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The Thing
October 17th, 2005, 11:49 AM
This is my first attempt at writing my own screenplay. I have written adaptation of books as practise, but this is my first original screenplay. This is the opening couple of scenes. I would appreciate any feedback.
FADE IN

EXT. DAY FACTORY

We see a large white, flat roofed, building two floors high. There is a sign at the front of an immaculate lawn which reads: BOW-LOCKS CANDY.

INT. DAY BOW-LOCKS CANDY - OFFICE

We see a man sitting behind a DESK. There is a PC, KEYBOARD and a litter of scattered PAPER. It is MR LOCKS, a hard, harsh looking man with dishevelled hair. He is wearing a BLACK SUIT, his SHIRT is unbuttoned around the neck and his TIE has been loosened. He holds his head in his hands and closes his eyes in a look of despair. We get the impression that he is on the edge; a desperate man who will take desperate measures.

There is a knock on the office door.

MR LOCKS
Go away.

The door creaks slowly open. MR LOCKS looks up, his face flashes a venomous anger. A fat, sweaty man with a COMB-OVER hair style sheepishly peers around the door. The fat man is RAYMOND HAMILTON. He is wearing the WHITE COAT of a scientist.

HAMILTON
Mr Locks I I have something incredible to show you.

MR LOCKS
Do you know what this is?

MR LOCKS picks up a sheet of paper from his desk and waves it angrily about. HAMILTON shakes his head.

MR LOCKS
This is the end of everything my father and Mr Bows father worked so hard to build up from nothing. Our fathers sacrificed everything their health, their families - to make this business a success. And its taken me and Mr Bow less than five years to destroy it all.

HAMILTON
Mr Locks maybe you should hear what I have to say.

MR LOCKS
This is the end! Bow-Locks Candy is bankrupt!

MR LOCKS face screws up and he begins to shed tears.

HAMILTON
Mr Locks Our research team have discovered a cheap, synthetic alternative to sugar. Were still testing it for health and safety issues, you know, like side effects and allergic reactions.

MR LOCKS
Didnt you hear me, Hamilton? Were finished.

HAMILTON
Sir, please. Just listen to the results weve discovered so far. Its cheap to make, it doesnt rot your teeth and it tastes exactly like sugar. If we patent this, Mr Locks, Bow-Locks Candy could be no, will be saved from bankruptcy. Do you realise how many parents will buy exclusively from our range of sweets when they learn that sugar plus thats what weve called it doesnt rot their sweet little childrens teeth.

MR LOCKS face brightens up as he quickly realises the implications.

MR LOCKS
Well wipe the competition away. Nobody could compete with that. How long until we can start producing what did you call it?

HAMILTON
Sugar plus.

MR LOCKS
Sugar plus Well, how long?

HAMILTON
Well, sir, as I said before we still need to check for any possible side effects

MR LOCKS
Side effects! What are you talking about? Its sugar.

HAMILTON
No, sir. Its sugar plus. Its never been tested on humans. It could take months, years even until we get satisfactory results.

MR LOCKS
Raymond. Raymond. What good is this news to me if I cant fucking use it? Im going to ignore your advice on this one, Raymond, and order the production of sugar plus. From this point on we no longer use standard sugar.

MR LOCKS presses the intercom on his desk.

MR LOCKS
Sally, get me the press office and cancel our orders from the sugar suppliers.

HAMILTON
Mr Locks, please, sir. There is one side effect we do know about. The lab rats we tested sugar plus on began to crave it. Sir, sugar plus is habit-forming. Its addictive.

MR LOCKS pauses for a moment and ponders what is said.

MR LOCKS
Even better, Hamilton. That means the kidsll come back for more. Thank you, Hamilton. Youve made my day.

EXT. DAY STREET

We look up an untidy, slightly overgrown garden path to an average suburban terrace. We can tell it is autumn by the brown leaves on the ground and the single tree that stands in the garden.

INT. DAY ELIZABETHS HOUSE - KITCHEN

The clock in the kitchen says 11:30. ELIZABETH BROWN is sitting at a TABLE eating CORNFLAKES. The CEREAL BOX is on the table. She picks up a GLASS of CLEAR LIQUID and drinks it, emptying the glass. ELIZABETH is twenty-three years old. She has long, blond hair and dazzling blue eyes. She is wearing a WHITE CAMISOLE.

She rises from the CHAIR, scraping the chair across the lino, and, picking up her EMPTY GLASS, walks over to the counter and refills her glass from the VODKA BOTTLE. She sits back down at the table and resumes eating her breakfast.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. DAY ELIZABETHS HOUSE LIVING ROOM

The clock in the living room reads: 12:45. ELIZABETH is slouched on a TATTY BROWN LEATHER SOFA. She holds the VODKA BOTTLE - which is three-quarters empty - lazily in her left hand. In her right hand she holds a framed photo. Her eyes seem to struggle to focus.

In the photo is a tall, handsome man and a small boy. The man is DANIEL BROWN. DANIEL has the well-groomed appearance of a male-model. He is smartly dressed in a DARK BLUE SWEATER and TAUPE CHINO TROUSERS and his hair is perfectly combed in place. He is twenty-five. The child is SAM BROWN. He is the son of DANIEL and ELIZABETH and is six years old. He is dressed simply in T-SHIRT and JEANS, his hair is a mop of blond hair.

ELIZABETH
You bastard.

She throws the photo at a wall and starts to cry. Struggling to her feet she unsteadily crosses the room to the photo and picks it up. The glass has cracked. ELIZABETH places the VODKA BOTTLE on the floor, tears off the back of the frame and rips out the photo. She holds the photo up, a single tear hanging off her chin, and rips it in half, carefully removing DANIEL from the picture. She drops DANIEL on the floor so that she now holds the picture of SAM.

ELIZABETH
I love you so much, baby.

ELIZABETH falls to her knees and holds the photo of her son to her breast. She picks up the VODKA BOTTLE and knocks back a mouthful.

EXT. DAY ST MARYS PRIMARY SCHOOL

We see the school from across a quiet road. The road is packed with the double-parked cars of parents picking up their children. ELIZABETH - still dressed in her WHITE CAMISOLE but now holding an UNOPENED BOTTLE OF WHISKEY - crosses the road, weaving her way through the parked cars. People watch her with a look of worry and concern. One CONCERNED MOTHER, pushing her TODDLER in a PRAM approaches ELIZABETH.

CONCERNED MOTHER
Are you okay? Can I help?

ELIZABETH
Fuck off!
CONCERNED MOTHER
I I Im sorry.

ELIZABETH
Wheres my son? Wheres Sam? And wheres that cunt of an ex-husband of mine? Hes cheating on you now, is he?

CONCERNED MOTHER
I dont know what youre talking about?

ELIZABETH
Yeah, well whatever.

The CONCERNED MOTHER backs off. ELIZABETH staggers drunkenly past her into the school yard. A stocky man in a CHEAP SUIT exits the school building and approaches ELIZABETH. He is MR MURPHEY, St Marys headmaster. He has bushy, grey eyebrows and is in his early fifties.

MR MURPHEY
Mrs Brown, Im sorry Im going to have to ask you to vacate the premises. I understand you have been issued a restraining order that prohibits you from being within a hundred yards of your son, Sam. I regret to inform you that the police have been duly informed of your breach of this order and are on their way.

ELIZABETH
Im actually allowed to see my son. Im just not allowed within a hundred yards of him while unsupervised.

(ELIZABETH holds up her BOTTLE OF WHISKEY)

The demon drink sometimes gets the better of me.

MR MURPHEY
Either way, Im afraid Im going to have to ask you to leave. Both you, your husband

ELIZABETH
Ex-husband.

MR MURPHEY (cont.)
and Sam have been through a lot recently and I dont think its very helpful for your sons process of healing for him to see you like this.

ELIZABETH
I just want to see my son. I need to tell him I love him.

MR MURPHEY
Im sure he knows that. Now, could you please leave. Ah, Mr Brown

DANIEL BROWN approaches ELIZABETH from behind. She turns, her face darkening. She slaps him hard. He takes it.

ELIZABETH
You bastard. Youve turned my own son against me.

DANIEL
Come with me, Liz. Wait in my car.
ELIZABETH goes to slap DANIEL again but he grabs her wrist.

DANIEL
Stop that. Youre making a fool of yourself.

ELIZABETH
Making a fool of myself. Youd like that, wouldnt you? To call me mad. Have me locked up. Youd absolutely love that wouldnt you, Dan?

DANIEL looks past ELIZABETH. She looks up towards the school and we see hundreds of little faces peering, scared out of he windows. By the main entrance stands SAM. He is crying.

ELIZABETH
Sam. Come to mummy.

SAM turns and runs into the building. We watch ELIZABETHS reaction. She looks hurt, confused and drunk.

ELIZABETH
You win, Dan.

DANIEL
Its not about winning, Liz, its about Sam.

ELIZABETH
Its not about Sam. Its never been about Sam. Its about you and that slut. Its about the lies and the cheating.

DANIEL
Go home, Liz.

ELIZABETH
Im going to prove to the courts that I am a good mother and

DANIEL
I hope you do. Id like you back in Sam life but is this really a good start?

ELIZABETH
What would you know?

ELIZABETH turns away and sulks drunkenly out of the school grouds.

mammamaia
October 17th, 2005, 02:53 PM
first, some major format goofs:

'day' comes after the location in the slug line, not before it...

next, dump all those 'we see's... EVERYTHING is SEEN in a screenplay, so it's silly to add that... besides which, it's tantamount to a camera direction, which is the director's province, not the writer's... a newbie writing a spec script should have no 'we' anything, anywhere in the thing, if not wanting to be seen as a complete amateur...

next, don't put any objects in all-caps... only names of characters on first appearance ONLY, should be in caps... once they've been introduced, their names are thereafter typed in u/l case, except for dialog headings... not even sfx are typed that way in a spec, these days...

"FADE IN:" should have a colon after it...

as for the storyline, this reads like two different screenplays that have had their pages mixed up... no connection is made between the candy factory scene and the drunken mother bit, so it's impossible to tell where this is going or why...

you need to work on your writing style, as the action element is way too novel-ish and full of junk that needs serious culling, to get it down to a decent screenwriting 'voice'...

here's just one example:


DANIEL looks past ELIZABETH. She looks up towards the school and we see hundreds of little faces peering, scared out of he windows. By the main entrance stands SAM. He is crying.

ELIZABETH
Sam. Come to mummy.

SAM turns and runs into the building. We watch ELIZABETH’S reaction. She looks hurt, confused and drunk.

simplified, in acceptable screenwriting style, that can be more effectively done, like this:


Daniel points at the school, frowns angrily. CHILDREN stare at them, from the windows and Sam stands by the entrance, sobbing.

ELIZABETH
Sam. Come to mummy.

Sam runs into the building. Elizabeth's drunken blank stare dissolves in tears and she staggers away.

...for more examples, you can send this to me 'at home' and i'll be happy to add detailed notes on the whys and wherefores, as well as send you some info on the basics of the screenwriter's craft...

hope this is some help... love and hugs, maia
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