Cinematic Storytelling (8)

Here’s a scene from a script by our good friend Pat who participated in almost every study on our blog. When I posted Write the Shots, Pat shared a scene from her script and I just loved it. This captures exactly what we mean by writing the shots. Good job, Pat.

[scrippet] INT. CELLAR – NIGHT

It’s black.

Sounds of stilettos on a concrete floor.

A yellowed florescent light sputters to life.

Jack struggles against the chains that have him pinned to the wall.

The black leather hood lies next to a rubber mallet on a nearby rickety old table. A piece of duct tape covers his mouth.

LACY (O.S.)
How’s it feel, asswipe?

Lacy, clad in the same scanty ensemble as earlier, approaches Jack.

In one hand, a

BIG FUCKIN’ KNIFE, dripping with blood.

In the other, a Dove ice cream bar.

Jack, eyes wide, stares at the knife in horror.

LACY
Recognize this? One of your favorites, I believe.

She slices the buttons from his shirt with the tip of the very sharp blade as Jack, petrified, watches the last one fall in slow motion.

She spreads his shirt open with the knife tip to reveal the location where most of the hair from his head has migrated.

She gives him the once-over.

LACY
You’re such a liar. Furry AND flabby. Yuck.

She tickles the tip of one of his nipples with the sharp edge of the knife. He flinches and issues a muffled cry as the blade scrapes the sensitive flesh.

Lacy giggles, teases the Dove bar with her tongue and jerks the knife upward with a quick flick of her wrist. Behind the gag, Jack screams.

LACY
I’d say payback’s a bitch but I think you used that one. In Gruesome Twosome, I think. Or was it Hammered? I forget. They all just kind of melt into one.

She sets the ice cream bar on the table (where it sizzles like a steak on a grill), grabs a handful of chest hair and, wielding the knife like a straight razor, dry-shaves the patch. Jack’s cries become louder and more high-pitched.

Jack watches with fear as a

FEMALE HAND

retrieves the mallet from the table. His fear becomes terror when he follows the hand up the

ARM

Across the

SHOULDER AND NECK

to

KITTY’S FACE.

She stares at Jack, licks the back of her free hand and, in a sweeping motion, wipes it across her forehead and back across her hair before looking at Lacy with a nod.

Lacy positions the tip of the knife just so in the bare patch on Tom’s chest.

Kitty aims the mallet at the end of the knife handle.

As though she were Hank Aaron setting up for a series-winning home run, she raises the mallet like a baseball bat.

LACY
Well, girlfriend, let’s see if there’s anything worth keeping in this fat tub of goo.

The mallet smashes the knife handle with bone-crushing force to the sounds of:

EXT. KITTY’S APARTMENT – DAY

METAL GARBAGE CANS being tossed to the sidewalk of the house next door.
[/scrippet]

The next scene is from a script that marked my 100th TriggerStreet review. It’s written by our longtime friend Mickey Lee Bukowski. If you were to mix a little bit of James Bond and Indiana Jones and throw this new character into a 1944 a British commando team battling the Nazis, you’ll get a big script called Operation: Atomic Blitz and a protagonist by the name of Garrett Davies. Great, great fun.

It’s entertaining how Mickey Lee plays with action genre expectations while also giving us the hero’s arc in the protagonist IN AN ACTION MOVIE, which is unusual (and welcome), especially in a franchise-starter.

In this scene, the commando team is storming a German castle. A little background: the castle is still partially in ruins from an earlier scene, which is why there are lots scaffolding. There’s also a little ribbing about Garrett having once tried to steal the Crown Jewels. He was a bad thief given a second chance by joining this commando team.

I love the way Mickey cuts back and forth between the smoking guard on the main platform and Garrett on the scaffolding.

And the gag is priceless.

[scrippet] EXT. GRAND TOWER BASE – NIGHT

Rubble from the original grand tower litters the beach. The Partisans take cover behind the larger stones.

The tower itself is a nest of scaffolding growing up from the beach all the way to the very top of the castle. Guards walk the upper platforms.

Garrett, Johanna, Hamlet and Ophelia crouch behind a large stone.

GARRETT
You sure you want to do this?

JOHANNA
Who else is going to disable the
bomb?

HAMLET
Don’t bother arguing with women,
Garrett. You just end up married
to them.

Ophelia gives him a look.

GARRETT
Cover me, Hamlet.

Ophelia unzips a bag, pulls out a huge sniper rifle. Lines up the sights, pulls back the bolt, readies to aim.

HAMLET
And now you know why I don’t argue.

Garrett nods, waits for the spotlight to pass, darts across the beach to the

SCAFFOLDING

Garrett climbs the lower scaffolds with cat-like agility. He leaps silently from one platform to the next.

MAIN PLATFORM

A SMOKING GUARD walks back and forth, stops to enjoy the beach. Hears something. Looks down the side to check. Sees nothing.

SCAFFOLDING

Garrett looks up — too high to climb. He takes a grapple and rope from his shoulder. Balances it. Looks up at the next platform. Swings the grapple, lets it loose.

It catches. Garrett gives it a tug. Not stable. Curious, he tugs it again. Tries to climb, but it’s not secure.

MAIN PLATFORM

Smoking Guard struggles to stand, the grapple tied around his neck. The rope inches him toward the platform edge.

SCAFFOLDING

Garrett yanks harder and harder on the rope.

Seconds later, Smoking Guard topples off the platform, screaming.

The rope catches around a beam, acts as a pulley sending Garrett up to the Main Platform. Garrett catches onto the ledge, lets go of the rope.

Smoking Guard plummets to his death, hits all the scaffolding on the way down.

German Guards on the upper platforms look over to see their comrade fall to his doom.

Spotlights zero in on the scaffolding. An ALARM sounds.

ON THE BEACH

Hamlet and Johanna share a look.

HAMLET
The Crown Jewels, eh?

He stands, signals his Partisans.

HAMLET
(in Danish)
Take them down!

Gunfire erupts between the Partisans and the Guards on the scaffolding…

[/scrippet]

– Mystery Man

In his own words, Mystery Man was “famous yet anonymous, failed yet accomplished, brilliant yet semi-brilliant. A homebody jetsetting around the world. Brash and daring yet chilled with a twist.”

MM blogged for nearly 4 years and tweeted for only 4 months, then disappeared – mysteriously.

The Story Department continues to republish his best articles on Monday.

Here, you’ll also be informed about the release of his screenwriting book.

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