movie star to party like one!

TONE:

Chop Shoppers is an edgy, irreverent dark comedy where young men who should know better, don’t.  It’s total wish fulfillment, a life every person dreams of; sex, drugs, alcohol and every other temptation that comes with the territory. 

Set in the mortgage industry, our college boys hunger for the good life.  They quickly realize their savvy-by-nature ways is the perfect ingredient for making money in an industry where the dollars are there for the taking.  Their addiction to “life in the fast lane” rapidly turns their innocence into greed.  Soon they cannot make enough money or spend enough!  Their recklessness ironically turns them into local celebrities thrusting them into the circles of the social elite, on and off campus!

Ask yourself these questions:

If you were a poor college student, what would you do for a thirty thousand dollar check that took three days work? 

If you were a manager at Wal-Mart making 36k per year, what would you do for a two hundred thousand dollar check, no strings attached? 

If you were a Wall Street hedge fund manager, what would you do for a 40 million dollar Christmas bonus?

You might unknowingly (or knowingly?) put the economy in the biggest hole this country’s ever seen!

Chop Shoppers follows these quirky dynamic characters as they’re in for the ride of their lives!

SETTING:

Santa Barbara, California is an ideal place for young college students to get an education, but more importantly party and hangout with beautiful people on sandy beaches.  It doesn’t hurt that the weather is crystal clear 300 out of 365 days per year.  It’s a laid back beach community loaded with money, the perfect place to start a business!   

It’s 2004.  The deregulated mortgage industry has grown ten fold since the turn of the century.  Property values have skyrocketed over 200 percent.  It’s the mortgage broker’s job to make sure the homeowners are cashing out their investment making ridiculous sums of cash in the process.  Mortgage companies are popping up on every block to hit the jackpot on this gold mine.  These “chop shops” are unique in the fact that a Harvard graduate competes for business with a high school drop out.  If you have the ability to hypnotize with your words, you too, can be a “chop shopper.”

Luckily, Santa Barbara has both. 

CHARACTERS:

JASON CARMICHAEL, the 21 year old charismatic leader of the group, is a tall athletic student at UC Santa Barbara.  His extreme good looks and ability to relate with anyone on a personal level, has women falling all over him and men wanting to be him.  A player, Jason longs for that one true relationship that would fulfill him, but has a hard time letting himself commit to it fully.

Jason is cold and calculated, but hides it behind his straight talk and roguish persona.  He’s the smartest guy in the room, but clever enough not to show it.  Although he doesn’t always apply himself as he should, except when it comes to money, his imagination takes him places others could never envision. Jason passed on the opportunity to go to an Ivy League school; a decision looked upon by many as the “easy way out.”  For this, Jason carries a chip on his shoulder which is a driving motivation for him to become successful quickly.  He wants to prove his naysayers wrong.

In business, Jason works smarter not harder.  He’s a “new school” type guy, understanding and using technology to his advantage.  He’s confident, fearless, and stealthy in his action, which is why he’s always three steps ahead of everyone, making his move before anyone sees it coming.   People mistake his kindness for weakness.  Jason is a nice guy, but cross him and he’ll fuck you over faster than a cocaine heartbeat.  He lives by his code; take care of your friends and family no matter what the cost.  He believes in keeping his friends close, but his enemies closer.  “Trust, but verify” comes natural to him.  But his kindheartedness gets him into situations when he sticks up for life’s misfits, like his friends. 

Jason, David and Mike are lifelong friends growing up with each other in Santa Barbara.

Season Arc: Jason goes from naive phone jockey getting apps to the ultimate closer.   His relationship with Natalie becomes rockier as Viktor throws road blocks in their way.  Not to mention the more money he gets the greater number of beautiful women surround him.

Jason secretly plots to take down Viktor and be the king pin of his own mortgage business.   The season finale ends with the showdown between him and Viktor.  One of them will walk away with everything leaving the other completely destroyed.    

Show Arc:  Jason works his way up from the bottom, eventually leaving Trust Financial at the end of season one to start his own company.  The second season has Jason and his team in their own company and growing at an astounding pace.  As they become more and more successful, he takes his team to Hollywood where they develop rock star celebrity status.  Jason ends up being the new Viktor. 

By time the housing bubble bursts, you think they’re going down in flames.  They’re out on the street with nothing.  But actually, Jason has his team insulated and well on their way to the next big thing. 

DAVID ROSENTHAL, a 21 year old student at UC Santa Barbara, is a chubby, cocky, smartass with no self discipline.  He’s a fast learner, manipulative, and can be extremely charming.  But basically he’s an egomaniac who’s constantly getting into trouble.  It’s what he’s good at.  Without Jason to keep him in check, he’d be totally out of control.  He’s the most unpredictable person on the planet which is the only thing you can count on.  And it’s a certainty, no matter how much he wins, he’ll always lose more.  But he always takes care of his friends.  When he has money, they have money.  He’ll give someone the shirt off his back, but expects the same.  He’s a short term thinker, usually scheming, mostly failing, and always in a never ending comical battle with life.

David is by far the most troubled, eccentric, and flat out crazy of the bunch.  He was abandoned by his real parents at birth.  This left an emotional scar on David, making him extremely insecure because he has no idea who really loves him.  He doesn’t think with his head or his heart, but with his myriad of insecurities and emotions.  Usually leading to bad decisions for which he’s consistently apologetic, but unable to stop himself from committing.  He has a self destructive personality fueled by the need for instant gratification.  He can be the life of the party, but he doesn’t know when to stop.  He’s a womanizer and degenerate gambler, but really fun to hang out with. 

In business, his killer instinct makes him a talented, and most of all, naturally gifted closer.   David will sacrifice himself so that others can come up.  But he loves to take people to the limit just to see how far he can push them.  His philosophy about money is, “make it, so you can blow it,” writing it off as a good time.   The only person more wild and reckless than David… is David with money to blow!

Season Arc: David’s goal is to live life in the moment.  He goes from small time problems to big time problems.  Instead of losing a thousand dollars, he’s loses a hundred thousand dollars.  Instead of scamming local bookies, he’s scamming the mafia.   He lives it up like everyday is going to be his last doing drugs, partying, taking it to the limit.  He can’t see tomorrow, because he lives for today.  He’s always pushing the envelop, too.  He goes on wild spending sprees before he even gets his first paycheck.  And by time he’s making huge sums of money, he’s spent, lost, or given away even more.

David pushes the envelope at work, too.  He learns to close like a pro pushing Jason for top closer.  And he’s the ultimate party guy.  That’s why he becomes the main recruiter of new talent for their team.  He’s an extremely hard partier, an entertaining, and charismatic sweet talker who’s a pied piper to young talented hustlers looking to cash in. 

David’s on board with Jason’s plan to take down Viktor, too.  Together they work to set up Viktor without anyone knowing.  During the season he dabbles in shady tactics he picks up from Tarik, but keeps it hidden from Jason. 

David convinces himself he’s in love with Jessica.  He spends the season pursuing her, even getting her named tattooed on his chest.  Jessica loves putting David through an emotional wringer, always toying with his feelings like a cat with a toy.

And of course, David is always hilariously punking Mike. 

Show Arc:  David reaches superstar status with his millionaire playboy lifestyle, but he always stays in touch with Dr. Craig.  They continue their symbiotic relationship throughout the entire show.  Dr. Craig is the father David feels like he never had.  But he never heeds Dr. Craig’s heart felt advice. 

Though he makes numerous celebrity friends, he never turns his back on Jason and Mike. 

MIKE SPIKOWSKI is a 21 year old techie student at UC Santa Barbara with A.D.D. and an obsessive personality.  An intelligent, super internet savvy gamer and porn fanatic, this nerdy, “Mclovin type”, is a big talker who rarely gets laid.  But that doesn’t keep him from hilarious attempts to score.  And when he gets money it only gets worse. 

Basically Mike’s an intellectual with very little common sense.  A visionary thinker, Mike’s always dreaming up the latest trend before anyone one else does.  Like online poker.  That was his idea, just ask him!  Mike and Jason are best friends.  Mike admires Jason and is constantly looking for his approval.  Jason treats him like a little brother creating a sibling rivalry between David and Mike.  They’re always fighting to be closest to Jason.  And Mike is always getting back at David after David punks him. 

Jason brings in Mike to round out his team once they get set up at Trust Financial.  Mike becomes an integral part of the team.  Together the three of them are unstoppable.

Season Arc:  Mike is the tech guy who hacks databases, illegally cracks software, and goes from small time online scammer to a big part of Jason’s team at Trust Financial. 

Mike constantly chases tail throughout the season.  After Jason brings him into Trust Financial, Mike’s a huge advantage to the team.  He pirates leads and devises ways they can use technology to their advantage. 

Mike is constantly paying back David for all the shit he does to him. 

Show Arc:  Mike creates several businesses on his own, one being an online brothel.  Of course he comically pursues all his “working girls.” Because of David, he becomes a sexual legend on campus until David blows it for him.  But his journey takes him from horny nerd to Zen Master poon hound.                                                                                                                   

VIKTOR COZLOV is the President and founder of Trust Financial.  Although he built it from the ground up, he answers to someone else.  Who that is, nobody knows.  In his late 40’s, he’s well schooled with a Masters in Business.  He’s extremely wealthy.  And for all his education, he’s more proud of his street smarts he developed growing up without a dad in New York City. 

He came to Santa Barbara because of the money there.  Everyone is so laid back, friendly and genuine, all traits he sees as weakness, and an easy mark for his brand of business.  He’s a hard-nosed businessman, secretive, manipulative, a fast talking charmer with a gift who’s always throwing money around to create the impression of generosity.  But it’s only an act.  He’s a bad guy who uses people, even his own daughter, Natalie. 

He’s very protective of Natalie and doesn’t like her being with Jason.  He considers Jason low class, a punk hustler, not good enough for HIS daughter.  Viktor didn’t get rich by being stupid, so he uses the situation with Jason to his advantage once he discovers Jason’s skill in closing.  Beneath the surface lies something very scary.  He’s the villain of the show making it his mission to destroy Jason and anyone with him. 

At the office, Viktor is more “old school”, working harder, but not always smarter.  He manages by fear using his deep voice and intimidating personality to control his staff.   He has a special relationship with Tarik because Tarik makes him lots of money.  Tarik is loyal to Viktor, too.  He does what he’s told without questions.  That leads to further conflict between Tarik and Jason which pleases Viktor.

Season Arc:  He sets up Jason and the guys, milking them for all the money they bring in.  And He pushes Tarik to help him take Jason down.  Becoming obsessed with it, he goes from successful businessman trying to destroy Jason to being schooled by him.  At the end of the season Viktor thinks he’s won putting Jason out on the street. 

Show Arc:  After Jason takes him down, Viktor has to start from scratch.  At the end of the series, Jason puts it over on him again, this time walking away and taking Viktor out for good. 

SHAYNA, 27, Viktor’s right hand “man” in a smoking hot body most men would die for.  And don’t think she doesn’t use that to her advantage.  Her persuasive personality could make a Mormon monogamous.  Shayna doesn’t go for the “bad boy,” she is one.  Shayna is a hard drinking party chick with an addictive personality and soft spot for sweet guys.  That’s why she’s crushing on Jason.  She’s a user, burning through people and discarding them without a second thought, like she did Tarik.  But Jason’s always just out of reach for her.  So she’s left wanting.  But she always takes care of Jason and his boys.  Whether they know it or not, she’s always looking out for them.    

A proactive problem solver, Shayna worked her way up from Viktor’s assist to the top closer before becoming the general manager.  A hard worker, she has no patience for anyone who doesn’t deliver.  She gets a cut from everyone and doesn’t carry any dead weight.  You deliver or get out.  She’s cut throat and will bury you with a smile on her face.  Non emotional, she’s the type that will fuck you and kick you out of bed without cuddling.  So you’d better not cross her.  She respects Viktor, but doesn’t like being used and controlled which ultimately turns her against him.  Despite her tough “nothing can shake her” composure, there’s another side to Shayna, a vulnerability and a desire to trust someone – it is buried deep, but it’s there.

Season Arc:  She goes from being Viktor’s trusted confidant to his Judas.  Viktor makes her do things to Jason she doesn’t want to do, pushing her to the breaking point.  But Jason forgives her and takes her into his business.  He knows how valuable she is.  Plus he likes her.  A lot.

Show Arc:  Shayna gets one over on Jason and the team in the end.

TARIK – 23.  He’s the top producer and takes his job seriously.  He’s all business on the phone, off the phone he’s an arrogant douche bag.  He’s a gifted talker with a huge ego.  It’s the only thing bigger than his mouth.  An alpha male who blows through money, there’s nothing Tarik won’t say or do to close the deal.  Because of his ego and mouth he constantly butts heads with Jason and David. 

Ethics have never been important to Tarik, so he’s all too happy to engage in shady dealings.  Lying, cheating, whatever it takes to close a loan.  In and out of the office, he’s a flashy braggart who uses intimidation to keep his team in line.  His pride and vanity won’t allow him to relate one on one with them, like Jason does his team.  Tarik wants Shayna.  She fucked him and tossed him aside when he first started.  He’s loyal to Viktor and will do anything for him.  He’s what is wrong with the business.  He abuses his power and position.  He works hard, and plays hard, but he’s a sneaky SOB.  He’s nice to Jason’s face; secretly doing everything he can to sabotage him.  But he’s never nice to David. 

Season Arc: goes from top closer to second fiddle and he can’t stand it.  It’s a huge blow to his ego and he fights it all the way to the end. But he fails in every way going down with Viktor at the end of the season.  Viktor throws him under the bus to save himself. 

Show Arc:  After Viktor betrays him, Tarik, grovels to Jason for a job.  Jason hires him, much to David’s displeasure, and the two continue their battles until the end.  David doesn’t trust him at all.  Jason uses Tarik, but keeps close watch on his actions, ever cautious. 

Dr. Ronald Craig – in his 60’s, he’s UC Santa Barbara’s world famous Economics Professor and clandestine bookie.   He’s a brilliant, funny, old dude, wanting to be young again.  A former Economics adviser to Ronald Regan, he doesn’t need to teach or be a bookie.  He’s not doing it for the money; he’s doing it because he’s bored.  He’s a shady guy who loves living life on the edge and chasing college tail.  There’s not a stricter teacher around, or one that’s more of a hard ass, but it’s because he truly cares about his students and wants them to learn.  A wise old sage, Dr. Craig, wants to help Jason, David and Mike, but his advice goes unheeded due to his lifestyle. 

Dr. Craig and David have a special relationship without either of them knowing it.  A normal bookie would never extend David’s credit, but at the end of the day he wants to see David win.  So he’s willing to bail David out as necessary to teach him lessons in the process.  Their relationship functions in a reciprocal quid pro quo manner, each fulfilling the others needs.

He cautions Jason and David about the mortgage business and warns them about the bubble bursting in plenty of time to get out, but they don’t listen.  The only way to break him down is by getting information and using it against him.  They use him to get grades; he uses them for action and tail. 

THE CORTEZ BROTHERS: Two ghetto fab Mexican brothers who still live in the Santa Barbara barrio with their parents.  Together they are the Spanish speaking team at Trust Financial.  They’re smart and gifted guys who love pushing the politically incorrect envelop even playing up Mexican stereotypes like driving their old sky blue pickup truck blasting El Tigre del Norte music just to feel “Mexican” again.  But their daily ride is a ghettoed out Acura NSX.  They love to dress up in cowboy hats, big belt buckles, and boots to throw everyone off, but they’re actually clean cut comical vatos who play up their heritage just to close loans.   They like Jason, David, and Mike.  But Tarik hates them because he loses all the Spanish loans to them. 

CARLOS Cortez, 25, is the big macho stocky brother who is a cool dude constantly bagging on Tarik.  Carlos and Tarik are the alpha males, so they’re always butting heads.

Miguel Cortez, 21, is the sexy younger brother.  Not as macho as Carlos, because he’s gay.  The brothers don’t argue with each other, but they argue with everyone else.  And they always have each other’s back.  Although, he’s gay, Carlos never treats him differently and defends him vehemently.      

Natalie, 21, is a UC Santa Barbara student, Viktor’s daughter, and Jason’s love interest.  She’s super hot, yet super sweet and intelligent.  She’s the pawn in Viktor and Jason’s struggle for control.  She falls for Jason, hard.  But she’s Viktor’s only child and he’s extremely protective of her.  Natalie is desperate to break free of Viktor’s control. 

JESSICA, 21, is Natalie’s best friend.  She’s a super sexy college slut who drinks too much, and sleeps around too much.  She comes off as sophisticated, and uses her God given looks to move herself up the food chain.  She’s smart, superficial, a hustler in her own right, the “Rachel Uchitel” who bounces from bed to bed one famous person to the next.  She becomes the direct connection for to celebrity life for Jason, David and Mike.   Together they BUY their way deep into the celebrity circle.   Eventually, she’s going to be in on their schemes.   Jason initiates the collaboration with Jessica to further themselves into her circles which rubs Natalie the wrong way.  Leading to a massive conflict down the line, but Jason ALWAYS finds a way to smooth it over Natalie. 

SIDE CHARACTERS:

“The Guy”- An Italian dude that can get you absolutely anything you need.  He’s a young hustler, but nobody knows how old he really is for sure.  He doesn’t have a schedule, he just shows up.  He drives a stretch Hummer limo selling alcohol, drugs, almost anything you want out of the back.

Bank reps– they are the representatives of the banks who pitch their home loan products.  Like the mortgage brokers, the bank reps have quotas, too.  So they pander, manipulate, and even bribe the guys at Trust Financial to broker the loans through them because they make a shit load of commission.    Negative amortized loans come into play in season 2.  They are extremely profitable for banks, so they will do anything to have the guys push them to their clients.

MIMI (Bank Rep) is a chubby, somewhat average looking woman, whose personality makes her awesome.  She has a great sense of humor which makes her fit in like one of the boys.  A hard working bank rep, she knows the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.  That’s why she always brings gourmet baked goods for the guys.  Mimi and Moe work for rival lenders.  She is smarter than Moe, but he’s sleazier. 

MOE, (Bank Rep), is a young Persian dude, who pushes Trust Financial to sell loans by “any means necessary.”  Tarik’s lifelong friend, Moe’s an amoral guy with a quota, which he always exceeds by far.  He’s to banking what Barry Bonds is to home runs. 

Portia LEE, 40’s, is a big busted smoking hot blonde home appraiser.  It’s a sure bet she’d never win a round of Jeopardy, or even complete a crossword puzzle.  This former playmate, is still smoking hot and super insecure which makes her easily controlled by flattery from young handsome dudes.  The only thing she loves more than being checked out by guys or looking at herself in the mirror is money. 

MARQUISE is a UCSB basketball player.  He’s an 18 year old incoming freshman.  He starts off a straight-edge African-American country boy, nice, well mannered, totally a mother’s dream.  But then he meets his dorm neighbors, Jason, David and Mike.  By second semester he’s corrupted and kicked off the basketball team.  He’s a player with the ladies who wants to live the rapper dream life.   Then he starts working for Trust Financial. 

ESTELLE is a UCSB incoming freshman.  She’s the most innocent looking African-American cheerleader you’ve ever seen.  But she has a dark side she unleashes in bed, comparable to “the band geek” of America Pie.  Estelle has a thing for nerds, but gets bored with them easily.  Marquise introduces her to Mike, who falls head over heels in love with her.  She breaks his heart.  When Mike becomes a sex legend on campus, she tries to get back with him. 

Tarik’s Team:

RICHMOND is a middle-age family man with two kids, an ugly wife, and a huge mortgage.  He’s a drunkard, but a likeable guy, who is cool, personality wise.  A naïve and genuinely nice guy, he’s easy to take advantage of, so people mistake his kindness for weakness.  But that’s where they’re mistaken.  He’s not on Tarik’s team for nothing.  He gets the job done and done well.   Mike and Richmond get along like brothers because they’re both equally perverted.

DANIEL ROBERTS is a 15 year old fat white kid that speaks Spanish, but not good enough to close a loan.  This causes Tarik to constantly bag on him because he hates losing loans to the Cortez Brothers.  He can close other loans, and does.  He made his first thirty grand for closing his father’s refinance.  Daniel thinks Tarik is a tool and always gives Jason a “heads up” when learns of Tarik plans to screw him. 

SAMMY TRAN, a young tatted up Vietnamese dude, is Tarik’s protégé with much less talent.  That makes him the perfect number two.  He’s always willing to do whatever Tarik asks without question, even though Tarik treats him like shit.