Archives for category: Screenplay

A few years ago, I started my first screenplay. This is probably as far as it will go. The general idea is that the main character moves to Hollywood with the goal of getting his name in the credits of as many movies as possible. There’s a love interest (with the same goal as him, and thus competition), a rival villain actor, and a sleazy low-rent agent (think Danny DeVito). Ah well, maybe someday it’ll come to fruition…

P.S. the formatting’s a bit off, but you get the picture.

 

 

GIVE THE KID SOME CREDIT

 

INT: APARTMENT, BEDROOM, MORNING

 

Close-up on a stack of movie DVDs, titles visible.  The camera pans slowly up; eventually we reveal that there are thousands of DVDs.  The titles are widely varied; classic comedies, film noir, foreign films, blockbusters, etc.  We pan back to show that they are stacked in a small bedroom with movie posters plastered on the walls.  Pan out to the hallway of the apartment to another bedroom door; it opens and STEVE, 26, yawning and in boxer shorts, staggers out.  We follow him out to the living room where he sits on a ratty couch next to his roommate JAKE, 24, who is engrossed in watching a movie on TV.

 

STEVE

What’s for breakfast?

 

JAKE

Satan’s Cheerleaders, 1977.

 

STEVE

Ah, a light snack for you this

morning. No heavy Schindler’s

List stuff.

 

STEVE produces a bong, lights it, and takes a hit.

 

STEVE

Up all night?

 

JAKE

Crashed about two, got up about

five.

 

STEVE

Anything good on?

 

JAKE

Attack of the fifty-foot woman.

Gotta love that giant fake hand.

 

STEVE

I remember that hand. It would make

my penis look incredibly small.

 

JAKE

Do you always have to make dick jokes

as soon as you get up?

 

STEVE

You know you love it.

 

STEVE takes another hit as JAKE clicks the remote to pause the movie.  It is paused on a few insignificant characters onscreen.

 

JAKE

Look at that.

 

STEVE

What?  A bunch of losers in a grade-Z

movie who are probably dead by now?

 

JAKE

The guy on the right.  He’s in the

credits as Cop number three.

 

STEVE

So?

 

JAKE

So? The guy probably spent a day or

two shooting, got enough money to pay

his gas bill, and got his name in the

credits.

 

STEVE

Who cares?  Nobody stays for the credits.

 

JAKE

I beg to differ.  I’ve seen thousands

of movies, and I’ve watched the credits

of every one. Did you know that “Hooper”

started the trend of showing outtakes

during the credits?

 

STEVE

Did you know I don’t give a shit?

 

JAKE glances at a clock on the wall.

 

JAKE

Crap, gotta go.

 

JAKE heads to the door.

 

STEVE

Another day in paradise.

 

JAKE

Hey, it pays the rent, and it beats

the hell out of your job. Besides, the

(hot DVD movie at the time) special

edition comes out next month.  Gotta

save up.

 

STEVE

You know, I’ve known guys who are

obsessed with pussy, obsessed with cars,

obsessed with booze, money, whatever.

But I’ve never known a guy as obsessed

with movies as you are.

 

JAKE

” Obsessed” makes me sound like a stalker.

I prefer passion.  I have a passion for

film. It comforts me, it challenges me,

it intrigues me, it makes me laugh, it

even makes me feel sexy.

 

STEVE

I thought I did all that.

 

JAKE

(chuckles)

Later, dude.

 

JAKE exits.

 

EXT: ANDERSON INSURANCE COMPANY, DAY

 

A small insurance building.

 

INT: SAME, DAY

 

A small but bustling office.  JAKE is sitting at a desk in a cubicle, entering data into a computer from a stack of papers. There is movie memorabilia all over his cube. Over his shoulder we see that he frequently flips the computer screen from his data entry software to several movie forum websites.

 

JAKE

(reading a site)

Iron Man 2 is better than Iron Man.

You gotta be shitting me, VincentVega94.

 

He starts to type a response when his boss, JOAN, 45, approaches

his desk and startles him.  He awkwardly switches screens.

 

JOAN

Morning, Jake.  Got a minute?

 

JAKE

Sure.

 

JOAN

Come to my office.

 

INT: JOAN’S OFFICE, DAY

 

JOAN and JAKE enter, each taking a seat on their respective sides of the desk.

 

JOAN

First of all, how’s your mother?

 

JAKE

Fine.  Still keeping books at the hardware

store.

 

JOAN

Good.  It’s been ages since I talked to her.

Things tend to get crazy…anyway, Jake, let

me ask you something: do you like your job?

 

JAKE

(thinks)

Yeah.  Yeah, I guess so.

 

JOAN

You don’t sound very convincing.

 

JAKE

I punch numbers into a computer all day.

I know there are worse things I could be

doing, but it just doesn’t hold my interest.

 

JOAN

Well, I hope that changes soon, because I

called you in here to talk about your

performance.

 

JOAN produces some paperwork.

 

JOAN

I’ve had several complaints lately.

Invoice codes entered incorrectly, sometimes

pertinent information on J-6 spreadsheets

left out completely. This isn’t hard stuff,

Jake. Is everything okay?

 

 

JAKE

Yeah. I guess I just sometimes get

distracted.

 

JOAN

You know what I think?  I think you think

about movies too much.  It’s all you talk

about with anyone.  Hell, most of us don’t

even know what movies you’re talking about

half the time.

 

JAKE

(a little defensive)

I could be like Anne and come in hopped up

on Vicodin every day.

 

JOAN’s POV: from out of her office window we see a woman, presumably ANNE, slide out of her desk chair.

 

JOAN

(sighs)

Just get your head in the game, okay?  I’d

hate to tell your mom I had to can you.

 

JAKE nods.

 

INT: ANDERSON INSURANCE, DAY

 

JAKE returns to his desk and stares blankly at the computer screen.  His desk phone rings; he answers.

 

JAKE

Anderson Insurance, Jake speaking.

 

JAKE’s mother, SANDRA, is on the line.

 

SANDRA

(on phone)

Hi, sweety.  How’s work?

 

JAKE

Good, mom.  Joan says hello.

 

SANDRA

That’s nice. Sweety, I have some bad

news.

 

From this point on in the conversation, SANDRA’s voice is shaky.

 

SANDRA

Aunt Mary passed away this morning.

Heart attack, poor thing.

 

JAKE

(stunned)

Oh no.  I always liked aunt Mary.

 

SANDRA

And she always adored you, son.  I hate to

bother you with this news at work, but I

thought you should know right away.  I’ll

talk to you later about the arrangements.

 

JAKE

Are you okay, mom?

 

SANDRA

Yes, sweety.  You just keep doing well at

work.  We’ll talk later.   Love you.

 

JAKE

Love ya too, mom.

 

He slowly hangs up.

 

FADE OUT.

 

FADE IN TO:

 

INT:  CAR, DAY

 

JAKE sits in the passenger seat as SANDRA, 50, drives.  They are both dressed up.

 

SANDRA

That was a lovely ceremony.  Reverend

Stanton gave a wonderful eulogy, and

the flowers were beautiful.

 

JAKE

I’m really gonna miss aunt Mary.  She

was the only relative who “got” me.

 

SANDRA shoots him a stern glance.

 

JAKE

And my mother, of course.  It’s just that

she knew I love movies, and she loved

them, too.

 

SANDRA

I like movies.

 

JAKE

You like “Steel Magnolias.”

 

SANDRA

That’s a movie, isn’t it?

 

JAKE

I suppose, if you’re an old lady.

 

They both laugh.

 

JAKE

Every birthday and Christmas, she gave me

a movie, remember? And they were always movies

I liked.  She got me all my Star Wars films,

early Peter Jackson stuff, even a few rare

foreign movies.  Remember the Freddy Krueger

doll she gave me?  Still in my room, still

in the box.  You know what her favorite movie

was?  Apocalypse Now. How cool is that?  What

fifty-three-year-old woman’s favorite movie is

Apocalypse Now?

 

SANDRA

I always enjoyed seeing you two get along

so well.  You really had lively conversations

during the holidays.  She certainly was a

special person.  We all have fond memories

of her.

 

EXT: CEMETERY ROAD, DAY

 

The car pulls over and parks, as do several others.  We see they are in a funeral procession near the gravesite.

 

INT: CAR, DAY

 

SANDRA

Sweety, I need to tell you something. You know

aunt Mary was well-off, right?

 

JAKE

I knew she did okay at her marketing job, and

made some good investments.

 

SANDRA

I talked to uncle Bert this morning. He’s executor

of Mary’s estate.  Mary left you some money.

 

JAKE

(surprised)

Really.

 

SANDRA

Yes.  I don’t know how much, exactly, but he’ll

be mailing it to you soon.  I just have some

paperwork for you to sign when we’re done today.

 

JAKE

Will I be able to retire to a tropical island

with hula girls and fruity drinks?

 

SANDRA

That’s a little far-fetched, sweety, but I

think you’ll find she was very generous with

you.

 

They exit the car.

 

INT: APARTMENT, LATE AFTERNOON

 

SUBTITLE: TWO WEEKS LATER

 

STEVE enters with a small box and some other mail.  JAKE, as usual, is watching a movie.

 

STEVE

Hey, I think you got your check from Publisher’s

Clearing House.  I hope your subscription to

Home & Garden was worth it.

 

He hands the box to JAKE.  He opens it.  There’s an envelope and a wooden cigar box inside.

 

STEVE

Cigars!  Your aunt kicked ass.

 

JAKE opens the cigar box.  He pulls out a small Star Wars stormtrooper figurine.

 

STEVE

Well, you can’t smoke it, but it’s

pretty cool.

 

There’s also a note. JAKE reads it.

 

JAKE

“Jake, you were always my favorite nephew.

You have great things in you.  Use my gift

to follow your dreams. Love, Mary.”

 

STEVE

I hope she doesn’t mean the stormtrooper.

Open the envelope, Bill Gates.

 

JAKE opens the envelope, pulls out the check, and stares at it.  He is dumbstruck.

 

JAKE

Whoa.

 

STEVE slides over and looks at the check.  We now see it: the amount is $125,000.

 

STEVE

Holy shit.  Your aunt left you a quarter

-million dollars.

 

JAKE

(still absorbing)

It’s an eighth of a million, dipshit.

 

STEVE

Still, damn. Can I have a few grand?  I

want to get a boob job.

 

JAKE just stares at the check.

 

DAYDREAM SEQUENCE: JAKE is an actor, on the set of a low-budget film.  He points a gun at another actor and fires.  The other actor falls and dies dramatically.  The fallen actor wears a shirt that says “Jake’s dead-end old life.” JAKE blows the smoke from the barrel of the gun and winks at the camera.  The other actors and crew break into applause. A woman on the set looks at him and beams.  She’s very proud of him.  He smiles at her and mouths, “Thank you, aunt Mary.”

 

STEVE

Dude, snap out of it.  You’re a lucky

bastard. You just got six figures handed

to you by a great roommate who just happens

to take large donations.

 

JAKE

(quietly)

I know what I have to do.

 

STEVE

If you say “donate it all to P.E.T.A.,” I

swear I’ll kick you in the nuts SO hard…

 

 

INT: JOAN’S OFFICE, MORNING

 

JOAN is sitting at her desk typing on her keyboard when JAKE enters and quickly takes a seat.  He’s dressed way down from normal office attire and is very excited.

 

JOAN

Morning, Jake.  Can I help you?

 

JAKE

Morning.  I quit.

 

JOAN

What?

 

JAKE

I quit.  I am…no longer in your employ.

 

JOAN

But Jake…you were improving…

 

JAKE

You were right.  I think about movies too

much.  That’s why I’m quitting and moving

to L.A.

 

JOAN

This is all pretty sudden.  Did you meet

some L.A. girl online who’s also a movie

freak?

 

JAKE

No, though that would be nice.  I’m going

to get my name in the credits of as many

movies as I can.  My personal goal is a

thousand.  But I tend to aim low.

 

JOAN

I see.  And you have money for this?

 

JAKE

My aunt Mary left me some. She was an

awesome lady.

 

He stands to leave.

 

JAKE

Well, Joan, thanks for three years of

employment.  You did me and my mom a

big favor by hiring me.  But now I must

say goodbye to a few former coworkers

and ride off into the sunset of Hollywood.

 

She comes from behind the desk and gives him a hug.

 

JOAN

This is pretty bizarre, Jake, but we’ll

miss you.  I’d wish you luck,     but I know

you’ll hit this one out of the park.

Movies are just in your blood.

 

JAKE

Just out of curiosity, who’s going to

replace me?

 

JOAN

Hmmm…I’m thinking Anne.

 

Shot of ANNE:  She’s passed out on her desk and nearly sliding off.

I got a screenwriting bug up my butt last year and started a couple of screenplays.  This is one for which I have a general story idea, but mainly got something down to amuse myself and get some practice.  So I’m pretty sure it’s dead, like Elvis.  Or IS he dead…? 

 

ELVIS HAS LEFT THE GRAVE

 

INT: GRACELAND, DAY

 

A large group of people follow a tour guide around Elvis’ palacial estate.  They stop in front of his pink Cadillac.

 

GUIDE

And here we have Elvis’ famous pink

Cadillac. You’ve probably heard the

Bruce Springsteen song “Pink Cadillac.”

 

The crowd murmurs approval.

 

GUIDE

It’s a good song, but it has nothing to

do with this car.

 

The crowd murmurs disappointment.

 

GUIDE

Most people don’t know that Elvis gave

an expensive car to everyone he knew, even

his cousin Earl, who he hated ever since

Earl shot him in the toe with a BB gun.

 

WOMAN IN GROUP

(to husband)

Elvis was such a good man.  I wish he was

alive.  I’d sell my tits to see him in concert.

 

HUSBAND

Me too, honey. And the goddamn kids, too.

 

THE KIDS, of which there are five, all under the age of 10, are screaming and fighting with each other obnoxiously.

 

TITLE CARD: LATER THAT NIGHT

 

EXT: GRACELAND, NIGHT

 

Shot of Elvis’ tombstone.  It’s raining heavily with a lot of dramatic thunder and lightning. We pan down to the grave soil and suddenly a pale, rotted hand shoots out of the ground.  There are ornate rings on every finger.

 

INT: SMALL RUN-DOWN APARTMENT, SAME NIGHT

 

TOMMY, 30, sits at a small table, poring over paperwork.  His girlfriend, TAMMY, 26, lies listlessly on a couch watching TV.  TOMMY throws down his pen in disgust.

 

TOMMY

There ain’t no way we can pay all these

fuckin’ bills.  I think we can keep

the electric on, but I don’t know about

the phone.  And we got just enough for

this month’s rent.

 

TAMMY

So go make more money.

 

TOMMY

And how about YOU makin’ some money, lazyass?

You sit around here all day while I bust my

ass drivin’ a forklift for peanuts.

 

TAMMY

You know I got a bad back.

 

TOMMY

How could I forget? Your “bad back” gives

me blue balls most of the time.

 

He shakes his cigarette pack.  It’s empty.

 

TOMMY

Fuck, and now I’m outta smokes.

 

He looks out the window.  It’s really bad weather out there.

 

TOMMY

I’m goin’ to the Qwik-E-Shop for cigs.

 

TAMMY

Are you nuts?  Wait till the rain stops.

 

TOMMY

Between you and the bills, I need some fuckin’

nicotine NOW.

 

He grabs his coat and heads for the door.

 

INT: CAR, SAME NIGHT

 

TOMMY is driving in pouring rain, wipers doing their best. It’s very hard for him to see clearly, but at least it’s late at night and there’s not much traffic.  Suddenly, a figure lurches into his path. He sees it barely in time but skids a little on the wet pavement and heavily hits the figure, which falls to the ground.  He freaks out for a bit, then finally gets out of the car to help whomever he hit.

 

Surprisingly, the figure is standing when he gets out.  He’s dressed in an elaborate costume, and looks sort of…rotted.

 

TOMMY

Hey, man, you okay?  You came outta nowhere…

 

ELVIS

(dazed)

Yeah, baby.  I just feel…confused.

 

TOMMY

You don’t look so good. You need to go to

a hospital?

 

ELVIS

No, baby. Elvis is fine.  Where’s my guitar?

 

TOMMY

Wait…did you say “Elvis?”

 

ELVIS

That’s right.  You seen Priscilla?

 

TOMMY

You know Elvis has been dead for over 30 years.

 

ELVIS

Maybe that’s why I’m so durn confused.

 

TOMMY

(playing along)

Tell you what, Elvis.  You seem okay, so

get in my car and let’s get out of the rain.

I’d like to talk to you.

 

INT: PARKED CAR, SAME NIGHT

 

TOMMY is in the parking lot of the Qwik-E-Shop with ELVIS in the passenger seat.  He smokes a cigarette but is still a little shaken; ELVIS stares forward blankly.

 

TOMMY

So you swear you’re Elvis.  I gotta say,

you look like Elvis if he’d been in the fuckin’

ground a while.

 

ELVIS

I don’t know, man.  Everything’s like a freaky

blender in my head.  Is Colonel Tom around?

That cat could straighten things out.

 

TOMMY

Okay.  There ain’t no mental hospitals around,

so I don’t think you’re an escaped loony. You

fuckin’ stink like a dead guy, you took a hit

from my car, and you really look like Elvis.

Well, a dead Elvis.

 

ELVIS

I don’t know what the deal is, baby. I just

wanna play some songs.

 

TOMMY

Great idea.  I got a old guitar at home.  Let’s

go there.  I want you to meet my girlfriend.

 

INT: APARTMENT, NIGHT

 

TOMMY and ELVIS enter through the door.  TAMMY is still on the couch, engrossed and oblivious.

 

TOMMY

Honey, I want you to meet a fella I ran

into tonight.

 

TAMMY looks up, sees the stranger, and immediately sits upright.

 

TAMMY

Who the fuck is that?

 

TOMMY

This here is Elvis Presley.  I brought him

over to play some songs.

 

TAMMY

Even a retard knows Elvis is dead.  Who is

he really?  He don’t look so good.

 

ELVIS

Elvis Presley, ma’am. Pleased to meetcha.

Where’s that guitar?

 

TOMMY

I’ll go get it.

 

He exits the room.

 

TAMMY

(completely suspicious)

So, Elvis, how did you meet Tommy tonight?

 

ELVIS

Funny thing, ma’am.  He hit me with his car.

 

TAMMY

What?!

 

ELVIS

Yeah. Best I can figgur, I came outta the

grave and stumbled in front of his car.

Kinda funny, if ya think about it.

 

TAMMY

So you’re…zombie Elvis?

 

ELVIS

I ain’t completely sure, ma’am, but it seems

like it’s turnin’ out to be that way.

 

TOMMY enters with the guitar and hands it to ELVIS. He strums it a bit.

 

ELVIS

Now that’s the stuff, baby.

 

He launches into a great rendition of “Hound Dog,” during which TOMMY and TAMMY often stare at each other in awe.  When he finishes, they both enthusiastically applaud.

 

TOMMY

Tell you what, Elvis.  You can stay with us

as long as you like.  Our home is your home.

Just keep playing, okay?

 

He looks at TAMMY, who nods in approval – she’s won over by his performance, regardless of what he may be.  Plus, there may be potential dollars in this.

 

ELVIS

Sure thing, man.  I appreciate it. Say,

I’m kinda hungry. Got anything to eat?

 

TAMMY

We got some leftover Hamburger Helper in

the fridge. That sound good?

 

ELVIS

I was thinkin’ legs, hearts or brains.

 

TOMMY

(confused)

You mean like a chicken?

 

ELVIS

I mean, baby, like a human.  The King’s

gotta eat.