With the dawn of a new year, I thought I'd try to find time to write do some screenwriting work again. You know, as someone purporting to be a writer should be doing practically every day. This is not one of my resolutions, as they are more focused on my financial and physical well being. Make my wallet fat and the rest of me --well, not.
Although I’m still waiting to find out if I’ll need to do more touch-up work on DO NOT DISTURB, that's no excuse for letting my imagination atrophy. I considered attempting something that was semi-autobiographical (perhaps inspired by the likes of BOYHOOD or even THIS BOY’S LIFE). I even began to create the framework of a non-linear story -- even if I was unsure where it would lead or when it would end. But I ultimately decided I wasn’t in the right mind space to work on something that would cleave so close to the bone. Luckily, that's something I will always have in reserve to tap at a later time.
So the next-to-last day of 2014, I cracked open a file containing a couple scripts I started back in late 2013. I dusted one off and BEGAN tinkering and rewriting the first few pages. Maybe it’ll be a pet project I can work occasionally while trying to get ye olde life completely back on track. I remembered dicking about with this script idea off and on for a LONG time, waffling on any number of possible titles until settling on the simple but elegant RUBOUT.
One thing I like about this idea…is it takes me in yet another direction genre-wise. I’ve done the road trip/crime comedy thing, a horror-vampire-western and of course – a straight forward thriller. RUBOUT would also have thriller elements – but it would really fall under the Sci-Fi genre, something I haven't done before. If I was giving one of those clichéd but still frequently used style pitches, I’d say it’s LOOPER meets IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE with maybe a little MEMENTO in the mix?
Of course, it's not nearly as smart as any of those, but you get the idea where I’m mining here. In fact, I already have two totally different and twisty directions I might take the story in by the time I hit the third act -- I just need to determine which is the better path and the more satisfying journey.
Anyway, it’s something I’ll dabble with over the course of the next few months in-between work (while I still have an actual day-to-day job), podcasts, any DO NOT DISTURB-related activities (fingers eternally crossed) and Lord knows what else (and no, I don’t mean watching too much TV – I can always find time for that glorious time-sucking brain-drain). For the handful of folks who have expressed their appreciation for my previous scripting efforts, here's a sneak peek at the first few pages -- which I suspect (just like the last couple scripts) will end up being completely changed, cut and redone at some point in the distant future!
written by Scot Eric Candiotti
INT. CLASSROOM – DAY
Two dozen FIRST-GRADERS loudly mill about the edges of the
room. The TEACHER, middle-aged and pleasant, tries to restore
Everyone line up in size order.
Milton, you’re on the wrong end of
MILTON, a beefy kid who’s seven going on seventeen, frowns at
the mention of his name. He turns towards the front of the
line and locks eyes with ANDY, a frail wisp of a child with
glasses held together by a thick wad of Band-Aids.
Milton makes a quick threatening gesture with a hunched
shoulder. Andy flinches, shrinking away from the bully.
Milton walks past the other boys on line, and a few even step
to the right to make room. JACK, a calm six-year-old boy in
the midst of the bustling brats, seems blissfully unaware as
his eyes remain trained on the teacher.
INT. GYMNASIUM – DAY
The first-graders have formed a huge ring as each sits cross-legged
on the floor. One GIRL slowly walks around the circle
of children, tapping each one on the shoulder as she passes.
Duck, duck, duck...
Andy scrambles to his feet and chases the girl around the
circle while the other children CLAP AND LAUGH. The girl
dekes out Andy and slides into the spot he had vacated.
Smiling in mock resignation, Andy takes over the role of the
picker, gently touching each kid with one finger as he
strolls by them.
Duck, duck, duck...
Jack jumps up and runs after the speedy Andy. The two zoom
around their cheering classmates until Andy makes it back to
the ring just inches ahead of Jack’s grasping hands.
Jack is now the picker. After scanning the circle of kids,
the ritual resumes.
Duck, duck, duck, duck, duck...
Milton lumbers after Jack like a linebacker hunting a
quarterback. Their speed increases as they spin around the
kids, THE WHISTLES AND HOWLS BECOMING A DIZZYING DRONE--
--Until Jack stops short, turns and PUNCHES MILTON IN THE
THROAT. DOWN GOES MILTON! Sitting atop the mini-hulk’s body,
Jack proceeds to go Fight-Club on Milton’s face, each fist
landing with a wet, sickening thud.
The teacher makes her way through the crowd of kids watching
the melee. But by the time she reaches the center of the
newly formed circle, the beating is over and Jack is standing
over Milton, serenely wiping his hands with a paper napkin.
INT. PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE – DAY
Hands lightly clasped on his lap, Jack sits quietly as the
PRINCIPAL talks to JACK’S MOM. The principal is an older
African-American woman with a weak smile and a strong voice.
Jack’s mom is a no-make-up and no-nonsense 40.
I need to ask some questions about
your son, to see if there’s deeper
issues to be concerned about here.
About Jack’s home life. This sort
of aggression is often a sign of abuse--
Abuse? It’s just the two of us, and
I’ve never raised a hand to my son.
I’ve never even had to raise my voice.
But there can be other indicators. For
example, has he ever started any fires
or harmed any small animals?
Of course not -- that’s horrible!
I’m sorry, but I’ve seen enough
studies to know it needs to be asked.
The total compartmentalization of his
emotions and actions suggests
possible sociopathic tendencies—
Excuse me, are you the principal
and the school psychologist?
Unfortunately, we no longer have
the budget for a psychologist, but—
Then I’ll thank you not to play
amateur shrink with my son. He’s
not Hannibal Lecter. He had a fight
with a classmate that got a little
rough, that’s all. Boys’ll be boys.
The principal motions towards the doorway looking out into
the general school office. Seated on a bench is MILTON. His
face is puffy and bruised, with a bandage wrapped around his
head like a silent film star with a toothache.
He knocked out three of the boy’s
teeth and dislocated his jaw.
INT. SCHOOL CORRIDOR – DAY
Flustered, Jack’s mom marches him down the corridor. A hall
pass held firmly in one hand, ANDY waits near the exit.
As Jack gets closer, his eyes briefly meet Andy’s, and THEIR
FREE HANDS LIGHTLY SLAP AGAINST ONE ANOTHER. His hand now
balled in a fist, Jack and his mom exit.
INT. JACK’S MOM’S CAR - DAY
Jack’s mom reaches over to buckle Jack in before fixing her
own seat belt. She reaches to start the ignition, but instead
looks at her son with genuine concern.
You’d talk to me if you were having
any problems, right?
Of course, Mom.
I’ll always gonna be here for you,
Jack. Remember what I say? The sun
can go out, the moon and stars may
But I’ll always be your one and
all. I know, Mom.
As Jack’s mom starts the car, he opens his fist to reveal A
CRUMPLED FIVE DOLLAR BILL. He leans back in his seat and
closes his eyes, that familiar serene expression on his face.
THIRTY YEARS LATER
INT. BEDROOM – DAY
JACK is asleep.
His fingers are entwined and resting on his bare chest, as if
posed by an undertaker. Not a strand of hair is out of place,
and every feature of his face is clean cut and precise.
There is a silver nickel-sized DISC embedded in his right
temple. THE DISC GLOWS ORANGE AND JACK’S EYES OPEN.
The room’s blinds simultaneously flutter open as well.
Diffused sunlight streams into a room of varying shades of
grey. Jack taps the disc, and it returns to its original
gleaming silver state.
INT. SHOWER STALL, BATHROOM - DAY
As the soapy lather is rinsed from Jack’s face, he double-taps
the disc. A GREEN HOLOGRAPHIC DISPLAY APPEARS IN MIDAIR,
floating in the midst of the steaming jets of water.
THE DISPLAY COLLAPSES INTO A SINGLE ANIMATED LINE.
Good morning, sir.
Robbie’s voice is pitch-perfect elocution, robotic only in the
sense there is no discernible accent. As “he” speaks, the
ANIMATED LINE jiggles and fluctuates like a SOUND WAVE.
Good morning, Robbie. Let’s have
the morning’s agenda, audio only,
Today is Wednesday, December 15,
2045. It is now Seven Twenty-Three,
Eastern Standard Time and the
current weather conditions is forty-four
degrees and breezy. You have a
meeting with Mister Falco scheduled
in ninety-seven minutes.
Thank you Robbie. Have the Warp
warmed up and ready for departure
in twenty, please.
Jack double-taps the disc again, and the floating
sound wave disappears.