Saturday, 23 March 2013

Script - Edit V05

I reworked the script from the characters perspective. My aim was to get the characters thought process and resulting actions true to the character and the situation. Aiming to get him to emote so the audience can feel and empathise with the character. Ed's Feedback follows. 


INT. TUNNEL
ALBERT is running through a tunnel. He is in danger and is scared. He is carrying a torch in one hand and a map in another. The sound of aircraft and explosions can be heard and felt. As he runs for his life he is looking ahead. The tunnel has shafts which appear throughout and with each one he approaches his eyes follow. As he arrives at each he looks up and outwards toward the sky, as they become physically impossible for him to see out of, his eyes move forward looking again as he searches for the next one. Each shaft runs from exposed land at the very top to the tunnels ceiling at the very bottom. An explosion occurs nearby. A bundle of rubble falls from above. This causes him to trip up. No more explosions or aircraft can be heard. He takes a second longer than he should rising. Out of breath, he pulls himself together with urgency remembering he is still in danger. Before he has time to finish recomposing he moves towards the nearest shaft. He looks upwards to the sky trying to conceal as much of himself as possible. Albert’s eyes frantically search the opening. He cannot see anything and is extremely twitchy. He is shaking and his breath keeps murmuring. He turns his ear towards the shaft. We can tell by the frantic searching of his eyes he has heard something but his murmuring is making it impossible for him to hear. Frustrated by his inability to control his shaking he shakes his head and upper body with all his strength in an attempt to over power his physiology and to regain control. Still twitchy but now silent, he quickly turns his ear to the shaft again. An aircraft can be heard approaching from the distance. Albert responds with a calm, fearful, but focused state as he snaps his ear closer to the shaft for confirmation. He looks around frantically searching for a hiding place. The walls of the tunnel dip in and out in a random nature. He spots a gap at the base of the wall for which he could slide under. He frantically moves toward the gap, picking up the map before getting himself in. He closes his eyes taking deep breaths. 
ALBERT
Come on, you’ve got me, I’m dead, you’ve done your job, you can go.
Alberts eyes shoot open, he’s remembered he hadn’t picked everything up.
ALBERT
The flashlight
The flashlight could spark their interest and give them reason to send a ground patrol. Albert searches around with his eyes, he spots it directly beneath the shaft. He has to get it. The aircraft is getting close. Albert is nervous. Is the aircraft to close? Does he have enough time to get the light before the aircraft passes? These thoughts run through his head. At the high of indecisiveness he lets out a gasp. Albert pulls himself out of the gap and jumps across the tunnels visible floor space, picking up the flashlight as he does. He lands laying on the floor. He turns the flashlight off. He looks back, he is well clear of the visible space of the shaft. He is still scared as the plane passes. He is still not safe. He freezes up, even his breath can just about be seen passing through the lungs. The plane starts to fly away. He still remains stiff. He doesn’t know if the aircraft is just turning. Once the sound is very distant. He knows they think he’s dead. He breathes a deep sigh of relief. He’s made it, but only for now.

He sits up putting his back against the wall of the tunnel. He takes a big breath and holds it briefly before releasing. He pulls a piece of paper from his top pocket. It is a photograph. Looking at it instantly makes him feel warm inside. 
ALBERT
I’m coming back. I never told you how much I miss you. But in truth I’d do anything to be with you. If only I could tell you to your face and not your photograph. I mean, I don’t even know how I got here, this tunnel, this war. How did I get so far? so fast? I know we’re all in it one way or another. Lost, scared, not knowing what’s around the corner? I feel I know the corner though. It feels real to me. I feel I should know what is around it. But when I get there its always different. How can something so familiar and so knowing always be so different when we cross it? This tunnel, it leads to a radio control point. It makes no sense to me to be here. The land above has been destroyed. Ripped apart. It's Ruined lives (pause) cost souls. I’m sick of this war. If I can get to the control point, my hope is to make contact with HQ and come back home, come back to you. 
Albert pulls his head and photograph together so they meet. Gunfire can be heard in the distance. He immediately hears and moves his head to the source to listen and to confirm he heard gunfire. It definitely is gunfire. Albert takes one last stare at the photograph before kissing it and placing it back in his top pocket. He picks up the flashlight and opens up the map.
ALBERT
Shit. Where am I?
While he was running he lost track. He frantically looks around. He spots the shaft. Walking over to the shaft he stops just before it. Although the sound is distant he still doesn’t want to risk being seen. He places his hand on the edge and leans in. For every push forward of his head there is a pull back as he edges in. Awkwardly he is just able to see a number – the shaft number - without exposing too much of himself to the shaft opening.
Albert pulls back out of the shaft opening and inspects the map. 
ALBERT
367B… 367B… Come on… 367B…
There!
Right…
It’s so close.
Albert is suspicious about being so far into the shaft. Has he really run that far? He doesn’t remember running that far. But he must of.
He turns around to the direction of the tunnel he entered.
ALBERT
I’ve come all that way?
He takes a step backwards toward the direction he wishes to go before turning completely. He walks further on into the tunnel.

Still aware that he could be in danger, he walks at a fast pace, still cautious around each shaft hatch, speeding up slightly as he passes under each one. The threat is still very real to him. Albert approaches his destination. He is ever more cautious than before. Questions are running around his head. He knows he needs what is behind the door. However, he doesn’t know what is on the other side of the door. He could be walking into anything. Stuck out in a battle zone there could be a whole battalion of the enemies men waiting for him on the other side. This was once the allies’ territory, since becoming in neither sides complete occupation, he really knows nothing of what could be in there.

He turns out the flashlight placing it and the map in his trouser pockets. He creeps up to the door at a slow pace. Rather than speeding up underneath the last remaining shaft he chooses to remain steady and work around the space. Why risk exposing himself now? As he approaches the door he slows down to almost a complete halt. He turns his ear toward the door, listening, before placing it against the door. He is very still. He doesn’t know if there is anyone in there, and if it sounds as though there isn’t, how does he know that they are not sleeping? In order for him to hear them breathe or snore he needs to be really quiet.

Something passes behind him. He immediately turns his head and sharply stops its orientation at the location sounds source. It’s dark, and he can’t see too far into the tunnel. Have they sent a search party the other way to find him? Could both sides trap him? Hearing a squeak, he looks down. He sees a rat. He sighs quietly with relief.

He pulls something from his pocket and takes a quick glance. He is reading a section on the folded map. It is the code for the doors lock. Placing his ear back against the door he listens in. As he does he places his hand on the doors lock. It is similar to a lock of a safe or vault. He turns the dial softly and slowly. He reaches the first number and pauses. He listens to see if he has provoked movement. He can’t hear anything. He turns to the next number a little quicker this time. He can’t help being pulled into two directions, for all his will not to be caught by anyone lurking the other side of the door, he just as equally doesn’t want to be caught from this side either. He pauses again after the second number to listen. He again hears nothing. This time, feeling more confident there is no one behind the door, he finishes off the next two numbers of the code in quick succession. He pushes the door slightly. Allowing a small gap to appear he peers through. There is nothing there. The room is only slightly visible through some external light filtering through. Not wanting to risk diving in there with a more conclusive result, he takes the flashlight out of his pocket and shines it through the gap. It appears run down. A turned over chair indicates this but still, he opens the door slowly, wanting to remain cautious.
As the door fully opens he quickly checks the room. Once confirmed vacant, he turns and checks one last time that no one is behind. Albert closes the door fairly quick, but as he fully closes he slows down. He wants to avoid sending any noise echoing down the tunnel that might alert possible enemies. After it is shut, he quickly searches the room with his eyes. He doesn’t think the door is enough security to keep anyone out. He needs some reassurance. He picks up one of the chairs and wedges it underneath the handle. Wanting to ease his security fears again he pulls on the handle gently before pulling back. The chair will suffice.

Feeling safe he can set about his task without having to concern too much with the entrence. That is not to say that he does not want to be caught. He knows the slightest sound could give him away. The flashlight has sufficiant light on where it focuses but albert feels this is not enough. He searches the ceiling for lights. Without much fuss he finds one. He searches for a switch. Locating it he places his finger on the switch. Doubt crosses his mind. Could turning the lights on be a risk also? He looks around the room. He spots an opening. He realises that as much as noise may give him away so could any light that leaves the bunker. He removes his hand from the switch.
ALBERT
I suppose it's just me and you. (To flashlight)
Ivestigating the room in search of the radio, Albert comes across an armor and ammunition unit. It is completely empty except for helmets.
ALBERT
Thats strange. Even in an emergency why would you take all the guns and ammunition and leave the helmets?
The thought seems strange. But just as soon as the thought crosses his mind the doubt of rationality is removed by a self assessment. Knowing his situation, he inspects his own head.
ALBERT
Hah, So they're not the only ones.
The thought lingers as he questions himself as to why he never thought to bring a helmet. What concerns him as he tries to justify his own rationality is he doesn't remember anything before hiding in the tunnel. That thought scares him most. The fear of the answer results in him quickly replacing the thoughts by moving on as he investigates more.

He finds a stove. He shines the light through the bars of the door. He can't see anything. Curiosity getting the better of him, he attempts to open the door, It's wedged shut. He loses his curiosty. This surely can't be that important to the situation.

At the opposite far side to the entrence is another door. Realising this could be a safety concern, albert turns off the flashlight and walks over to it. The door is another that opens inwards. the difference between them is a metal bar that stretches beyond the width of the door and its frame. Albert pulls the handle of the door, It is secure.
ALBERT
That means they must of left through the tunnel. The protection of the tunnel - no need for helmets.
He says this calmly. He doubts himself as to whether this reason is the real reason, but it is the only rational explanation he can produce.

Shifting his thoughts back to the door he takes another look. There is a small opening which can be seen through. He takes a look. This door leads to open land. No protection from the air. There is a forecourt carved out of the mud and rubble with a road that stretches away. Even more suprising is a car parked there. The thoughts running through alberts head are full of questions.
ALBERT
So whats your story? Why are you hear? (to the car)
Albert looks around the open space around the car before stretching as far as he can see to the left and right of the opening.
ALBERT
It's an ally vehicle so wheres your daddy?
Unable to spot anyone albert draws to a conclusion.
ALBERT
Your daddy must of left through the tunnel. But why did he leave you? Did he not want the aireal risk or are you broke?
The thought holds his focus as he moves back into the bunker. He is feeling cautious  towards everything he crosses. He has to investigate every aspect on the environment because it might help him during his journey. In this harsh environment aides do not come by easily. He turns on the flashlight and shines it into the part of the room remaining to uncover. There is a desk with a radio sittingon top of it, which has a separate mircophone reciever next to it. Above on the wall is a map. This is makes Albert extremely happy. Who'd of thought they'd of left the radio as they vacated. Who'd of thought they would have left this to potentially get into enemy hands?
ALBERT
It's as good as treason leaving that open to enemies. (Alberts pride gets in the way) Fate must be watching. (Elevated) You hear that Molly? I'm coming home. (To the photograph in his top pocket)
Albert cannot wait to get to the radio. Albert sees getting to the radio as having taken the first major step toward getting home to his wife. It may even be the biggest. Finding a communication point in what can be considered no mans land with only bare essentials is a huge feat. He has managed to evade the enemy airforce. This is his opportunity to show his wife just what she means to him. And he wants that more than anything. If war has taught him anything it is the reality that life could be over any minute, so he should show appreciation to the ones he loves. He had never felt that before the war. Death was a distant thought. The idea of never seeing the one who cared for him most had never crossed his mind as he left. The war has changed him. That change has transformed that radio from a practical tool to a mythical object. One he never thought he would see.

Albert arrives at the table. He is happy and full of hope. This is it. He is going home. He places his finger on the power button. He takes a breath. He has waited so long for this moment and he has worked so hard. He pushes the button. Cautious of the noise he turns the volume down. He takes a look at the door as he does so. The power light appears. He picks up the microphone.
ALBERT
Silver One to Mother Hen over. (Static Rings out) Silver One to Mother Hen over. (Static Rings out) (Pause)
Albert starts to get concerned. He doesn't have the time to waste. If they have sent a search party it won't take them long to realise he was not killed, and it will take even less time to trace his location.
ALBERT
(Firmly with urgency)
Silver One to Mother Hen. Silver One to Mother Hen over.
Static rings out
MOTHER HEN
..Sil.....one...
Albert gets a repsonse. He is about to respond when the power dies.
ALBERT
No no no no no no.... nooo... come on come on
Albert is panicked. If he cannot get the radio to work he is as good as a fox running from a pack of dogs that cannot find a river – he is already dead, its just a matter of when. He pulls the radio toward him as he frantically inspects the device. He flicks the power button several times. Nothing. He hits the sides in a last attempt to force some life into the object. Nothing happens. Alberts frustration is brought to an immediate change to fear. He turns toward the door. Three knocks bang from the otherside.

Albert freezes. Does he stay still and hope they go away? Maybe they will listen in as he did. These thoughts go through his mind. It is apparent this is not going to happen as the handle turns. Albert looks at the other exit. Maybe he could leave via the other exit. The door handle shakes more abruptly. Albert makes up his mind. If he does not go now he could be in real danger. His actions are twitchy and abrupt. He pulls the map from the wall and places it in his pocket. He runs toward the armory case and takes a helmet. He is still trying to remain silent – they might give up trying to enter. Anyone hope of this is over as in the process of removing the helmet, the shelf breaks and they all fall to the floor. The helmets all smash into pieces. Albert cannot believe what he is seeing. Maybe thats why they were left behind. The door handle stops moving. Alberts attention is pulled between the door and the broken objects on the floor. This raises questions in his mind as to whether he should wait to see if they leave. This option is ruled out as he realises the helmet would of gave him away. Theres no way they could not of heard the noise. He looks at the helmet remaining in his hand. What ever it is, and for what ever reason it was left behind, it clearly does not work. He places the helmet on the table. The last remaining hope that whoever is on the otherside of the door might give up is over as the door handle turns and the door is pushed more aggressive. Albert runs to the other exit. He attempts to lift the safety bar. It will not move. He will have to try harder. He attempts again with more effort. It will not budge. He is surprised. He studies it. It doesn't seem to be locked down. He shakes the bar. It doesn't move. Its solid. He is scared. He doesn't know what else to do. Whoever or however many they or there is have got him. He is now the fox at the end of valley with nowhere to turn with a pack of hungry dogs waiting to get him. He gets into a ball in the corner of the room. He pulls out the picture in his pocket and folds his arms, burying his head into them.
ALBERT
I tried, I really tried. I'd of settled for one last time to see you. To feel you. To feel your palm as my fingers slot between yours. The smooth air soothing my lungs as we walk along the river. The summer sun filling every inch exposed with joy. The way your hair would float across my face as we kiss. And that look in your eyes. The tenderness, the deep glow that emits those words. The words of which I am to coward to speak. The disappointment that takes over your smile as you turn away, and your eyes, that weep to me as you try and conceal your contempt in the lack of assertiveness I posses. And as I close my eyes... as I... close my eyes...
Alberts eyes close
MOLLY
Albert.
ALBERT
...I can hear your...
Albert opens his eyes. Did he hear a voice or dream it? Did her voice wake him up to save him?
MALE VOICE
Hello? Can you open the door please.
Albert doesn't know if he should answer. If he pretends the bunker is vacant they might think the door is blocked by rubble.
MALE VOICE
I know you're there. Please open the door.
ALBERT
What do you want with me? How do I know your not going to kill me?
MALE VOICE
I would never want to hurt you. I just need this door to be opened so I know your okay? I will leave you to it after. You're making me worry.
ALBERT
Who sent you?
MALE VOICE
Nobody sent me. Im concerned about you. All I want to see is that you've not hurt yourself. I heard a smash. Can you please tell me you're not hurt?
ALBERT
I'm fine. I'm fine. How many of you is there?
MALE VOICE
Just me? Why would there be anyone else? Are you sure you're okay? 
ALBERT
Why do you want to come in so bad? So you can finish me off? So you can take me and torture the life out of me? Because I can tell you, as far as I'm concerned you've already killed me.
Albert looks at the photograph.
ALBERT
You leave me no option but to hold out. I mean, you must think i'm crazy if you think i'm just going to unlock the door.
MALE VOICE
Look, I live in there...
ALBERT
You live in here? Are you crazy?! This place has been empty for months...
MALE VOICE
Okay. Let me prove it to you. The radio doesn't work, does it? ... I've just got back with a battery.
ALBERT
What do you want with the radio?
MALE VOICE
It provides me with background noise during the day. It can be quite lonely sometimes.
ALBERT
So its YOUR fault im stuck here? I'm stuck in no mans land. Unable to get back to my wife, who I want to see, to tell her what I wish i'd told her before I left for this place. And all because you needed background noise in the day? And then you expect me to open the door? Even though you're probably just going to kill me anyway? 
MALE VOICE
Albert listen, you have a photograph right? Of the woman?
ALBERT
How do you know my name?
MALE VOICE
Do you have the photograph?
ALBERT
Yeah. How'd you know that?
MALE VOICE
It's ripped one of the corner right?
Albert hadn't noticed this before. He looks at the photograph. He is surprised and intrigued.
MALE VOICE
It is isn't it? I know this because I have the frame to that picture here too. Now I want you to listen very carefully. I do not want to hurt you. I LOVE YOU. Listen... I LOVE YOU. Can you hear me?
ALBERT
Ye..ye..yeah.
MOLLY
I love YOU
ALBERT
Molly? MOLLY! Is that you? What are you doing here?! You sounded like a man? How did you find me? Why would you be living he....
MOLLY
Al, please open the door? For me?
Albert removes the chair and opens the door. He is still nervous.
ALBERT
I hope this isn't some sort of trick.
Albert steps back from the door as he removes the chair. He isn't confident about the situation. In many ways he feels he had been left with little choice. What could he have realistically done? The only exit he could have used has the biggest risk. How did the voice change? Why was he miss hearing? These insecurities run through his mind.
The door opens. A figure enters the room. Albert closes his eyes. He is too scared to look. If somebody is going to kill him, he doesn't want that to be the last thing he sees. 
ALBERT
I'm walking down the riverside path, it's summer, about 11 o'clock. The suns brightening up the day. Your hair swirls as the gentle wind filters through. I stop and turn you towards me. and i tell you. I tell you i love you. No fear, no nerves, just calm, as calm as the still water of the canal. It's easy. so easy. I love you.
Something comes into contact with Albert. It is sudden, unexpected and knocks the wind out of him. Thinking about Molly, he had forgotten where he was. He looks in pain and struggling to catch his breath. He looks down and to one side. A woman is hugging him. It is molly. 
MOLLY
I told you, i love you. 
Albert relaxes and responds by putting his arms around her.
ALBERT
I love you. I'm so glad to see you
MOLLY
Good. I'm glad you're back.
ALBERT
We still have to get out of here, and get home...How're we going to...
MOLLY
Al, can't you see? We are home! Look. Really, look... Theres the TV. Theres the unit with the radio underneath our favourite painting. Theres the window, can't you see outside? Theres my display cabinet and... and my broken china!That must of been what i heard. You don't seem to have cut yourself. 
Albert Realises that he is not where he thinks he is. Albert and Molly now appear old. It is 2013.
ALBERT
I've been here all along? Whats going on? How could i think that? It felt so real, so believable. I thought i was going to die. I really thought that was it. That i'd never see you again. 
MOLLY
But it wasn't to be. Albert, you have dementia. But it's okay. I'm taking care of you. That wish you recited, as i walked in, about walking down by the riverside and you tell me you love me. That really happened. When you got back from the war. It was the happiest day of my life. 
Albert and Molly hug. He accepts he is home with Molly. He is happy.

Hey -

The set up is working better now, but I think you can do more foreshadowing.  When he is running through tunnels and such, let him pass himself running in the other direction or something.  Get Molly down there some place.  All of that will disorient him even more, which will foreshadow his dementia, and it will alert the audience that what is on the screen may possibly not be reality.

I made some page-specific comments, but I stopped doing that at page 8 because I was making the same notes over and over.  Too much unnecessary dialogue, too much description of his internal thoughts.  Tell the story through his actions.  Let the audience figure out his thoughts for itself.

….and so...


Page 2 -- That is a long monologue, Adam, even if these are thoughts in his head.  From a screenwriting perspective, this is a weak device for conveying context and story.  It is stronger to let the audience figure out all of that by watching what the character is doing.  A long monologue is closer to a novel than a movie.

page 3
He doesn't need to say, "Where am I?"  He only needs to think it.  The audience will figure out that he is confused.  "Shit" is okay though.

same with "I've come all that way?"  don't need it.

page 4 -- Whoa!  This looks exactly like a page from "War and Peace", Adam.  Try conveying all of this through his behavior.  I realize you are describing each and every thing he is doing, but it really is not necessary.  "Have they sent a search party …."  All that kind of thing is unnecessary.  Don't tell us what he is thinking.  Show us!

page 5 -- same thing, you're telling us what he is thinking instead of showing us.  The line "I suppose it's just me and you" is not necessary.  He only has to glance at the flashlight.  The audience will get it.  In fact, all of the dialogue on this page is unnecessary.

"The thought lingers as he questions himself as to why he never thought ….

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