Waiting Room


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Thread: Waiting Room

  1. #1

    Waiting Room

    This is the opening of my first script. "Waiting Room" is the working title, actually more of a faux title. I'm a little prone to paranoia, so while I don't fear the work itself is apt to be stolen, I do worry about the real title, which I am fond of. It fits the story well, but could also work for any number of other things. If anyone can convince me that it's safe to disclose (which, deep down I know it is) please give it a shot.

    Please let me know what you think.

    INT. BACK ROOM OF DIVE BAR IN BUMFUCK, KANSAS. DAY. JUNE, 1986.


    On the bill this afternoon is Mongrel Skull, a local punk rock band. ROACH, a nervous looking 19 year old with an orange mohawk and shifty, darting eyes grabs the microphone and begins screaming into it. Behind him, the band begins pummeling their guitars.


    They have what appears to be seven loyal fans, the rest of the audience is composed of hangers on, scene sheep, and horrified bar patrons who have wandered in from the front of the bar.

    EXT. BUSY ROAD, DAY


    CRAIG MILLER, nineteen, is walking down the road, a busy stretch of fast food joints, strip malls and car dealerships. Nearly six feet, lanky, his black hair is a chaotic hurricane of spikes. beneath that, a one-size-too-small leather jacket over a tight, faded Carpenter’s t-shirt, cheap leather spiked belt and ripped Wrangler jeans. His mud caked Doc Martens navigate a series of roadside puddles. Beneath the sound of roaring traffic, we can still the music of Mongrel Skull (off)


    Perilously close to traffic, Craig walks along the curb, pinwheeling his arms for balance. A truck careens by, splashing him with a wave of muddy water. Craig hold up his middle finger and the trucker responds in kind with a blast of his deafening horn.


    A local bus pulls up about fifty feet ahead of him. He races to it and hops on. Almost immediately, the bus driver begins yelling at him. Perhaps he hasn’t paid his fare, or just maybe, it’s because of his appearance. It would be at least ten years until corporate appropriations of Craig’s wardrobe would hit the malls, but for now, he’s clearly out of place, especially in this rural midwestern town.


    Craig makes his way to the back of the bus, but annoyed passengers begin to shout at him as well, and he is ejected through the back door by a middle aged dude in biker gear.


    The bus roars off. Generously, Craig holds up both middle fingers.


    INT. BACK ROOM OF DIVE BAR, DAY


    Still pounding on their instruments, Mongrel Skull seems to have garnered a bit more enthusiasm from the crowd. On guitar is BIG-O NOTE, the oldest member at 24, 6’3’’ and heavyset with a mop of curly brown hair. Roach continues to holler-sing, dodging half filled beer bottles which launch in appreciation from a slowly forming mosh pit. On the drums is BRETT, his skinny arms barely visible as he plays. TIM LEARY is on bass. Nineteen, with the obligatory buzzed hair and dirty white T-shirt, plucks his bass studiously, occasionally looking up for incoming flying objects. Pay attention to Tim..this is his story.


    EXT. BUSY ROAD, DAY


    Busless Craig continues on. Turning off the main road, he comes across three or four local redneck jocks who begin to heckle him.


    JOCK #1: Hey Punker fag, your mom know you got loose?


    JOCK#2: Nice hair, Johnny Rotten.


    JOCK#3: Where you going, asshole?


    Knowing he’s outnumbered, Craig moves on, but not without taking a swing at one of them. They converge on him, backing him out into the street, where he is clipped by a passing car. Knocked down but unhurt, Craig gets up quickly. The driver, a middle aged man, sticks his head out the window.


    CAR DRIVER #1 Fuckin’ asshole kids!


    Laughing dismissively, the jocks veer off toward a Billiards Hall on the side of the road. Craig picks up a can of soda off the road and hurls it at the car, but it’s too far off, and a fountain of orange soda splashes up over and down onto his spiky head. He notices a long tear on the sleeve of his jacket.


    INT. BACK ROOM OF DIVE BAR. DAY.


    Now somewhat loosened up, Mongrel Skull continue to play. Tim and Big-O begin to make eye contact, playing harder as they move toward the front of the stage, which is really just the floor in the corner of the room. Roach begins to thrash back and forth as if neurologically stricken, as Brett loses control of one of his sticks, which goes hurling off into the crowd, unnoticed.


    CUT TO


    6. EXT. SIDE ROAD. DAY.


    Frustration and rage visible in his gait, Craig continues his trek, turning into the parking lot of the Moon Bar, and marching through the front door. We can hear the music of Mongrel Skull louder now, as it becomes apparent that this is the bar where the band is playing.


    CUT TO


    7. INT. DIVE BAR. DAY


    Craig makes his way through the bar toward the back, his face angry and set. He storms into the back room and through the small crowd as if they don’t exist, approaching the band.


    Tim sees him and he watches tensely, his mouth opening slightly with an “Uh-oh” expression.


    Roach, fully engrossed in his singing, does not notice as Craig walks directly up to him and plants a 25mph left hook directly into the right side of his face. Roach goes down, the microphone airborne for only a second as Craig deftly grabs it and continues the vocals without missing a syllable. Exasperated, Tim and Big-O stop playing. Sounds of surprise and laughter and outrage rise from the crowd, as Craig continues to sing, his face screwed up in customary punk rock rage.

  2. #2
    I like this so far. You can see how the characters would be revealed via the visual cues, and so far they are likeable and interesting.

    But there are some problems, the main one being that you sometimes forget the audience is not going to be reading your script. For example:

    It would be at least ten years until corporate appropriations of Craig’s wardrobe would hit the malls, but for now, he’s clearly out of place, especially in this rural midwestern town.

    How this idea could be shown via film I have no idea. You can show how he's "clearly out of place" by having people give him weird stares or something, but I don't see how the sidenote about the later commercialization of punk could be shown in the movie. Also, since you say the driver starts yelling at him but don't specify what he says, I imagine this scene viewed from a distance (from outside of the bus), which would make it hard to show some aspects (him moving to the back of the bus, the biker appearance of the guy who throws him out).

    My main problem is this line:

    Pay attention to Tim..this is his story.

    It's not only a problem for the previous reason (the audience is not going to be reading the script), but also because all the cues in the script signify otherwise. I would have 100 percent pegged Craig as main character. He's the one who's "set apart" (the other guys are going to appear to the audience as a band, not as individual characters just yet), and he's also the one who the action so far centers around. I already have a clear idea of his personality and the kind of conflict he may experience.

    I also was confused by this:

    Knowing he’s outnumbered, Craig moves on, but not without taking a swing at one of them.

    Like, what? Did he want to fight or not? I can't even imagine someone taking a swing at someone while simultaneously walking past them, except perhaps in a very drunken, confused way.

    One minor thing--I couldn't picture this very well:

    Craig picks up a can of soda off the road and hurls it at the car, but it’s too far off, and a fountain of orange soda splashes up over and down onto his spiky head.

    How did the soda get on him by him throwing it at the car? Did he throw it up in the air?
    "So long is the way to the unknown, long is the way we have come. . ." ~ Turisas, Five Hundred and One

    "[An artist is] an idiot babbling through town. . .crying, 'Dreams, dreams for sale! Two for a kopek, two for a song; if you won't buy them, just take them for free!'" ~ Michael O' Brien,
    Sophia House

    Christ is risen from the dead,
    trampling on Death by death,
    And on those in the tombs,
    lavishing light.



  3. #3
    Thanks for reading! I agree on all points.

    you sometimes forget the audience is not going to be reading your script.

    Yes. I'm surprised it took this long for someone to call me out on that line. I suppose it was my way of explaining to the younguns that back then, depending where you were, you could get disrespected or harassed for dressing punk. But I already established that by having Craig get kicked off the bus and hassled by the jocks.

    you say the driver starts yelling at him but don't specify what he says, I imagine this scene viewed from a distance (from outside of the bus), which would make it hard to show some aspects (him moving to the back of the bus, the biker appearance of the guy who throws him out).

    Yes. No need to bring the bus driver in on this. A long shot would be ideal. He gets on, walks toward the rear, and is ejected through the back door. Doesn't necessarily have to be a biker; if we see just a pair of arms pushing him out, that's enough. I was trying to maintain a sense of motion, of him constantly moving.

    "Pay attention to Tim..this is his story."

    It's not only a problem for the previous reason (the audience is not going to be reading the script), but also because all the cues in the script signify otherwise. I would have 100 percent pegged Craig as main character. He's the one who's "set apart" (the other guys are going to appear to the audience as a band, not as individual characters just yet), and he's also the one who the action so far centers around. I already have a clear idea of his personality and the kind of conflict he may experience.

    I wasn't sure about that line. I was cheating there. Being lazy. Craig and Tim are the main characters, but the emotional heart of the story is expressed through Tim. I think this is gradually made clear in the subsequent scenes.

    I also was confused by this:

    "Knowing he’s outnumbered, Craig moves on, but not without taking a swing at one of them."

    Me too! I'll fix that.

    As for the soda, if you're tossing an open, almost-full can of soda at someone, chances are centrifugal force will not be enough to keep some of the soda from spilling out in an arc above you. Trust me. But again, it's is unnecessary. I was trying to show why he would get so angry, but I suppose getting splashed with mud, kicked off a bus, harassed by hicks and clipped by a car is more than enough.

    Good points all around. Much appreciated.

    Upcoming scenes are heavy with dialogue. Lots of people talking at once. It was difficult, but I think I got it down. I'll post them shortly to see if I'm right.

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