Home » Creativity » Coming to a Theater Near You–

Coming to a Theater Near You–

Yesterday I mentioned that I was thinking of doing something that was a bit crazy, as in, “I’ve never done this before.”  Maybe there were a few of your who went, “What’s this loony bitch talking about, everything she does is crazy,” but I’m thinking only a few of you actually think that.  Well, maybe more than a few.

Anyway, what did I do yesterday that may seem so crazy?  Well . . . I wrote a screenplay.  Kinda.  Allow me to explain:

As I’ve stated on a few occasions I usually see my stories in cinematic terms.  Towards the end of last week, when I knew the writing of this big race was coming, I began forming these images in my head about how it was going to look, and from those images I would write.

But something else happened as well:  I started imagining my first book once more, and I was wondering, “If this really were a movie, it’d need a trailer.  And if I had a trailer, how would I want it to look?”  ‘Cause these days trailers give away a ton of shit–like, you know, everything.  Half the time you don’t need to see a movie ’cause it’s all there in the trailer.  That means if there were a trailer, I’d want to make sure it was right.  As in not giving away too much while, at the same time, showing you enough to get you interested.

So . . . I wrote the screenplay.

While I’ve never actually written a real screenplay, I’ve read a few.  Also, decades ago, I’d seen a couple of screenplays written by Harlan Ellison–who won awards for four of his screenplays for television–so I had a good idea how they look.  After going into work and getting some shopping done, and even while taking a nap in the middle of the endeavor, I pushed it out:  3,360 words of how a shooting script for the trailer would appear.  Or at least close enough that someone who knows about writing screenplays could look at this and fix it with only a few corrections here and there.

Now, some of the terms.  A Fade In and Out are what movies more or less do.  The images fade in at the beginning and fade out at the end.  A Quick Cut is a transition from one scene to another, while a Smash Cut is a quick shot into another scene for only a second, or a normal process in a Micheal Bay movie.  Dissolve To indicates a slower transition to a scenes, usually as a quick fade in.  In the dialog lines you’ll see “V.O.” and “O.S.”; this means “Voice Over” and “Off Screen,” indicating how the person is speaking.  A voice over is where you hear the person’s voice but they aren’t present in the section of the movie being shown.  EXT. and INT. are Exterior and Interior, where the shot is taking place.  Intercut are one of those things where a group of interrelated scenes are shown in a montage, sometimes with dialog, sometimes without.  It’s use as a way of telling the director these need to be shots without having to tell them that you’re going to cut to these scenes all the time.  Pan Over means that:  the camera is panning.  Angle On, means the focus is on a particular person or thing.  Extreme Closeup is pretty simple as well.

The first time a person’s name appears in the screenplay it’s in all cap letters.  Also, at the beginning, you’ll notice that the conversation between Annie and her mother and father say “In English”.  This is because if this ever were a movie, all the dialog between Annie and her parents, while they are together and alone at home, would be in Bulgarian and subtitled.  For a trailer that would be a bit too confusing.

You’ll notice a couple of things.  One, there are almost no external views of the school.  That’s deliberate.  Two, just about everyone gets seen.  And I do mean everyone.  And lastly:  all the dialog is genuine, though, like with most trailers, it’s been edited slightly.  Some things cut here and there, and a few things may seem out of order, but it’s all right out of the book.  You will also notice that the “W Word” is mentioned one time, and it’s in a particular context.

Given all this, it’s time to sit back and enjoy the show . . .

 

The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced

by Cassidy Frazee

Copyright 2016

FADE IN:

EXT. LAKE SHORE — DAY

A young girl is standing with a tree to her right looking out over a peaceful, still lake with a mountain in the background. She’s dressed for summer and looks comfortable. From the back it’s easy to see her just over shoulder-length chestnut-colored hair.

WOMAN’S VOICE (O.S. IN ENGLISH)
It’s almost ten o’clock.

QUICK CUT:

A woman perhaps in her late twenty or early thirties standing on the deck of house. PAVLINA KIRILOVA waves to the girl.

PAVLINA (IN ENGLISH)
It’s getting close to the time to leave.

QUICK CUT:

The girl turns to her left, facing the person calling to her. This is ANNIE KIRILOVA. She brushes a strand of hair from her face.

ANNIE (IN ENGLISH)
Coming, Mama.

INT. — KITCHEN KIRILOVA HOUSE

There is a tall, well dressed man leaning against a counter. This is VICTOR KIRILOVA. He smiles.

VICTOR (IN ENGLISH)
Did you believe I would miss—

INTERCUT TO ANNIE SMILING

VICTOR (O.S. IN ENGLISH) (CONT’D)
—my only daughter leaving home for the first time?

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. LIVING ROOM — DAY

MR MAYHEW, wearing an impeccable suit, sits in a nice chair speaking with husband and wife, DAVYN and LOUISE MALIBEY.

PAN AROUND DAVYN, LOUISE, MR MAYHEW

DAVYN
They want him to attend this private school in America, house him, feed him, give him an education—

MR MAYHEW
One of the best he could ever have.

DAVYN (O.S.)
And they’ll pay for everything?

MR MAYHEW
Your son is being given a chance at something that is only offered to an extremely small number of people throughout the world every year.

DAVYN
And they’ll pay for everything?

LOUISE
I’ve never heard of this group—

MR MAYHEW
There are many organizations that prefer to work with as little fanfare as possible. They find it’s better that way.

QUICK CUT:

A young boy dressed in black jeans, blue tee shirt, and sneakers stands in the doorway. He has short, red hair, freckles, and wearing rectangular wire-rim glasses which he adjusts. This is KERRY MALIBEY, the object of the conversation.

QUICK CUT:

Kerry sitting in a chair, a pamphlet in his hands.

KERRY
It seems like a pretty interesting place.

DAVYN (O.S.)
Maybe it is time to see something of the world beyond our home . . .

QUICK CUT:

INT. FOYER MALIBEY HOME — DAY

A young black woman wearing an impeachable dress suit is standing with her back to the open front door. MS RUTHERFORD adjusts her large bag on her shoulder.

MS RUTHERFORD
I’m Ms. Rutherford. I’m your escort to London and beyond.

INTERCUT TRAVELING IN CAR

MS RUTHERFORD (O.S.)
We’re meeting the rest of the new European contingent there—

CLOSE UP ON MS RUTHERFORD — IN CAR

MS RUTHERFORD
Are you excited?

KERRY
I’m definitely hoping this is going to be a lot different than here.

SMASH CUT:

BLACK SCREEN

MS RUTHERFORD (V.O.)
You’ll find Salem is like nothing you’ve ever seen.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. VIEW OF LONDON — DAY

PAN OVER CITY FROM AIR

QUICK CUT:

INT. VIEW OF RESTAURANT — DAY

Ms. Rutherford and Kerry talking over breakfast.

KERRY
Where are the others?

MS RUTHERFORD
The others have already eaten and gone on their way.

INTERCUT KERRY IN LONDON

MS RUTHERFORD (V. O.)
You have an assignment today.

Kerry wanders the streets of London, looking at intersections.

MS RUTHERFORD (V. O.)
You—as well as the others—have some prep work to do.

Seen from behind he walks through a book store, his every-present backpack secure behind him.

MS RUTHERFORD (V. O.)
You’ll need to go and order your texts.

Kerry looks over and sees Annie sitting in a chair that is mostly engulfed in shadow. She looks up and sees him.

MS RUTHERFORD (V. O.)
They’re familiar with our more esoteric textbooks.

Annie is now standing, speaking with Kerry.

ANNIE
You must be the boy who missed breakfast.

KERRY
That’s me.

ANNIE
I’m from Pamporovo, Bulgaria.

KERRY
A couple of years ago my family moved to Cardiff—

ANGLE ON — ANNIE

She holds out her hand to shake

ANNIE
I’m sorry; I’ve been so rude. Annie Kirilova.

ANGLE ON — KERRY

She holds out her hand to shake.  Kerry shakes.

KERRY
Kerry Malibey.

ANGLE ON — ANNIE

She begins to look perplexed.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. VIEW OF LOBBY AREA — DAY

Ms. Rutherford and Annie are speaking quietly.

MS RUTHERFORD
I’ve been called into the office; please tell the others they are free to do whatever they’d like—within legal limits, of course. You can even leave the hotel if you want to take in the city.

ANNIE
Why are you giving this to me?

MS RUTHERFORD
Would you rather I give this to one of the Normal children?

QUICK CUT:

INT. VIEW OF RESTAURANT — DAY

Annie and Kerry are sitting at a table. Annie is on Kerry’s left: she’s ALWAYS to his left.

ANNIE
Ms. Rutherford left prepaid debit cards with £200 on them for each of us to use.

PAN FROM — ANNIE TO KERRY

ANNIE
Would you like to do something? Would you like to go somewhere with me, Kerry?

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. LONDON

INTERCUT ANNIE AND KERRY WALKING THROUGH LONDON

Various scenes of Annie and Kerry walking through London, on a boat, walking though parks. Annie is always on Kerry’s left and he carries his backpack. They seem friendly, and there’s at least one time when they have someone take their picture with Kerry’s phone while they stand shoulder-to-shoulder.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. BUSY RESTAURANT IN LONDON

They sit at a table close to a window.

ANGLE ON — KERRY

KERRY
Can I ask you something?

ANNIE
You may.

KERRY
Do you think it’s a little funny that Ms. Rutherford just let us go out on our own without supervision?

ANGLE ON — ANNIE

KERRY (O.S.)
She’s testing us.

DISSOLVE TO:

INTERCUT ANNIE AND KERRY TRAVELING

The are getting on a 747 and taking their seats. As they fly they are reclining and looking at each other. They walk with others through a train station, riding with other passengers. They wait on an empty platform with other children before boarding an empty passenger car.

QUICK CUT:

INT. OF TRAIN CAR — NIGHT

ANNIE
Where do you think we’re headed?

KERRY
I’m not sure.

EXTREME CLOSE UP — KERRY’S COMPUTER SCREEN

KERRY (O.S.)
We’re sort of heading northeast. I don’t think there’s a lot of land left before we run out of places to go.

QUICK CUT:

EXT. TRAIN STATION— NIGHT

INTERCUT ANNIE AND KERRY TRAVELING

They get off the train and on to a bus, traveling in darkness. The bus stops before a set of enormous gates, they open and the bus goes through.

KERRY (V.O.)
End of the line.

QUICK CUT:

INT. BUS — NIGHT

A woman in a light gray business dress stands at the front of the bus and faces the students. She speaks with a French accent. This is Headmistress MATHILDE LAVENTURE.

MATHILDE
Children, once outside please stay close to the bus. I assure you, we’re almost through for the night.

QUICK CUT:

EXT. PARKING LOT — NIGHT

Another woman in a dark business dress stands before the students with a tablet in her hand. She wears stylish red glasses. this is ISIS MOSMON.

ANGLE ON — ISIS

ISIS
My name is Isis Mossman; I’m the Director of Security. On behalf of Headmistress Laventure, the staff, and the instructors, I welcome you girls and boys to your new home-away-from-home.

PAN TO — ANNIE AND KERRY

ISIS (O.S.)
Welcome to Salem.

DISSOLVE TO:

INTERCUT ANNIE AND KERRY AT SCHOOL

Kerry opens the door to his room and finds Annie waiting for him. They walk through the commons, seen from above. They head down the covered walkway towards an open area. Beyond them a garden is visible. There are no buildings visible. They are seen from above entering a large open area. They head into an enormous, nearly empty, dining hall, and sit at a table that has their names on a card.

PAN TO — FRONT OF HALL

A number of long tables tables are set at the front, with a podium behind them. People enter from one of the entrances and take their seats; most of these people are women. Mathilde accedes the podium.

MATHILDE
Good morning, students.

PAN AROUND — MATHILDE AT PODIUM

MATHILDE
I am Mathilde Laventure, Headmistress of the Salem Institute of Greater Education and Learning. I am certain each of you have many questions about what you have seen up to now—and they will be answered soon, I assure you.

DISSOLVE TO:

INTERCUT OF DIFFERENT CLASSES

MATHILDE (V.O.)
By now I’m sure that all of you suspect The Foundation recruiter who spoke with you and your parents wasn’t completely honest about the true mission of this institution.

WEDNESDAY DOUGLAS makes things appear and vanish, and levitates a student in class.

MATHILDE (V.O.)
Salem was founded to offer safe harbor for others like them.

JESSICA KISHNA transforms from her usual dark complexion to blue skin and near-glowing eyes.

MATHILDE (V.O.)
Here we teach the incredible and the impossible. We take reality, strip away the protective veils that have existed for centuries, and expose the real truth.

ERYWIN SLADEN tips over a petrified student who crashes to the floor.

RAMONA CHAI sails backwards through the air before gently floating to the ground.

MATHILDE (V.O.)
You are here because you are not one of the Normal—you are one of us.

CORALINE GALLAGHER sits in front of Kerry, a device in one hand and an orange glow in the palm of the other and speaks before she winks at Kerry.

CORALINE
It’s a kinda magic.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. PATH IN THE WOODS — DAY

ANNIE (O.S.)
Keep an open mind today. Listen to the instructors. Ask questions. Please?

KERRY (O.S.)
Okay. Just for you.

INT. CLASSROOM FILLED WITH PILLOWS — DAY

DEANNA ARRAKIS looks to her left.

DEANNA
Kerry, would you be so kind as to prepare tea?

KERRY
How did you really know we were coming, Professor?

DEANNA
I told you, I saw you both coming.

KERRY
When?

DEANNA
Before breakfast.

EXT. COVERED PAVILION SEATS — DAY

Annie and Kerry watch students fly by on PAVs, high-tech brooms that look like old-time witch’s brooms, but look far more modern.

KERRY
You’re like the instructors. I suspected something last night, but today I knew for sure. That’s what we are, isn’t it?

ANNIE
The Aware? That’s what we’re called, yes. We’re the special, the ones who can see everything that’s invisible to the rest of the world. The ones who are Normal.

KERRY
Like I was.

ANNIE
No. You were never normal, Kerry.

DISSOLVE TO:

INTERCUT OF DIFFERENT CLASSES

Annie and Kerry go through various situations. They learn simple spells in class. They are seen putting large bags inside greenhouse. They are scene snuggling under a blanket in a chair looking up at the stars during Astronomy Class. Annie and Kerry are seen flying over a large building surrounded by woods that looks like a covered sports arena. Beans are seen turning into beetles. Dressed in pajama they walk through a huge hall filled with kids in pajamas, and are seen sitting on a sofa eating snacks, drinking from steaming mugs, and laughing.

QUICK CUT:

INT. ROOM WITH LOTS OF CHAIRS — DAY

All the students are dressed in leather flying gear reminiscent of WW II pilots. Annie and Kerry sit in the front row and to the left of the podium. VICTORIA SALOMON, dressed the same way as her students, stands at the podium.

VICTORIA
Good afternoon, students, and welcome to the first day of flight training.

QUICK CUT:

INT. ROOM WITH LOTS OF STORAGE CABINETS — DAY

Victoria stands with the students around her.

VICTORIA
Here is some of best equipment you’re ever going to find.

Annie stands before a hovering broom with Victoria standing next to her.

VICTORIA
You want to try and be as normal as possible when you fly one of these. If you’re nervous or a little anxious, it’s okay, you can work out of that, but your broom is gonna act a little jittery for a bit until you settle down.

Annie begins to tentatively mount the broom—

QUICK CUT:

INT. ROOM WITH SOFA AND CHAIRS — NIGHT

Deanna sits on one side of a sofa while TREVOR PARKMAN sits opposite her. Annie and Kerry sit on the sofa between them dressed in pajamas with an comforter across their legs and waists.

ANNIE
I take it you have Trovell’s Study of Sight?

TREVOR
Yes, naturally.

ANNIE
And you have Vijoni’s Interpretation of Visions, Awake and in Dreams?

KERRY
You getting ready to start studying up on improving your sight?

ANNIE (SMILING)
No—you are.

QUICK CUT:

EXT. GARDEN PATH — NIGHT

Kerry stands next to Annie and looks around, bemused.

KERRY
This has been one strange week.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. CLASSROOM — DAY

HELENA LOVECRAFT stands at the front of her class, glaring darkly at her students.

CLASS POV — HELENA

HELENA
I’m a damn good sorceress and that’s not just a brag—that comes from over twenty years of working for The Foundation as one on the outside, away from Salem.

PAN TO — HELENA PACING

HELENA
Whereas one can use the other disciplines against another person, sorcery is meant to work against a person, whether directly or indirectly. Sorcery is all about dominating people, controlling them, hurting them—even killing them.

STUDENT (V.O.)
Is there like a main spell used for killing people?

QUICK CUT:

HELENA POV — ANNIE

HELENA (O.S.)
Miss Kirilova. What is the name of the category that defines the sorcery spells used to kill someone?

ANNIE
It’s known as Morte.

HELENA
Have you read any books on the subject?

ANNIE
Yes. I was given a book on the subject for my ninth birthday, actually.

QUICK CUT:

INT. BARE STONE WALLED ROOM

KERRY POV — ANNIE

He watches her create a ball of blue fire about twice the size of a basketball that floats in the air before her.

KERRY (O.S.)
That’s cold fire?

ANNIE
It is perfect, isn’t it?

KERRY
I’d expect nothing less from my Dark Witch.

Annie beams.

QUICK CUT:

INT. HEADMISTRESS’ OFFICE — DAY

MATHILDE
My Mistress of Spells, what is ever the problem?

WEDNESDAY
I think we have a situation that requires our attention.

INTERCUT OF ANNIE AND KERRY PERFORMING MAGIC

MATHILDE (V.O.)
Our Cernunnos A Levels? The ones the instructors are talking about?

Annie performing an invisibility spell and being mostly successful. Kerry levitating a doll and drawing it towards him.

WEDNESDAY (V.O.)
One and the same. Watch.

Kerry transforms a pile of wood from a single log. Annie creates ice floating in the air from a bucket of water.

WEDNESDAY
Everything they did is well beyond their level. There is no way they should have even tried those, much less make them work.

QUICK CUT:

INT. LARGE ENCLOSED AREA — DAY

WEDNESDAY (V.O.)
Oh, I’ve saved the best for last.

EXTREME CLOSE UP — ANNIE’S FACE

Face half-covered in blood and gore, Annie tosses what looks like a sword to the side with her left hand as she walks with determination towards the camera.

QUICK CUT:

PAN TO — KERRY ATTACKING SOMEONE

He takes what looks like a long sword and cuts up and through someone, splattering himself with blood in the process.

QUICK CUT:

INT. HEADMISTRESS’ OFFICE — DAY

WEDNESDAY
This is more than talent.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. HEADMISTRESS’ HOME — NIGHT

Mathilde stands in her living room with Helena, Erywin, and Jessica. On one side of the room stands a man in a dark suit and overcoat. This is MR GABRIEL.

MATHILDE (O.S.)
What answers do you require, Mr. Gabriel?

MR GABRIEL
We’re interested on the progress of some of your students. A Levels.

QUICK CUT:

INT. PRIVATE LAB — NIGHT

Annie creates ribbons out of shadow in front of Kerry.

QUICK CUT:

EXT. PARK — DAY

Kerry produces ball lightning in his hand.

MATHILDE (V.O.)
Do these A Levels have names?

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. DARK CORRIDOR — NIGHT

Helena speaks in a threatening tone to Gabriel.

HELENA
Annie and Kerry may be extraordinary kids, but they are kids.

INTERCUT OF ANNIE AND KERRY TOGETHER

Annie in her night clothes, smiling and singing; Kerry dressed in his flight clothes, standing at the railing of a high building, looking at other buildings some distance away poking up through the trees.

HELENA (V.O.)
Being minors doesn’t matter—

Kerry leads Annie into a dance; Annie walks along side Kerry as they enter a grove of pine trees.

HELENA (V.O.)
You will find a way to get them out in the field, you will find a way to see how they operate.

Annie faints and Kerry rushes to her side; Annie comforts a crouching Kerry who seems to be in pain.

HELENA
When that happens, I want to make certain they don’t come back in body bags.

An enraged Annie stalks across the Rotunda with a dark ball of energy in her hands; Kerry drops pass the camera on his broom, which follows him down towards the dark forest.

QUICK CUT:

INT. HOTEL ROOM — DAY

ERYWIN
You need to bring in a team that—

HELENA
That knows what?

QUICK CUT:

EXT. PARK — DAY

KERRY POV — ANNIE

Annie levitates and smiles down at him.

QUICK CUT:

INT. SCHOOL OFFICE — DAY

Kerry quickly changes the color of his hair from red to blond, then points at his head.

HELENA (V.O.) (YELLING)
We’re that team, remember?

QUICK CUT:

EXT. FIELD — NIGHT

Annie and on the left and Kerry on the right, both create huge balls of fire they each hold before their bodies.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. BEDROOM — NIGHT

Erywin and Helena are sitting up in bed; Erywin cradles Helena in her arms.

ERYWIN
That leaves those two in the other room. Any concerns there?”

HELENA
Only one.

QUICK CUT:

INT. DINING HALL — NIGHT

Kerry is dancing with Annie, holding her tight.

KERRY
I’ll catch you before you fall.

QUICK CUT:

EXT. GARDEN — NIGHT

Annie runs her finger down Kerry’s left arm.

ANNIE
Moyata polovinka.

QUICK CUT:

INT. OVERHEAD WALKWAY — DAY

HELENA (V.O.)
Hoping they can handle what comes after.

PULL BACK — ANNIE AND KERRY CRAFTING MAGIC

Kerry on right of screen, Annie on left, He concentrates, his hands slightly raised, as the air shimmers across the width of the walkway. Annie looks grim and serious as something dark seems to swirl in her right hand.

SMASH CUT:

BLACK SCREEN — RUN TITLE

The Foundation Chronicles: A For Advanced

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. WIDE CORRIDOR — NIGHT

Coraline stands with a visibly upset Annie. She places her finger across the girl’s lips.

CORALINE
Don’t think the worst.

SMASH CUT:

EXT. FIEND — NIGHT

EXTREME CLOSE UP — BODY

A scaly body fills the screen. As it slowly turns a tentacle whips across the screen. There is a low growl (and use an ULTRA LOW FREQUENCY layer in the soundtrack so the audience feels this) as the hint of an eye slides into view . . .

SMASH CUT:

EXT. FIEND — NIGHT

SLOW ZOOM ON KERRY

Dressed in his flight gear he sits on his broom, holding what looks like another PAV. As the camera moves in on his face, he’s frightened and hyperventilating. As soon as the focus is tight on his shoulders and head he switches the PAV to his right hand, screams, and charges towards the camera.

SMASH CUT:

BLACK SCREEN — RUN TITLE

Classes Start 1 September

FADE OUT:

 

And there you are.  Hope you enjoyed this, and hope you have questions.  Believe me, I had a good time putting it together–

Look how satisfied I am after writing this.

You can tell just by how I look here after I finished.

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13 thoughts on “Coming to a Theater Near You–

  1. You are enlightening, girl!
    I could tell you my last experience with the Turin Film Lab… but it would take me hours to transcribe the whole thing. I would like to speack personaly with you, but I think that the distance does not allow us to share a cup of green tea in a fine literary caf …
    I think the idea of “do it yourself” is extremely valuable… and considering that you already know how to move in the environment, I am convinced that you may manage to create what can go perfectly for the occasion. After reading your work, I am sure you can do it: go for it! As far as I am concerned, I became so curious about this environment that I decided to follow an appropriate course. Not that I feel able to make the scripts alone, I am going to need help… but it can be fun.
    I dearly wish you all the best! 🙂 claudine

    • I would love to hear about your experience at the Film Lab; I find those things fascinating. I’d wanted to get into film as well, which is probably one of the reasons I see my writing as pictures. And thank you for the encouragement!

    • One can probably figure out the chronology, as I pretty much took it in order. It was only towards the end that I intercut things from earlier in the story. The important thing is I didn’t give much of the story away, and everyone gets to give a few scenes.

  2. That’s a fun writing exercise! A good way to look at your story in a different light. It’s certainly a fun way for us readers to see your characters in a new way.

    Quick note: based on my time working in the film industry years back, I am under the impression O.S. stands for “off screen” not “on screen.”

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