The novel... Dead, Dead, Dead
A novel writer allows his characters full control of the story. So the antagonist accidently kills off the main character on the first page. Rather than throw it away, the writer keeps on writing. All of the characters are in chaos.
The screenplay... Dead, Dead, Dead
On the first day on set, a microphone boom operator accidentally hits the main character, knocking him off a table. He hits his head on a chair and dies. The production has to go on. This is the only day they can record at this location for a year.
So the producer has them go ahead with the recording, using various devices to substitute for the main character. They receive a message, or someone talks to him just before arriving....
The team realizes they will lose their income if the movie fails. So every day they make up for the main character not being there. He always just walked off the set, or something. On the following days, they do the same thing.
The stage play... Dead, Dead, Dead
Just before appearing on stage, the main character trips on the stairs and is sent to the hospital. The understudy is sick and can't perform. No one knows the main character's lines. So rather than kill the one night play and lose their money, they charge forward, each character making it up as he goes. It's chaos, but it works. It turns out to be a better play.
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