NYC Midnight Short Screenplay Competition 2009

The following post is my entry for round #1 of the NYC Midnight Short Screenplay Competition 2009. Let me know what you think.

Moved On

An old, worn skateboard sits propped against a wall. It is covered in dust and hasn’t been used in a long time.

The surrounding room resembles that of a dorm with bunk beds stacked in one corner, sheets and blankets hanging off in an unkempt fashion. The floor and desks are barren except for the odd, well loved, toy here or there.

The long hallway has a plethora of doors. Moving past the open doors towards the office, similar bedrooms are seen. Some contain almost nothing, others contain children of different ages engaged in imaginary play.

A cluttered desk sits in the middle of the room with a window facing out into the front yard. Papers are lying on the floor and the office chair is facing out as if someone left in a hurry.

A plaque hanging on the wall reads: “Crested Butte Adoption Community, Best in the Butte award for excellence in public service - 2004. The telephone receiver is dangling on the floor. A busy signal can be heard. The door is slightly ajar.

A sky-blue Toyota Camry is hastily parked half in the road, half on the sidewalk. Its windshield is completely shattered. The driver side door is open and the engine is still running.

A red fire truck is parked adjacent to the car, blocking the road. An ambulance is parked behind the truck, doors open and gurney missing. JESSE is lying dead behind the truck.

Two adults, STEVE and RACHAEL are standing in front of the adoption agency. Rachael is in her thirties and is conservatively dressed in business casual clothing. Steve is also in his thirties and is wearing a t-shirt and jeans. Rachael is crying and Steve is holding her.

What were you thinking Rach?! Where were you?

(in between sobs)
It’s... all... my... fault... I... should... have... been... out... here... with... Jesse...

Why weren’t you out here? You know Jesse shouldn’t have been skateboarding out here alone! How could you leave a child unattended in the street?

(pulling away from Steve)
I was answering the phone because you were obviously not in the office. And Jesse was hardly a child... she was twelve for fucks sake!

Rachael is standing away from Steve, shouting at him and waving her hands in the air. Her eyes are full of tears.

Youngest twelve year old I’ve ever seen.

You know how independent she was. She might as well been an adult. She wouldn’t listen to anything I said! Why weren’t you in the office!?

Don’t you dare try and pin this on me! I was in the bathroom. I... I just cannot BELIEVE you left that poor girl out here alone...

I didn’t fucking think...

BILLY comes running out of the agency screaming and crying. He is 6 years old and wearing faded hand-me-down clothes. AL stops at the door behind him and watches Billy run to Rachael. Al is also 6 and is dressed in clothes too big for him.

Rachael tries to hide her tears as she bends down and scoops the child lovingly into her arms.

Billy honey. You’re not supposed to be out here. What’s wrong?
(whispering to Steve)
I didn’t fucking think she’d just skate out across the road....

Al pushed me down.

(shouting from the door)
Billy bit me when I wouldn’t share my Batman with him.

Al! Get over here right now!

The boy reluctantly leaves the house, visibly scared of Steve and his wrath. He walks over towards them.

Now, Billy...

Billy, did you bite Steve?

Rachael, do you really think this is the time?
(nodding to the scene)
Or place?

No... but he wouldn’t share his Batman with me.

Goddamit kids!

(to Al)
What did I tell you about sharing? And even if Billy did bite you, you DO NOT retaliate.

(noticing the skateboard)
Where’s Jesse?

Billy begins to look around. A broken skateboard is lying in the street. Next to it is a solitary shoe.

There’s her skateboard! And it’s broken... she is going to be so mad. She doesn’t leave her skateboard anywhere Miss Rachael...
(calling out)

Rachael begins to silently cry again. Steve’s tough demeanor begins to weaken. She silently mouths to him.

I can’t tell them.

Kids, Jesse’s been in an...

Jesse has moved on...

You mean someone came and got her?!

She has new parents? She always said that she’d get new parents first.

Billy begins to struggle until Rachael sets him down.

That’s not exactly what happened...

The boys stop listening and begin to talk to each other.

Al, you think it was because she was so good at skateboarding?

They must have seen her and she was so good they picked her. And they took her to get a new skateboard.

(to Rachael)
Look, I’m not blaming you for what happened. I should have been in the office. I’m just shocked...

He steps in and begins to comfort Rachael.

It’s been years since anyone’s been adopted here. What are we going to do?

She’d been so sick lately...

(to Al)
There’s a skateboard in Shane’s room! Let’s go start practicing and we can get new homes too!

Yeah! I get to go first!

They both run off towards the house with Al in the lead.

No! It was my idea... Hey! Wait up.

(to Jesse)
Oh sweetie... How could I have let this happen to you. I know I’m not supposed to get attached... you tender fragile thing.

Rach, I hate to say this but, maybe it was for the best. You know, things haven’t been great here.

There are two boys and a girl playing in a room when Al and Billy burst in.

You guys, Jesse got adolpted She was so good at skateboarding she got a new parents! We’re going to go practice!



In Brief

It's been a while since I've dedicated some time to being on here. I'm been out of town, editing Korah, trying to relax, and pouring all of my hard earned money into my poor car instead of into the MacPro that I so desire.

Needless to say I've been a bit busy. I've also moved from my room into the basement temporarily which means adjusting to a new environment. So I've slacked some the last week or so but it's about time to get back on track and become productive again. I'm combing through Korah with a fine tooth comb, easing the edits and working the sound. Once I hit the end I will do this probably one more time. The good news is it seems like the production group likes the edit.

After this I should work on editing the next screenplay with my collaborator Brian. We have one that we're currently shopping out now and you have no idea how nice it would be to get that sold any day now. I could use the help!

Writing will be the goal here soon and we must cross our fingers that Firemen is selected to move on in the Ultimate Filmmaker Challenge. Potential grand prize is up to $500,000 to make your project as well as screening at a major festival. That means a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and penny pinching to get that done and in good enough shape to get my name out there.

48 hour film project is also slowly creeping up on us and I'm gauging interest to see where I will be standing come crunch time. The more people the better. And I currently only have one Actor(Actress). So that will need some work also. I promise that I will rant and muse on perhaps some abstract direction here in the near future. Just not feeling particularly verbose at the moment.

Moon is playing in 2 days!


Man vs. Technology

I know there have been tons of books and movies about the concept of man vs. technology. But what about the other side of the coin? What about struggling with disconnecting from everything that enhances and connects our lives. What about the call of the wild vs. the convenience of technology? Instead of technology imprisoning or enslaving or killing humans, what about the desire to return to the earth? Could a story succeed in establishing a balance between nature and tech? Is there a way to show one man's struggle between wanting to live carefree, off the grid, in the woods and to stay connected, up to date, and always plugged in to something?



Went to quite the wedding yesterday. It was in the basilica on Colfax; a rather extravagant and luxurious place that reminded me of being in Rome. It was another nice wedding thus far in the year. Not freezing cold like the one in January. It made me realize that I'm losing one cynical view of weddings but gaining another. Or maybe I should say I'm gaining complacency towards weddings, where I find myself suddenly recalling the scene from Wedding Crashers where their discussing what the family members are going to read: example Paul's letter to the Corinthians. But I have become less jaded about the whole affair. At one time I saw weddings as a sort of, look at me and wallow in my fountains of love kind of thing but it is more than that. And with the right people, weddings can be fun.

My hockey team is undefeated thus far in our burgeoning new summer season. 5-0 if you're counting. I played goalie tonight in an unusual variation from our standard roster when our regular tender is out. Normally we play Jackie in nets and keep me out because of my skating but tonight we switched up up and put me between the pipes. I started off weak and shaky at best, receiving virtually no shots(5 in the first). But after a defensive burn I had to stop a quick breakaway and suddenly I was in the groove, and not only that, but feeling truly confident, which helped my overall play. According to K, I faced 24 shots overall and only one went in - the one being a floating puck that was traveling wide before it was misplayed of my defender's hand. So essentially I had a shut-out. Did I forget to mention it was against the Avnots, my former team and generally the team to beat.

Blah blah, let me just share with you a quick moment in my glory. There was a sudden breakaway, as opposed to those really slow ones that nobody seems to stop. As the skater was coming in I knew that he was going to try and deke me instead of going for maybe a quick shot and rebound. Time seemed to slow for me as, for the first time, I weighed my options. Option #1, go down in typical butterfly, risk bad positioning, leave the net wide open, and possible attempt to slide over as he kept moving to my right. Option #2, stack my leg pads to the right, hoping to throw him off, risking leaving the world to shoot at and having to throw my weight in the wrong direction. Option #3, throw myself to the right and hope for timing, kicking my legs in the air as to make it harder to hit the net but leaving a vast amount of space to shoot. And yet you ask, what if he went to the left, you would have been screwed. But that is when I tell you that years of playing helped me recognize the fact that not only was he coming in just left of middle (typical when you want the goalie to butterfly so you can move past to the open net) but he was also traveling so fast that he could never cut back left without slamming into me. Which option was chosen? Why #3 of course. I decided that the other two wouldn't benefit me and just as he was breaking open ground to my right I threw my entire weight over. I slapped my left arm down flat on the ice over my head, kicking my legs up in order to hope for his shot to hit the worn pads. As my shoulders collided with the unforgiving ice, I felt the puck slam into the tender flesh above my unprotected wrist. My ploy had worked, and he had thought he was past me enough to shoot. I finished my roll and sprung to my feet, ready for the followup that never made it.

PS - It was like the end of the world here today. Air raid sirens going off for tornado warnings, the news and Emergency Alerts interrupting the tv. Black and grey crowds ate the frail light, leaving lighting and funnels in their wake. A sudden torrential downpour with lightning immediately overhead, rocking the house to make itself known before vanishing as quickly as whence it came. And then light at the end of the tunnel, as lovely yellow evening sun of the summertime spread glee back across the land. A sharp moment of turmoil before sunshine is restored. What a wet, stormy summer this has been.


A Change of Pace

Did things a little differently tonight. An old friend from home was in town with his girlfriend and we were going to see Rise Against - apparently i was excited as I kept singing their songs all night last night, much to the chagrin of my tired body. Now it is typical me to somewhat stress out about stuff like this and get wound up. I tend to not look forward to going and I get upset about being at the mercy of the whims of others and the bottom line is always my stomach/intestines and how they will feel. So today started off to be one of those days where I was exhausted and didn't feel good but it just changed.

There was no pressure to get to the show. We took our time. I had Anthony's Pizza for dinner and it was heavenly - I'm milk intolerant in case you didn't know. I felt decent and off we went. We had to do some pain in the ass running around and even that didn't bother me. It was nice to have that happen for once. The show was at Red Rocks, which is always interesting when it comes to a Punk band - if people consider Rise Against punk anymore (I Do!).
They played:
State of the Union
Re-education Through Labor
Paper Wings
Long Forgotten Sons
The Good Left Undone
The Dirt Whispered
Audience of One
Blood to Bleed
Blood - Red, White, and Blue
Prayer of the Refugee
Everchanging - Acoustic
Hero of War - with special guest appearance by the violinist from the Flobots
Dancing for Rain
Give it All
Ready to Fall

This was a much needed divergence from their last shows here(back to back this spring). Good times were had by all.

On the way back, we all settled into the post concert mellow whilst driving back from the venue. We played some of our favorite Tool songs as we drove towards one of the most beautiful things I have seen in a long time. Far out over the city and across the Eastern Plains was a raging electric dream, shooting bolts of lighting about with no effort. Brilliants flashes of blue and white lit of the sky every matter of seconds. Small pulses nibbled the clouds, obscure but florescent nonetheless. Forks and licks of lighting would happy dance down to taste the Earth, illuminating past, present and future in the half blink of a tired eye. if only I had my camera ready, I could have timelapsed it and posted later. I really wanted to go to the park and listen to Toll on my iPod while I watched the storm lurk slowly out of town but work early tomorrow wouldn't permit such luxuries. With that I bid you adieu, letting you bask in the tiny image of an all mighty and massive act of nature that I have bestowed upon your mind's eye.

"This body,
this body holding me,
be my reminder here that I am not alone in,
this body,
this body holding me,
feeling eternal all this pain is an illusion."

"With my feet upon the ground,
I move myeslf between the sounds,
and open wide to suck it in,
I feel it move across my skin.
I'm reaching up and reaching out,
I'm reaching for the random or
what ever will bewilder me,
what ever will bewilder me.
And following our will and wind,
we may just go where no ones been.
Well ride the spiral to the end,
and may just go where no ones been.

Spiral out! keep going..."


A Vow to Writing

Obviously it has been a while since I've posted anything substantial on here. Technically, that story posted was a contest entry used to fill up the space where my previous blog had existed. I removed it for personal reasons. Unfortunately you didn't have the xml option back then so what I have is a very large word document containing a couple years worth of my life. Someday I will have a book made of it, most likely for my own collection although you never know, somebody may want to buy it and read it. Where I'm going with this is that it will probably never show its ugly, multi-faceted face on the luscious internets again.

That said, I was reminded tonight of not only how I used to write constantly, all the time, pouring over the keyboard, but of how some people once considered me a decent writer - I say once because, since ceasing to frequent my time on this site, I have severely lost touch with my loquacious nature and have become somewhat slovenly. I've also noticed quite an increase in my struggle to write simple texts that used to come natural to me like blinking or walking. Instead they have become much like sleeping. My goal is to become successful at something that I love to do. It has changed quite a bit over the last few years but I remember once that I loved writing and that this may be the direction in which I should head.

Let me state that while I do not like research, I realize it is necessary. My counter to that argument is that in fiction, technically one could make up whatever they wanted and it should be equally believable.

Side note aside - see what I did there - I also believe that my passion for movies and film could be capitalized upon in such a way as to fashion a living for myself. Much like creating a masterpiece out of old rusty bailing wire and semi hardened wood glue... Alas, that is just the dream on the large scale of my life, albeit one I do not wish to slip away from me like so many fleeting thoughts in an afternoon.

The statement of intent here and now is to both spend more constructive time on this site I once loved so dearly, to hone my writing once more, as well as to begin to produce films, whether large or small, to share my passion, vision, and once explosive imagination with others. I will no leave you with some song quotes in my usual fashion.

"I brought down the sky for you but all you did was shrug. You gave my emptiness a name"

"Simply because you can breathe,
doesn't mean you're alive,
or that you really live.
This life has taken it's toll,
and she just doesn't know,
how much more she can give.

But here, at the top of the world, where I raise my hands and I clench my fists,
they stand before me below, demanding the answers with flips of a switch."