Anastasia overplayed her hand. She forgot -- I'm the writer, dammit, so I get to decide. Play nice or else. She got the "or else;" she's cut down to one scene...and she doesn't even get to tell it. I added a character who was there, that night, and it worked out one hell of a lot better.
Which, in truth, is probably what I was really aiming for (says 20/20 hindsight). I wasn't just missing the obligatory scene; I was missing a way of fitting it into the story. And by sketching out part of the first scene, I began to sense it shouldn't begin there. So now the script starts with Carli and Grady.
The obligatory scene still doesn't fit perfectly, but it's in and done, and now I can finish polishing up the last 20 pages of the script. I may shift the scene around some, in the next rewrite, just to see if it works better later or earlier in the story...and I may put Stasi's death scene back in...but I'm not having to worry about that, now. I smashed this friggin' wall to bits, and proved I'M THE MAN! Well...the writer. Man. Person.
Looks like I'll have a solid first draft of Carli's Kills done, tomorrow. The one I'm currently working on was too rough to be considered anything more than an extended outline of the story. So I'll only need another 5 or 6 rewrites to make it readable.
And it's still doable for under $500K. The story's pretty much centered around the Cantina Madriza and surrounding desert. Carli's home. An apartment that, with a green screen backdrop, could double for a highrise in downtown Phoenix. One bomb going off and a building burning down. Cheap, up one side and down the other.
Well...that's what I was aiming for.