Screenplay Structure

8.  Screenwriter William Goldman, a two-time Academy Award winner, has long preached that “screenplays are structure.” What is he talking about? 

A) If he’s referring to a particular story-telling model, describe that in detail.

B) If there are multiple models, what are the most influential ones and how do they differ?

C) And how has story structure evolved through the centuries?

Use examples from the 2008 Oscar nominees to illustrate your points.

 

When William Goldman says that “screenplays are structure” he is talking about how a story is actually put together.  A story may have excellent dialogue, and loveable characters, but if the structure is not fully developed then you may as well forget it. The structure of any story focuses on how beat by beat and scene by scene it is ultimately laid out.  A story can use any type of story-telling model, but focusing on the structure or the foundation of the story is vital. Goldman believes that screenwriting is a lot like carpentry.  If you put together some wood, nails, and glue to build a bookcase, you better have established a sound foundation.  If not, you have might have created something really beautiful, but it won’t work as a bookcase.  As a screenwriter you must first decide what the proper structure should be for the particular screenplay you are writing. To do this you have to know the spine.

Goldman believes that it is absolutely crucial to know the spine of your story above anything else.  A spine can be rather simple such as “boy meets girl, loses girl, finds her again,” or something much more complex.  That spine is then developed further, taking a broad idea and digging deeper into the story scene by scene. After finding exactly what the spine of your story is, a writer must protect it at all costs.  It is easy to lose focus of what is really important in a story when you’re 80 pages in.  Goldman insists that strictly sticking to the ultimate spine of a story will drive that script to success. Without a well-developed spine, a screenplay is pretty much doomed.

-Contributed by Mackenzie G.-

 

 

 

 

Part B

The most influential story structure models include Aristotle’s Three Acts, Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, Field’s Paradigm, and Daniels’ Sequence.

 

The basic “Three Act” model of a screenplay starts with establishing the setting and characters (Beginning).  At the end of this first act, the introduction of a problem (or inciting incident) makes the story progress to the rising action (The middle or “Second Act”).  During this part of the story, the protagonist attempts to solve the conflict created by the inciting incident.  The second act ends with a climax in which the tension of the rising action reaches its greatest intensity.  Here, the protagonist either wins or loses against the problems he/she faces.  The third act, or denoumenet, is spent showing what has happened to the characters since the climax and ties up all the story’s remaining loose ends.  Though it is part of a larger trilogy of films, The Bourne Ultimatum follows this basic structure.  The inciting incident in the story is when Jason Bourne finds himself tracked by the CIA again after attempting to gain knowledge of a top-secret operation he was once a part of.  The climax arrives when Bourne confronts the members of the CIA he once served under as part of the operation.  Finally, the denoumenet shows Bourne surviving the encounter and escaping.

 

Joseph Campbell’s concept of the Hero’s Journey involves a more complicated story structure.  Studying many ancient myths, Campbell constructed the idea of a universal “monomyth” with several common structural features.  The monomyth starts with a “Call to Adventure” – an event that entices the hero to leave all that is familiar to them.  In the film “Across the Universe,” this happens when Jude leaves for the United States in search of his biological father.  The hero then encounters a “Road of Trials” – a series of challenges to which the hero either defeats or succumbs.  For example, Jude’s relationship with Lucy weakens throughout the story.  He later attempts to save her from policemen at an anti-war protest gone violent only to get arrested and deported back to England – separated from her.  The hero’s victory or failure of navigating the Road of Trials leaves him/her with a “boon” or vital new knowledge about the world, leaving the hero a stronger and wiser person than he/she was before the “Call to Adventure.”  Finally, the hero returns to the life they left behind with this new boon.  The hero then has the chance to apply this new boon to the original world from the beginning of the story.  This happens when Jude legally moves to the States and reconciles with Lucy.

 

The Paradigm – as developed by Syd Field – took Aristotle’s Three Acts and divided the middle into two sub-acts – Act 2a and Act 2b.  In addition, it introduced the concept of plot points – important moments that occur around the same time in almost all good screenplays.  These include the opening image at the start of the screenplay (an image believed to sum up the film in one shot) and “pinches” (Scenes occurring halfway through Acts 2a and 2b designed to remind the viewer of the story’s main conflicts).  No Country for Old Men has a great opening image of the desert in Texas, setting the grim, desolate, isolated tone that the story takes.  Two “pinches” that occur in Act 2a and Act 2b also remind us that the hero – Llewelyn Moss – is constantly being pursued by the ruthless antagonist – Anton Chigurh.  The first “pinch” occurs when Chigurh nearly catches up to Moss at a motel.  The second “pinch” comes when Chigurh attempts to call Carson Wells only to find Chigurh on the other end of the line, threatening the life of his wife.

 

Frank Daniel’s Sequence Structure is based off of early film reels only having 10 minutes of film on them.  This limiting factor influenced a style of screenplay structure that still holds up to this very day.  Each 10 minute “sequence” of film was effectively a miniature version of a movie with its own three act structure.  Sequences 1-2 can then come together to form the film’s overaching beginning, 3-6 become the middle, and 7-8 are the end.  In the film adaption of Sweeney Todd, one of the two sequences at the start of the film tells its own self-contained story.  A corrupt judge lusts after Todd’s wife, trumps up false charges against him, rapes his wife, then “adopts” the child.  Though a tragic story, it has its own beginning, middle, and end.

-Contributed by Nick R.-

Part C

 Philosopher Aristotle had his own views on story-telling and story structure, which he exercised in his poems.  He believed that stories should explore choices and moral decisions.  “The development of a fable should arise out of the fable itself, and not depend on machinery.”  He believed that characters are not as important as the story.  One thing that he did think about the protagonist is that he should be flawed.  “In a proper tragedy, the protagonist recognizes that his own error has caused his downfall.”  He was big on writing the plot believing that that characters follow the actions.

                Lagos Egri( 1888-1967), author of “The Art of Dramatic Writing”,  had a different perspective.  He preached that characters were the driving force behind a good story.   He believed that stories were based on human psychology.  “You must have a premise- a premise that which will lead you unmistakably to the goal your play hopes to reach…The premise should be a conviction of your own, so that you may prove it wholeheartedly.”  He thought it was important to focus on character transitions.: define goals, values, and a plan.  Egri believed that actions followed character decisions.

                These two had differing views and Hollywood has seen both.  The only similarity was that the story always had a three-act structure: 1st Act , 2nd, and 3rd Act which were previously described.  Early films were were silent.  The audience did not get a chance to learn the characters on a deep level.  As a result the stories were centered on the plot and actions.  The story structure was very basic.  Once the “silents” became the “talkies”,  plots could no longer be simplistic.  Actors had to talk, which meant that the characters needed to appeal to the audience.   Authors such as William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, and John Steinbeck were drafted by the studios to write screenplays.    In most novels, the reader gets connected to the book characters and studio execs knew that these authors could translate that to the screen.  This was the beginning of character driven plots. 

                For the most part, story structure in Hollywood has remained faithful to the 3-Act structure.  However, there are small differences  in the story nowadays.  Loglines for story’s are not even the same.  Most stories have a one-sentence logline, which tells what the story is about.  However, in 1937, screenwriter Francis Marion was quoted, “If you cannot state the gist of a play in three lines, it lacks backbone.”  Nowadays three lines is considered to be too long.

                Plots and characters are no longer simplistic.  The characters and the plots are now much more dynamic and interesting than those in earlier days.  There is still some debate over if plot-driven is better than character driven.  For the most part, current screenwriters use both the plot and the characters to drive the story.

-Contributed by Ashleigh-

Suspense in Terminator script

Suspense in Terminator

    

 

The story structure creates the backbone of the suspense in this film because the stakes are as high as possible. Not only are the protagonists unprepared and unbelieved, but they also have to kill an invincible killing machine. The Terminator is extremely well armed, inside and out, and the more damage he receives the more unstoppable he appears (p.54). This is a great man vs. machine film and the script emphasizes the animal nature of Reese. He is repeatedly described as feral and a lot of attention is paid to his instincts and quick reflexes (p.18). While Reese’s story gives us some hope, the existence of mankind is at stake and much of the suspense comes from this against-all-odds situation.

            The characters develop very slowly in the script and of course the Terminator does not experience any character growth. This creates suspense because until the very end of the film, Sarah is scared, confused, and weak.  Reese goes in the opposite direction, becoming more human in the end but then we question how that will affect his battle with the machine.

            The screen directions  written in the script are great and it is a shame the director did not get to use them all. The first directions that add to the suspense are the low angle dolly or handheld shots (starting p.5). This makes us feel small and scared particularly when cut with ECUs of the Terminator. Another shot that creates immediate suspense is the POV shot looking into the barrel of a gun.

            The suspense created by the production design comes mainly in the chase and fight sequences. One line sticks out in the chases because it seems all encompassing; “RELENTLESS FORWARD MOTION”. The audience is put right in the middle of everything with a lot of danger and confusion all around. We are in the normal world but the stakes are reiterated with the flash-forwards of the future. The images of a war torn future builds suspense around the Terminator because it shows what a terminator is made to do and what it could do in our normal world. The script also has the best apparent defeat ever as the smoking steel skeleton rises from the ashes.   

 

Indiana Jones 4 opening scene – as it should have been

              Indiana Jones IV

 

FADE IN:

Int. desert cave—DAY

 

A figure resembling INDIANA JONES walks down a long hallway with two guides flanking him holding flashlights and looking nervous.  They have been walking for a while and the passage is becoming more dusty and full of cobwebs.

 

One of the guides ARI stops to take a rock out of his shoe.

 

ARI

Ouch! Why is this passage

so long? And why is it

getting colder?

 

The figure resembling Indiana stops and throws a level on the ground. He turns around to face the other two and is revealed to be JASON, a twenty-something kid with a cowboy pistol instead of a whip.

 

JASON (laughing)

We’re getting deeper guys,

so bundle up.

 

ARI

If you knew it was going to

be cold why didn’t we bring

torches instead of these things?

 

JASON

I’ll never understand this

obsession with torches people

have. You’re just like my dad,

living in the past.

 

ARI

Archaeologists are supposed

to live in the past. Where

is your father anyway? I would

feel much safer with him here.

 

Jason is indignant and turns away without responding.

 

CUT TO:

 

INDIANA JONES is sitting in bed drinking coffee and reading the paper. He has a sprained ankle. SALLAH enters and pours himself some coffee.

 

SALLAH

So Indy, do you know where

your son is this morning?

 

INDIANA

Probably sleeping one off.

 

SALLAH

Well Indy, you can be happy

young Jason isn’t quite the

drunk you think although in

this case you may wish he was.

 

Indiana get up and starts getting dressed in a hurry.

 

INDIANA

Alright Sallah what did he

do now? He hasn’t been

gambling again, has he?

 

SALLAH

No, no nothing like that.

He has simply stolen three

of my best camels and two

of my worst guides.

 

Indiana looks alarmed and starts looking through his luggage.

 

SALLAH

He headed southwest

apparently into the desert

so I thought-

 

INDIANA (holding up an empty briefcase)

The ruins of Bedua.

 

CUT TO:

 

 

INT. Desert cave—DAY

 

Jason and guides have come to a stone wall blocking the passage and are examining everything nearby with flashlights.

 

ARI

Maybe this is a sign.

 

JASON (irritated)

A sign of what exactly?

 

GUIDE #2

We shouldn’t be here.

 

 

JASON

You should be more concerned

with what we can do not what

you think we should.

 

The two guides look at each other uneasily.

 

CUT TO:

EXT. Entrance to ruins of Bedua—DAY

 

Five Arab men with rifles sit on camels in front of the entrance.

 

ARAB #1

Do you think they will figure

out how to open the chamber door?

 

Arab #2

Perhaps not but he is American,

no? He will blow the door up to

get what he wants.

 

Arab #3

Now what makes you think

Americans are so destructive?

 

The group starts laughing loudly at the joke.

 

CUT TO:

 

 

Indiana and Sallah are riding through the desert.

 

INDIANA (curious)

Sallah how do you know where

we’re going?

 

SALLAH (coughs)

Well Indy I’ve been keeping

copies of your maps because

you do have a rather strong

tendency to get captured.

 

They suddenly hear the sound of laughter and pull the horses to a stop. They crawl up to the top of a sand dune and see the five Arabs.

 

EXT. Cave entrance–Continuous

 

The Arab men sit under some ruins next to the cave entrance. Some of them start loading and cleaning their rifles.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. Blocked passage—DAY

 

ARI (shining his flash light down a hole)

I think I see a lever down

there but we’re going to need

a long stick to reach it.

 

JASON (rolling eyes)

Oh yes there are plenty of

long sticks in the desert.

 

Jason thinks for a moment and takes his pistol out and shoots into the hole. The door starts to rise.

 

EXT. Cave Entrance—DAY

 

ARAB #2

See what I told you!

 

EXT. Top of sand dune—Continuous

 

INDIANA (muttering)

Any excuse to use his gun.

 

SALLAH

You know Indy I think they

will be shot at when they

leave the cave.

 

INDIANA

Yeah I get that same feeling.

 

Indiana sees the camels Jason has brought and decides to create a diversion.

 

INT. Cavern—DAY

 

Jason and guides have entered a large elaborate cavern and they stand there speechless shining flashlights up and down the wall. After a few seconds the door behind them starts to close. They all run for the door and make it out just in time.

 

                        ARI (looking at the broken lever)

              Well this has been a productive

              day.

 

EXT. Cave Entrance—DAY

 

Jason’s group emerges into bright sunlight and chaos. Camels are running around wildly, with Arabs chasing them. Bullets are also flying from the few Arabs not chasing camels. Indiana and Sallah ride in and grab Jason and the guides and escape through the mazelike ruins.

 

INDIANA (yelling over the noise)

You’re a real pain in the

ass kiddo!

 

JASON

At least I haven’t been gambling!

             

 

 

FADE OUT.

Jim and Ed

                 

 

VIDEO

AUDIO

FADE UP TO MS: Jim, sitting in a car reading a magazine.

Stereo:  Bob Marley “Lion in Zion”

 

CUT TO LS: Ed, getting in the car

 

Ed: Hey whatsup man

CUT TO LS: Car drives off

CUT TO CU, POV backseat: Jim changes the song and yawns.

                                  

 

 

 

Ed: so you gonna finish that story man?

 

CU, POV backseat: Jim rubs his head with a frustrated look.

 

Jim: I’m tired and that story is the story of my life

 

CUT TO MS POV in front of car: Ed looks at Jim

 

 

Ed: get on with it then. Ain’t like I got anything better to do.

 

CUT TO CU: Jim talking staring at the road.

 

Jim: Ever think that I might have something better to do?

 

CUT TO CU POV Jim: Ed, grinning

 

Ed: No

 

CUT TO CU: Jim talking staring at the road.

 

Jim: Ok so what was I talking about then smart guy?

 

CUT TO CU: Ed, thinking

 

Ed: I think you were talking about jamaca

 

CUT TO MS: Jim looks over at Ed

 

Jim: Oh…right. I dropped anchor right off this little beach on the east side of the island and decided to go check out the jungle

 

CUT TO CU: Ed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ed: you know that’s fuckin stupid right, Jamacas dangerous

 

CUT TO CU: Jim gives a long sigh

 

Jim: yeah I know that now but of course it seemed like a fantastic idea at the time.  It turned to be maroon territory too.

 

CUT TO MS: Ed looks at Jim curiously

 

Ed: What does that mean?

 

CUT TO CU: Jim turns and smiles.

Jim: Marroons are kinda like clans that are all descendants of escaped slaves which basically means they’re tough as nails.

 

CUT TO MS: Ed looking incredulously at Jim. 

 

Ed: what did they fuck you up or something?

 

CUT TO CU: Jim looks forward

 

Jim: I walk into the jungle right and after a few minutes I see a little clearing and when I walk into it they are like 5 guys chillin, smoking cheba and they all have machetes

CUT TO MS.  Ed looks amazed, staring at Jim

 

 

Ed:  So were they like some crazy rastas or what?

 

 

 

 

 

CU JIM WITH EYEBROW RAISED:

JIM: They were not friendly and actually ended up robbing me.

CU ED LOOKING CURIOUS:

ED: that sucks dude. Anything good happen in Jamaica?

MS BOTH ED AND JIM:

JIM: Well they got me real high before they robbed me plus I only had ten bucks so aside from the whole being threatened with machetes thing, really wasn’t a bad transaction.

CU ED:  Amazed

ED: has anyone ever told you you’re a lunatic?

CU JIM: smiling

Jim:  Not infrequently

 

Drunk Biking PSA

                                                WZBC

                             PSA: BIKES AND BOOZE—30 SECOND

Begin with testimony:  SO I SHOULDN’T EVEN HAVE BEEN WALKING BUT I NEVER HEARD OF A DUI FOR BIKES, PLUS I WASN’T EVEN GOING THAT FAST…..BUT YEAH I RAN RIGHT INTO A CURB AND LANDED ON MY FACE.

“Sound of bicycle skidding”

EVERYONE HAS BEEN TOLD HUNDREDS OF TIMES NOT TO DRINK AND DRIVE.  YOU’VE SEEN THE VIDEOS.  YOU’VE HEARD THE STATISTICS AND HOPEFULLY IF YOU ARE DRUNK YOU WON’T GET BEHIND THE WHEEL.  BUT HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT THE DANGERS OF DRUNKEN BICYCLE RIDING?  REMEMBER KIDS, BIKING DRUNK IS NOT A SAFE ALTERNATIVE TO DRIVING DRUNK.  SO THE NEXT TIME YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT PEDALING HOME DRUNK, JUST THINK ABOUT HOW MUCH HARDER IT IS TO BALANCE ON TWO WHEELS WHEN YOU CAN’T EVEN BALANCE ON TWO FEET. 

Ad for student cleaners

:60 second radio spot, Student Solutions

 MUSIC “LOVE AND MARRIAGE” UP AND UNDER 

VOICE ONE               Hey everybody this is your house speaking and I’m sorry to say I

 

 have a few complaints, First of all my gutters have too many leaves in them, second my

 

front hall has a stain on the carpet….(VOICE FADEOUT)

 

VOICE TWO              Does your house complain too much?  Does it whine about the dirt

 

and messes it finds?  They can be very particular about their appearance and oftentimes

 

think that their owner should be cleaning them constantly.

 

VOICE ONE               …Additionally, my shower drain is slightly clogged and I don’t

 

want any Drano because it hurts my pipes…

 

VOICE TWO              If this incessant complaining is getting on your nerves, we have

 

 just the solution, Student Solutions.  We are a cleaning company started and run by

 

 students from your local colleges and universities and all profits go to pay tuition costs. 

 

Support higher education and we guarantee that after Student Solutions is finished

 

cleaning, your house will shut up for at least a week.

 

VOICE ONE               Student Solutions! Oh you shouldn’t have, but I certainly do

 

 deserve it.

 

VOICE TWO              So if you need help around the house or yard please give us a call

 

Ad for the MBTA

:60 second Radio spot,  The MBTA

 SFX TRAFFIC, CAR HORNS, SCREECHING, PEOPLE YELLING 

SARAH           This traffic makes me want to buy a bulldozer and go through this

 

gridlock like a bowling ball.

 

JEN                 That’s not a bad idea (PAUSE) we would probably get to work on time.

 

SARAH           Oh no!  We ARE going to be late and I was late for class yesterday too.

 

JEN                 I suppose we could always take the T

 

SARAH           Yeah but the T is so slow and crowded, plus it smells funny sometimes.

 

JEN                 Well it’s not exactly the Ritz but it can’t be any worse than where

 

 we are now.

 

SARAH           It’s not that bad

 

JEN                 Are you kidding? (INCREDULOUS) We have moved five feet in the last

 

 Ten minutes, your air conditioner is broken-

 

SARAH           (INTERUPPTING) No it’s not broken, I just don’t want to use up my gas

 

sitting in traffic.

 

JEN                 Ok whatever, you’re still breathing in exhaust like its some kind of

 

Aromatherapy and you’re still wasting gas.
 

 

SARAH           Yeah I know but things could get better

 

JEN                 Oh? What do you see happening that would make this commute better?

 

SARAH           Gas prices could go down, they could finish the big dig…

 

JEN                 So you are waiting for peace in the Middle East and the largest

 

 construction screw up in history to work itself out?

 

SARAH           Fine, lets try the T and see how it works out, I can’t afford any more tickets anyway.

 

ANNOUCER   Riding the T will save you time and headache as well as ease the stain on

 

 your wallet. Look for a coupon valid for a free day on the T in this Sunday’s Globe and

 

Herald.

Dr. Death by Jonathan Kellerman–Treatment and selected scenes

Dr. Death could be made into a feature length film but the story and the number of characters make the book more suitable for a crime drama episode.               The main characters are Alex the narrator and his friend and colleague on the homicide squad, Milo. Alex is a physiologist who does consulting work with the LAPD.  A “doctor” Mate resembling Jack Kevorkian has been brutally murdered and cut to pieces and Milo has caught the case.  There are three main suspects in the crime: Richard Doss, a prominent businessman whose wife was killed by Mate. A serial killer called Michael Burke whose existence is introduced by an FBI agent Fusco. Mate’s son Donny, who is a homeless criminal type. The killer is Michael burke, who “discovered” the body of Dr. Mate. He is killed by agent Fusco before being arrested. The story begins with Alex and Milo examining the scene where Mate was murdered, a parking lot on a deserted road. They spend a good deal of time examining the scene where they talk about the mind and motivations of the killer. The scene is chaotic, with CSI type people running around.  They also interview the people who found the body, one of whom turns out to be the killer.  This is a brief interview because the “witness” is not a suspect until near the end.We see the other side of Alex’s professional life after this as he talks to an old patient Richard Doss who needs counseling for his daughter.  Richard Doss is immediately a suspect in the story because Mate killed his wife and he was extremely angry.  Doss is bossy and obnoxious and very happy to hear Mate has been killed.            Since the story revolves around the search for Mate’s killer, it would be effective to have a montage of the research Alex does on Mate.  We discover that Mate was an attention seeker and might have killed for personal satisfaction rather than for moral reasons.There is a growing tension between Alex and Milo concerning Doss because Alex wants to keep his patients confidentiality and Milo thinks he is a prime suspect.The second suspect is introduced by a visit to Mate’s house where the landlady reports a bum sneaking in.  Mate’s previously unknown wife is near the house and tells Alex and Milo about her son with Mate, who might be hostile towards his father. The son Donny is now a suspect and his whereabouts are unknown.An FBI agent Fusco contacts Alex and Milo and says he has something that could help their investigation.  They all meet at a coffee shop where the agent gives the pair a large folder on a Michael Burke.  The FBI man acts strangely and we don’t know why at this point.  According to Fusco, the killer is probably Burke, who has been a serial killer for a long time and many of his victims were similar to the patients of Dr. Mate. Both Doss and Donny Mate become more suspicious as the story progresses. Doss becomes a more suspicious character because of the therapy Alex has with his daughter, who reveals how unbalanced her father is. Donny becomes more suspicious when they find a gruesome painting done by him at his father’s house.During a therapy session with Doss’s daughter, Doss is arrested for hiring someone to kill Mate.  A former employee made a deal with the police and told them that Doss hired him to kill Mate.  The former employee did not go through with it but the detective thinks he may have tried again.Finally looking through the file agent Fusco gave him, Alex finds a clue that makes it seem very likely that Michael Burke is the killer. Alex sees a hypodermic needle in an old crime scene photo that matches one found at the scene of Mate’s murder.Alex has a meeting with Doss, who claims that he did hire someone to kill mate but that when that didn’t happen, he didn’t attempt it a second time. We don’t know if he is lying at this point.Mate’s son appears, beaten up and taken to an LA hospital. The man is mentally unstable and a drug addict but an intense questioning session with Alex reveals that he probably did not kill his father.  He wanted to but he didn’t get the chance.While searching for the elusive lawyer of Mate, Alex stumbles upon the dead bodies of the lawyer and a friend of Mate. They are tied to a tree and are carved up just like Dr. Mate and the victims of Michael Burke.  At this point it is pretty clear that the person from Fusco’s files is the person who killed Mate.  Milo believes that Burke was a covert assistant to Dr. Mate, which would explain why he killed the lawyer also.  There is a problem with agent Fusco because when Alex calls the FBI to talk to the agent, two other FBI agents tell him that agent Fusco has gone AWOL and is under investigation.  It appears that Fusco believes Michael Burke killed his daughter and has taken the case too personally.With this new information in mind, Alex and Milo take another look as Fusco’s file to find a fresh lead.  Through discussions about the motivations of the killer, Alex notices a similarity in the descriptions and statements of the people who found many of the victims.  One statement in particular catches his attention and we get a flashback to the witness at the scene of mate’s murder.  Alex has solved the case but the killer is still out there. Alex and Milo can’t find anything on the killer so they go searching for a lead on the girls he was with. They manage to locate the girl’s sister who tells them how creepy her sister’s boyfriend is and a few places they might be able to locate her.Milo and Alex go on the search immediately because they believe that Michael Burke is planning to kill the girl.  Eventually they trace her car to a remote cabin in the woods and they approach the place with caution.They sneak up and spy on the cabin where they see the killer and the girl.  It appears that the killer is planning another murder and just as Milo is about to jump out and arrest Burke, he is killed by a sniper rifle.  The killer of Burke is assumed to be the renegade FBI man Fusco.

The case has been solved and Alex and Milo return to write their reports on the serial killer Michael Burke. Richard Doss goes to jail for the attempt to hire someone to kill mate and the other suspects are released.  Special agent Fusco has taken revenge and is not captured or proven to be the shooter.

 

Scene I

 

FADE IN:

 

EXT PARKING LOT WITH VAN AND ORANGE CAR   DAY

 

MILO is sitting on hood of orange car and ALEX pulls into parking lot in own car.

 

MILO

Alex.

 

ALEX

Big guy.

Going cowboy?

 

MILO

My Georgia O’Keeffe period.

 

Milo laughs and turns to look at van

 

ALEX

No attempt to conceal.

 

Milo shrugs and walks to the van

 

MILO

We know where the van came from.

The rental sticker traces back to an avis in Tarzana,

Mate rented it last Friday, got the weekend rate.

 

ALEX

Preparing for another mercy mission?

 

MILO

That’s what he uses vans for, but so far

no one has come forth claiming mate stood

him up.

 

ALEX

I’m surprised the companies still rent to him.

 

MILO

They probably don’t. The paperwork was done

by an Alice Zoghbie, a right to die activist who

is out of the country as of Saturday.

 

ALEX

She rented the van and split the next day?

 

MILO

Apparently. I called her and the machine said she

Will be back in a week. She’s on my to do list.

(taps notepad)

 

ALEX

I wonder why Mate never bought a van.

 

MILO

From what I’ve seen so far he was cheap.

He’s got a budget car and a barren apartment,

He used to use cheap motels.

 

ALEX (nodding)

He liked to leave the bodies on the bed for

The maids to find. I saw him on TV defending

 himself, saying the setting doesn’t matter.

 

MILO (suspiciously)

You’ve been following Mate’s career?

 

ALEX

Didn’t have to, he wasn’t exactly media shy.

Any tracks of other cars nearby?

 

Milo shakes his head

 

ALEX

So you’re wondering if the killer drove

Up with Mate.

 

MILO

Or parked farther down the road, or

Left no tracks, or forensics missed something,

I mean no one even noticed the damned

Van and its been sitting here for hours.

 

ALEX

What about shoe prints?

 

MILO

Just the people who found the van.

 

ALEX

What’s the time of death estimate?

 

MILO (looking at watch)

Between one and four am, Mate

was found just after sunrise.

 

ALEX

The paper said the people who

found him were hikers, they sure were

up early.

 

MILO

Couple of yuppies walking the dog,

 they were headed up the dirt road when they

noticed the van.

 

ALEX

Any other people come by? There is a large housing

development nearby.

 

MILO

High-priced development. Guess the rich

get to sleep in.

 

ALEX

There might be someone else we missed.

 

MILO

Its possible but how many cars have you seen

on this road?

 

Alex turns and looks at deserted road

 

MILO

And even if someone saw the van there

is no reason to stop and look inside, it just doesn’t stand out

 

ALEX

It stood out to the yuppies.

 

MILO

Their dog wouldn’t stop barking at it

so they went and looked and I think its

 safe to say they won’t be taking this path

again.

 

ALEX

That bad?

 

MILO

Dr. Mate was hooked up to his own machine.

 

ALEX

The Humanitron.

 

MILO

Yeah I figured the machine would be high tech but

it looks like a failed grade school science project.

 

ALEX

It worked.

 

MILO

It worked fine fifty times and that’s what I

have to go on, fifty potentially angry families.

I have a long list.

 

ALEX

Maybe Mate hooked himself up to

the machine

 

MILO

The machine was just for show, the

killer carved him like a turkey and Mate

probably bled to death during the cutting.

 

ALEX

Lord.

 

MILO

He was castrated and there were eight other cuts

using a scalpel or scissors, Squares, like the killer

was playing around.

           

ALEX

Proud of himself. He preformed surgery

and it sounds like a mess. Are you sure

there’s no blood outside the van? (looking around)

 

MILO

Not one speck, this guy was extremely careful.

 

ALEX

The killer wanted the body to be found, he

left everything in the open, like he is saying look at what I did.

What was the body position?

MILO

Laying on his back head near the front seat.

 

ALEX

Mate prepares the van, the killer uses it.

What a power trip.

 

MILO (after thinking for a minute)

There’s something that needs to be kept quiet,

the killer left a note nailed to Mate’s sternum

“Happy traveling, you sick bastard.”

     

Scene II

 

INT PSYCHOLOGIST OFFICE   DAY:

 

ERIC and Alex are sitting in chairs facing each other.  Eric looks at boards games

 

ERIC

 Hey lets play candyland, see who gets to the

 top of the mountain first.

 

ALEX

Nothing wrong with having a sweet life.

 

ERIC (emotional)

Everything’s a punch line with you, making

your fucking point. Well thanks for the

fuckin insight doc!

 

The intercom buzzes and the receptionist comes on.

 

RECEPTIONIST

Sorry for interrupting you but we have a problem out here.

   

INT WAITING ROOM:

 

RICHARD and STACY are standing next to two cops, KORN and DEMETRI as Alex and Eric enter.

  

RICHARD

These two gentlemen are waiting to take me to the police station

 

KORN

Hey doc, nice place.

 

RICHARD (mad)

You know him!

 

ALEX

What’s going on?

 

KORN

Like Mr. Doss said, we’re taking him in.

 

ALEX

For what?

 

KORN

Questioning.

 

ALEX

In regards to?

 

DEMETRI

This is not your business. We interrupted you

so Eric can take his sister home.

 

STACY

Daddy?

 

Richard looks away and doesn’t answer.

 

RICHARD

First I’m calling my lawyer.

 

KORN (sighing)

Fine.

  

RICHARD

This is Richard Doss, please get max on the line…

Whats that? When?… ok its really important  that

I talk to him…No no I can’t get into it right now,

 just call him in aspen…I’ll be at the west LA police

station.

 

DEMETRI

Let’s get going.

 

Scene III

 

EXT RURAL ROADSIDE WITH ONE CAR PARKED NEXT TO MAILBOX

 

ALEX and MILO are standing next to the car looking up the driveway.

 

MILO

No sense announcing ourselves, lets

 see if we can get a view of the cabin.

 

CUT TO: EXT PATH COMING THROUGH FOREST LEADING TO VIEW OF CABIN WITH TWO CARS IN FRONT

 

Alex and Milo crouch behind some bushes with a view of the cars and the front door of the cabin.

 

CUT TO: SHOT OF CABIN WINDOW WITH TWO PEOPLE MOVING AROUND.

 

MILO

                        Separate cars…

 

ALEX

Maybe she is going to work early.

 

                                                MILO

                       

                        He might have evidence here so I can’t

 mess up the search warrant.  Maybe we

should back off for now.

 

                        ALEX

                        She might be in danger.

 

PAUL ULRICH comes out of the door with coffee in hand. He walks over to the car and pops the trunk, pulling out a black bag.

 

                                                MILO

                        Not good.

 

CUT TO: CU OF PAUL AS HE IS SHOT IN THE CHEST

 

Two more shots and Paul is down on the ground. Milo jumps out of the bushes with gun drawn and looks around franticly.

 

                                                ALEX (whispers)

                        Fusco.

 

FADE OUT

 

 

Manhunt

Manhunt

A small time drug dealer accidentally kills a cop and makes a run for the border to avoid arrest.

 

            A drug dealer is making a deal when he decides to rob the person he is selling drugs to. There is a short struggle during this altercation and the buyer is killed unintentionally by falling on a rock.  The dealer is freaked out but believes he has gotten away with it.  Later on, the dealer finds out from watching the news that the dead man was actually an undercover police officer.  Knowing that he will probably be charged with murder, he decides to make a run for Canada. Barely evading the police at his own house, the dealer travels a distance with the help of accomplices.  The second accomplice turns out to be another undercover who promptly locks him in the trunk and drives the car backwards into a wall

 

                        MANHUNT Fade in:EXT. secluded area in a park–DAYJAY is leaning on a tree smoking a cigarette. There is a backpack on the ground next to him. Fred enters and shakes hands with Jay. FREDWhats good man? JAYIt should all be good dude, you came back real fast… I hope you’re not gonna say you short. Fred hands Jay an envelope. FREDNo its all there don’t worry. JAY(looking in the envelope)Oh I’m not worried. Jay suddenly drops his cigarette and punches Fred in the stomach. JAYI have a monopoly on this neighborhood so I don’t want to see you around anymore ok? Fred is bent over and nods. Jay hits him again, sending Fred sprawling. Jay turns away and puts the envelope in the back. Turning back around, Jay sees Fred’s unmoving body on the ground. JAY(concerned)Oh shit. Jay nudges the body with his foot and sees blood on Fred’s head. JAY(rapidly)Shit shit shit! Jay walks away quickly and nervously. CUT TO: EXT. parking lot–DAY Jay gets in his car and screeches off. FADE TO BLACKFADE IN: INT. cluttered living room–NIGHTJay is smoking a joint and his hand is shaking. The TV is on the news. NEWSMANThe body found earlier today in ThorndenPark has been identified as Officer Fred O’Neill, a member of the New York State police Drug task force.  Jay picks up the phone and dials. JAYHey man I need your help, I fucked up man…like really bad. VOICEIf you fucked up why would you think your phone is safe to talk on? The voice hangs up and Jay drops the phone on the ground.  There is a loud banging on the front door. POLICEJason Sizemore, we have a warrant for your arrest! Jay grabs the backpack and runs out the rear window of the apartment. CUT TO: EXT. Porch–NIGHTJays runs to the door and knocks, breathing heavily. Tim Open the door. TIMDamn Jay I just saw your mug shot on the news JAYIt was an accident man, I just- TIMYeah yeah I know you don’t have the balls to intentionally kill anyone and no one would kill a cop if they could avoid it.
JAY
Man this is fucked, I think I need to get to Canada. TIMNot a bad idea.  I’m not drivin you across though…I could give you a ride up north but I’m not crossing the border with your ass in the trunk. JAYThat’s fine, I got a buddy who can take me across the lake. TIMI’m goin to bed then, we’ll get up early. Tim goes to bed and Jay sits on the couch, unable to sleep. FADE TO BLACKFADE IN: INT. Moving car–DAY TIMSo where is this guys meeting us? JAYHe should be just around the corner there. CUT TO:    EXT. Parking lot–DAYThe car pulls into a lot next to another car with PETE in it. Jay and Pete get out of the cars. CUT TO: INT. Car–DAYTIM(to himself)Good luck Jay. CUT TO: EXT. Parking lot–DAYTim drives away.JAYHey Pete thanks for meeting me. PETEDon’t give me that happy bullshit, You killed a cop from what I see on TV. You think I need that kind of heat? JAYWell I wasn’t asking you to do anything for free. Last I checked it was your job to sell drugs. PETEIs that what’s in the bag? JAYYep and its all yours once I’m out of this country. PETEHmm how about you tell me who you pick up from? JAYThat’s not how things work. PETE(irritated)Fine get in the trunk, I sold the boat so we’re takin the back road. Jay gets in the trunk PETEOh here is a flashlight in caseYou’re afraid of the dark. JAYHaha thanks. The trunk closes. CUT TO EXT. Parking area with brick wall–DAYPete gets out and walks to the trunk. PETE(tapping the trunk)Jay you are a terrible judge of character, I work for the FBI. JAYSon of a bitch! PETEIf you give up your connection in Canada, I might be able to put in a good word. JAYFuck you! PETEMight be able to avoid the death penalty. Jay pauses before answering JAYHis name is shelly and he has bars in Ottawa on the south side. PETEThanks Jay, too bad I can’t blow my cover by bringing you in. Jay starts yelling and Pete walks back to the front of the car and drives it backwards into the wall. FADE OUT.