Posted by: steveonfilm | January 31, 2008

The First Ten Pages: Chapter Eleven Exercise – Part Two

Here it is…. the first ten pages of…well, I don’t have a title yet. Remember, this is not indicative as to how it appears on the formatted page. I’ve attached a .pdf of the first ten pages if you want to see what it looks like all nicely formatted by Final Draft.

Also, remember, this is a first draft so I haven’t gone through for editing, spelling, etc. Syd says not to worry about that stuff right now anyway.

——–

INT. ELEVATOR
JOHN, late 20s, white shirt, black tie, stands in the front of the elevator alone. He checks he teeth in his reflection on the stainless steel walls. Generic elevator music plays from a speaker overhead.

DING.

The elevator doors open. TWO MEN IN BUSINESS SUITS are standing there staring at John.

JOHN
(left to right)
Frank, Hawkins.

The two men continue to stare at John. He isn’t moving to let them in.

JOHN (CONT’D)
Oh, you want in the elevator? Yeah, stupid me. Sorry.

John smiles politely and steps back. The Two Men in Business Frank and Hawkins enter and stand right in front of John, backs turned.

FRANK
Anyway, getting back to my story–

HAWKINS
Yeah so what happened?

FRANK
Well I told him that he can take his stock options and shove ‘em. I wasn’t about to leave this company.

HAWKINS
You sure told him.

John makes a snooty face, mimicing Hawkins saying “you sure told him.” Hawkins turns and looks over his shoulder, sending John a cold glance.

FRANK
But I told Kevin upstairs that if he wants to keep me around he’s going to have to cough up some more money.

He then leans over to Hawkins and whispers just loud enough so he’s sure John can hear him.

FRANK (CONT’D)
Even if that means letting a few people go to free up the salary room.

John makes another snooty face to the back of Frank’s head. Frank starts sniffing the air.

FRANK (CONT’D)
You smell that?

HAWKINS
What?

DING

The doors open.

JOHN
Excuse me guys.

John passes between Frank and Hawkins and exits the elevator into the —

INT. 5TH FLOOR LOBBY

–and taps on the receptionists desk. Various OFFICE PATRON’S move about doing their duties.

JOHN
Morning Susan.

Susan smiles to him as he passes. The elevator doors close.

FRANK (O.S.)
Oh my God, what’s that smell?

HAWKINS (O.S.)
It’s like something died in here.

A sheepish grin slides over John’s face as he continues to walk though the lobby. Suddenly John stops, mid stride, as does the rest of the people in the lobby.

The image fades from color to black and white. Slowly the edges soften. Everything changes into a pencil drawing. John changes to take on the look of a caricature of himself, followed by Susan, then everyone in the back ground.

We pull back and see a freeze frame to the left of John leaving the elevator. Then another image of Frank and Hawkins in the elevator with John. Everything has turned into a comic strip.

INT. BASEMENT – MORNING

Huddled over a drafting table is Tom, late 20s, pajamas pants and an old Pearl Jam t-shirt. He wouldn’t be a bad looking guy if he cleaned himself up.

The basement has a hard concrete floor but has been decorated like an apartment. A couch. Two beanbag chairs. Stereo. Some posters on the wall.

Tom sips some coffee as he finishes some shading on John’s face. He stops shading and leans back. He doesn’t look satisfied.

TOM
This sucks.

He crumples up the sheet of paper.

INT. KITCHEN – DAY

Tom cooks some scrambled eggs on a non-stick pan. The TV in the adjacent family room is turned to the morning news.

TV NEWS ANCHOR
Representatives from Grisham Media Networks confirmed the buyout offer to Kingston Press Syndicate was a combined cash and stock offering valued at over twenty-one million dollars.
John enters the kitchen. He’s struggling to get his tie on.

JOHN
Man, I heard about this on NPR while I was in the bathroom. You think it’ll effect your strip?

TOM
Does a bear shit in the woods?

John wanders back into the family room.

TOM (CONT’D)
I tried the fart joke.

JOHN (O.S.)
How’d it go?

TOM
Not good.

JOHN (O.S.)
Oh come on, that’s comedy gold.

TOM
Yeah, well, not when you put it down on paper.

Tom stops stirring the eggs.

TOM (CONT’D)
You going to eat any of this?

JOHN (O.S.)
No time. Just pour me a glass of orange juice or something.

Tom opens the fridge. Everything inside is neat and orderly. Milk, eggs, cheese, everything, right where you’d expect it.

TOM
You really need to eat breakfast sometime.

JOHN (O.S.)
I know.

Tom he grabs the juice, snags a cup from th cabinet, and pours the juice.

TOM
Here’s your juice.

John doesn’t come get it.

TOM (CONT’D)
John?

Tom walks from the kitchen and looks into the family room. Nothing. John’s already gone.

TOM (CONT’D)
Damn it, I hate it when he does that.

INT. GROCERY STORE – DAY

Tom pushes a grocery cart down the “ethnic foods” isle. His arms are tight at his sides, his feet plod more than step. He moves like he’s scared to touch anything.

He stops and grabs a few bags of rice.

AT THE DELI COUNTER – MOMENTS LATER

John is looking through the items in his cart, checking them against his grocery list. A FEMALE DELI ATTENDANT (late 20s), petite, cute, looks over at John as she finishes slicing some ham. Her name tag says “Michelle.”

She hands the sliced salami to a customer and comes over to Tom.

MICHELLE
Can I help you?

Tom jumps, a bit startled. He looks up to see Michelle. His face empties of color. He’s frozen.

MICHELLE (CONT’D)
Sir?

Tom snaps out of it. He looks down, avoiding eye contact.

TOM
Uh, yeah, the, uh, the thing, uh, a half pound of uh, with the breasts. Oh God, I mean…

Michelle smiles lightheartedly.

TOM (CONT’D)
I mean, the uh, with the white meat and dark meat, uh–

MICHELLE
–chicken?

TOM
Yeah, yeah, a half pound of the chicken.

MICHELLE
You sure? You always get the chicken. How about you try something else? We’ve got a great sale on the spicy–

TOM
–no, no, no, chicken. Just the chicken. Gotta be chicken.

Michelle smiles again.

MICHELLE
Okay, chicken it is.

INT. FAMILY ROOM – DAY

Tom is sitting on the couch, a cup of yogurt in his hand. On the other side of the couch is a COLLEGE AGE WOMAN, early 20s, sporty.

The TV has a soap opera on it. A man and a woman appear to be arguing.

COLLEGE AGE WOMAN
I don’t know what she’s doing with him anyway.

John nods and then notices that the doily on the coffee table isn’t perfectly symmetrical with the corners.

COLLEGE AGE WOMAN (CONT’D)
You know? He’s just going to cheat on her like he did with her sister.

Tom leans forward and starts to arrange the doily. He tries to line up the corners to they perfectly intersect with the ides of the coffee table. The College Age Woman notices Tom isn’t paying attention to the TV.

COLLEGE AGE WOMAN (CONT’D)
Are you even watching?

TOM
What? No, sorry Tammy. This doily isn’t right.

TAMMY
This is an important scene. You need to be watching this. Marissa and Keith are going to hook up. I’m telling you.

Just then the man and woman on the television embrace in a lustful kiss. Tammy claps her hands enthusiastically.

TAMMY (CONT’D)
Ha! See I told you.

TOM
You were right.

Tom sits back. The couple on the TV continues to kiss.

TAMMY
Jeeze, they’re really going at it.

Tom isn’t satisfied with the doily. He sits forward and starts playing with it again.

TAMMY (CONT’D)
Tom, leave it alone.

Tom sits back. He tries to ignore it. He sits forward again, moving the doily.

TOM
I can’t. Got to get it right.

TAMMY
It’s just a doily Tom.

TOM
If it’s not right the whole room is off.

TAMMY
Whatever.

Tammy goes back to watching the TV show, noticeably annoyed. Tom finally gets it right and sits back, satisfied.

TOM
You wouldn’t understand.

TAMMY
You’re right.

INT. KITCHEN – DAY

Tom is in the process of cleaning the kitchen. The pots are out, but arranged neatly on the counter top. The pantry doors are open. Everything is arranged by food type, then size, then color.

Tom moves some spices in one of the cabinets. He’s placing them all in alphabetical order. He places a small jar of White Pepper in the cabinet. He smiles and closes the door.

TOM
Last one.

INT. BATHROOM – DAY

Tom sports some yellow rubber gloves as he scrubs the sinks with a sponge and Soft-Scrub. He turns the sink on to wash away the excess cleaning agent.

INT. TOM’S BEDROOM – DAY
Tom finishes making his bed. He tucks a pillow neatly under the comforter. He pauses to look at a picture of him and an OLD WOMAN on his dresser.

INT. HALLWAY – DAY

Tom shuts the door to his bedroom. Directly across from him is another door that’s shut. Tom walks down the hallway, stopping to adjust a picture in the hallway that’s just a bit crooked.

INT. BASEMENT – DAY

Tom sits at his drafting table staring at the blank piece of paper in front of him. A facet drip somewhere in the background.

Tom twirls a pencil in his hand.

TOM
Think, think, think.

Tom starts drawing the face of a girl. His draws her hair. She’s smiling. He draws her hands up in the air. Then, he draws her breasts.

TOM (CONT’D)
Argh.

Tom crumples up the paper and tosses it in the garbage can. He stares once again at a blank sheet.
The faucet continues to drip in the back ground.

Tom leans forward, starts to draw John’s character. He’s sitting at a desk typing. Tom taps his pencil on the paper. The dripping faucet gets louder.

Tom starts to draw the next panel but stops. After a moment he tries to start again, but stops. His eyes dart to the right. He turns his head a bit.

TOM (CONT’D)
God damn faucet.

Tom gets up and walks off.

INT. FAMILY ROOM – NIGHT

Tom is on the couch playing Halo 3. John sits on the other side watching. A CHUBBY GUY, mid 20s, goatee, sits in a recliner off to the side, his eyes bloodshot.

Tom’s brings the Master Chief around a corner, guns blazing, but he’s ambushed by a horde of Flood and dies.

TOM
I cannot, for the life of me, beat this part of the stage.

He looks over at the CHUBBY GUY.

TOM (CONT’D)
Mitch, you want to give it a go?

Mitch takes a deep breath, then rubs his head.

MITCH
I don’t know if you’d want me playing this right now.

Tom turns to John. John just shakes his head.

JOHN
I suck at this game.

TOM
Man, you guys suck.

Tom hits a button and the level reloads.

INT. BASEMENT – NIGHT

Tom and Mitch each sit in bean bag chairs. Some Smashing Pumkpin’s plays from the stereo speakers. Tom tosses a small rubber football up in the air over and over again.

MITCH
Have you tried just brain storming it?

TOM
Like how?

MITCH
Just sit there and think about random things until something pops into your head.

TOM
That stuff doesn’t work for me.

MITCH
I don’t know what to tell you. It always works for me man.

TOM
Works for you? You haven’t had a job in two years.

MITCH
Well, it worked for me when I had a job.

Tom tosses the ball into a clothes hamper by a washer and dryer on the far side of the room.

TOM
If I don’t come up with something soon, I’m not going to have to worry about drawing the strip anymore.

MITCH
You think it’s just stress?

TOM
Maybe, I don’t know. This sale of Kingston to Grisham has me all worried. It wouldn’t have been so bad if Panda Publishing hadn’t turned me down last week. That would have been four more papers.

MITCH
Wait, Grisham? Like Grisham Media Networks?

TOM
Yeah, I think so.

MITCH
Oh man, those guys suck. They bought Rock 103.5 last year and turned it into a top 40 station. Those guys suck.

——

Well there it is. The first ten pages. I wanted to introduce all the main characters and I did, Tom, John, Michelle, Tammy, and Mitch. I wanted to show what’s bothering Tom. And I wanted to show Tom’s idiosyncrasies.

It’s not perfect, but I think I’ve done a pretty decent job in the first ten pages. By far the most thought out I’ve written in any of my screenplays so far.

We’ll see what chapter twelve’s exercise has in store.

Untitled-1st ten pages

Enjoy.
-Steve

Untitled-1st ten pages

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