In my quest for my Bachelor of Computer Science, I took three electives having to do with film making. History of Cinema Art (aka How to Watch Movies), Writing for the Performer, and Video Production. All given by the same instructor. My idea was to get a job as an application developer at a movie production house, and the experience with film making would make me a better candidate.
Alas, the idea didn't really pan out. And I haven't had much drive or financial freedom to complete anything over and above what I did as part of my assignments.
Recently, when looking through the bytes upon bytes off my life squirreled away in the dark recesses of my external hard drive, I came across two of the assignments for the writing class. What follows is the first one. The assignment was to write a 10 minute scene. Scene being defined as something where, at the end, some equilibrium has changed.
Most of the people I showed this to (generally my SO's family) tended to make snide remarks about the subject matter. This particular argument would never have come up in the relationship I was at the time. But there were some general, how shall I put it, unhealthy aspects of my relationship. Perhaps an undercurrent of that made its way into this scene.
I do not present myself as a master playwright by any stretch of the term. Even to me, years after the fact, the dialog in this seems canned and forced at times. The other assignment is 75 pages long. It is a feature length film script, but it would probably require a re-write of some caliber before I would release it for public consumption.
So, without further ado, I present to you my 10 minute scene for Penn State Harrisburg's Comm 345 class.
A SMALL APARTMENT. THE STAGE IS DIVIDED IN THE MIDDLE; TO
THE LEFT IS A LIVING ROOM. THERE IS A COUCH ON THE RIGHT
AND A TELEVISION ON THE LEFT. A GAME SYSTEM SITS ON TOP OF
A COFFEE TABLE IN FRONT OF THE COUCH. TO THE RIGHT IS A
KITCHEN, WITH COUNTERS AND CABINETS, A SINK, STOVE, AND
TABLE WITH CHAIRS. A COUPLE OF POTS STEAM ON THE STOVE.
Jack sits on the couch, holding a controller in both hands
playing a game on the TV.
Sarah enters the kitchen from offstage, setting keys and a
purse on the table.
I'm back, the store didn't have any
garlic bread, is that okay.
(Without looking up)
Huh? Oh, sure.
Sarah walks over and checks the pots, then shaking her head,
walks to the living room and stands behind Jack.
Did you check on the spaghetti like I
I said, did you check on the spaghetti
while I was out, like I asked you to
before I left to look for garlic bread
like you wanted.
(turns head to one side a little)
Yeah, garlic bread. Are we having some
with the spaghetti?
Sarah stands there, looking at Jack and shaking her head,
for several moments.
You never listen to a word I say do you?
Jack continues to play his game.
Jack ignores her and plays his game.
(a little louder)
Something happens in the game to upset Jack.
Sarah hits Jack in the head with a pillow.
Is this all you've done today?
(at the same time, annoyed)
Hey, why'd you do that? You're gonna
mess me up!
You sat here all day and played that
(turning back to his game)
Andy made me a bet, he said I couldn't
finish it in less that 48 hours.
48 hours. You're gonna play that thing
straight through for 48 hours? What the
Not straight through, do you think I'm
crazy? I stop for the bathroom, and a
nap every now and then.
(to the game)
OH! You little, I'm gonna-
You take a break to piss and sleep, but
not to check the fricken' spaghetti!?
Sarah throws her hands up in the air and starts to walk
(turning back around, angry this
Don't you whatever me! Loser Andy made
a lame-o comment, and you gotta spend
two days playing that thing that you
bought with my money, but you can't
check on the spaghetti that you've been
asking me to make all week while I go
out to look for garlic bread for you!
Sarah turns and walks into the kitchen.
(still playing game)
I cleaned the cat box the day before
yesterday, and I thought that we decided
it would be our money.
(loudly, to be heard from the
We have three cats, which means the one
litter box needs to be cleaned every
day. And our money implies that we both
have jobs. I have one, you don't and
won't find one, so it means my money.
Why I let you buy that game is beyond
I'll go find a job after I beat the game
(fixing plates of spaghetti)
Why don't you go find a job tomorrow,
and not worry about beating the game.
But what about what Andy said?
Andy doesn't live here. Andy doesn't
eat our food. Andy doesn't run the
power bill up by cranking the heat so he
can play in his boxers.
(shaking head, but still playing)
Fine! Whatever. I'll go find a job
(under his breath)
Maybe if I hurry, I can beat it tonight.
Promise. I'll even clean the cat boxes
again. And when I'm done with the game,
I'll sell it to Jared. He doesn't want
to pay what the store wants.
(softy, with a hint of sarcasm, but
Hey, we're making progress.
Sarah finishes fixing the plates, then comes into the living
room with two plates of spaghetti with sauce and meat balls.
Where do you want yours, since I'm not
even going to try to get you to stop to
(looks up for a moment)
Hey, I can pause it to eat, just it down
and let me find a good stopping
place to save.
Sarah sets a plate on the coffee table in front of Jack and
starts to walk around the back of the couch.
(after glancing at the plate, not
stopping the game)
Hey, I thought we where gonna have
garlic bread too?
Sarah stand behind him in silence for a moment, then with
great flourish, takes her plate with both hands and turns it
over on top of Jack's head.
(yelling, finally stops playing the
What the hell!?! That shit's hot!
Why'd you do that!
As Jack sits on the couch dealing with the hot spaghetti on
his head, Sarah walks quickly to the kitchen, grabs her
purse and keys and goes to leave.
(at the exit)
I'm spending the night at my mother's,
when I get back tomorrow night after
work, you better have a job. If you
don't I'm leaving you for Andy.
(tries to start playing the game
What the hell?, you just called him a
(from just off stage, as she is
Andy has a good job.
And he's better in bed.
Jack stops playing the game and stares at the TV.
Game Over. You Lose.