Author Topic: The Last Kind Thought (first scene) - 1097 words  (Read 3823 times)

Offline dawalker17uk

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The Last Kind Thought (first scene) - 1097 words
« on: July 21, 2015, 08:18:14 AM »
By David Walker


EXT. OLD TIME/RUNDOWN GAS STATION. MIDDLE AMERICA

Rain streams down as if the heavens have opened. The heat in
the air causes the rain to mist reducing visibility to only
60 or so feet.

AUSTIN, mid twenties, shoulder length unkempt hair, a black
faded baseball cap, scuffed work boots, denim dungarees and
a no-longer white t-shirt. The archetypal gas attendant.
Reclining on a lounger, underneath a sun umbrella, off to
the side of the forecourt, waiting for cars to service. He
looks up then down the road, there are no cars, or sun.

                      AUSTIN (V.O.)
          Look at that sad son of a bitch,
          just sitting there in the middle of
          the ass end of nowhere.

He reaches into one of his pockets and lifts out a vapour
cigarette, a device entirely at odds with his surroundings,
demeanour and appearance. He starts to puff away on the
vapour cigarette.

                      AUSTIN (V.O.)
          One minute you're up, the next.
          Well... the next you're here.

He looks up and down the road again, still no cars.

A SERIES OF VIEWS OF THE GAS STATION.

-A poster, curled round the edges, a can of "new coke" sits
atop flaming ice with large bold words "The Best Just Got
Better..!".

-Leave piles and random debris piled up by the edges of the
forecourt lanes, weeds growing up through cracks in the
concrete.

-An old ice cream cooler now stuffed with trash.

-An outhouse/side toilet, coated in the muck of a lifetime
of visits. Utterly disgusting. A copy of Sports Illustrated
swimsuit edition 1986 sits unit by the sink, Elle Mcpherson
is on the cover.

                      AUSTIN (V.O.)
          A shit-hole!

He looks up and down the road again, still no cars and no
sun. The boredom is palpable.

The rain lets up a little, clearing the view.

He looks up and down the road, one long road that stretches
for miles, hemmed in on both sides by forest.A black car off
in the distance can be made out.

AUSTIN turns his head to look directly in the direction of
the car and squints his eyes, yip definitely a car.

The car comes into view. A gleaming new Chevy Suburban,
black tinted windows, new york plate. AUSTIN stands up ,
steps out from under the umbrella, fixes his attention on
the car and walks over to the pump. Eyes still on the car.

The car pulls off the road into the forecourt and puls up by
the pump closest to the road. The drivers window rolls down, just a crack.

                      DRIVER
          Regular, fill'er up.

AUSTIN turns round reaches for the pump, the fuel cap on the
car is pops open, he jams the pump into the filler tube squeezes
the pump trigger and stands back.

                      DRIVER
          Windows need done!

AUSTIN turns down by the side of the pump and picks up a
squeegee from a plastic bucket and starts running it across
the front windscreen. The car's clean, clearly a new
vehicle. The gas pump counter ticks away, CLICK CLICK CLICK
CLICK.

He tries to look into the car but the tinted windows prevent
it, all he sees is his own reflection in the black surface
of the windscreen. He is starting to look nervous.

The rain stops. The fuel filler clicks and the counter
stops. Silence.

                      DRIVER
          Tyres!

AUSTIN backs away from the wind screen and slowly bends down
by the front tyre, unscrews the cap.

                      DRIVER
          This is some place.

                      AUSTIN
          Uh hu.

                      DRIVER
          What is it? Family owned?

                      AUSTIN
          Yeah, something like that.

                      DRIVER
          Is it just you here?

                      AUSTIN
          Nah, couple o boys are in the back.

                      DRIVER
          What do you all do?

                      AUSTIN
          Lotsa stuff need dooin to keep this
          place runnin.

                      DRIVER
          That's some accent!

AUSTIN looks momentarily flustered. quickly recovers his
composure.

                      AUSTIN
          Got it from me paw. He came through
          here looking for gas, saw maw and
          the rest is history.

                      AUSTIN
          He was from the bronx originally.

                      DRIVER
          Is that so?

                      AUSTIN
          Yip, seen maw and stayed.

AUSTIN tries to change the subject

                      AUSTIN
          That's a nice car you got there.

                      DRIVER
          You ever been up that way yourself?

                      AUSTIN
          No sir, born an raised right here.

                      DRIVER
          Is that so?

                      AUSTIN
          Sure is.

                      DRIVER
          The thing is, you look familiar.

                      AUSTIN
          Yeah, I get that alot. People say I
          look like Tim McGraw, the country
          singer?

                      DRIVER
          I don't know him, but you look
          familiar.

Rear driver side window opens by a few inches. It's not far
enough to see inside.

                      PASSENGER
          Ever been to Joju's?

The passenger's voice is distinctive, low and gravely.
AUSTIN, crouching by the rear drivers side tyre, recognises
it immediately.

                      AUSTIN
          Shit!

AUSTIN Pulls a concealed gun from nowhere, fires two shots through the
rear passenger window, one directed at the passenger the
second at the driver. The window shatters. AUSTIN quickly
dives behind the gas pump.

BEAT

AUSTIN takes a tentative peak round the pump.

BEAT

Austin steps out from behind the pump, gun in hand stretched
out in front. He looks in through the smashed window. The
DRIVER slumped over the wheel, dead, the PASSENGER is
clutching on to his neck, blood poring from between his
fingers.

AUSTIN takes a look up the road, a number of cars, just like
this one, are hurtling down the road. He takes a step, looks
at the PASSENGER and raises his gun, deliberating whether to
shoot him or not, decides not to, changes his aim and instead
shoots the tire he was crouching at just seconds before.

He turns on his heels and runs across the forecourt to the
ice cream cooler, lifts the tray that is stuffed with trash,
revealing a camouflage military style backpack, its big and
looks full/heavy. He lifts the backpack out and puts it on
his back while running to the side of the station building.

Stopping as he gets to the tree line he looks back at the
car, the PASSENGER still in view but is slumped to low to
take a shot at, looks at the gun. To late to go back now.

                      AUSTIN (V.O.)
          One minute you're down, the next.
          Well... you're back in the game.

Aims at the gas pump, he fires. one shot and the forecourt
explodes in a bright oranges fire ball.
Fixing the straps of the backpack he turns back to the
treeline and, with a smile, starts running. In an instant he
disappears into the forest.

Offline dawalker17uk

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Re: The Last Kind Thought (first scene) - 1097 words
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2015, 08:19:49 AM »
Hi Guys,

This is my first post so thank you for taking the time to read it.
I have read the posting protocols and tried to keep to the rules, if I have missed anything please let me know.

hillwalker3000

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Re: The Last Kind Thought (first scene) - 1097 words
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2015, 07:21:30 AM »
Scripts are 99% dialogue. I'm not sure there's any need for all the weather updates, detailed character descriptions and various stage directions since the casting department, costuming and director will handle all of that. You may well have a vision of how the finished movie will look but unfortunately that's taken out of your hands unless you plan on shooting the movie yourself. Your job at this stage is to write dialogue that tells a story and shows character development and interaction. Nothing more.

So most on here would advise that your opening 2 paragraphs have to go.

Quote
EXT. OLD TIME/RUNDOWN GAS STATION. MIDDLE AMERICA
Rain streams down as if the heavens have opened. The heat in the air causes the rain to mist reducing visibility to only 60 or so feet.
AUSTIN, mid twenties, shoulder length unkempt hair, a black faded baseball cap, scuffed work boots, denim dungarees and a no-longer white t-shirt. The archetypal gas attendant.
Reclining on a lounger, underneath a sun umbrella, off to the side of the forecourt, waiting for cars to service. He looks up then down the road, there are no cars, or sun.

                      AUSTIN (V.O.)
          Look at that sad son of a bitch,
          just sitting there in the middle of
          the ass end of nowhere.

Is he referring to himself or is there someone else we don't see?

More unnecessary stage directions:
Quote
He reaches into one of his pockets and lifts out a vapour cigarette, a device entirely at odds with his surroundings, demeanour and appearance. He starts to puff away on the vapour cigarette.
How do you expect to show this ^^^ on-screen?

Quote
                      AUSTIN (V.O.)
          One minute you're up, the next.
          Well... the next you're here.

He looks up and down the road
again, still no cars.

It's fine to have a character mulling over his lot in life but you seem to be paying more attention to setting a scene than to the dialogue.

Quote
A SERIES OF VIEWS OF THE GAS STATION.
-A poster, curled round the edges, a can of "new coke" sits atop flaming ice with large bold words "The Best Just Got Better..!".
-Leave piles and random debris piled up by the edges of the forecourt lanes, weeds growing up through cracks in the concrete.
-An old ice cream cooler now stuffed with trash.
-An outhouse/side toilet, coated in the muck of a lifetime of visits. Utterly disgusting. A copy of Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition 1986 sits unit by the sink, Elle Mcpherson is on the cover.

Again - ^^^ this is not script material. I could keep doing this but hopefully you get the message. These snapshots of Austin's surroundings may well reflect how you imagine the scene in your head but you're trying to do the director's job for him. If you're planning on directing this movie yourself then these visuals might serve some purpose as you write the shooting script. But hand this screenplay to any potential studio and they would hand it back and ask for just the dialogue.
         
As an opening scene this has potential but it's weighed down by so many stage directions towards the end that I almost gave up reading. You have maybe a choice to make - concentrate on writing a script but stick to the dialogue or write a novel.

PS
Quote
The boredom is palpable.
If indeed you are directing this yourself and you manage to show this ^^^ on-screen then you're some kind of genius.  ;D

H3K

Offline Magdiel

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Re: The Last Kind Thought (first scene) - 1097 words
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2015, 10:31:39 PM »
hand this screenplay to any potential studio and they would hand it back and ask for just the dialogue.
Or, realistically, they'd hand it back and say nothing at all.

Now, the script. I can't say that I like the concept, but that's mainly because I've been watching too many edgy films these days, kinda wanna take a break from the grit. It's not that it's bad, I'm just not in the mood for it. Hillwalker preety much nailed the critique here, there's not much that I could add to that, other than you describing the passenger's voice after he started talking, which felt really distracting, because I had imagined his voice quite differently.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2015, 10:36:17 PM by Magdiel »
Pentatonix will rule the music industry one day... I hope.

Offline ChonkyDay

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Re: The Last Kind Thought (first scene) - 1097 words
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2015, 02:24:31 PM »
Quote
Rain streams down as if the heavens have opened.
Typically you should avoid usage of any similes when writing a script. When you edit your first draft, your main goal should always be to cut down the word count and say everything as quickly as possible. If you want a sentence with similar affect you could say "Rain pours from the sky" or something like that. Using "as if" or "like" almost always means you're writing too much.

Quote
He reaches into one of his pockets and lifts out a vapour
cigarette, a device entirely at odds with his surroundings,
demeanour and appearance.
He starts to puff away on the
vapour cigarette.
This isn't necessary to the script. If you want the viewer to know that the vapor cigarette is at odds with whatever, you should be able to tell just from what's already been written. And saying starts to is never a good idea. Most new writers end up having a lot of starts to in their scripts. You'll get across the exact same feeling and look with "He puffs away on the vapor cigarette".

Quote
The drivers window rolls down, just a crack.

                      DRIVER
          Regular, fill'er up.
When you write a new character, you should always have their name capitalized. If you use "Driver" as this character's dialogue header, then they should just be "Driver" in the action.

...gotta go. I'll write more later.

Offline ChonkyDay

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Re: The Last Kind Thought (first scene) - 1097 words
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2015, 01:10:00 AM »
Quote
He is starting to look nervous.
Here you have two problems. You use the "be" verb AND you say he starts to do something. When you use the "be" verb in this way it slows down the action, so you should always use active verbs "He looks nervous", or even better explain what he does to make him look nervous. Fidgeting, biting nails, or anything like that shows that someone is nervous.

Also, Austin's name should only be in all caps the first time he's introduced. That goes for all characters. And you're taught in most screenwriting courses that you always have to describe the character when they're introduced and at the very least you have to give their age or age range. So don't worry about having too many descriptions of your characters. It's not wrong and they don't hinder the story at all. Just make sure that the descriptions are important enough to include in the script.

Quote
     AUSTIN
          Got it from me paw. He came through
          here looking for gas, saw maw and
          the rest is history.

                      AUSTIN
          He was from the bronx originally.
I'm not sure what happened here. If you wanted to have a pause between lines, it's common to either break it up with action or write (beat) in between the lines where you want the pause.

Quote
     AUSTIN
          Got it from me paw. He came through
          here looking for gas, saw maw and
          the rest is history.
             (beat)
          He was from the bronx originally.

Quote
AUSTIN tries to change the subject
This line doesn't really come across as a direction for the actor or director. You can write in some body language or replace this line with dialogue, but it doesn't make sense to just write that he tries to change the subject.

Quote
PASSENGER
          Ever been to Joju's?
I don't know if you're going to explain who the passenger is later on, but if you are, you should replace "PASSENGER" with an actual name, even if you don't want the audience to know who it is yet. The audience won't be reading the script, but it's important to let the actors know who's saying what and keep the names consistent throughout the action.

I actually enjoyed the story so far. It's not horribly written and the story had enough to keep me entertained so far. It's perfectly fine if you have a lot of action. Some scripts only ever have one character so they're like 80% action. You just have to keep in mind that everything you write should always have a purpose, and you should always try to find better ways to show the audience information when you re-write.