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31 Plays in 31 Days, #2 - "Bullseye"

Today I worked on an important scene for Hood, my Robin Hood-themed heist show pilot. But scene I wrote was probably the emotional climax for the whole piece, so it's not something I want to post in isolation. Those belong in context, at least when I'm close to finishing the whole piece. (Honestly, I don't know how many people actually read these scenes when I post them, but just in case anyone does, I'm controlling the release for a better reader experience of my work.) So, as I did last year when I was working on Base Instruments, I'm posting a different scene of more or less equivalent work just to have something to put up and keep to the spirit of the challenge. I get a real boost out of having completed scenes to share, which I why I like this format. Plus it keeps me accountable to write.

So today I'm posting the opening scene of the Hood pilot instead. This was actually MURDER to write. It took me a couple weeks of planning and chipping away until I finally pushed to have a complete draft of it this past Sunday. Openings for TV shows, pilots in particular, are VERY IMPORTANT as they can make the difference between somebody deciding whether or not to keep reading or watching further. So I wanted to do something kind of complex and spectacular-- combining a high-action scene setting up a mystery and an introduction to the main character, where the character's words introduce the main themes of the series in an ironic way, thereby showing that, in his lack of understanding them, this is what he's going to have to learn.

Tough stuff! I actually think I got most of the way there. This will need some editing, of course-- if nothing else, it's almost eight pages long, which is too long for a traditional opener --but the ideas are there.

"Bullseye"
From the Hood pilot
By Phoebe Roberts

FADE IN:

INT. CONFERENCE AMPHITHEATER - NIGHT

Under neon lights, a man enters a stage in front of an enormous high-tech screen. Spotlight on ROBIN LOCKSLEY, a thirty-year-old man, fit, foxy, and fashionably dressed.

ROBIN
I’m Robin of Locksley, and you know the story.

He snaps his fingers, and the screen lights up behind him.

EXT. INDUSTRIAL FACILITY – NIGHT

Two unmarked panel vans pull up the access road for a manufacturing plant with a sign that reads A FACILITY OF LOCKSLEY MATERIALS. The doors open and soldiers emerge, outfitted in military gear with ballistics masks.

ROBIN (V.O.)
For the last sixty years, Locksley Materials has handled the manufacturing for all the things that make your life move.

Two operatives approach the electric fence and short out the current while a third cuts a hole in the links. One by one they climb through and move in close, spraying the security cameras with paint.

ROBIN (V.O.)
And with our recent acquisition by Monarch Industries, from metallurgy to plastics, raw compounds to fabrication, design to assembly, Locksley now has the resources…

INT. TECH BOOTH – CONTINUOUS

SCARLET SCATHLOCK, the head of Locksley’s R and D, observes from the booth in the back of the house with the lighting and sound techs. She runs the presentation on her laptop and wears a headset to prompt Robin through an earpiece.

SCARLET
…to become the unquestioned industry leader.

INT. AMPHITHEATER STAGE – CONTINUOUS

Robin looks out over the huge crowd packed into the auditorium to hear him.

SCARLET (V.O.)
Okay. Now onto the product.

ROBIN
But I know what you’re here for. What are we doing for you lately? Lucky for you, we’re not selfish. Because we’re giving you all that production power we’ve spent decades perfecting. How are we doing it?

SCARLET (V.O.)
Effects in three, two, one…

ROBIN
We call it—

SCARLET (V.O.)
Go.

Images of the model burst into view behind him.

ROBIN
—the Agincourt. A new breed of professional-grade three-D printer, fully programmable, customizable, and equipped for multiple media.

INT. INDUSTRIAL FACILITY – NIGHT

Inside the plant, security guards patrol. One guy’s radio chirps, and he turns down a hallway to investigate.

INT. SECTOR 17 DOOR – NIGHT

The operatives, moving with precision military cover and tactics, approach a sealed steel door. One pulls out a key card to try on the reader, but it fails. Another, a woman of Amazonian height, steps forward and levels a breaching shotgun.

SCARLET (V.O.)
Making the full range of tools accessible—

ROBIN (V.O.)
—on a scale personalized to your operation.

INT. AMPHITHEATER BALCONY – NIGHT

From above the crowd, acting Monarch CEO JOHN PRINCE and his executive assistant MARIAN DONCELLA watch the presentation, calculating, analyzing.

MARIAN
The Livestream’s up and running, plus Agincourt’s already trending across platforms.

JOHN
So far, so good. Did we get an attendance count?

MARIAN
Packed to capacity, with standing room in the back. Best attended in the time slot. Gotta hand it to him, he knows how to catch eyes.

JOHN
Damn showboat. At least he’s good for something.

INT. AMPHITHEATER STAGE – NIGHT

ROBIN
Taking this technology out of the hands of the elite and bringing it to the organizations of folks like you, with the touch of a button.

INT. TECH BOOTH - NIGHT

Scarlet clicks a key on her laptop.

SCARLET
And… go.

INT. SECTOR 17 DOOR – NIGHT

The operative fires and blows the sector door off its hinges.

ROBIN (V.O.)
Think of it.

INT. CONFERENCE AMPHITHEATER - NIGHT

Scarlet prompts Robin over his earpiece from her booth.

SCARLET
Colleges—

ROBIN
—so students can engineer every piece of their projects—

INT. SECTOR 17 – NIGHT

The operatives move fifty-gallon drums covered in warning signs out of the facility on hand carts.

INT. CONFERENCE AMPHITHEATER - NIGHT

SCARLET
Hospitals—

ROBIN
—where you can print a prosthetic identical to the body part it’s replacing—

INT. SECTOR 17 – NIGHT

Security guards burst in, guns drawn, but dive for cover when the tall operative raises her shotgun. The guards scream into their radios as the firefight breaks out.

INT. CONFERENCE AMPHITHEATER - NIGHT

SCARLET
Small businesses—

ROBIN
—so you don’t have to keep giving money to corporate dickheads like me.

He grins, self-satisfied, at the crowd’s laugh.

INT. SECTOR 17 – NIGHT

More guards pour in, overwhelming the operatives. As bullets fly, chemicals pour out of the punctured barrels. Finally their leader calls a retreat. As the team makes their exit, one flicks out a lighter and throws it, setting fire to the chemical pools behind them.

INT. CONFERENCE AMPHITHEATER - NIGHT

Robin preens, feeding off the crowd’s approval. Impulse strikes.

ROBIN
Oh, you like me now? Well… you’re going to love me for what’s coming next.

SCARLET (V.O.)
Wait, what?

INT. CONFERENCE AMPHITHEATER – CONTINUOUS

The crowd murmurs, intrigued. Emboldened, Robin starts to improvise.

ROBIN
‘Cause you know what the logical next step is. From the organizational— to the individual.

SCARLET (V.O.)
Robin, you can’t talk about that yet, it isn’t ready!

INT. AMPHITHEATER BALCONY – CONTINUOUS

John and Marian grow tense.

JOHN
What is he doing?

MARIAN
He’s going off-script. That asshole.

She turns to exit the balcony.

EXT. INDUSTRIAL FACILITY – NIGHT

As the strike team flees, the tall operative seizes hold of the one who set the fire, demanding an explanation. He shakes her off, gesturing to the disaster behind them.

INT. AMPHITHEATER STAGE – CONTINUOUS

ROBIN
Yeah. I’m talking about all that functionality in a package for the home. They don’t want me telling you about it yet— but the Hastings is going to change the way you get the things you need.

SCARLET (V.O.)
I don’t have pre-sets for this!

ROBIN
I’m talking modularity! Programability! Open-source schematics for building the products you already buy.

SCARLET (V.O.)
We don’t have the licensing yet!

ROBIN
And by then, we’ll have reduced environmental impact by fifty percent.

SCARLET (V.O.)
Fifty!? The projection is thirty!

INT. TECH BOOTH – CONTINUOUS

Marian bursts into the booth as Scarlet scrambles to give Robin effects to match his improvising.

MARIAN
He’s off the rails! Can’t we cut this off?

SCARLET
How?

EXT. INDUSTRIAL FACILITY – NIGHT

The tall operative throws open the van doors for the team to pile back in. As the fire spreads, the woman, JOANNA LITTLE, takes off her mask to stare in horror. Her teammate grabs her shoulder to pull her into the van. As they tear away from the facility, the whole place is consumed in an explosion that blows the building apart.

ROBIN (V.O.)
All that power will be in your hands. Not in a corporate marketing scheme. You won’t get that from anywhere but Locksley Materials.

INT. AMPHITHEATER STAGE – CONTINUOUS

ROBIN
Why would we do it? Well, the answer’s obvious— isn’t it time we gave something back?

The crowd explodes in cheers. Robin grins to himself.

ROBIN
Bullseye.

Posts from This Journal by “hood” Tag

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
jducoeur
Aug. 5th, 2016 06:41 pm (UTC)
Honestly, I don't know how many people actually read these scenes when I post them

Personally, I'm quite fond of them -- they provide a really fun bit of insight into the process, and they're bite-sized enough to fit into my blog reading.

As for the scene itself: that is a *sweet* opener. Gets a lot of main characters onstage, concisely indicating what each is like, starts the plot off with a bang, introduces a couple of dimensions of conflict right off -- I like it a lot. With the right actors and good cinematography, I think it would have great grab...
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

About Me

My name is Phoebe. I'm Boston area theater professional and English professor focused in writing, acting, directing, and modeling. I'm known for having lots of interests, lots of opinions about those interests, and a very high estimation of the value thereof. This blog is for talking about whatever's on my mind, from my daily life to my activities to musing on any number of abstract topics. Thanks for taking the time to read.

My productions:

Upcoming Productions:



MRS. HAWKING part 2 and 3


at the Watch City Steampunk Festival 2016

presented by The Chameleon's Dish

Vivat Regina
by Phoebe Roberts

at 2PM

and

Base Instruments
by Phoebe Roberts

at 6PM

Saturday, May 13th 2017
at 274 Moody Street, Waltham, MA

Other Achievements:

"The Tailor at Loring's End" screenplay
Quarter Finalist in the Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Competition 2013

"Adonis" screenplay
Top Ten Percent in the Bluecat Screenwriting Contest 2015

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