June 30, 2014

little(ish) laura hits the bank

Blogger's Note: Little Laura is back, and this time she's doing college AND writing scripts. Grown-up Laura is also on hand to offer LL a little constructive criticism as needed.


THE BANK

Written by
Laura Chapman

FADE IN:

INT. SECURITY CAMERA ROOM - DAY

CU OF SIDE OF SECURITY GUARD'S FACE AS HE LIGHTS A CIGARETTE

WE HEAR the SOUND of a MATCH STRIKE. SECURITY GUARD lights cigarette, highlighting his face.

SHOT FROM BEHIND SECURITY GUARD

SECURITY GUARD sits in an office chair in the middle of an empty, dark room with no windows, and no way of telling what time of day it is.

SECURITY GUARD smokes his cigarette and stares at a wall of television screens rolling security camera footage.

The only sound is the clock on the wall ticking.

CU OF CLOCK
Time is 3:55 p.m.

BACK TO SHOT BEHIND SECURITY GUARD

SECURITY GUARD looks at screens and continues to smoke.

CU OF SCREEN WITH MAN 1

INT. BANK LOBBY - DAY

AERIAL SHOT OF MAN 1
MAN 1 slouches in a chair in the bank lobby full of people.

CU OF MAN 1's FEET
MAN 1 is nervously tapping his foot on the floor, the only SOUND is TAPPING on the floor.

BACK TO AERIAL SHOT OF MAN 1
MAN 1 appears nervous and straightens his posture, anxiously checks the watch on his wrist.

CU OF WATCH
Only sound is of the watch ticking in a similar rhythm to his tapping.

The time is 3:56 p.m.

BACK TO AERIAL SHOT OF MAN 1
He slouches and TAPS his foot again.

MAN 1 stops tapping his foot and pulls out his wallet.

SHOT FROM MAN 1'S POV
Inside the wallet there is a picture of MAN 1 and a little girl smiling. The girl has crutches with her and looks to be sickly.

CU OF MAN 1'S FACE
MAN 1 smiles softly and looks upward.

INT. SECURITY CAMERA ROOM - DAY

CU OF MAN 1'S SCREEN
MAN 1 is looking at the camera.

SHOT FROM BEHIND SECURITY GUARD
SECURITY GUARD continues to smoke his cigarette and look at the wall of videos. Again, only sound is clock ticking.

CU OF CLOCK
Time is 3:57 p.m.

BACK TO SHOT FROM BEHIND SECURITY GUARD

CU OF MAN 2'S SCREEN

INT. BANK LOBBY - DAY

AERIAL SHOT OF MAN 2 SITTING IN LOBBY.
MAN 2 sits in a chair in a different part of the lobby. He also looks nervous and is rolling, tapping his fingers on the armrest of his wooden chair. The only SOUND is that of his TAPPING.

CU OF MAN 2'S HAND
MAN 2 taps his fingers on the chair.

BACK TO AERIAL SHOT OF MAN 2
MAN 2 continue tapping his fingers for a moment but stops to pull a small jewelry box out of his suit pocket.

SHOT FROM MAN 2's POV
He opens the box and inside of it is a small diamond ring.

CU OF MAN 2'S FACE
MAN 2 smiles a little and looks upward.

INT. SECURITY CAMERA ROOM - DAY

CU OF MAN 2's SCREEN
MAN 2 is looking at the camera.

SHOT FROM BEHIND SECURITY GUARD
SECURITY GUARD has a new cigarette and looks at the wall of videos. Again, only sound is clock ticking.

CU OF CLOCK
Time is 3:59 p.m.

BACK TO SHOT FROM BEHIND SECURITY GUARD

CU OF MAN 3'S SCREEN

INT. BANK LOBBY - DAY

AERIAL SHOT OF MAN 3
MAN 3 sits calmly in the BANK LOBBY. There is no sound until the SOUND of a water cooler bubbling happens and MAN looks up toward it.

CU OF WATER COOLER
Water cooler bubbles and goes back to resting water.

BACK TO AERIAL SHOT OF MAN 3
MAN 3 sits in the lobby, and again there is no sound. Then a cell phone buzzes.

SHOT FROM MAN 3'S POV
MAN 3 opens his suit jacket and reveals the handle of a hand gun. He pulls out his cell phone and flips it open.

Cell phone message readers: "Ready."

MAN 3 looks at the time.

CU OF CELL PHONE CLOCK
It is 4:00 p.m.

BACK TO AERIAL SHOT OF MAN 3
MAN 3 smiles and looks upward.

INT. SECURITY CAMERA ROOM - DAY

CU OF SIDE OF SECURITY GUARD 2'S FACE AS HE LIGHTS A CIGARETTE
SECURITY GUARD 2 lights cigarette, lighter highlights face. The face clearly belongs to a different man.

SHOT FROM BEHIND SECURITY GUARD 2
SECURITY GUARD 2 sits in the same office chair staring at the wall. In the corner of the room, we see SECURITY GUARD tied up and lying on the floor, unmoving.

SECURITY GUARD 2 closes his cell phone and looks at the wall as all of the security scenes go blank.

The only sound is the clock on the wall ticking.

INT. BANK LOBBY - DAY

CAMERA ANGLE SHOWS ALL THREE MEN SITTING IN A TRIANGULAR FORMATION IN THE BANK LOBBY FROM THE ANGLE OF THE MEN.

None of the people in the bank pay any of the the men notice. MAN 1 and MAN 2 look at MAN 3. MAN 3 makes eye contact with each of the men and nods.

The three men pull black ski masks over their heads and stand at the same time, pulling out hand guns.

All around them, people hit the floor for cover.

FADE OUT.

For fun, let's cast this short before we analyze it.

In order of appearance:
Security Guard 1: Michael Keaton
Man 1: Andy Garcia
Security Guard 2: Samuel L. Jackson

And let's make Nikki Hahn the little girl pictured with Man 1. We'll also need to book some extras to wander around the bank lobby.


LL's Analysis Circa 2007
This script is about the five minutes preceding a bank robbery and the characters involved with the would-be heist.

The tone of this piece is very serious. The viewer should be left with the sense that the robbery was well-planned. Hopefully the viewer will see the different aspects that drive people to commit crime, which doesn't always mean a person is entirely evil. I hope this shows the dual nature of humanity and that people can be good and bad at the same time.

I like how there is no dialogue in this piece, but the use of sound adds suspense, and the visual components tell the story. I also like this piece because it was my first attempt every at writing a screenplay, and I feel I effectively used camera angles and visuals to tell the story. I am really proud of this piece.

I dislike the fact that this piece could be perceived as a cliche, although I do not believe I have ever seen anything exactly like this. I also put a lot of direction into this work, which could hypothetically piss off a director.

I love this script as it is. Even two weeks after it was originally written, I feel there are few changes and all were for the good.

I have done the following revisions: I opened with a sound (the sound of a match being struck). I cut out unnecessary language in the opening scene. I capitalized some words adding emphasis to sound and visuals. I checked the document for spelling and grammar errors.


Professor Notes
This one works really well--it movies along lightning fast.


My Analysis Today
OK, before we get into the full analysis of this piece, can we just celebrate the fact that I, as a 20-year-old (this was a few weeks before my 21st birthday) felt confident enough to use the term "piss off" in a portfolio I turned in for an actual grade? I'm sorry, but I love that. I mean, this was an awesome professor who encouraged us to use profanity if it was important to the story, but still, I'm pretty sure this little sassy language as a first.

Another quick note about the style of the initial self-evaluation, you'll notice the first words are bolded, which you'll see again with each of the future scripts. It was part of the assignment, so yeah...

Overall, I still kind of like this piece. We were supposed to write a short film (five to seven pages) that didn't have any dialogue to hone our skills setting a scene without anyone narrating. It was a fun challenge, and one I should probably focus on more with my novel writing. You can tell a lot with gestures and setting. You don't always need words. (That said, in contemporary commercial fiction you don't want to get bogged down with describing a rose bush. This isn't The Scarlet Letter, and we aren't Nathaniel Hawthorne.)

It isn't particularly revolutionary, but I'm proud of my first attempt at writing a script. Will this ever see the light of day? Not beyond this blog post. Will it win any major awards? No. But it was a decent start.

We'll be back next week with another Little(ish) Laura Goes Hollywood post.
Until then, let's take five (or more like seven days).


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