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Thu, Nov. 5th, 2009 | 03:22 pm  slavezombie


My little china dish
slavezombie

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INT. OFFICE - DAY

Unable to concentrate, Ben eavesdrops on some of the background noise

Editor (O.C.)
I'm sorry, but every one is different. I'll go and see but you are going to have to accept that everyone will do things differently.

Jennifer (O.C.)
I know.


SFX: DOORS OPENING AND CLOSING AS PEOPLE COME AND GO.

Ben joggles the cursor to disable the screensaver. A close up on the monitor shows wallpaper of Lizbeth Salander (or similar character as the movie poster for Girl with the dragon tattoo in which Lizbeth has on her hoody and a spike collar). Obstructing part of the background image is a slew of unorganized files. We see only the interaction of cursor on monitor pointing at files .

* 661 964 0568 [2009-10-17 1609].pdf * addressbook * AIjp_and_lc.jpg * all_u_need_s_hate.mp3 * artworld/~ * BANNER lesson * barshow.jar * billboard.jpg * body-bg-4.gif * Booklist * browserRedirect * bs * catpix * cd.GIF * core024.tar * CSI * CustomerBillManager * data_tab.xls * doc.pdf * DSKTP Clutter * everydns.pdf * excel * fax cover-Rico.rtf * Final_LA_press_se_04.04.07.pdf * Form_81_.pdf * fr.pdf * fuck 2007.rtf * genetic_apple.png * Genius_a rock opera * httpd.txt * incense * Install Flash Player 9 UB.dmg * install-vanilla-osx.sh * julie_rico_MENU.ai * KXTG6021.pdf * mbz_ipod_03082005.pdf * med/den insur * medieval calligraphy * Medusa Menu.cwk * metalreview.html * michael_clayton.pdf * mllerivierre.jpg * new free fonts * newsletter folder * newsletter.txt * nobody * npr_12842807.mp3 * page1_Revolver.tiff * page2_Revolver.tiff * pagemkrbs * pfrspec1.3.pdf * Picture clipping * predeswrkmnscomp.pdf * print_BofA_error.pdf * print UNIX starters guide.pdf * promo_gap.pdf * ricoaguirre.local/vanilla-static/attachments/attachments/amgree_bofa_visa.pdf * root * Rosicrucian * RUG_RIFFING_IT? * samp1e banner.jpg * save * save.Backup * server essentials_((AUDIO)) * Shoe * sig.html * sigema * signature.txt * signatures old * Simone from Epica.jpg * simple.xls * sol * store returns.txt * Stylus Driver Updater v1.0cEs * superdelegats.txt * sutterlin.html * swingcyclepreview.pdf * System_Map.pdf * tees.jpg * UN_Ines9.jpg * Vitolo Demystifying the Copperplate Spencerian Script Enigma.pdf

The cursor does a dance across the screen tracking thru the cluttered mess. Sometimes it highlightes the file name, sometimes it just clicks on the file, hi-liting it by default, and sometimes it encircles the file in a rotationary movement (clockwise), or it makes a scribbling gesture as if to send signals to the brain thru visual stimulation that the file is not what Ben seeks.

Editor (O.C.)
Okay, I don't see the mess you are describing.


Eventually the file being sought is found on Ben's computer desktop, but the title of it would never have indicated that it's contents consisted of anything remotely related to it.

Jennifer has long since exited the Editor's office. Although she hadn't replied to the Editor's last remark about neatness with anything potentially dramatic. Ben takes notice of her grunts by trying to make small talk with her as soon as the Editor returns to her office.

Jennifer
Oh boy, I'm going home.

Ben
You're going home? Why don't you hang out?

Jennifer
No way, m,an. I'm just waiting for whoever is in the restroom to come out.

Ben
Aw, you should stay and chat a bit.

Jennifer
Why?

Ben
No reason. I'm getting ready to leave myself. I guess I take that back.

JENNIFER
Where you going?

Ben
Don't know yet. I'm checking my to-do list.

Jennifer
     (SARCASTICALLY)
That sounds urgent.

Ben
It can be... I can't keep things in my head the way other people can. I have to note it down somewhere and if I happen to stumble on it in my notes, it can be revalating.
JENNIFER
Oh, I see.

SFX: DOORS OPENING</div>
Jennifer disappears into the restroom

Editor (O.C.)
Ben!


Ben gets up slowly and pops his head over his cubicle. He then begins to walk toward the office.

Editor (CONT'D)
Are you going to be here until closing?

Ben
I'm scheduled all day, but I'm working on a project that's going to pull me away for a short while.

Editor
So you'll be back?

Ben
Yeah.

Editor
Okay, because I have somebody coming in today and I need to present her to you.

Ben
Oh yeah? Who is it?

Editor
Your new researcher.

Ben
Oh wow, I get one of those?

Editor
She won't just be yours, but I want her to start with your assignments. It's only for the media articles. You mentioned difficulty obtaining certain news stories thru the archives and, since she temps in this area of publishing, I believe her employer provides all of that. You might run that problem thru her.

Ben
Oh, that's great. Thanks. Is that all?

Editor
Yes, that's all. Oh, and what's it you're working on that is taking your somewhere?

Ben
Right-now right-now?

Editor
Yes, right-now right-now

Ben
The transitioning of words. For instance, disclaimer is developing some new meaning in new age publishing.

Editor
Your angle?

Ben
Movies.

Editor
You're not going to a movie, are you?

Ben
No. I'll only be out for a short while.

Editor
Angle.

Ben
A small gap in time when certain upcoming releases cannot be accounted for... It's just one of the recalcitrant points I'm working on to support the claim that network software development leaves... or the evolution of hypertext language is prepositioning web enthusiasts of all kinds. Get on the band wagon of development or prepare to meet uncertain doom.

Editor
What?

Ben
You know. ISPs rounding up their customers as if they were cattle. That sorta thing.


The Editor rolls her eyes dismissively. Ben takes leave.

Editor
Oh, Ben! Let me know when you get back.

Ben
Okay.


Ben stops at his desk just long enough to pick up his keys as if he truly were going on an errand in which he would need to drive off somewhere.

FADE TO

EXT. PARKING LOT - DAY

Ben makes his way to the side of the building. He uses a bench to stand on so that he might reach the roof access ladder. When he safely gets there, he can't see Aaron. He looks at his watch. Just before making his way back down, his name is hailed.

AARON
Ben!


Aaron is on the roof, but on a completely different side of the building.

AARON (CONT'D)
What are you doing there?

Ben
How do I get there?

AARON
Dude, I don't know. Looks like you gotta climb up the eaves.


Aaron points to the steep slope of the angular portion of the roof, as opposed to the flat industrial side.

Ben
Screw that. How'd you get there?

AARON
Thru the storage room's roof hatch. It only has a padlock on it. Go back down. I left it unlocked.

Ben
No way. They've seen me leave. They'll think I'm back.

AARON
Tell them you forgot something.

Ben
Yeah... my digital recorder, my car keys. I don't even know where I'm supposed to have gone. What's that smell?

AARON
Charcoal.


Ben tries to catch a gander at a hibachi by stepping on the angular section of rooftop tiles to elevate his height.

AARON (CONT'D)
Are you gonna try? I got hotdogs.


Aaron takes a toke of his joint.

AARON (CONT'D)
... and weed.


Ben sees that the tiles support his weight and its just a matter of trying not to slip if he tried to make his way to Aaron. He goes for it.

AARON (CONT'D)
Yeah man! Don't fall.

Ben
Where'd you get the hibachi?

AARON
Long story, but I had brought it to work one day and left it in storage.

Ben
The hot dogs?

Aaron
Well, you know, one day I had the munchies and nothing to munch on. I remembered I had the hibachi but what good, right? with nothing to grill? So now I keep hot dogs well supplied in the fridge. I can boil them, nuke them and eat them for lunch, or I can bring them up here with me.

Ben
You know, the air vents are going to suck in all that smoke and go thru the air conditioning system.

AARON
Bullshit, man. That's what they got filtration for. If that were true, then they'd probably be inhaling all this pot I smoke up here.

Ben
Come to think of it, I think maybe that's why people have been acting so weird lately. What? No china?

Aaron
What th... china. Good one. heh heh.


LinkCommentFile under memories

Comments {7}

Andrea Blythe

webſite

from: blythe025
date: Tue, Nov. 10, 2009 01:33 am (UTC)
Link

I like this. There's some nice dialogue. And anyone who's willing to attempt a screenplay automatically gets kudo points with me.

I have some editing kind of suggestion, bu I don't know if you want any of that. If you do, then just let me know.

Reply | Thread

Bier de Stone

webſite

from: slavezombie
date: Tue, Nov. 10, 2009 03:56 am (UTC)
Link

Hello Ms. Blythe,

It's so nice to receive a reply. I more than welcome constructive criticism as well as tips and suggestions. The main reason I enter brigits_flame is to meet new readers like yourself. Your comments so far have been very inspiring and I hope to hear from you again with your opinions on any weak points this sequence may have. I almost always submit my entries as screenplays, so I hope I can rely on you as a regular reader.

Reply | Parent | Thread

Andrea Blythe

webſite

from: blythe025
date: Tue, Nov. 10, 2009 11:59 pm (UTC)
Link

I've tried my hand at screenplays myself, so I know they present their own unique set of challenges. So here are my thoughts. I hope you find them useful.

Remember to stay with the visual and the auditory. Anything that cannot be seen on the screen or heard through the speakers is generally not included. For example, "Unable to concentrate, Ben eavesdrops on some of the background noise," is descriptive and useful for fiction, but does not represent physical actions on the screen.
--> What does unable to concentrate look like? Does he swivel in his chair withot looking at the screen? Does he look up things on the internet?
--> How does one visually show eavesdropping? What is the background noise that he hears from outside his cubicle?
--> You also might want to give a brief description of his work area, which would give us a better sense of him.

You don't really need the long list of files. It's hard to read and your sentence that comes after, "The cursor does a dance across the screen tracking thru the cluttered mess" gives a clear enough sense of what's on the computer.

"Jennifer has long since exited the Editor's office. Although she hadn't replied to the Editor's last remark about neatness with anything potentially dramatic."
--> This is confusing. Is Editor's Office a program? Otherwise it sounds like she left the room in which case how can she be talking later?
--> You also switch to past tense here. We can't see what has happened only what is happening.

I love the dialogue between Ben and the Editor.

"Ben stops at his desk just long enough to pick up his keys as if he truly were going on an errand in which he would need to drive off somewhere."
--> Second half of this sentence could be deleted. "Ben stops at his desk just long enough to pick up his keys." Is actual physical action. The rest is his inner working, which the viewer cannot see. How can you portray this with action?

There are a couple of other places where you start slipping out of action, but I think you get the idea.

I really like the scene of climbing up on the roodtop to smoke dope and eat hotdogs.

Well, I hope that helps.

What screenwriting books have you read/are reading. I particularly like The Screenwriter's Bible by David Trottier. I also had a subscription to Scr(i)pt magazine for a while and that was quite good.

Reply | Parent | Thread

Bier de Stone

Helpful tips

from: slavezombie
date: Thu, Nov. 12, 2009 07:33 am (UTC)
Link

What screenwriting books have you read/are reading. I particularly like The Screenwriter's Bible by David Trottier. I also had a subscription to Scr(i)pt magazine for a while and that was quite good.

Thanks for the helpful tips. I'm aware that I sometimes sneak a few narrative sentences that have no place in a screenplay. I can't tell you how helpful it is that you've pointed that out. Sometimes I think I can get away with it, but it's obvious to me now that these descriptions are harder to hide than taking a little time to break it down with literal actions of fidgeting, for a lack of concentration, and/or cupping one's ear, to convey the action of listening. My biggest worry is whether the director might take my descriptions literally and shoot a scene where Ben literally cups his ear with his hand to listen to the ongoing background noise of office interactions. (i.e. is it enough to convey the concept itself, so the director can work around it; or must the writer describe minute intricacies like scratching one's ear with pinky to remove ear wax, whether or not it is conveyed that Ben is attentive to noise)?

Your observations of my good points are noted and I won't abandon the concept of a roof top rendezvous in the work place just yet. There was more to that bar-b-q scene BTW. But my main concern was finding a way to pull Ben away from his desk in a believable manner. That I managed to get the word "China" in before 2000 words was a handfull, and the beauty of it is that I like the way it plays out in the dialog. The meeting between editor and writer was no picnic, either. I'll proof read the run-ons and incomprehensible direction between Jennifer, and yes, I totally agree that my file names should not be included unless I've at least included an INSET description.

I have sitting on my shelves Robert McKee's Story and J. Michael Stracqynski's Complete book of screenwriting. I've borrowed a few other's from the library, but these are the most current publications on the subject I have already read. This isn't the first time I've heard that The screenwriter's bible is a must read, so I may be getting my hands on a copy of it soon.

Reply | Parent | Thread

Andrea Blythe

Re: Helpful tips

from: blythe025
date: Thu, Nov. 12, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC)
Link

I don't know that you have to have him cup his ear to convey that he's listening in. The back ground sounds and conversations can be noted and he can pause in his work and tilt his head maybe.

Another way to convey that he's listing in is to maybe have him over hear an unseen phone conversation of Jennifer's or with someone else, and he's reaching to it.

I'm sure there are other ways to do it too, but I can't think of them right now.

I need to get Story. I've heard it's good.

Reply | Parent | Thread

mister_troper

[R.O.A.R.]

from: mister_troper
date: Sat, Nov. 14, 2009 06:50 pm (UTC)
Link

Yep, you win points just for actually bringing a full fledged screenplay to B_F. I'm always a bit disturbed that our representative genres seem limited to slice-of-life lit fic, free verse, and Tolken 2.0. I also like the smokescreen Editor/Ben dialog. It's right at the proper balance of credibility and WTFishness to lead in well to what Ben then does. Hot dogs and weed indeed.

Reply | Thread

Bier de Stone

Re: [R.O.A.R.]

from: slavezombie
date: Mon, Nov. 16, 2009 01:54 am (UTC)
Link

It's kind of a shame that I don't have any beverages up there in mind for the roof top, pot sequence. Although I'm still trying to get a firm visual of commercial flat top roof tops, that there might be a pipe with running water protruding somewhere seems unlikely. We've probably all experienced dry mouth where doobies are involved, but I'm working on finding a way of getting the research assistant to make her way to the roof with a flask of tequila in her purse.

Reply | Parent | Thread