The Sins Of The Solar Empire

It’s gone quiet, far too quiet.

Since sending off a rewrite of The Salesman’s Gamble to the three interested parties I have received no word back. The first option emailed back before the send out to say he liked the draft he’d seen and was interested in carrying forward. I was determined not to leap on the first offer, instead waiting to see what the other two had to say before making a rational decision. Now all three have vanished from the radar. Either everybody is busy or the rewrite has put them all off.

Perhaps a quick email to ask about progress is in order?

Industrial Slumber

Today saw a trip through to Carlisle with my Dad to the cinema to see The Railway Man. It’s a film my Dad has wanted to see for a while and it’s good to spend time with him since he retired, mainly because he didn’t get time when he was working. Considering the subject matter of the film (a prisoner of war attempts to come to terms with his experiences when he meets his Japanese captor years later) it wasn’t ever going to attract a young and hip audience and most of the twenty of so people would have been over 50 years of age.

The film builds nicely to this climax of Colin Firth’s character going back over to the scene of his torture which is now a museum before finding that the member of the secret police who interrogated him now works as a guide there. A tense scene follows as the two of them talk in the exact same interrogation room they met in during the war. The two look at each other across the table, the Englishman draws a knife and points it towards his foe. The cinema is then filled with a noise, kind of like a drilling.

The Englishman leaps across the table and holds the knife to the Japanese man’s throat.

More drilling, although Colin Firth does not have a drill.

It’s coming from the front of the cinema. In the darkness I see a woman elbowing her husband in the ribs. The snoring continues though, even after she’s hissed “Jeremy, wake up!” towards him.

Jeremy does not awake, his immense industrial slumber continues throughout a flashback sequence of the type of waterboarding they don’t give you trunks for. An old couple behind me pipe up with “I think it’s snoring John, it’s certainly not in the film”.

It takes one more almighty inhale for Jeremy’s wife to hit her limit. She gives him one huge dig in the ribs and Jeremy is hauled by his shirt collar out of the room. The rest of us breath easily, having been slightly more engrossed in the story than poor Jeremy was.

The World’s Greatest

Everybody seems to be raving about Breaking Bad lately from a scriptwriting point of view. Whilst I can’t argue with the logic I have to admit to having not seen the show at all (my previously point about my lack of TV watching applies here). I downloaded the first episode through a promotion on Xbox Live but then, wonderfully, I didn’t work when I tried to stream it through my Xbox so I skipped. A discussion on Shooting People this week focussed on the main character Walter as a basis of writing good central characters. ‘Make your main character great at something’ he said, arguing that people want to see people being good at stuff. Walter is a brilliant chemist and this is apparently what drives the story. Even characters which are complete deadbeats are, it would seem, still included. Renton from Trainspotting might be a drug addict but he’s brilliant at scoring heroin for example.

renton_tracks

I can certainly see the point he’s making and it has made me go back to think on previous characters I’ve written in the past. John in Robotics in a bit of a loser but he is very good at making robots, to the point he can make an exact copy of himself which passes off for him at his workplace. It’s either his skill that allows him to do this or his workmates just ignore him as he goes about his business. I’d like to think it’s a bit of both if I’m honest.

Edward in Seven Lucky Stars was a brilliant host of a game show, it’s just that his boss didn’t seem to think so and wanted to get someone better.

Tony in The Unlocked Project was pretty much only good at sudoku, which is possibly why that didn’t turn out so good.

So writers, what do we think of this ‘expert’ theory?

Stick Bubbly

During my lunch breaks from work, whilst picking up my copy of The Guardian from the newsagents under the clock tower, I’ll switch the browser connection on my phone on so it can download the very few emails I usually get. There’s usually nothing much there, just emails to ask me if I’m interested in buying a new laptop or the occasional Xbox Live notification. Today however, Unlocked came back into play.

It’s often quite strange how it happens. For those keeping score you’ll know that Unlocked was listed on Shooting People about six weeks ago and gained minimal interest. I had moved onto improving Seven Lucky Stars and converting it from stage to screen instead. Somebody though wants to read Unlocked as they’re looking for ‘the right project’ to produce in the next six months. I’ve dispatched the latest version and await a response to see if this is indeed ‘the right project’. They seem to have done a fair bit of good stuff according to their rather spiffing website. It’s good to see it’s not just some jumped up arse with his own Youtube account and a HD video camera he bought from Maplins. My response has stated that I don’t mind rewrites, I still have no idea of that’s a good thing or a bad thing to write in the first place.

There’s nothing interesting for me to photograph on my table right now. Here’s my coffee cup for the evening. Enjoy.

I’ve had an extra shot of confidence since seeing the final cut of Robotics. For the last nine years since graduating from college I’ve been writing with one question repeating again and again in the background, the constant drone of “Are you good enough for this?”

“Are you good enough for this?”.

“Are you good enough for this?”.

I’ve waded through plenty rejections and took the negative responses, the ones who said it wasn’t for them and the ones who just didn’t bother getting back in touch and rolled with them. Whilst there was never any plan to quit all together there does come the thought that maybe I wasn’t good enough to consider making a career of this, that the day job should probably become the job and I should only write as a hobby to keep myself entertained as a cheaper alternative to the pub. Writing is like any skill, the longer you spend away from it the poorer you get. You forget how your own system worked, you lose the ability you had once, your imagination has been so long underused that you’re almost scared to let it out because it’ll probably just fire something completely ridiculous out. I’ve got back into writing lately, the last few months have probably seen me do the most writing I have done since college finished. It’s felt brilliant and as a result I’ve come to a conclusion.

So ask me again.

“Are you good enough for this?”.

Yes.

Yes I damn well am.

And I’m going to prove it to you.

Not Quite Dead

One of the main things about this blog since I started it almost one year ago is a strive for honesty. I wanted to be open not only about any success that came my way but also about any abject failure. It’s often the failures that provide the most entertainment anyway.

Seven Lucky Stars was listed last week and has gained only one interested party. Even then it’s from somebody who admits a lack of experience in film making but does currently have funding for a drama and wanted a comedy as well. The request was for the first ten pages to be sent which I duly complied with. I have yet to hear anything back.

Now it could be that they’re busy but I have a concerned voice in my head hoping this isn’t a breed I’ve dealt with before, producers who don’t call back. Some people, rather than mailing back and saying ‘thanks but no thanks’ will simply say nothing and hope the writer ‘gets the hint’ and registers the deal is off. It’s crass and somewhat disrespectful but it happens a lot.

I can do nothing more now that get back to writing the next project and repeat the process. Currently though a paid writing gig seems far away.

A Court Jester With A Broken Heart

I’ve been away for a few days and despite the intent to do some writing whilst I was away I ended up doing precisely none. As I’ve previously mentioned here before though, I tend to write like a maniac for a few weeks followed by periods of nothing rather than have a consistent level.

There’s still nothing from the script pitch for The Unlocked Project, no interest has been forthcoming so it’s probably a case of moving on from that one. There’s always an slight though of wondering if you’ve wasted your time when a script doesn’t get picked up. Have you lost out by concentrating on that script for the last few months when you could have been doing something else? Is the entire thing now worthless? I’d say that no completed script is without merit if you can learn from the experience, put it to one side and then come back and improve on it. ‘Robotics’ was only picked up after being listed twice over, having been rejected many times over beforehand.

So the process begins by converting ‘Seven Lucky Stars’ from stage to screen. It might involve a fair bit of cutting and pasting as I still have a version of the script that is in film format and it’s running time is currently 90 minutes based on one set so I can afford to expand it a little more and chop out some of the more long winded elements and delve a little more into Edward’s character. One of the themes running through Seven Lucky Stars, being set in the 80’s, was Thatcherism. Her recent death on;y serves to bring much more of that debate to the foreground. Do I therefore go down that road with an aim of making it far more political?

This is all things to think about, in the meantime here’s a flavour of what we’re going for and what passed as prime time TV around 25 years ago.

The Removal

After a few days (actually weeks if I’m honest) of staring at it, twiddling about on the first few pages and then cutting and pasting a few bits here and there the second draft of The Unlocked Project is pretty much ready to go. The main obstacle was the complete removal of anything sleep related and instead going over to Tony’s agoraphobia. The next problem with this was the question as to why any research would be undertaken in making people scared to go outside. I’m still unsure as to if this question is actually answered.

Even after this, the ending still bugs me. I might have to sort that.

It’s around about this time, usually in the process, I’d be handing it out to people to read over and comment. You might as well have a go yourself if you want, comments thread is just below.

INT/ BEDROOM/ DAY

A clean bedroom, white linen bedcovers are undisturbed, metal bed frame and headboard.

Beside the bed is a small, pump operated bottle of alcohol based hand cleanser.

Every door handle in the flat is covered in what look like shower caps.

There’s a table in one corner covered in a clear plastic sheet.

Standing by the sink is a man in his late 20’s. He cleans his hands under the running tap, soaping up to his elbows and in between his fingers. It’s almost surgical. He switches off the tap with his elbows.

He walks over to the curtained window, he pulls and a pair of surgical gloves before pulling the curtains apart. It’s a bright morning, sunlight fills the room.

A knock at the door,

TONY

(Shouting)

Come in Andrea!

Andrea opens the door and walks in.

She takes off her shoes and places them in a small plastic bag next to the door.

She behind to walk forwards.

Tony motions her stop.

He throws her the pack of alcohol rub.

She uses it on her hands.

ANDREA

It’s a lovely morning.

TONY

The answer is no.

ANDREA

You’re not even sure of the question

TONY

I knew it was going to be something like “Let’s try and take a walk outside today Tony”.

ANDREA

And you’re not

She takes a bottle of water out of the bag and places it on a table.

flate,sdch
Accept-Language: enp>

You really should try y’know.

TONY

To much going on.

ANDREA

In here?

TONY

Out there. Cars, people, building, noise. Too much.

ANDREA

You have to get out sometime.

TONY

Not now though.

She takes out a small packet from the bag.

It rattles when she moves it.

ANDREA

(Pointing at the box)

Vitamins, new ones.

Tony picks up the box and looks at the back.

TONY

What was wrong with the old ones?

ANDREA

They don’t sell them anymore.

TONY

Why not?

ANDREA

I don’t know, things just move on. Tony, you don’t go outside so how would you know? It’s the same as the other ones. Probably a different coloured packet.

Tony takes out one of the pills, shoves it in his mouth and then gulps some water.

Andrea reaches into the bag again.

She produces a small booklet of puzzles.

ANDREA

I bought you this as well.

She flips it towards Tony.

Tony completely misses it and it lands on the floor.

He picks it up.

TONY

Another one?

ANDREA

Do you remember the last time you slept all night?

TONY

No.

ANDREA

Do you remember the last time you slept for an hour?

TONY

Combined?

ANDREA

No, just an hour straight.

TONY

In that case no.

ANDREA

You need to keep your mind occupied on something else other than the window. Do some puzzles to pass the time if you’re awake.

TONY

I’m trying to get to sleep and you’re asking me to do Sudoku?

ANDREA

I’m asking you not to stare at a wall all night. Where’s the other one I gave you?

TONY

I finished it.

ANDREA

Where is it?

TONY

It’s over on the table, why?

ANDREA

Not much good having a completed puzzle book and plus…

TONY

Plus?

ANDREA

Recycling.

Tony throws the book towards Andrea who catches it and places it back in her pocket.

ANDREA

Right, I’m going to get moving. Anything else you need?

TONY

Not that I can think of.

ANDREA

Okay, call me if you need me.

Andrea exits the room, leaving Tony flicking through a puzzle book.

  1. INT/ TONY’S BEDROOM/ NIGHT

Tony is in bed, not asleep, just resting.

There’s only the bare minimum of light.

He gets up, walks over to the window, pulls back the curtains.

He sees streets, city lights and cars moving.

He quickly closes the curtains again.

There is a knock at the door.

Tony looks shocked and stands perfectly still.

Another knock

Tony creeps towards the door, getting close to it.

TONY

Who’s there?

A male voice responds

VOICE

I’m here to tell you something.

TONY

Then tell me now.

VOICE

Open the door first.

TONY

Do you know what time this is?

VOICE

Yes, I have a watch.

Tony still pauses.

VOICE

Open the door.

Tony opens the door very slowly.

On the other side is a man wearing dark trouser, a shirt and tie. He wanders straight into the room, pushing past Tony.

VOICE

(Offering handshake)

The name’s Michael.

TONY

(Refusing handshake)

Tony

Michael puts his hand down.

TONY

I’m really sorry, it’s just that I have a thing about…

MICHAEL

About?

TONY

You’ve just come from outside.

MICHAEL

Yes.

TONY

Outside there.

MICHAEL

Yes.

Tony hands him the hand sanitizer.

TONY

Would you mind?

MICHAEL

I haven’t been handling raw sewage or anything y’know.

TONY

Doesn’t have to be that, just anything.

MICHAEL

Ah, it’s like that.

Michael uses the gel on his hands.

TONY

It’s 3am by the way.

MICHAEL

Were you asleep?

TONY

Well, not really.

MICHAEL

I knew that.

TONY

You seem to know a lot.

MICHAEL

I’ve been living opposite for the last few weeks and I started thinking about you.

TONY

Me?

MICHAEL

You never leave the house, you only get one visitor.

TONY

I’m just not that social.

MICHAEL

And that one visitor is a woman. She’s either your Mum who keeps up a good skincare regime or a hooker.

TONY

Excuse me?

MICHAEL

Well which is it?

TONY

Have you just come round here to offend me?

MICHAEL

No, this is a social visit. I am visiting you, I am greeting you in the warmest possible circumstances.

TONY

At 3am.

MICHAEL

At 3am.

TONY

The time means nothing to you does it?

MICHAEL

Does it mean anything to you? You’re never outside to enjoy daylight.

Michael picks up the box of pills.

MICHAEL

What are these?

TONY

My pills.

MICHAEL

It’s nothing contagious is it? Are you in quarantine?

TONY

No, just vitamins.

MICHAEL

Why?

TONY

Because I’m not exactly walking in sunshine right now.

MICHAEL

You don’t need these, seriously stop taking them. Just eat some food or something y’know.

TONY

Thanks for the great advice, shouldn’t you be going?

MICHAEL

Let me show you something.

TONY

What?

MICHAEL

Just follow me.

Michael moves towards the door.

He stands in the doorway gesturing to Tony

Tony eventually follows him.

They walks down the corridor together.

MICHAEL

Just so you know I live right over there.

He points towards a door.

TONY

Great, fantastic.

MICHAEL

Any time you need somebody to talk to, a shoulder, anything you come round right?

TONY

Why are you doing this?

MICHAEL

Doing what, reaching out to a friend?

TONY

I’m not your friend.

MICHAEL

I’m hurt, really hurt. You might not be now but you’ll soon be. Consider something for me?

TONY

What?

Michael opens the door to his flat.

MICHAEL

When was the last time you made it as far as the lifts?

Michael closes the door behind him leaving Tony in the corridor alone.

Tony stands looking around, shocked amazement.

He runs back to his own door, shutting it behind him.

Almost automatically he runs to the bathroom and starts to scrub his hands and arms with a nail brush.

  1. INT/ TONY’S FLAT/ DAY

Andrea and Tony sit drinking coffee.

ANDREA

You left your flat?

TONY

Yeah, there was this guy here.

ANDREA

Who?

TONY

Called himself Michael, lives down the hall apparently.

ANDREA

And he visited you when?

TONY

3am.

ANDREA

Who visits people at 3am?

TONY

He does it would seem.

ANDREA

Why did you open the door anyway?

TONY

I thought I was dreaming it.

ANDREA

And you had to open it to make sure.

TONY

Pretty much. He showed me where he lives.

ANDREA

What do you mean ‘showed you’?

TONY

We were out in the hall.

ANDREA

So you can make it out there then?

TONY

Don’t get too carried away.

ANDREA

Well ignore him, I don’t think anybody should be coming into other people’s homes when they might just be asleep.

TONY

I think he was just one of these crazy guys.

ANDREA

Thin line between crazy and idiot. Where does he live?

TONY

Out the door, turn right, last one before the lifts.

ANDREA

If he knocks again let me know, I’ll be knocking on his door when he’s trying to sleep, see how he likes that.

TONY

He sounds like he’d enjoy the company.

ANDREA

Have you taken your pill today?

TONY

Not yet, I’ll take it soon.

ANDREA

You’d better, you’ll look even worse if you don’t.

TONY

Thanks for the uplift in confidence.

Andrea gathers her things.

ANDREA

That’s what I’m here for.

She leaves the room.

  1. INT/ TONY’S ROOM/ NIGHT

Tony sits alone.

A knock at the door.

Tony goes straight over and opens it.

Michael wanders in again.

TONY

My friend isn’t happy with you

MICHAEL

Who? Your sister?

TONY

She’s not my sister.

MICHAEL

Then it’s okay for me to fancy her a little bit then.

TONY

You’re not here at your usual hour?

MICHAEL

I can go and come back if you want to?

TONY

No, it’s okay.

Michael looks on the table.

MICHAEL

38.

TONY

Sorry?

MICHAEL

38 pills left in that packet.

TONY

Really?

MICHAEL

38 yesterday too, you didn’t take one today did you.

TONY

I forgot.

MICHAEL

And yet you live, amazing isn’t it?

TONY

If you say so.

Michael tilts his ear towards the ground.

MICHAEL

Did you hear that?

TONY

(looking confused)

What?

MICHAEL

(points at the wall)

That!

There is no obvious noise.

TONY

No, there’s nothing.

MICHAEL

When I was a kid I always had a thing for being able to pick up high frequency sounds. You have this high pitched buzz coming from your wall.

TONY

Stop being a fool.

MICHAEL

Look I’m trying to help you here, no wonder you’re not sleeping if this is all your hearing. You might not be hearing it but I’m pretty sure your brain will be.

TONY

How is that even possible?

MICHAEL

Get me a spoon or something.

TONY

Why?

MICHAEL

Just do it!

Tony searches around for an implement.

He finds a fork.

TONY

I’ve only got this.

Michael snatches it.

MICHAEL

It’ll do nicely.

TONY

What are you…

Michael starts jabbing part of the wall next to window.

TONY

(Shocked)

No, no ,no. You’re getting dust everywhere.

MICHAEL

It’ll just be a small hole, something’s making this noise.

TONY

I’m asking you to stop doing that please.

MICHAEL

It’s minor, a bit of plaster after this and you’ll be fine.

Michael continues jabbing the wall.

Plaster begins to fall down to the floor, gathering in a pile on the floor.

Tony is visibly cowering at this sight.

TONY

I’m going to ask you once more to stop doing that.

MICHAEL

What’s the problem? Am I wrecking your little nest here? Your perfect little room?

TONY

Actually, yes.

MICHAEL

So at no point do you want to know what this noise is?

Tony looks utterly freaked out by all this.

Suddenly Michael stops.

There’s a moment of silence

MICHAEL

There it is, I’m done now anyway.

TONY

There’s what?

MICHAEL

I give you the route of the problem.

TONY

Your problem.

MICHAEL

That’s in your flat, you perfect little flat.

Tony kneels down beside Michael.

Both stare at the wall.

There’s a thick cable running through it.

It connects to a socket.

TONY

You’ve come into my house and ruined a wall purely to reveal an electrical wire.

MICHAEL

It’s still buzzing.

TONY

Because it’s electric.

MICHAEL

What cable do you know in a house that’s this thick?

TONY

I don’t know, how fat is electricity Michael?

MICHAEL

That’s not the point.

He digs some more.

Tony pulls Michael away from the door.

TONY

That’s enough, stop this now.

MICHAEL

Okay fine but I’m coming back tomorrow and we’re finding out what that is.

TONY

It’s a cable, mystery over.

MICHAEL

That’s no cable.

Michael walks over to the sink and starts to clean the utensil.

MICHAEL

Move the bin over it or something.

TONY

Why?

MICHAEL

Because we don’t want your friend knowing do we?

TONY

Did you not want to think about that beforehand?

MICHAEL

Not when the buzzing was around.

TONY

Was?

MICHAEL

Well, not really, it’s still here. You seriously can’t hear that?

TONY

No.

MICHAEL

Must be some kind of frequency buffering or something.

TONY

Frequency what?

MICHAEL

Never mind, just put the bin over it and we’ll be done until tomorrow.

Michael walks towards the door and opens it.

MICHAEL

Remember, if you need anything then just knock. I’ll be back later.

TONY

Thank you for just turning up to wreck the place.

MICHAEL

You’re welcome.

Michael closes the door behind him.

Tony walks over to his bed and sits on the end of it.

  1. INT/TONY’S FLAT/DAY

Tony is fast asleep on his bed.

He awakes slowly, getting to a vertical basis.

He walks over to the window and pulls the curtains back.

Light streams into the room.

Tony smiles.

He looks down at the bin in the corner, covering where the hole would be.

He walks over and moves the bin.

The hole is still there.

Tony suddenly looks very concerned.

He quickly places the bin back.

The door suddenly flings open.

Michael runs in.

He is clutching a large, plastic toolbox.

He places it down on the floor before shutting the door behind him.

It seems like he’s ran down the corridor.

MICHAEL

Does she know?

TONY

Who?

MICHAEL

Your friend.

TONY

Andrea?

MICHAEL

Is Andrea your friend?

TONY

Yes

MICHAEL

Then her then, does she know?

TONY

I haven’t seen her, I was asleep.

MICHAEL

You were asleep? Like a normal human. This is progress. Can you hear that sound yet?

TONY

I’m still hearing nothing.

MICHAEL

Truly? Well I’ve brought something.

He reaches into his tool kit and brings out a stethoscope.

He puts it in his ears and holds the other end to the wall.

MICHAEL

Certainly buzzing.

TONY

I seriously thought I’d dreamt this.

MICHAEL

No, you were awake, now let’s get digging.

Michael brings out a chisel and starts to hack at the wall.

He suddenly stops.

MICHAEL

You’re not freaking out.

TONY

No, I’m not.

MICHAEL

Definite progress.

Michael hacks away more carefully this time.

A whole piece of plaster falls off revealing a switch.

MICHAEL

I’m flicking it.

TONY

You don’t even know what it is.

MICHAEL

That’s why I’m flicking it

Michael flicks the switch.

The light that filled the room from the window suddenly stops.

The window is filled with static.

The words ‘No video feed’ move across the screen.

TONY

What the hell have you done?

MICHAEL

What was that? When was your window a TV screen?

TONY

It wasn’t.

MICHAEL

Well that’s not what I’m seeing now.

TONY

There were people, cars, lights, everything.

MICHAEL

Not any more. What else in this place is fake?

TONY

Nothing, it’s been here for as long as I have.

MICHAEL

That doesn’t make it real though does it. I knew I could hear something.

Michael starts to frantically look around the flat.

MICHAEL

Reckon we could take the screen out of there?

TONY

For what?

MICHAEL

Because there must be something beyond that.

TONY

I’m not helping you any further. You’ve torn apart enough.

MICHAEL

Scrap that idea, I’m going to mine.

TONY

Oh so now you’re running away?

MICHAEL

All these flats are the same, I want to check my window.

Michael goes storming off through the front door.

Tony flicks the switch again

The light comes back and fill the room.

The screen displays the street outside again.

Tony stares in wonder.

He then runs out of the flat.

  1. INT/ CORRIDOR/ DAY

Tony goes running down the corridor towards Michael’s door.

He knocks first.

TONY

Michael?

There is no answer.

Tony cautiously opens the door.

He is faced with a bare brick wall

Tony looks horrified.

He moves across the corridor to the door opposite Michael’s flat.

He opens this as well.

Again, a brick wall.

A door at the end of the corridor opens and Andrea stands in it.

ANDREA

Tony?

Tony doesn’t say a word.

ANDREA

I know this seems strange.

TONY

You could say that.

ANDREA

You didn’t take the pills did you?

TONY

Got told not to.

ANDREA

You don’t remember much about coming here do you?

TONY

Coming here?

ANDREA

We picked you.

TONY

Who’s we?

ANDREA

You were needed for research.

TONY

You’re trying to say I’m some kind of lab rat?

ANDREA

You’re hardly a rat Tony. We just needed to know.

TONY

Know what?

ANDREA

Can we convince somebody to fear anything?

TONY

Get me out of here.

ANDREA

That wouldn’t be a good idea.

Tony starts to stride down the corridor.

He breaks into a run

Straight past Andrea.

He ends up running straight into a field

Green grass and sunlight.

Tweeting birds

THE END

 

 

Everybody Sing Along

Right, here’s the idea. I’m about to open up the file with The Unlocked Project on it and write down my thoughts. If you want to join in then feel free to open up a separate window with the first draft and join in. It’s kind of like live tweeting it only without Twitter.

– I’m not so sure about this opening. I had meant it to be a complete reversal of the ‘main character wakes up and gets out of bed’ intro that was so often used in many a student movie. On rereading it, it feels crammed in and somehow empty. I’m not sure what I’d replace it with though.

-The light from the window is supposed to signify a better outside world at large. One which might be more favourable than the sterile design inside the flat.

– Andrea annoys me, she seems far too mothering.

– Actually Tony has started to annoy me too which is a big problem as he’s the central character. He just seems to spend this entire segment in permanent confusion, like he’d spend all day wandering around with a face part constipation and part trying to work out a crossword puzzle. You know the face right? No? Okay I’ll show you…

This one.

… so I’ll probably have to give him something a little bit more.

– As noted before at no point in the following conversation do Andrea and Tony refer to each other by name. So how do the audience know?

– This conversation is all very well, it bumps along at a fair old rate but it could be cut down a bit. Get to the pills.

– The puzzle book is supposed to be a clue to the science experiment background and Andrea’s involvement in it. It’s nice enough but never seems to be mentioned again afterwards.

– Michael’s entrance in scene two feels a lot like this…

…only with a little bit less singing and Michael Caine.

– Michael’s quite well realised actually, I had him down as being a bit like that dude from Quantum Leap. Not Sam, the other guy.

The guy on the right.

– He seems naturally unhinged enough, almost Doctor Whoish at times. This is probably a good thing. I like Michael, he can stay.

-I’m actually uncomfortable with ‘newly qualified hooker’ being in there. It just seems far too crass.

-His objection to the pills seems clumsy. Perhaps it’s acceptable because he comes across as a bit of a health freak so therefore wouldn’t touch them but why would he influence Tony so much even when they’ve just met?

-The first time he exits the flat into the corridor should feel like quite a moment. Currently, it doesn’t.

-Actually the more I type these notes the more I’m thinking about scrapping the whole insomnia thing altogether and just going with him being agoraphobic. Draft one feels like he’s trying to flit between two conditions and neither are well realised. If we had one and made it well rounded then it’s much better. It would also give Tony some backbone as he wouldn’t be knackered.

– And here’s Andrea back in scene three being all bloody motherly again.

– I’ll have to put something in to buffer these scenes, spend some time with Tony on his own. As I’ve said before it just seems like these guys are taking turns to visit Tony without much input from him.

– Why would Andrea not go marching down the corridor to tell Michael to fuck off right from the start. Unless she reckons he’s a figment of Tony’s imagination? Is Michael a figment? Is he actually real? My head hurts.

– Once again, this conversation wanders aimlessly.

– Bloody hell, scene four sees Michael turn from The Doctor to Rainman.

– The sound of electricity? It’s bizarre but then Michael himself is bizarre so it’s just about possible.

– Would you be able to tear into a wall with a piece of cutlery? Probably not.

– Moving the bin over the ‘dig site’ seemed like an idea to create a bit of drama when Andrea came back around. She doesn’t reappear until the finale now so this seems really pointless.

– Okay, here’s the bit when Tony, minus the pills, has finally got some kip. If we’re ditching the sleeping problem then this will certainly need reworked into something.

– I’m thinking that the whole TV screen cutting out would be better if he cuts the wire rather than flicks a switch. Basically, why would anybody plaster over a power point?

-I like the fact Tony goes to Michael’s flat, his first social visit in months, only to find that it’s bricked up. We’re leaning on the fact Michael isn’t real obviously here.

– I don’t like the fact that Andrea just turns up again out of the blue.

– I’m also thinking that this isn’t a brilliant place to end it. It’s far too vague to leave you with any sense of wonder.

That was fun wasn’t it? It’s 11:49pm here in the UK right now and I have work in the morning so I’ll probably hang on to these thoughts overnight.

Feel free to chuck some more in if you want to.

The Sharp End Of The Chisel

Friday’s seem to be the day for this, probably because I’m off work and my Son is in school. We’ve hit up a gear now…

Michael continues jabbing the wall.

Plaster begins to fall down to the floor, gathering in a pile on the floor.

TONY

You’ll be pissing off next door.

MICHAEL

Temporary noise.

TONY

That’s in your head.

MICHAEL

No it’s from the wall.

Tony looks utterly freaked out by all this.

Suddenly Michael stops.

There’s a moment of silence

MICHAEL

There it is.

TONY

There’s what?

MICHAEL

I give you the route of the problem.

TONY

Your problem.

MICHAEL

That’s in your flat.

Tony kneels down beside Michael.

Both stare at the wall.

There’s a thick cable running through it.

It connects to a socket.

TONY

You’ve come into my house and ruined a wall purely to reveal an electrical wire.

MICHAEL

It’s still buzzing.

TONY

Because it’s electric.

MICHAEL

What cable do you know in a house that’s this thick?

TONY

I don’t know, how fat is electricity Michael?

MICHAEL

That’s not the point.

He digs some more.

Tony pulls Michael away from the door.

TONY

That’s enough, you’ll be in next door if you don’t stop now.

MICHAEL

Okay fine but I’m coming back tomorrow and we’re finding out what that is.

TONY

It’s a cable, mystery over.

MICHAEL

That’s no cable.

Michael walks over to the sink and starts to clean the utensil.

MICHAEL

Move the bin over it or something.

TONY

Why?

MICHAEL

Because we don’t want your friend knowing do we?

TONY

Did you not want to think about that beforehand?

MICHAEL

Not when the buzzing was around.

TONY

Was?

MICHAEL

Well, not really, it’s still here. You seriously can’t hear that?

TONY

No.

MICHAEL

Must be some kind of frequency buffering or something.

TONY

Frequency what?

MICHAEL

Never mind, just put the bin over it and we’ll be done until tomorrow.

Michael walks towards the door and opens it.

MICHAEL

Remember, if you need anything then just knock. I’ll be back later.

TONY

Thank you for just turning up to wreck the place.

MICHAEL

You’re welcome.

Michael closes the door behind him.

Tony walks over to his bed and sits on the end of it.

  1. INT/TONY’S FLAT/DAY

Tony is fast asleep on his bed, still fully clothed from the night before.

He awakes slowly, getting to a vertical basis.

He walks over to the window and pulls the curtains back.

Light streams into the room.

Tony smiles.

He looks down at the bin in the corner, covering where the hole would be.

He walks over and moves the bin.

The hole is still there.

Tony suddenly looks very concerned.

He quickly places the bin back.

The door suddenly flings open.

Michael runs in.

He is clutching a large, plastic toolbox.

He places it down on the floor before shutting the door behind him.

It seems like he’s ran down the corridor.

MICHAEL

Does she know?

TONY

Who?

MICHAEL

Your friend.

TONY

Andrea?

MICHAEL

Is Andrea your friend?

TONY

Yes

MICHAEL

Then her then, does she know?

TONY

I haven’t seen her, I was asleep.

MICHAEL

You were asleep? Like a normal homosapien.

TONY

Yes, I feel great.

MICHAEL

Excellent, you’re getting better already. This is progress. Can you hear that sound yet?

TONY

I’m still hearing nothing.

MICHAEL

Truly? Well I’ve brought something.

He reaches into his tool kit and brings out a stethoscope.

He puts it in his ears and holds the other end to the wall.

MICHAEL

Certainly buzzing.

TONY

I seriously thought I’d dreamt this.

MICHAEL

No, you were awake.

TONY

But I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in months.

MICHAEL

Wonderful, now let’s get digging.

Michael brings out a chisel and starts to hack at the wall.

TONY

Don’t hit the bloody wire.

MICHAEL

Yeah, that would be bad wouldn’t it?

TONY

If it is electricity running through it then yeah.

Michael hacks away more carefully this time.

A whole piece of plaster falls off revealing a switch.

MICHAEL

I’m flicking it.

TONY

You don’t even know what it is.

MICHAEL

That’s why I’m flicking it

Michael flicks the switch.

The light that filled the room from the window suddenly stops.

The window is filled with static.

The words ‘No video feed’ move across the screen.

TONY

What the hell have you done?

MICHAEL

What was that? When was your window a TV screen?

TONY

It wasn’t.

MICHAEL

Well that’s not what I’m seeing now.

TONY

There were people, cars, lights, everything.

MICHAEL

Not any more. What else in this place is fake?

TONY

Nothing, it’s been here for as long as I have.

MICHAEL

That doesn’t make it real though does it. I knew I could hear something.

Still a bit too ‘talky’ though. I like the bit with Tony on his own waking up and moving the bin to see the hole still there. We’re essentially confirming that Michael is real with that action then so my next question would be how he’s got into a science lab and what he represents? I’m also wary of the entire thing turning into Andrea visiting him, then Michael, then Andrea, then Michael and repeat. It needs something to break it up a little bit more. At this current time Tony is just a zombie shell being led along, he needs more flesh.

But it’s going well on the whole, another charge should finish draft one.

Find Me A Spoon.

You were starting to think it had gone a bit quiet hadn’t you? It’s true to say I don’t write every night, in fact I don’t usually plan when I do and the early stages of a script are the hardest because you haven’t got a foothold yet and nothing is making sense. Luckily I’ve hit the turning point in this one and now have a ‘feel’ for it, it’s mainly due to a last minute plan of adding in another character all together. How exactly would Tony start to doubt his surroundings? Originally I had the TV reports start to talk to him personally but this somehow seemed old hat and a bit one sided. It would just be a screen telling Tony what to do. Enter ‘Michael’ a man who isn’t afraid to speak his mind.

Or ‘gob shite’ as they call them from where I’m from.

We’re up to page 14 now and it it certainly has rough patches but this is all draft one stuff.

Tony throws the book towards Andrea who catches it and places it back in her pocket.

ANDREA

Right, I’m going to get moving. Anything else you need?

TONY

Not that I can think of.

ANDREA

Okay, call me if you need me then and try to get some sleep.

Andrea exits the room, leaving Tony flicking through a puzzle book.

  1. INT/ TONY’S BEDROOM/ NIGHT

Tony is in bed, not asleep, just resting.

There’s only the bare minimum of light.

He gets up, walks over to the window, pulls back the curtains.

He sees streets, city lights and cars moving.

He quickly closes the curtains again.

There is a knock at the door.

Tony looks shocked and stands perfectly still.

Another knock

Tony creeps towards the door, getting close to it.

TONY

Who’s there?

A male voice responds

VOICE

I’m here to tell you something.

TONY

Then tell me now.

VOICE

Open the door first.

TONY

Do you know what time this is?

VOICE

Yes, I have a watch.

Tony still pauses.

VOICE

Open the door.

Tony opens the door very slowly.

On the other side is a man wearing dark trouser, a shirt and tie. He wanders straight into the room, pushing past Tony.

VOICE

(Offering handshake)

The name’s Michael.

TONY

(Accepting handshake)

Tony

MICHAEL

Yeah I knew that.

TONY

It’s 3am by the way.

MICHAEL

Were you asleep?

TONY

Well, not really.

MICHAEL

I knew that.

TONY

You seem to know a lot.

MICHAEL

I’ve been living opposite for the last few weeks and I started thinking about you.

TONY

Me?

MICHAEL

You never leave the house, you only get one visitor.

TONY

I’m just not that social.

MICHAEL

And that one visitor is a woman. She’s either your Mum who keeps up a good skincare regime or newly qualified hooker.

TONY

Excuse me?

MICHAEL

Well which is it?

TONY

Have you just come round here to offend me?

MICHAEL

No, this is a social visit. I am visiting you, I am greeting you in the warmest possible circumstances.

TONY

At 3am.

MICHAEL

At 3am.

TONY

The time means nothing to you does it?

MICHAEL

Does it mean anything to you? You’re probably awake through most of it right?

TONY

How do you know?

MICHAEL

It’s a lucky guess, you’ve just confirmed it by agreeing.

Michael picks up the box of pills.

MICHAEL

What are these?

TONY

My pills.

MICHAEL

It’s nothing contagious is it? Are you in quarantine?

TONY

No, just vitamins.

MICHAEL

Why?

TONY

Because I’m not exactly walking in sunshine right now.

MICHAEL

You don’t need these, seriously stop taking them. Just eat some food or something y’know.

TONY

Thanks for the great advice, shouldn’t you be going?

MICHAEL

Let me show you something.

TONY

What?

MICHAEL

Just follow me.

Michael moves towards the door.

He stands in the doorway gesturing to Tony

Tony eventually follows him.

They walks down the corridor together.

MICHAEL

Just so you know I live right over there.

He points towards a door.

TONY

Great, fantastic.

MICHAEL

Any time you need somebody to talk to, a shoulder, anything you come round right?

TONY

Why are you doing this?

MICHAEL

Doing what, reaching out to a friend?

TONY

I’m not your friend.

MICHAEL

I’m hurt, really hurt. You might not be now but you’ll soon be. Consider something for me?

TONY

What?

Michael opens the door to his flat.

MICHAEL

When was the last time you made it as far as the lifts?

Michael closes the door behind him leaving Tony in the corridor alone.

Tony stands looking around, shocked amazement.

He runs back to his own door, shutting it behind him.

  1. INT/ TONY’S FLAT/ DAY

Andrea and Tony sit drinking coffee.

ANDREA

You left your flat?

TONY

Yeah, there was this guy here.

ANDREA

Who?

TONY

Called himself Michael, lives down the hall apparently.

ANDREA

And he visited you when?

TONY

3am.

ANDREA

Who visits people at 3am?

TONY

He does it would seem.

ANDREA

Why did you open the door anyway?

TONY

I thought I was dreaming it.

ANDREA

And you had to open it to make sure.

TONY

Pretty much. He showed me where he lives.

ANDREA

What do you mean ‘showed you’?

TONY

We were out in the hall.

ANDREA

What were you doing there? You haven’t went beyond that front door in months.

TONY

It just kinda happened.

ANDREA

Well ignore him, I don’t think anybody should be coming into other people’s homes when they might just be asleep.

TONY

I think he was just one of these crazy guys.

ANDREA

Thin line between crazy and idiot. Where does heE
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TONY

Out the door, turn right, last one before the lifts.

ANDREA

If he knocks again let me know, I’ll be knocking on his door when he’s trying to sleep, see how he likes that.

TONY

He sounds like he’d enjoy the company.

ANDREA

Have you taken your pill today?

TONY

Not yet, I’ll take it soon.

ANDREA

You’d better, you’ll look even worse if you don’t.

TONY

Thanks for the uplift in confidence.

Andrea gathers her things.

ANDREA

That’s what I’m here for.

She leaves the room.

  1. INT/ TONY’S ROOM/ NIGHT

Tony sits alone.

A knock at the door.

Tony goes straight over and opens it.

Michael wanders in again.

TONY

My friend isn’t happy with you

MICHAEL

Who? Your sister?

TONY

She’s not my sister.

MICHAEL

Then it’s okay for me to fancy her a little bit then.

TONY

You’re not here at your usual hour?

MICHAEL

I can go and come back if you want to?

TONY

No, it’s okay.

Michael looks on the table.

MICHAEL

38.

TONY

Sorry?

MICHAEL

38 pills left in that packet.

TONY

Really?

MICHAEL

38 yesterday too, you didn’t take one today did you.

TONY

I forgot.

MICHAEL

And yet you live, amazing isn’t it?

TONY

If you say so.

Michael tilts his ear towards the ground.

MICHAEL

Did you hear that?

TONY

(looking confused)

What?

MICHAEL

(points at the wall)

That!

There is no obvious noise.

MICHAEL

No wonder you’re not sleeping with that.

TONY

What?

MICHAEL

You seriously can’t heard that?

TONY

No, there’s nothing.

MICHAEL

When I was a kid I always had a thing for being able to pick up high frequency sounds. You have this high pitched buzz coming from your wall.

TONY

Stop being a fool.

MICHAEL

Look I’m trying to help you here, no wonder you’re not sleeping if this is all your hearing. You might not be hearing it but I’m pretty sure your brain will be.

TONY

How is that even possible?

MICHAEL

Get me a spoon or something.

TONY

Why?

MICHAEL

Just do it!

Tony searches around for an implement.

He finds a fork.

TONY

I’ve only got this.

Michael snatches it.

MICHAEL

It’ll do nicely.

TONY

What are you…

Michael starts jabbing part of the wall next to window.

TONY

(Shocked)

Have you gone mental? Why are you doing that?

MICHAEL

It’ll just be a small hole, something’s making this noise.

TONY

The only noise now is you gouging lumps out of my wall!

MICHAEL

It’s minor, a bit of plaster after this and you’ll be fine.