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Thursday, July 8, 2010

13 to Life: Prologue as a Play/Screenplay

Yet another in my ongoing efforts to win Shannon Delany's Change is Good—Ask a Werewolf contest which ends tomorrow, July 9.[UPDATE:  CONTEST DEADLINE HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO JULY 15, 11:59pm]

Challenge:  Take a chapter from 13 to Life and write it in play or screenplay format.  I borrowed the prologue from Shannon's Serial Blog Tour for Werewolfy Goodness because I figured it wouldn't be to spoilery (especially since she already posted an excerpt online).

My vast experience as a playwright comes from numerous grade school assignments, mainly having to do with aliens who wore animal-nose masks in order to breath oxygen here on earth.  Additionally I had a college assignment where we wrote in a "missing scene" from Hamlet.

What I'm saying is, you'll have to bear with me. :)


PROLOGUE: Something Wicked This Way Comes
{The scene opens in a Midwestern-type setting in a barn at night during the fall.  The mood goes from relaxed to tense, soft background music to stark silence.  We see several horses in stalls and two dogs snoozing and unaware [HUNTER and MAGGIE].  A girl [JESS] grooming a horse [RIO]. The girl notices that the horse is nervous.}
JESS: What, girl?
{RIO becomes further agitated and knocks the brush from JESS’s hand to the floor.}
JESS: Rio!
{JESS walks around the horse to pick up the brush.  The dogs become suddenly alert and run to the barn door, barking wildly.  The rest of the horses become more agitated and there is a tense vibe.  JESS begins to get nervous, but tries to calm the horses at the same time}
JESS: What the? [PAUSE] Shhh.  It’s okay, girl.  Everything’s okay.
{JESS walks over to the barn door where the dogs are.  JESS grabs the dogs’ collars to try and restrain them, and the dogs try to pull away.  JESS stays at the barn doors, but tries to look outside to see if anything is there.  We hear only silence and restless animals.  We see a pan of the outside—It is night, but artificially light due to a floodlight on the barn.  The floodlight also has an electric hum/whine, and some intermittent clicking.   Across the yard there is a farm-style, white, slightly worn, two-story house.   The light illuminates the path to the house, but the light begins to fade midway, so that there is minimal visibility  just after the half-way point.  Outside the floodlit area, it is very dark and we can barely make out more farmland and wooded areas beyond the light.  The floodlight emphasizes the distance between the barn and the safety of the house at the other end.  When we look at the house, we can see a softer, yellow indoor lights glow in the downstairs windows, along with flickering of a TV.  The upstairs windows are dark.  When we look at the house, we  hear the muffled sounds of a game show.  We pan back to JESS in the barn, holding her dogs and looking to them for reassurance. }
[JESS WHISPERS/MUBMLES TO THE DOGS IN A NERVOUS MANNER, AS IF THINKING ALOUD, OFFERING THEM TREATS FOR BEING BRAVE]
{A large wolf-like shadow runs across the darkness, and momentarily through the floodlit area.  It happens very quickly and neither we or JESS  get a good look at the animal.  The dogs begin to whine}
[JESS GRABS A PITCHFORK FROM THE WALL NEAR THE BARN DOOR]
{The barn door is knocked about as if something ran into it.  We see the creature’s shadow and  hear the creature rustle about and make whuffling noises, then pause.  The dogs hide behind JESS and we see the shadow snarl and hear it snort roughly.}
[JESS RAISES THE PITCHFORK SLIGHTLY]
{Suddenly the shadow disappears.  The tension releases and we feel a sense of foolishness and disbelief overcome the scene}
[JESS LOOKS AROUND TO MAKE SURE IT’S SAFE AGAIN]
JESS:  [NERVOUSLY] Probably just old Monroe’s dog Harold anointing everybody’s fence posts.
{The dogs wag there tails, grow bored, and go back to laying down.}
[JESS PUTS THE PITCHFORK BACK ON THE WALL, THEN BEGINS NERVOUS BUSY WORK.  SHE REARANGES THE SAME THINGS MULTIPLE TIMES BEFORE GIVING UP.  JESS TURNS TO THE DOGS.]
JESS:  Come on, Hunter.  That’s a good girl, Maggie.
[JESS SWITCHES OFF THE BARN LIGHTS AND HURREDLY AND NERVOUSLY WALKS TO THE HOUSE ]
{The dogs follow casually beside JESS as if oblivious to the previous events}
[JESS OPENS THE DOOR TO THE HOUSE QUICKLY IN A RELIEVED MANNER, LETS THE DOGS IN, AND BOLTS THE DOOR.]
END SCENE

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