September is Scene-Writing Month: Day 1

September 3rd, 2013 by

As noted in this post last week, September is Scene-Writing Month here at Go Into The Story. Every Monday-Friday at noon Eastern / 9AM Pacific, I will upload a post with a prompt for writing a script scene. Each day, write a scene per those guidelines. If you really want to get in the spirit of things, upload your scene here in the comments section of the original post. That way you can critique others’ pages and receive feedback on your scene as well.

Why scene-writing? Think about it: If the average scene is 1 1/2 to 2 pages long and a script is 100-120 pages, then a screenwriter writes between 50-80 scenes per screenplay. Thus in a very real way, screenwriting is scene-writing. The better we get at writing scenes, it stands to reason the better we get as a screenwriter.

Plus there’s this: If you are thinking about using the Go On Your Own Quest schedule to pound out a first draft of an original screenplay, FADE IN is fast approaching — October 21 to be precise. What better way to get your writing muscles moving than a series of scene-writing exercises.

A couple of logistical notes:

* Limit your scenes to 2 pages. First, most scenes are 2 pages or less in length. Second, out of fairness to everyone participating in the public scene-writing workshop, let’s not abuse anyone’s patience or time with really long scenes.

* I’m sure someone will post a way for you to write scenes and upload them so they maintain proper script format, but that isn’t a big deal to me. Rather the content and execution are the important thing. So as a default mode, do this: (1) Don’t worry about right-hand margins on scene description or dialogue, just keep typing until it manually shifts each line. (2) Don’t worry about character name position, rather do this:

SCARLETT: Rhett, Rhett... Rhett, if you go, where shall I go? What shall I do?

RHETT: Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.

Today’s prompt: Write a scene in which you introduce a character in a memorable way.

Introducing characters is an important skill, one especially critical in Act One where typically we set up a majority of the script’s ‘cast.’ Think of the poor script reader! Desperately attempting to get a handle on all of those names and personalities. If you can give each character something distinctive as part of their introduction, you go a long way toward creating someone a reader will remember, and create a perception of that character which can influence how the reader ‘sees’ them throughout the story.

This subject is such a big deal to me, I created an entire 1-week online class about it. In it, we discuss a variety of techniques you can use to introduce characters: editorializing, physicality, personality, dialogue, action, objects, surprise, and more.

So write a scene up to 2 pages long in which you craft a memorable character introduction.

Post your scene in comments for feedback.

If you don’t feel comfortable uploading your scenes, that’s okay. I encourage you to do the exercise privately. Let’s face it: Any writing is better than no writing.

To learn more about Go On Your Own Quest, go here.

Also The Black Board is joining in with National Sketch Writing Month, so if you’re a comedy writer and want to check that out, you can go here.

Tomorrow: Come back for another scene-writing prompt.

24 thoughts on “September is Scene-Writing Month: Day 1

  1. Debbie Moon says:

    Okay, I’m cheating – I didn’t write this specifically for this exercise. But I did write it today!

    (some background: the year is 1592, and Sir Walter Raleigh and his fellow adventurers go to rouse the final member of their group…)

    INT. MARLOWE’S ROOMS – DAY

    A large, light room on an upper floor: wooden furniture, books and curios. Not a rich man’s lodgings, but suggesting some money and a lot of good taste.

    Half-finished manuscripts on the table, spilled ink, empty ale flagons. Exactly what you’d expect of a creative genius-

    Who’s currently snoring, face-down, in the big bed.

    CRASH! The door flies open – kicked by Moll. Raleigh, Harriot and an excited Kate behind her.

    RALEIGH: There are two members of the School Of Night you have not met. One of them is a man of great power and distinction. Unfortunately, he’s not the one we’re here to see.

    Marlowe sits bolt upright, naked, sure his end has come.

    RALEIGH: Allow me to introduce Christopher Marlowe – playwright, spy, and all-around reckless idiot.

    A good-looking YOUNG MAN falls out of the other side of the bed and looks dazedly around him. Caught (more or less) in the act, Marlowe grins weakly.

    MARLOWE: I can explain everything.

    1. Jon Stark says:

      Debbie – every time I think I might be starting to get it, I see something really good that makes me say, “Nope, not yet.”

      You really put a lot into that bit with just a handful of words. I continue to be impressed.

      Jon

    2. Alan D. says:

      Your room description is great.

      “Not a rich man’s lodgings, but suggesting some money and a lot of good taste.”

      And a nice twist at the end. Very unsuspecting and a great character introduction.

    3. Love this… in my mind I can see Simon Pegg as Marlowe. Catherine Tate as Moll, perhaps?

      A quick question, though… I’m assuming this is the complete scene.

      So, I’m curious: this feels truncated to me as if it’s merely the prelude to a much more revealing conversation.

      Did you write this scene with an eye to intercutting the whole conversation with other scenes, or do you have something else in mind?

      1. Debbie Moon says:

        I continue the conversation in the next scene, when the young man is gone and they can talk freely. So this is the whole scene, but not the whole conversation.

        1. I keep forgetting you can put cuts in place like that… I’m such a noob.

    4. Scott says:

      Well done, Debbie. You ground the introduction in a sense of place, a sprinkling of dialogue to provide some key exposition, and most notably VISUALIZE the character in a compromising circumstance. So a reader will think: “Marlowe, dude caught in bed with another man. All around reckless idiot. Got it.”

  2. Jon Stark says:

    EXT. LONELY TWO WAY HIGHWAY – DAY
    A beat up minivan putters along without regard for the lines, oblvious to the fields on either side.

    INT. MINIVAN – DAY
    Classic rock fills the space. DAVID (23), Phish t-shirt, cut-offs drives with a Big Gulp in his hand. Old clothes, a cooler, and junk food wrappers share the back seats with a golden retriever.

    He watches a small plane through the windshield. The plane dips violently. It banks sharply to the right losing altitude quickly.

    A flash is seen inside the plane. The bank sharpens. Wing tip scrapes corn stalks then flips up-

    Too far, the other wing hits. No altitude left, crashes into the earth.

    Scraping, screeching louder than the guitars. David jerks the wheel.

    EXT. LONLEY TWO WAY HIGHWAY – DAY
    The plane slides across the road. The minivan fishtails. Tires slip. The van starts to roll over. Front wheels spin. The van now faces backward.

    The van skids off the road into the trail of the plane. The plane crunches to a stop against a power pole. The van stops along the ditch next to the field.

    Dust clouds swirl around everything.

    INT. MINIVAN – DAY
    The engine stalled. Radio still blasts but the contents of the van have been rearranged.

    DAVID
    Whoah. You okay, Girl?

    The dog crawls across the scattered debris to him. David smells the air.

    DAVID
    Wait here. I’m gonna check this out.

    EXT. CRASH – DAY
    Fuel drips from the broken wing. The door of the plane flies open propelled by a booted foot.

    The wreckage shifts from movement inside. The boot is followed by another, legs in blue jeans, 2 hands on the frame.

    TONIA (29), leather jacket, short hair, bruised, pulls herself out.

    She reaches back in and seizes a pistol from the floor.

    David gets out of the van.

    DAVID
    Are you..? is everything..? Whoah.

    Tonia holds up one finger, not looking at him. She aims the pistol into the cockpit – fires 3 quick shots.

    David carefully steps back toward his van. Tonia faces him.

    TONIA
    I need a ride.

    The hot engine of the van clicks. The fuel drips. She shoves the pistol into her tight waistband.

    DAVID
    I can drop you in Springfield.

    She nods then limps toward the van.

    TONIA
    Perfect.

    He watches her move to the passenger side.

    DAVID
    Whoah.

    She pauses at the door.

    TONIA
    Really. We have to go.

    He runs to the van and slips inside.

    INT. MINIVAN – DAY

    DAVID
    I could take you further. If you need me to.

    TONIA
    Start the van.

    DAVID
    Right.

    He crosses his fingers and turns the key. The engine roars to life. He presses on the gas and watches her. Blood drips from her left sleeve.

    TONIA
    Thank you.

    She closes her eyes.

    DAVID
    I’m David.

    TONIA
    Just drive.

    The dog rests her head on Tonia. She pets it absently.

    EXT. LONELY TWO WAY HIGHWAY – DAY
    The minivan pulls onto the highway in a sweeping U-turn, turn signal flashing.

    The powerpole falls. Live wires hit the plane. The sparks ignite the fuel vapors. The explosion shakes the van as it drives.

    1. Debbie Moon says:

      That’s a pretty dramatic entrance! Well done.

    2. i’m intrigued. good god, what happened on that plane?

    3. Scott says:

      This is grounding the character introduction in action. My favorite part is where you DON’T show what Tonia shot inside the plane’s cockpit. Great choice as it gets my mind racing.

      My ever present Conflict-O-Meter is saying: Why can’t David resist, be more freaked out, and Tonia has to be more assertive, even threatening? This is presumably a dire situation for Tonia and a bizarre one for David. Why not play them with some heightened emotion which could compel Tonia to reveal an even stronger, more authoritarian side to her persona, making the scene crackle even more and giving her introduction even more sparks. Which would be an even better segue to the explosion at the end.

      Good work. A memorable character intro.

  3. kevinpgoulet says:

    I draw great inspiration for a task like this from the 1982 film, NIGHT SHIFT (1982) >> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tT3rAo2s4s << written by Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel.

    This early scene in the film always comes to mind when thinking of introducing a character in a memorable way. Bill Blazejowski (MICHAEL KEATON) ENTERS the morgue and introduces himself to co-worker Chuck Lumley (HENRY WINKLER).

    'Billy Blaze’ comes in like fireworks on the 4th of July, while Chuck is about as listless as a snail. Immediately you know theses characters could not be more like oil & water, that they will never mix and 'conflict’ between them will be continuous from here on out.

    In my book, that scene and the opening 10+ minutes of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK are in a dead heat for memorable character introductions of all time.

    1. Scott says:

      Night Shift is such a classic 80s buddy comedy and you’re right, this introduction is a great example of contrast between Billy Blaze and Chuck, complete opposites. The thing I remember most about Billy’s character, apart from the “prostitution” scene which I featured on the blog last week, is the whole idea guy / tape recorder thing. I still to this day remember him out of nowhere with an idea about putting mayonnaise in the tuna, then can it. Great stuff.

      This is character introduction heavily relying on dialogue as well as some action on the kinetic BB’s part.

  4. Alan D. says:

    In the spirit of the new football season, I wrote this.

    EXT. FOOTBALL STADIUM – DAY

    The crowd roars. It’s the second half, the clock winds down to zero.

    A LARGE LION MASCOT dances on the sidelines. Various FANS cheer and celebrate in L.A. Lion’s t-shirts.

    SCOREBOARD

    reads Lions: 23 and Pirates: 10.

    The Lion’s FOOTBALL PLAYERS happily head towards the locker room tunnel. JOHNNY MAND, 23, lags a little behind, taking in the crowd. A majority of fans wear his #13 jersey.

    INT. TUNNEL – DAY

    Johnny jogs into the tunnel. Tries to catch up with the team.

    INT. UTILITY CLOSET

    A small NERD lies tied up and unconscious in the dark.

    INT. TUNNEL – CONTINIOUS

    Johnny takes a sip from his water bottle, wipes sweat from his forehead.

    COACH (O.S.) – Let’s go, John.

    JOHNNY – Yeah, yeah.

    He takes another sip. The Lion Mascot steps in front of him – blocks his path. Johnny tries to step around. The Lion blocks him again.

    JOHNNY – Come on, man.

    The Lion Mascot steps up, WHIPS out a knife and stabs it right into Johnny’s ribcage. Too shocked to react, Johnny just falls to his knees.

    EXT. TUNNEL ENTRANCE – MOMENTS LATER

    A discarded Lion Mascot suit lays on the ground. CARLY, 22, whips her pure blonde hair into a ponytail. She takes a deep breath and puts on a smile.

    EXT. STADIUM – CONTINIOUS

    A CHEERLEADING CREW dances on the field.

    ANNOUNCER (V.O) – And let’s give it up for our star… Carly Carly!

    Carly FLIPS out onto the field. Seamless front flips across half the football field – on the final flip, her body gyrates in the air, completes a full 360 degree turn and lands flat on her feet.

    The crowd CHEERS, Carly sticks her hands straight up in the air and waving pom-poms and cheerleaders form a circle.

    A small trickle of blood slides down her ankle. A faint SCREAM emits from the tunnel.

  5. EXT. COUNTRY ROAD – DUSK
    A silver Toyota Camry cruises down the two-lane stretch of road. It’s early summer and the grass is high but not yet brown. Crickets and katydids chirp in time with the sound of a voice singing. A light mist swirls above the humid road.

    INT. TOYOTA CAMRY – SAME
    SAMANTHA (40s) drives as her daughter, BRIE, sings along with the radio. Her voice is pure, strong, impressive.

    BRIE (singing): Hey soul sister/Ain’t that mister mister/On the radio, stereo/The way you move ain’t fair, you know

    Another voice rises, perfect harmony. Is she harmonizing with the radio?

    BRIE/VOICE (singing; harmony): Hey soul sister/I don’t wanna miss/A single thing you do-ooh-ooh/Tonight

    The sky grows dark, seemingly instantaneously. Lightning crackles as the singing continues.

    SAMANTHA: Shit.

    The sky opens. Rain pours down on the hood and roof of the tin box as it continues down the road. Thunder CRACKS!

    SAMANTHA (CONT’D): Shit, shit.

    Samantha drums on the steering wheel. Turns the stereo volume down.
    A cell phone rings, LOUDLY. Samantha dives her hand into her purse, fumbling for it. She looks down, for just a split second.

    BRIE: Mom!

    Samantha grabs the wheel as the car drifts – she tugs it hard – overcorrecting and sending the Camry like a bullet into the opposite lane.

    BRIE (CONT’D): Mom!?!

    The car spins and stops. Samantha steadies herself. Smooths her hands through her unruly golden hair.

    SAMANTHA: God. Everyone OK?

    She re-starts the engine. The radio comes back on – WAY TOO LOUD. Light from giant headlights fills the car. They’re getting closer. She doesn’t hear the horn until it’s too late.

    CRASH!

    INT. HOSPITAL ROOM – DAY
    Brie lies in a hospital bed, with tubes in her arms. She’s scraped, bruised. She can hear talking outside her room.

    DOCTOR (O.C.): Physically, she’s fine. It’s a miracle that she survived.

    PSYCHIATRIST (O.C.): That’s good to hear, because we can’t hold her any longer. Legally or financially.

    INT. HOSPITAL – HALLWAY – SAME

    DOCTOR: I understand. She keeps saying she’s responsible. But of course, it was just an accident.

    PSYCHIATRIST: That’s common survivor’s guilt…

    DOCTOR: …And losing her mother and her twin.

    PSYCHIATRIST: Sign the paperwork.

  6. bolo boffin says:

    EXT. CONVENIENCE STORE – DAY

    An old Southern store, dilapidated pumps, signs crammed into the windows advertising this and that. One declares this place a bus station. A neon sign blinks out its message: HOT FRIED CHICKEN NOW.

    A sheriff, BILL DARLTON, long, lanky, stands by a worn-out picnic table. He gnaws on a chicken leg while keeping an eye on -

    An old woman, HENRIETTA BUMILLER, standing imperiously beside a black tank of an Oldsmobile. Despite the heat, she is dressed in a long, black dress. She blots out the sun with a black umbrella held in gloved hands. She is generally displeased with everything in her sight.

    A bus pulls in, belching smoke, BRAKES SQUEALING. The doors pop open and the DRIVER bolts for the store door.

    DRIVER: (to Bill) Chicken fresh, Sheriff?

    DARLTON: Yeah, and Lacey just dropped another batch.

    DRIVER: Hot damn!

    The driver disappears into the store.

    Henrietta scowls at them and pops her umbrella shut. She marches toward the bus, pushing through the several passengers stretching their legs.

    Darlton sees Henrietta on the move and tosses his chicken bone away.

    INT./EXT. BUS – CONTINUOUS

    Henrietta steps up into the bus, scanning the bored, listless travelers.

    HENRIETTA: Miriam. Miriam, are you on this bus?

    No one seems inclined to answer her. She looks about, finds, and yanks the BUS HORN. The passengers jump.

    HENRIETTA: Miriam Snow, are you here or not?

    AWAKENED PASSENGER: She’s not here, lady! Jesus Christ.

    Darlton at the door.

    DARLTON: Can I help you, Mrs. Henrietta?

    HENRIETTA: Seems you’re the one needs help wiping grease from your chicken hole.

    DARLTON: I can’t have you bothering these people. Come on down.

    Henrietta glares at the passengers who glare right back. She realizes she is clutching her umbrella in two fists. She reaches for the handrail.

    Darlton starts to help her down. But Henrietta raps him on the nose with her umbrella handle, not a second thought.

    EXT. CONVENIENCE STORE – CONTINUOUS

    Darlton staggers back, clutching his nose, eyes watering.

    Henrietta emerges from the bus, furious.

    HENRIETTA: Lay a hand on me, Bill Darlton, and the spell I put on you, you won’t forget.

    Darlton, easily two feet taller than Henrietta, is cowed by her anger. The driver stands there, open-mouthed, white takeaway box of chicken in his hands.

    HENRIETTA (CONT’D): (to driver) My niece should have got on this bus in Birmingham. Miriam Snow. Where is she?

    DRIVER: I’m sure I don’t know, ma’am.

    HENRIETTA: But I mailed her a ticket!

    The driver is at a loss for words.

    DRIVER: Please don’t put a spell on me.

    Henrietta scoffs at him and stalks away to her Oldsmobile.

    DRIVER: (to Darlton) Are you OK?

    DARLTON: Mrs. Bumiller, she’s recently bereaved.

    Henrietta hears this. She keeps her head high, but fear and loneliness is creeping into her face. She pushes it back angrily.

  7. Angie says:

    INT. ELLEN’S HOUSE – EVENING

    A modest, lived-in kitchen in the waning evening light.

    ELLEN (O.S.): Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go! Dinner!

    A family hurricane consisting of ELLEN, 40, and her children– FRAN, 5 and IAN, 10 swoops into the kitchen.
    Fran takes off running around the table, Ian chasing her. Ellen is tying a waitress’ apron around her waist.

    On her faded blue shirt is pinned a nametag– HAL’S DINER and below it, ELLEN.

    ELLEN (CONT’D): Butts in seats. Meatballs?

    FRAN: Meatballs!

    With a fairy-like leap, she jumps into the chair. Her brother takes a seat across from her and groans.

    IAN: I hate meatballs.

    ELLEN: You ate them last night.

    IAN: Exactly.

    Ellen rolls her eyes and opens the freezer. She pulls out a bag of frozen meatballs and shuts the door.
    She opens the fridge and grabs a bag of baby carrots, plopping them on the table between the children.

    FRAN: Yuck.

    MARK (O.S.): Eat your veggies, Frannie.

    The kids look over to see their dad, MARK, 40, standing in the doorway. Tired face, sweaty t-shirt dotted with cement.

    Ian runs over to his dad, Ellen walking right behind him.

    IAN: Dad! I built a rocket at school today!

    ELLEN: I gotta go.

    She and Mark kiss with the tepid affection of two people who have not had sex in at least a year.

    INT. LOFT – EVENING

    The door to a swanky loft swings open and Ellen comes in, shedding her waitress’ apron.

    She is greeted with various ‘hellos’ from the loft’s inhabitants– women in their 30s and early 40s lounging around, heavily made up, all in sexy lingerie, silk, heels.

    One of the women, ALISON, addresses her.

    ALISON: Better shower and get dressed Ell, bachelor party coming in at eight.

    ELLEN: Thank god. Just found out Ian needs his adenoids out.

    ALISON: Insurance don’t cover that shit anymore.

    ELLEN: Sure don’t.

    Ellen walks off down a hallway. A phone RINGS on a table next to Alison. She picks it up.

    ALISON: Hal’s Diner.

  8. EXT – APARTMENT COMPLEX – DAY

    A catchy tune emanates from DUNCAN WALLS’ cell phone as he exits his apartment building. A heavy sigh indicates his feelings towards this particular caller at this particular time. It is his best friend JAMES ‘SLACKER’ JONES and so he takes the call.

    DUNCAN: Hello?

    SLACKER (on phone): Dude! Um… what’s going on?

    Slacker’s voice resonates with a strange echo through the phone.

    DUNCAN: I am running late for work man, what do you want?

    SLACKER: Well….I need your help…

    Duncan stops walking and shakes his head.

    DUNCAN: What is it this time? And what is that echoing sound?

    SLACKER: Are you by your apartment?

    DUNCAN: Yes…

    SLACKER: Can you come into the alley? You know, on the north side?

    Duncan resumes walking and goes around the corner of the building. The alley is dark and dirty with bits of trash here and there. A mouse scurries along the edge of the building, disappearing under a large dumpster. The dumpster occupies the end of the alley at the intersection of Duncan’s apartment and two other buildings.

    DUNCAN: You’re not are you?

    SLACKER: Um…well…

    Duncan ends the call and approaches the dumpster. The top lid is too high to reach so he grips the sliding door on the front and pulls to the side. It creaks open an inch. He tugs with greater force and the door lurches open. A large pile of trash and debris comes pouring out of the opening followed by shaggy haired young man. SLACKER JONES slides to a stop amongst the junk. His face has not seen a razor in months. His phone is gripped in one hand along with an extended, twisted measuring tape in the other. He is covered in pieces of food and surrounded by cans, bottles, and various other pieces of trash.

    SLACKER: Dunk!

    DUNCAN: Slacker.

    SLACKER: You came along at just the right time! I’ve got a deal you’ve got to get in on! I-

    DUNCAN: No.

    He turns and starts walking out of the alley.

    SLACKER: Wait, this one’s legit! All we need is-

    DUNCAN(O.S.): No, Slacker. I’ve gotta go.

    SLACKER: But, I-

    A large trash bag falls from the sky, slamming into Slacker’s gut. The impact cause the open end to untie, dumping more debris onto his face.

    VOICE (O.S.): Sorry!

    Slacker shakes his head and spits out some nasty looking gunk.

    SLACKER: No problem. No problem.

    Slacker sits up and brushes off the trash. A small piece of paper remains on his lap. He picks the slip up and studies it. It is a Powerball ticket. Slacker smiles. A new idea has formed. He hops up and hurries after Duncan.

    SLACKER: Dunk! Wait up!

  9. Jeb Boyt says:

    INT. SUPERMARKET – DAY

    ART and his MOM are shopping, rolling the cart through the aisles. Mom runs into a friend.

    MOM: Betsy, how are you doing. I’ve been meaning to ask you.

    Art’s been here before. He pushes the cart on, leaving them talking, and continues shopping. In the produce department, he sees GINA DIBELLA(36). She notices him looking at her.

    GINA: I think the melons you’re looking for are over there.

    ART (Laughing): Gina, it’s Art. Has it really been so long?

    GINA: Art! Shit. What’re you doing back here?

    ART: Visiting mom.

    GINA: How’s she doing?

    ART: She’s alright.

    He gestures over to where his mom is talking with her friend.

    ART: She’s right over there.

    Gina leans over to look at what Art has in his shopping cart, giving Art a chance to look at her breasts and think about when he first saw her back in high school.

    GINA: Pork chops. Ooh, is your mom going to make her smothered pork chops?

    ART: That’s the plan.

    Across the store, BUDDY HOLT (36) sees them talking and stops to watch. His hand crushing a cabbage.

    GINA: It’s been too long since I had one of your mom’s pork chops.

    ART: Say, if you’re not doing anything …

    GINA: Ahh, I’m working at the pizzeria tonight.

    ART: Another time then. She’d love to see you.

    GINA: I’ll stop by to say “hi.”

    Art and Gina go their separate ways. Buddy glares after Art and follows Gina down the aisle.

    Art rejoins his mom. She sees Gina walking away.

    MOM: Was that Gina DiBella?

    ART: Yeah.

    MOM: It’s been ages. Why didn’t you date her back in high school?

    ART: She got pregnant, mom.

    MOM: Oh yeah, that’s right.

    EXT. SUPERMARKET – DAY

    ART and his MOM are walking to their car with the groceries. BUDDY pulls up in his Camaro, cutting them off.

    BUDDY: Hi Art.

    ART: Buddy.

    BUDDY: Up visiting your mom.

    ART: Yeah.

    Gina comes out of the market with her groceries. Buddy watches her walk across the parking lot. Art follows his gaze.

    BUDDY: Well have a good trip home. I’ll be sure to look after things here.

    Buddy peels out, driving away.

    MOM: I never liked that boy.

  10. CWillGoWrite says:

    INT. SUPERMARKET – CASHIER LINE

    Burning bright Fluorescent bulbs tan the dull shoppers.

    A Magazine stand barely maintains the will to stand on its own one leg.

    VICKY, a kind eyed and strong armed 28 year old in scrubs, stands in a line seemingly made of quicksand.

    AISLE
    A thug covered in dirt and bad choices crashes through a wine rack.
    He hugs a bag booze under the arm not holding a gun.

    CHECKOUT CASHIER

    The customers in line uproot their feet and disperse. Vicky shifts her weight from left foot to right foot.

    Thug wields gun at cashier.

    Vicky sighs and rolls her eyes.

    THUG- Money. Now!

    The cashier fumbles through the register.

    VICKY- As awesome as it is to see a Supermarket line actually move, you’re gonna have to cut out these shenanigans.

    THUG- shut it, lady or I’ll make you bleed.

    VICKY- It’s not that time of the month for me, but it is for you.

    VIcky swats a mason jars filled with cherrys at the thug.

    Thug screams with a lot of red pouring down his face.

    Vicky’s left foot blasts off from the ground and orbits the earth until impacting the thugs breakable jaw.

    The thug’s face meets the magazine stand.

    The magazine stand meets a fragile, poorly placed old lady.

    EXT. SUPERMARKET
    Vicky meets meets the police officer.

    POLICE OFFICER – and this poor old woman says you kicked him… at her.

    VICKY- My only regret was the bleeding period line. Besides, I’ll be fixing her up at work in 20 minutes, if I ever get out of this place.

    POLICE OFFICER- Not before paying for your groceries.

    Vicky eyes the line in the store… It’s long… like, longer than this scene.

  11. Scott says:

    Great job, folks. I’ll try to stop by with more comments if I get a chance later tonight. Another scene-writing exercise tomorrow!

  12. Thanks for indulging me. I have a few stories I’m trying to break and I’m hoping that participating in this exercise will help.

    I apologize if this one’s a little long.

    ——–

    EXT. QUAD, DOOM ACADEMY – DAY

    Danny sits on the steps to Octavius Hall, head buried in a book, oblivious to the freak-show passing by.

    A nerdy looking blonde girl stands over him.

    ALICIA: So it’s true, Harry Potter has come to Hogwarts.

    Danny gazes up, slightly stunned to see that ALICIA JORDAN (19) is actually a pretty normal looking girl. In fact, in this place it’s kind of freaky to be so normal.

    DANNY: Excuse me?

    ALICIA: Harry Potter… nevermind. I just always wanted to say that in a real conversation.

    She extends her hand.

    ALICIA: Hi. I’m Alicia Jordan.

    DANNY: I’m Danny–

    ALICIA: I know who you are. The grandson of the only man who ever ruled the world for more than a week. Pretty big shoes to fill, huh?

    She glances at his book.

    ALICIA: What are you reading?

    DANNY: Prospectus… I missed orientation and I have until tomorrow to choose freshman classes.

    ALICIA: So where are you?

    DANNY: Introductory ethics of global domination. Granddad said I should take all of Zubler’s classes.

    ALICIA: Very smart. Every plan needs a clear reason, if you want to succeed.

    DANNY: What do you mean?

    ALICIA: Not everybody here has what it takes. Let me show you…

    Alicia scans the quad until she spies a spindly looking weirdo wearing a cerulean blue colored hat, waves him over.

    ALICIA: Hey Shenley! Over here!

    As if uncertain of his relationship to gravity, or any of the other forces of nature, SHENLEY (19) gently treads his way to meet them.

    ALICIA: I want to introduce you to Danny Mandrake.

    Shenley’s eyes widen and he speaks, in a bad euro villain accent.

    SHENLEY: So it’s true, Harry Potter–

    ALICIA: –I already did that.

    Disappointment on his face quickly followed by indignation.

    SHENLEY: My name is now Baron Von Damage, if you don’t mind.

    ALICIA: You know until you graduate, you’re only allowed to use your villain name in class.

    SHENLEY: Except if you meet certain requirements, and as I have repeatedly told you, I have already taken control of the world once. It’s only a matter of time before I do it again.

    DANNY: (to Alicia) Is that true? Did he really take over the world?

    Alicia looks reluctant to admit the truth.

    ALICIA: Technically, yes.

    SHENLEY: For fifteen glorious minutes.

    ALICIA: I suspect he was looking for porn, but somehow he managed to hack his way into the US Air Force’s control system… you know the one they use for all the satellites and the nukes.

    Alicia gives Shenley a withering look.

    DANNY: Then?

    ALICIA: (shakes her head in disbelief) Then… then the schmuck uses it to write dirty messages on the Rosebowl scoreboard.

    DANNY: I remember that… That was you? That was awesome.

    SHENLEY: Thank you.

    ALICIA: That wasn’t awesome. It was clueless… I guess we should be thankful.

    DANNY: Why?

    ALICIA: Tell him about the uniforms, Shenley.

    SHENLEY: How do you know–

    ALICIA: –Everyone knows about the uniforms.

    SHENLEY: Very well. When I rule the world, there will be no more sloppy dressing. Everyone will wear uniforms with the cuffs and the collars of cerulean blue.

    ALICIA: Just like the Nutcracker, right?

    SHENLEY: Of course, those are snappy uniforms.

    ALICIA: (aside to Danny) Like I said, no clue.

    DANNY: What about you? What’s your plan?

    Alicia unleashes her dazzling Cheshire Cat smile.

    ALICIA: Oh Danny Boy, it’s going to take a lot more than this for you to see what’s inside my kimono… But coffee would be a good start.

  13. INT. CAPULETS TOMB – NIGHT

    A single flickering touch casts eerie shadows over a striking young man as he gazes dizzily into the open crypt before him. His pale fingers twitch – can barely grasp the small vial in his quivering hand.

    This poor wretch is ROMEO, and his tear glazed eyes dart quickly over the motionless beauty lay out before him — his true love, JULIET.

    ROMEO: Come, bitter conduct, come, unsavory guide! Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on the dashing rocks thy sea-sick weary bark! Here’s to my love! –

    He swiftly raises the vial to his lips –

    FZZZZZZZT-BOOOOOOM!

    Tendrils of electricity spider out from the sky above Romeo as a portal tears reality a new one. It is swiftly accompanied by an unholy sound not familiar to our doomed lover:

    SHHHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!

    And through the gaping hole in reality plops a short, fat, bespectacled man. He hits the cold marble floor face first with a huge, wet slap.

    MAN: Arrrghh … fuuu….

    The vial slips from the astonished Romeo’s fingers –- smashes on the ground.

    The portal closes as quickly as it appeared leaving only a small rectangular card drifting in its wake. Said card spins gentle down like a propeller seed — lands on the slumbering beauty below.

    Romeo plucks it up, brings it close to his face – squints as he examines it in the dim light.

    Its edges are singed, but the bold, black print can clearly be read: MAX MILLIMETER – HOLLYWOOD MOVIE PRODUCER EXTRODINAIRE.

    Romeo lowers the card — reveals MAX MILLIMETER as he rolls on to his back with an almighty groan, and proceeds to shake his fist toward the heavens.

    MAX: You god damn sonovabitch! 20 minutes I spent in the freezing Atlantic persuading that dumb grubby kid that there was enough room on that damn makeshift raft for both him and his bit of posh!

    He climbs unsteadily to his feet –- grumbles as he starts to ring out the water from this sodden shirt.

    ROMEO: By heaven! T’s the very devil himself come to drown my soul in a lake of fire!

    MAX: (looks up sharply) Me? The devil?! I’ll tell you who the devil is, you dumb schmuck: that broad I met in Palm Springs.

    He reaches into his pocket — pulls out a crooked cigar and rams it between his lips.

    MAX: Gotta killer script, she says. Gotta downending that will have ‘um crying a river, she says.

    He yanks a lighter from his pants pocket – but there’s no way on earth that soggy stogie is gowna light.

    MAX: No one wants that, I say. Give ‘um a happy ending, I say. Screw artsy romantic downendings — less box office moolah. WHAM! Next thing I know she’s put some sorta gypsy curse on me and I’m being flung from story to story puttin’ right what once went wrong like a regular fucking Sam Beckett!

    ROMEO: How dare you violate this hallowed place with thy presence, demon!

    MAX: Whoa there, champ! I just stopped you makin’ the biggest mistake of your stupid-ass life. Look –

    Max points to Juliet whose beautiful eyes have just fluttered open.

    ROMEO: By heaven, t’s a miracle! You are indeed an angel, stranger!

    MAX: I’m a somthin’, alright.

    Romeo cradles Juliet’s delicate form as she comes too.

    JULIET: Romeo! Oh Romeo! Thou has –

    She notices Max, who grins widely at her – gives her a little wave. Juliet shoves Romeo back.

    JULIET: Oh thou Romeo! Who be’th this … Vagrant?

    MAX: (spits out cigar) I’m your fairy-god-damn-godmother is who I am you ungrateful –

    The floor beneath Max’s feet begins to crack open — spews forth more vines of electricity –

    MAX: Oh boy! –

    And swallows Max whole.

    MAX: SHHHIIIIIIIIIIIIII –

    POP!

    The portal disappears out of existence.

    The silence that follows is deafening. Romeo turns, stares into Juliet’s eyes — she into his.

    ROMEO: Oh Juliet! What a strange’th man!

  14. xqwyzt.com says:

    […] of that one haven’t you? Apparently, Scott Myers of Go Into the Story has declared September as Scene-Writing Month, and he’s been posting writing prompts on his Twitter account for the past two weeks. I had no […]

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