Author Topic: Mag: Stealing the American Dream, Opening Scene  (Read 15954 times)

Offline Jackson_Leigh

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Mag: Stealing the American Dream, Opening Scene
« on: September 17, 2013, 09:55:46 AM »
Plot: A group of Irish Traveller con-artists set up the largest scam ever pulled by Travellers. They stage a rape at a Disney hotel to sue them for millions for low hotel security. Based on a true story.

EXT. STREET - EARLY MORNING

An old run down work truck travels down a country road. Driving maybe a little to slowly as the driver takes his time to look at the passing homes.

INT. TRUCK - SAME

PAT BURKE - EARLY 50s - has spotted a house that has caught his attention. He hits the brakes and stops in front of the house.

EXT. PORCH - MOMENTS LATER

AN ELDERLY LADY sweeps the porch of her home in the early morning. She is whistling to herself as Pat Burke approaches her.

PAT BURKE
Good Morning, Ma'am

ABIGAIL
Good Morning --

PAT
The Lord has sent me here today to help you.

ABIGAIL
Is that so?

PAT
Yes Ma'am. I came to fix your roof. I could see how it needs repairs --

ABIGAIL
I think I'm good for now.

PAT
Ma'am I know a problem when I see one, and if you don't get it fixed, your house is gonna burn down.

PAT gives the woman a sly smile, as she thinks about it.

ABIGAIL
How much is this gonna cost?

EXT. HOUSE - MINUTES LATER

PAT BURKE and his partner JIMMY BURKE - EARLY 30s - set up the ladder and carry tools onto the roof. They are fast moving, wanting to get this done as quickly as possible.

EXT. ROOF - MINUTES LATER

PAT BURKE is ripping up the tiles from the roof as JIMMY is surveying the property beneath. Sweat is rolling down their foreheads.

INT. KITCHEN - HOUSE - SAME

ABIGAIL is at the sink washing dishes, as she continues to whistle to herself. She is just about finished when a drop if water hits the back of her neck.

She rubs it off as more drops of water begin to fall. ABIGAIL looks above her to see a FRESH brown stain forming on her ceiling.

EXT. HOUSE - MOMENTS LATER

ABIGAIL walks out to check on the progress of Pat's work. Only PAT is on the roof with JIMMY nowhere in sight. Looking up at the roof, she waves up to PAT. In return he gives her a sly smile and waves back down.

With nothing else to do outside, ABIGAIL returns back inside the house as the men continue their work.

INT. HOUSE - MOMENTS LATER

ABIGAIL returns to the kitchen sink. She begins drying the remaining dishes as a rag is placed around her face from behind.

Behind her is JIMMY BURKE. He throws her to the ground as PAT BURKE enters from the front door.

JIMMY
The ol' beuer is taken care of.

ABIGAIL begins kicking and screaming. PAT BURKE pulls her up off the floor by her hair and duct tapes her mouth shut.

JIMMY searches around the house for something. PAT BURKE duct tapes ABIGAIL to a kitchen chair. Muffle screams fill the room as ABIGAIL struggles to free herself.

PAT
Don't worry, in a few minutes we will be gone, and you won't have deal with us anymore. Okay?

PAT tightens the duct tape around her right arm. ABIGAIL continues to scream.

PAT
Jimmy, have you found anything.

JIMMY
Nothing yet.

INT. BEDROOM - SAME

Jimmy is opening cabinets looking for something in particular. He finds nothing, as he flips the room upside down, during his searching.

A JEWELRY BOX sits on a night stand. JIMMY in a full rage, picks the box up and throws the box to the ground. Within the broken glass and material sits a wad of cash, nearly five hundred dollars.

INT. KITCHEN - SAME

PAT BURKE punches ABIGAIL across the face, as JIMMY walks into the room.

JIMMY
We hit the mother load!

PAT
How much?

JIMMY
Nearly five cade.

JIMMY holds up the cash for PAT to see. ABIGAIL lets out another scream. PAT punches ABIGAIL once again and gets to his feet.

PAT
Ready to mishlie.

JIMMY puts the cash into his shirt pocket. ABIGAIL begins to sob. PAT reaches for the metal lock stick beside the kitchen door and swings it across ABIGAIL's face, leaving her forehead in a bloody mess.

The two men leave their wreckage behind, walking away with the money, and leaving their latest scam victim in tears.

END SCENE.

So what do you all think. Please remember this is a first draft. I know it needs more dialogue, and I'm working on that. But be as honest as possible...






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hillwalker3000

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Re: Mag: Stealing the American Dream, Opening Scene
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2013, 01:34:28 PM »
Is this supposed to take place in the USA? If so, I'm not sure what Irish travellers are doing over there carrying out roof repairs.
But if it was in the UK I doubt the lady of the house would have $500 lying around - so one has to assume these things must also happen in the States.

The main problem, as you point out, is the lack of dialogue. Barely 100 words of dialogue in a 700-word script is problematic. You describe so much of the action as if it's important, but most of the detail you include - such as driving too slowly - is irrelevant. If you're writing a script or screenplay most of your input will be dialogue. The director will see to the rest.

As for the 'plot' I'm afraid I didn't find it remotely believable. The way Abigail changed her mind about having the roof repaired was too abrupt to make sense. Why will her home burn down if she doesn't get her roof repaired anyway?

Then when water starts leaking through her kitchen ceiling she goes out for a look then goes back indoors without uttering a word. What was the point of that scene?
As for the attack, where they immobilise her and steal her savings. . . it's not a scam, it's a burglary and it's unrealistic. If their intention is to ransack the house why are they bothering with the roof at all? Why so much duct tape? And why are they beating her up if she's already tied to a chair?

The main flaw in your plot is that rogue 'Irish travellers' who rip off customers by charging for non-existent roof repairs or for laying tarmac that washes away after the first drop of rain don't behave like gangsters. And if you're portraying an ethnic minority in such a negative way you might well have problems convincing anyone to read this let along make a movie.

A few other queries:

- 'mother load' should be 'mother lode'
- and 'the ol' beuer' - 'five cade' - 'ready to mishle' - I've not heard any of these expressions. Is it Romany? If so, none of the audience are going to understand.

As a first draft, it's more of an outline at the moment. There's a lot of work still to do - not least of which is to come up with a more realistic and original plot.

H3K

Offline Jackson_Leigh

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Re: Mag: Stealing the American Dream, Opening Scene
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2013, 01:59:35 PM »
Is this supposed to take place in the USA? If so, I'm not sure what Irish travellers are doing over there carrying out roof repairs.
But if it was in the UK I doubt the lady of the house would have $500 lying around - so one has to assume these things must also happen in the States.

The main problem, as you point out, is the lack of dialogue. Barely 100 words of dialogue in a 700-word script is problematic. You describe so much of the action as if it's important, but most of the detail you include - such as driving too slowly - is irrelevant. If you're writing a script or screenplay most of your input will be dialogue. The director will see to the rest.

As for the 'plot' I'm afraid I didn't find it remotely believable. The way Abigail changed her mind about having the roof repaired was too abrupt to make sense. Why will her home burn down if she doesn't get her roof repaired anyway?

Then when water starts leaking through her kitchen ceiling she goes out for a look then goes back indoors without uttering a word. What was the point of that scene?
As for the attack, where they immobilise her and steal her savings. . . it's not a scam, it's a burglary and it's unrealistic. If their intention is to ransack the house why are they bothering with the roof at all? Why so much duct tape? And why are they beating her up if she's already tied to a chair?

The main flaw in your plot is that rogue 'Irish travellers' who rip off customers by charging for non-existent roof repairs or for laying tarmac that washes away after the first drop of rain don't behave like gangsters. And if you're portraying an ethnic minority in such a negative way you might well have problems convincing anyone to read this let along make a movie.

A few other queries:

- 'mother load' should be 'mother lode'
- and 'the ol' beuer' - 'five cade' - 'ready to mishle' - I've not heard any of these expressions. Is it Romany? If so, none of the audience are going to understand.

As a first draft, it's more of an outline at the moment. There's a lot of work still to do - not least of which is to come up with a more realistic and original plot.

H3K


1. It does take place in the USA. Irish Travellers are scattered about the country and live in places such as Murphy's Village, South Carolina. You can Google it.

2. Actions such as "driving too slowly" is important because many Irish Travellers are con-artists who take the role of door to door salesmen offering home repairs only to sneak inside the house and rob them of their life savings.

3. Abigail wasn't sure if she could afford it. Her house  never gonna burn down. Irish Travellers tell any lies they can to get the job. Once it was implied that she could afford it, it was a go.

4. The point of the scene was to see if the men were doing their job. She became suspicious when her roof began to leak, as the men were working on it. When she seen Pat doing his job, she thought everything was okay and returned inside her house.

5. The idea of the scam was to get inside her house by pretending they were repair men. All the duct tape and punching is because Pat Burke is known for that, kinda like a trademark. It didn't matter if she was already tied up, he beat her up because he felt like it.

6. Pat Burke and other northern Irish Travellers are known for going into violence when pulling off such a scam. Many reports against the elderly have been found on the internet if you search Irish Traveller scams. By the research, it makes it realistic.

7. Words such as beuer and cade, are of the Irish Traveller Cant language and will be explained to the audience later on.
Wait... What is a signature?

Tony_A20

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Re: Mag: Stealing the American Dream, Opening Scene
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2013, 05:24:08 PM »
The very first thing a screenwriter must learn is how to format a script.

An Internet forum is no different than any other opportunity to display your script, so do your best to format your script correctly.

Script format broadcasts experience and if the format is poor no one will expect the script to be worth reading.

Read here: http://mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=49023.msg867941#msg867941 then buy some books on screenwriting. After that, learn about BB Code if you intend to post scripts to forum threads.

Practise, experiment, and make your script look professional.

JMO

Tony

P.S.  A good source of professionally formatted scripts to examine is:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/scripts/

« Last Edit: September 29, 2013, 09:46:37 AM by Tony_A20 »