Posted by: steveonfilm | February 6, 2008

The Second and Third Ten Pages: Chapter Eleven Exercise – Part 1

Okay, here it is… I’m done, for now, with the second and third ten pages. I did less tinkering than I thought I would. But a lot of that was because I decided I really needed to move forward. So that’s what I did. At any rate, here are pages 10 through 27. I’ll also post up a .pdf.

Also, keep in mind this isn’t corrected for grammar mistakes.

As always, view the .pdf to see it in it’s properly formatted form.

The Second And Third Ten Pages

————–

INT. BASEMENT – DAY

Tom sits at his drafting table staring at the blank piece of paper in front of him. A faucet drips 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 nude 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 sitting at a desk typing. Tom taps his pencil on the paper. The dripping faucet gets louder.

TOM (CONT’D)
This sucks too.

Tom crumples up the paper as the faucet continues to drip.

Tom starts to draw again but immediately 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, still sporting a white shirt, loose black tie, and black slacks. A CHUBBY GUY, mid 20s, goatee, sporting a widespread panic t-shirt, sits in a recliner off to the side, his eyes bloodshot.

MITCH
Maybe you should just try brainstorming or something.

TOM
Brainstorm what?

MITCH
Ideas for the strip. Sit back, put on some music and zone out. Whatever pops into your head just jot it down man. Just go with it.

TOM
That stuff doesn’t work for me.

MITCH
It always works for me man.

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

MITCH
It worked for me when I had a job.

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

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

MITCH
You think it’s stress?

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

Tom brings Master Chief into a room of Flood, and is mowed down by a rocket.

MITCH
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 hard.

JOHN
Maybe you should just take a few days off from drawing. Let your brain refresh.

TOM
Can’t. I’ve got to get fresh strips out by Tuesday or they’re not going to have anything to put in the paper. Nothing goes in, I don’t get paid.

Tom’s brings the Master Chief around a corner and is lit up by a bunch of enemies.

TOM (CONT’D)
Man, I cannot beat this part.
(to Mitch)
You want to give it a go?

MITCH
I don’t know if I’m in any sort of shape to be playing this right now.

Tom turns to John.

JOHN
I suck at this game.

Tom frowns and starts playing again.

EXT. BACK PORCH – DAY

Tom sits in a rocking chair doodling on a drawing pad. There’s a plethora of things on his page. Cats. Dogs. Buildings. A jet.

Right now though he’s working on a drawing of Michelle handing something to a customer. The picture takes up most of the upper right part of the page.

RING. RING.

Tom picks up the cordless phone sitting on an small table next to the chair.

TOM
Hello?

MALE VOICE
Tommy boy, how you doing?

Tom’s face sours.

TOM
Hey Howard.

HOWARD
Why so down pal? You’re not still sulking about the Panda news are ya?

TOM
A little.

HOWARD
Well, I got something that might cheer you up.

TOM
What’s that?

HOWARD
Remember when I told you I was talking to that newspaper out in Oklahoma.

TOM
Sure.

HOWARD
Well, they’re interested.

Tom sits up.

TOM
Really? That’s great!

HOWARD
I told ya old Howie was looking out for you. I’ve got a call with them later this week. I didn’t want to tell you anything until I knew for sure, but I thought you could use some good news right about now.

TOM
This, this is great.

HOWARD
Okay buddy, I’ve got to jet. I’ll talk to you then.

Tom hangs up the phone and sets it back down on the small table. He looks happy. No, he looks relieved.

Suddenly, Tom jets from his chair and into the house.

INT. BASEMENT – DAY – MOMENTS LATER

Tom sits at his drafting table and cracks his knuckles. He wiggles his fingers and then grabs a pencil.
He starts drawing.

INT. KITCHEN – EVENING

Tom is cooking some spaghetti sauce in a pot on the range. The TV in the family room has on the evening news. John enters, same clothes as before, loosening his tie.

JOHN
If I have to spend another day in that office I’m going to kill someone.

TOM
Funny you should mention that.

JOHN
Why’s that?

TOM
New story arc. You’re looking for a new job. Got four of the strips done already.

Tom tastes the sauce.

JOHN
Shit, you’ve been busy. Over the writers block I see.

TOM
Yeah, Howard called and let me know he’s got some paper in Oklahoma interested in the strip. After we get off the phone the idea just hit me and before I knew it I was onto the next strip.

John slips into one of the chairs at the table as Tom adds in a few spices to the sauce.

JOHN
I wish I was as lucky as my fictitious counter part.

TOM
You don’t think you could get a job somewhere else?

JOHN
I know I could. I just don’t want to go through the hassle of getting my resume ready, sending out applications, hoping no one around the office found out. All that sort of crap.

TOM
Your loss.

JOHN
This new paper big?

TOM
No idea. How big can a paper in Oklahoma be? But that’s beside the point. It’s just good to know that I’ve still got options on the table other than Kingston. You know? I think part of what was blocking me, creatively I mean, was that I just felt trapped, stuck in a corner, and I couldn’t get past that.

JOHN
I think you just need to lighten up.

Tom tastes the sauce again.

TOM
You want any of this?

JOHN
Nah.

TOM
Sure? It’s good stuff.

JOHN
I grabbed something while I was still at the office.

TOM
Yeah, you’re home later than usual.

JOHN
That’s because that douche bag Hawkins decided to call a team meeting at quarter to six to go over some long term efficiency plan, whatever the hell that is. That guy just calls meeting so he can hear himself talk.

TOM
(suggestively)
Maybe it is time to look for another job in real life?

JOHN
Oh shut up.

INT. LIVING ROOM – NIGHT

Tom and John are on opposite sides of the couch watching a movie. A young girls is running down a hallway screaming, obviously fleeing from something.

TOM
She’s going to bite it.

JOHN
She’s not going to bite it.

TOM
I’m telling you. She’s going to bite it.

The girl runs into a room and slams the door shut. Whatever was chasing her slams against the door. She screams.

TOM (CONT’D)
Stick a fork in her. She’s done.

JOHN
She’s not done.

The woman looks up and spots an air duct. She pulls the vent off and tries to climb in.

TOM
Not gonna make it.

The girls strains to get in. Almost there. Almost. Suddenly, the door bursts open and a werewolf runs in grabs her, and tears her to shreds.

TOM (CONT’D)
Told you she’d bite it. Alright, I’ve about had it with this flick.

INT. BASEMENT – LATE NIGHT
Tom works away at the strip, inking a panel where John is being interviewed by a very attractive female. Coast to Coast A.M. plays over the radio.

Tom finishes the panel and sits up. He looks over at a clock, 2:34 A.M. He rubs his eyes and looks around the drafting table. There are several finished strips, all waiting to be sent off. He’s been working hard.

INT. KITCHEN – CONTINUOUS

Tom turns the light off to the basement stairs and shuts the door. He walks though the kitchen and into the–

FAMILY ROOM

–where he finds John asleep on the couch, TV still on. Tom shakes his head, grabs the remote, and turns off the TV.

HALLWAY

Tom walks down the hallway, enters his bedroom, and shuts the door. The door across the hall from Tom’s is shut.

INT. KITCHEN – MORNING

Some toast pops up from the toaster. Tom grabs them and brings them over to the kitchen table, where he’s got some coffee and a newspaper.

John enters, same outfit as always, fussing with his tie. Same black pants and white short sleeve shirt. He’s surprised to find Tom at the table. He turns and notices the TV isn’t on either.

JOHN
A bit of a change.

Tom sips his coffee, ignoring John’s entrance.

JOHN (CONT’D)
What?

TOM
You fell asleep with the TV on last night.

JOHN
I did?

TOM
You always do that.

JOHN
No I don’t.

TOM
Yeah you do John. This is like the fifth or sixth time this month.

John finishes tieing his tie.

JOHN
Okay, alright, I’ll make sure not to anymore. Jesus. What crawled up your butt and died this morning?

TOM
Nothing. I was up late working on the strip.

JOHN
Getting a lot done?

TOM
Almost too much. I feel like I don’t know where the story line might be going. Almost like I’m working too fast. I mean, I must have gotten fifteen, sixteen strips done by now.

JOHN
And now that you’re so far ahead you’re starting to worry about being so far ahead. You know what you are Tom?

TOM
What?

Tom sips his coffee.

JOHN
Debbi Drama. You just don’t know how to relax. You’ve always got to be surrounded in some sort of drama to feel normal.

TOM
I do not.

JOHN
Yeah man, you do. But hey, I’d love to chat about that and all, but I’ve got to run. I’m late.
John exits.

TOM
At least something’s still normal this morning, right?

Silence.

TOM (CONT’D)
Right?

More silence. Tom raises his hands up in frustration.

INT. GROCERY STORE – DAY
Tom stands uncomfortably as his grocery’s are bagged. Arms pressed at his side. Stepping side to side. The CHECKOUT CLERK looks at him with concern.

Michelle passes by Tom’s checkout lane drinking a bottle of water.

CHECKOUT CLERK
You okay mister?

TOM
I’m fine. I’m fine. Just waiting for the bags. I’m fine.

The BAG CLERK places the last bag in the cart and reaches for the cart handles. Michelle backs up, looking down the checkout line at Tom.

BAG CLERK
Can I take these to your car for you?

Tom aggressively grabs the cart handle and pulls it away from the Bag Clerk.

TOM
No I’m fine, I got it.

Tom hustles away.

EXT. GROCERY STORE PARKING LOT – CONTINUOUS

Tom is putting his grocery bags into the trunk of his late model blue Ford Taurus.

MICHELLE (O.C.)
Hi.

Tom is startled. He turns to see Michelle standing there. He just stares without saying anything.

MICHELLE (CONT’D)
You okay?

Tom snaps out of it and immediately starts avoiding eye contact with her.

TOM
Um, uh, yeah.

MICHELLE
I saw you in the checkout line but didn’t see you stop by the deli. No chicken today?

TOM
I didn’t want, because, but that last time, it wasn’t good.

Michelle’s face shows she’s having a hard time following him.

MICHELLE
You mean last week?

TOM
My order.

MICHELLE
Oh oh oh, you mean the breasts thing. Ha! Don’t worry about that.

TOM
Yeah. Okay.

Tom doesn’t Tom grabs a gallon of milk and puts it in the trunk.

MICHELLE
Here, let me give you a hand.

Michelle goes to grab a bag of groceries.

TOM
No don’t!

Michelle jerks back.

TOM (CONT’D)
No, I mean, I’ve got it. I’m okay.

Michelle puts her hands on her hips.

MICHELLE
You sure you’re okay? Nothing on your mind or anything? Nothing troubling you?

TOM
No, no I’m fine.

MICHELLE
Okay. Don’t be scared to stop by the deli next time. Got it?

Tom nods.

TOM
Got it.

MICHELLE
Alright. See you next week Tom.

Michelle waves with a warm smile as she starts to head back to toward the Grocery Store.

EXT. BACK PORCH – DAY

Tom doodles on a drawing pad a hand drawn picture of Michelle in the lower corner. Mitch sits back, his legs up on the railing, still wearing the same outfit as a few days ago.

MITCH
You still doing all your work by hand?

TOM
What, on the strip?

MITCH
No, your knitting. Yeah your strip.

Tom nods.

MITCH (CONT’D)
When are you going to catch up to the twenty first century and start doing that shit on a computer?

TOM
Don’t need one.

MITCH
Oh come on, everyone has a computer man.
(gets all excited)
They got these things, these drawing pad things and you use a pen to just draw on them. Well, not a regular pen, it’s like this special computer pen and it just puts what you draw right up there on the screen. And then all your stuff can just be stored right there on the computer. You wouldn’t have to fax it or mail it in. It’s super cool and then you can–

TOM
–Mitch, I don’t need a computer.

MITCH
Yeah but, you could turn out–

TOM
–Mitch! I don’t need a computer.

Mitch pouts.

MITCH
I’m just saying. Probably easier to keep all that stuff on a hard drive than just laying around downstairs.

INT. FAMILY ROOM – DAY

Tom and Tammy are watching soap operas again. Tammy sports the same clothes she had on last time. On the television a doctor is consoling a troubled couple, a child hooked up to a ventilator behind them.

TAMMY
I’m so sick of all these brain tumors. Every week someone has a brain tumor.

TOM
You’d think with a cancer rate this high in a town so small the CDC would investigate or something.

TAMMY
Or all the people who keep getting shot. Quite a violent area for such an affluent community.

TOM
That too.

The credits start to roll.

TAMMY
Alright, I’ve got to get to the gym.

TOM
Same time tomorrow.

TAMMY
Same time tomorrow.

INT. BASEMENT – DAY

Tom is seated at his drafting table inking the strip. A cup of steaming coffee on the table beside him. In the panel John is doing a spit take.

Tom carefully traces a select few pencil lines with dark black ink, making the image of John pop from the background. Tom dabs his pen in an ink well at the top of the drafting table.

Tom reaches over for the coffee. He takes a sip. Some of the coffee spills out the side of the wide brimmed cup.

TOM
Ow!

Tom instinctively pulls the cup back, which just causes more hot coffee to spill onto his arm. He pushes back from the desk trying to keep any from spilling into the strip.

TOM (CONT’D)
Damn it.

Tom watches several drops of hot coffee fall harmlessly to the floor. He looks back at the drafting table, only to find dark ink flowing from the top of the table down across the strip to the bottom.

TOM (CONT’D)
(rapidly)
No no no no no no!

Tom rushes over and picks up the small ink that mush have tipped over when he kicked back from the table. The strip is ruined. The pencil sill at the bottom of the drafting table caught most of the ink, stopping it from splattering onto the floor below.

Tom grabs his forehead in frustration.

TOM (CONT’D)
This is not good.

Suddenly, Tom tenses. The ink didn’t just ruin the strip. It’s dripped down the table and onto a pile of papers stacked on the shelf next to the drafting table.

Tom rushes over and grabs them. He flips through them, his face filling with angst. These aren’t just papers. These are all the strips he’s been working on. Everything. It’s all ruined. Two weeks work of work, gone.

TOM (CONT’D)
(frantic)
Please, God, tell me this did not just happen.

Tom keeps flipping through the pages in vein. One after another damaged with large black splotches of wet ink.

TOM (CONT’D)
This did not just happen!

Tom is breathing heavily. He tries to calm himself.

TOM (CONT’D)
Okay, okay, wait, wait, I can salvage this.

He looks over the strip he has in his hands.

TOM (CONT’D)
I still know what the strip is about, I can just retrace what’s still good, and fill in where the ink is.
(deep breath)
I just, I just need some new ink and some paper, and everything will be okay. It’ll all be okay. It’ll be just perfect.

INT. ART STORE – DAY

Tom hustles through the front doors and right through the front lobby. The store is filled with various young HIP ARTISTS. A TATOOED GIRL is looking through a stand of manga comic books. Arms tucked at his side, taking short quick steps, Tom changes his path to avoid passing near her as he ventures deeper into the store.

Tom plods into the back of the store and grabs a package of paper. He darts over to where the ink is and grabs three bottles. He stops to grab a few ink pens on his way to the front counter.

AT THE COUNTER

Tom slams the paper, ink, and pens on the counter top. The THIN HIPPY GIRL, her name tag says “SUNSHINE, picks up the pen and looks at it.

SUNSHINE
I didn’t even know we had these.

TOM
Please hurry.

Sunshine scans the pen and the puts it in a bag.

SUNSHINE
Pens and ink? If I didn’t know better I’d think you were going to ink a comic book.

TOM
Strip, comic strip.

Sunshine scans an ink bottle and places it in the bag. Tom looks very nervous. He keeps looking around and everyone else in the store, arms as close to his sides as humanly possible.

SUNSHINE
I don’t think this paper is going to fit in the bag, is that cool?

TOM
That’s fine, just ring it up.

Sunshine notices Tom’s unease.

SUNSHINE
Are you okay man? You look a little tense.

TOM
Just ring it up.

SUNSHINE
You know, the head shop a few doors down has a great deal on these news incense strips that might really–

TOM
–Just ring up the paper!

Everyone in the stores stops what they’re doing and stares at Tom. Sunshine scans what’s left and tosses it in a bag.

SUNSHINE
I’m done. You can calm down now. It’s twenty seven thirty eight.

Tom quickly slams twenty eight dollars down on the counter, grabs his stuff, and then hurries out the store.

INT. FAMILY ROOM – DAY

Tom shuts the front door, and leans back against it, bags clutched to his chest, breathing heavily.

KITCHEN

Tom enters. The light on the answering machine is blinking. He presses the button.

HOWARD
Hey Tom, it’s Howard, if you’re there pick up.

Tom starts to unload the contents of his bags onto the table.

HOWARD (CONT’D)
If you’re there pick up buddy. Guess you’re not there. I’ve got good news and bad news. I’ll start with the good news. The talks with the paper in Oklahoma are still going well. They haven’t committed yet, but it’s only a matter of time pal. Things look good on that one.

Tom crumbles up the plastic bags.

HOWARD (CONT’D)
And now the bad news. Kingston called. I don’t know how else to say this. They’re canceling you’re strip.

Top stops in his tracks.

HOWARD (CONT’D)
Not just your strip, just about everyone’s. Grisham is making Kingston implement some efficiency plan for the paper and one of the first things they did was scrap all independent comics. They’re just running national strips now. I tried to talk them, but none of those guys were interested in listening. Sounds like everyone is about to get laid off over there.

Tom backs up against the wall. His face pail. He doesn’t know where to look. He slowly slides down until he’s sitting on the floor.

HOWARD (CONT’D)
I didn’t want to have to tell you like this but they’ll probably be something about it on the news tonight and I wanted you to hear it from me before you heard it from someone else. I’m sorry buddy. I’ll…I’ll talk to you soon.

The calls ends. Tom is on the verge of crying.

———–

Well that’s it, the end of act one. Now ON TO ACT TWO!

Enjoy.
-Steve

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