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Old 04-21-2011, 09:20 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2005
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Default Open Challenge: Paperback Writer

As I mentioned in a different thread, this weekend is the open challenge where the first place finisher will get to choose a three way writing battle in the upcoming weeks. The second place finisher will also get to choose between the remaining two battle lineups. And those line-ups are:

vs. Ryan Condal. I believe his spec sale GALAHAD is the highest rated Blacklist script among the active Done Deal community. We may add another one of our working writer friends into this battle for added chaos and giggles.

vs. jimjimgrande. For the past several years, he's written for successful prime-time TV shows, all of which I pretend I watch religiously. For those who are interested in writing TV shows, especially the one-hour dramas, jimjimgrande is the man. Our writing challenge will be TV related.

vs. Ryne Pearson. A successful paperback writer and a screenwriter. We had a conversation about a possible battle. I said "Hey, let's do a writing throwdown where we have to adapt PAPERBACK WRITER by the Beatles." He said "I hate the Beatles... almost as much as I hate you." I don't think that was very nice.

Ryne hurt my feelings. I cried in the corner. Then I pulled myself together and said "Screw this. I'm going to make everyone else suffer for Ryne's slight."

So the topic is PAPERBACK WRITER. I only heard this song like six times in my entire life. But I thought this would be identifiable for many of us. Feel free to interpret it anyway you want. Here are the lyrics:

Paperback writer

Paper back writer (paperback writer)
Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
It's based on a novel by a man named Lear
And I need a job, so I want to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.

It's the dirty story of a dirty man
And his clinging wife doesn't understand.
The son (The son) is working for the Daily Mail,
It's a steady job but he wants to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.

Paperback writer (paperback writer)

It's a thousand pages, give or take a few,
I'll be writing more in a week or two.
I can make it longer if you like the style,
I can change it round and I want to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.

If you really like it you can have the rights,
It could make a million for you overnight.
If you must return it, you can send it here
But I need a break and I want to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.

Paperback writer (paperback writer)

Paperback writer - paperback writer
Paperback writer - paperback writer

Everyone has until Midnight EST, Saturday to post their 3 to 4 pages.

Just a note: I am going to request that everyone keeps track of his/her own votes. You may edit your script pages post to keep a tally of DDers who reply on this thread to vote for you. And let's say, we give this until midnight Tuesday when I'll just look at those tallies and determine the winner.

I'm going to give myself an hour to post my own for my amusement. You obviously don't have to vote for me.
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Old 04-21-2011, 10:27 PM   #2
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Default Re: Open Challenge: Paperback Writer

I spent about 50 minutes on it. But I probably "cheated" because I knew the topic long before any of you did. Plus, I gotta say that JL doing what he did in week 1 and BDZ doing what he did in week 2 really inspired me to flip the audience expectation. So just by participating in the exercises and reading their pages, I felt I learned a lot.

Also, I never wrote a psychological thriller. So I decided to give it a try. Not sure how successful I was but it was fun.

INT. STARBUCKS - NIGHT An attractive BARISTA rearranges the chairs back in place. The last of the customers leave except for... PAPERBACK WRITER in the corner. He watches her every lithe movement like a predator. His eyes dart back to his laptop as she whips around and approaches. BARISTA Sorry, we're closing. Paperback Writer doesn't react. Just types away. BARISTA We close at ten. (beat) What's that? What do you do? PAPERBACK WRITER (mumbles) Paperback writer. BARISTA What's that? PAPERBACK WRITER Paperback writer. BARISTA Any books I might've read? He glares, unnerving her. She retreats to the nearest table to rearrange a chair that doesn't need to be moved. ON HIS LAPTOP SCREEN A query letter. As the words are typed to "Creative Artist Agency," we hear his voiceover. PAPERBACK WRITER (V.O.) Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book? It took me years to write. Will you take a look? INT. CREATIVE ARTIST AGENCY - DAY ANGLE ON the wheels of a mail cart as it passes an open door to "ELEANOR RIGBY, Book Agent." IN HER OFFICE ELEANOR tears open an envelope, finds a manuscript titled "YELLOW SUBMARINE" and a cover letter. Her eyes scan the letter. PAPERBACK WRITER (V.O.) It's based on a novel by a man named Lear. And I need a job, so I want to be a paperback writer. Eleanor tears the letter and tosses the manuscript into the trash bin. She doesn't notice the reflection off her office window of a man standing by the door. He is... The Paperback Writer with the mail cart. His face boils in anger as he watches her reading Yahoo News. ON HER SCREEN, a local story about a missing STABUCKS BARISTA. As she stares at the file photo of our barista, she sees a reflection of a man. She turns-- But no one is there. She frowns. Huh, I could've sworn... INT. SUPERMARKET - DAY Eleanor moves through the frozen food aisle, opens the glass door, and picks out a Lean Cuisine. She closes the door-- ELEANOR AHHHH! Paperback Writer stands there. He hands her another copy of "Yellow Submarine." He eyes her with such primal intensity that she dares not look away. PAPERBACK WRITER It's the dirty story of a dirty man. (anger building) And his clinging wife doesn't understand! She peeks past him. An empty aisle. They're all alone. She grabs the manuscript from his hand. ELEANOR Thank you. I'll read it. She pushes her cart toward the checkout. Hurry, HURRY! PAPERBACK WRITER (O.S.) The son. The son is working for the Daily Mail. EXT. PARKING LOT - DAY Eleanor hurries to her car. She pops open the trunk, puts her grocery bags inside as fast as she can when-- --the Paperback Writer grabs the final bag. PAPERBACK WRITER It's a steady job but he wants to be a paperback writer. (chilling) Paperback writer. ELEANOR I'm sorry? PAPERBACK WRITER Paperback writer. (hands her a card) Paperback writer. He eyes the manuscript she grips with her life. He relaxes, trying his best to calm her. But that only makes it worse. PAPERBACK WRITER It's a thousand pages, give or take a few. Paperback Writer pulls out a manila envelope with more pages to a manuscript titled "Hey Jude." PAPERBACK WRITER I'll be writing more in a week or two. ELEANOR A thousand pages. That's perfect. (inches to the driver's seat) Thanks. That's really nice. PAPERBACK WRITER I can make it longer if you like the style. (earnest) I can change it 'round. (desperate smile) And I want to be a paperback writer. Paperback writer. ELEANOR Yeah. I got that. (re: his card) I'll get back to you. She jumps into her car, fumbling with her keys. C'mon, C'MON, C'MON!!!! Her hand shakes, she can't breath. She struggles with her seatbelt buckle. Screw the seatbelt. PAPERBACK WRITER If you really like it, you can have the rights. It could make a million for you overnight. Finally, the engine starts. She slams the door and pulls out of her spot. Yet the creepy man knocks on her window. PAPERBACK WRITER (re: his card) If you must return it, you can send it here. But I need a break and... He jumps out of the way. She nearly runs him over. PAPERBACK WRITER (emphatic) And I want to be a paperback writer. (runs after the car) Paperback writer. He sprints after the car, trying to get her attention. INSIDE THE CAR, she sees a fading view of him through the rearview mirror. PAPERBACK WRITER Paperback writer! Paperback writer. Her eyes are so focused on the creepy man that-- The car runs through a red light and is-- RAMMED by a Hummer. Eleanor's head SMASHES through the windshield. She wasn't wearing her seatbelt. As she bleeds to death... FROM her fading point of view, the man approaches. PAPERBACK WRITER Paperback writer... (distorted voice) Paperback writer. Paperback... As his hand reaches toward her, we FADE TO BLACK.
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Old 04-22-2011, 12:32 AM   #3
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Default Re: Open Challenge: Paperback Writer

INT. PUBLISHERS OFFICE – DAY More lavish than your typical publishers office. The architect appears to have ingested pure-gold and vomited it over every metal surface. It gleams and screams success. The subject of that success, Publisher MR. PICKETT, 44, leans back in his chair chomping a cigar. A portly gent- He drums stubby fingers on the stacked pages of a manuscript. Silently regards the thin, fragile man sat opposite-- --This is Mr. LEAR, 38, a pathetic excuse for a man. Hunched down in his chair. Receding hair, unkempt. Cheap shabby suit covered in unknown light stains. At this moment, he's trying to be the very thing he's not- Assertive. LEAR I came to you, Mr. Pickett, because you're the best in the business. He gestures to cross one leg over, but slips awkwardly. LEAR Because you would sell your family down the river to seal a deal. Like me, you understand how far we must go to get what we want. MR. PICKETT I appreciate the smoke up my ass. He puffs smoke as if to metaphor his own words. MR. PICKETT But I'm not sure how much longer we can flog this long-dead horse, Mr. Lear. Pushes Lear's manuscript across the desk. MR. PICKETT The manuscript is not for us. LEAR You haven't even read it. MR. PICKETT And I don't need to. Even the title- (checks cover page) -The Folly of Icarus. LEAR It's a metaphor. MR. PICKETT Is it? … Tell you what, Mr- He flips the page around- Forgotten his name already. MR. PICKETT -Lear, I'll hand over a cheque with more zeroes than you've seen in your whole pitiful life- He leans his bulk across the table- Full of menace. MR. PICKETT -If you can conjure up a metaphor for a writer who badgers my assistant. Pesters me at my home. Until, just to get rid of them, I finally agree to meeting. LEAR I apologize for my impetuousness.. but y'see this is a labor of love. MR. PICKETT No. Do you know what constitutes a labor of love, Mr. Lear? Lear steels himself again. He pulls himself up in his chair- LEAR It's when you dedicate yourself to something to the extent you'd sacrifice everything you ever had. You cut yourself off from the rest of the world. Seal yourself away brick by brick if you have to. (points to manuscript) All in order to devote yourself solely to the only thing left you believe in. MR. PICKETT (a long pause) Heartfelt… But no. It's not. It's when a writer cares enough about their craft to adhere to common format. When they have the god honest decency not to write their entire 1000 page manuscript in barely legible hieroglyphics. LEAR It's not my handwriting. MR. PICKETT Then I pity the poor soul you coerced into transcribing this unholy, scrawled mess. He slams the manuscript back down on the desk. The cover page flutters from the stack to the floor. Lear jumps out of his seat. Chases it across the office. LEAR Please. It took me years to write. Maybe if I just pitched it to you. It's about a man who can no longer live with the over-affection of his wife. He's a dirty man- Mr. Pickett flashes a cruel smile as he studies Lear, bent over to pick up the cover page in his creased, shabby suit. MR. PICKETT An autobiography? Lear follows his eye line. To the stains on his suit. On his pants- Dusty white stains. LEAR I apologize for my unkempt appearance. It's plaster. I awoke to a wall in my house crumbling away. It was a necessary refurbishment. MR. PICKETT Appearances are everything, Mr. Lear. Good day to you. Pickett turns away from him. Begins sifting through his thick rolodex. Lear hesitates, then— --places the cover page on the stack. He turns to leave leaving the manuscript there. Shuffles dejected towards the door. He edges it open. Hesitates- LEAR All I ever wanted to be was a paperback writer, Mr. Pickett. (slips through the door) Without that… I don't exist. Back to Pickett. Sat at his desk. His sizeable bulk blocking out light- But behind him, outside the floor to ceiling windows, the vast cityscape extends to the horizon. The hubbub of city life greeted by a new noise. A distant sound- growing louder- A SCREAM! Louder and louder— --And Lear's flailing body plummets past the window. On a downward path to a concrete stain destiny. Pickett barely has time to turn his head. IT all happened so fast. Left with only a distant CAR ALARM. INT. PUBLISHERS OFFICE – AFTERNOON Pickett still sits at the desk. Hard to know if he even bothered to move. UNIFORMED POLICE OFFICERS stand in the corner. A young DETECTIVE HARRISON paces the room. MR. PICKETT I don't know what to tell you, Detective Harrison. He was a deeply disturbed individual. DETECTIVE HARRISON Is that his manuscript? Pickett has the manuscript stack of pages laid in front of him. It's clear he's read quite a ways in- Most of it. MR. PICKETT I figured I'd read it. Not like I have to write a rejection letter on this one. Pickett finishes up the final page. His expression begins to change. With each line. A quite sense of awe- MR. PICKETT It all ties together. Every line. Every piece of dialogue. It all had meaning. DETECTIVE HARRISON So it's good then? MR. PICKETT It's... magnificent. He turns the second to last page. No more prose. Just Words scrawled on the final page: THERE ARE MORE PAGES, MR PICKETT. AT MY HOME. THERE'S A KEY UNDER THE MAT. He replaces the front page. Detective Harrison leans over his shoulder. Reads the manuscript title- DETECTIVE HARRISON Ironic. Pickett looks up at him. Harrison detects his confusion. DETECTIVE HARRISON The title. Icarus. Flew to close to the sun. Melted his wings. Fell to his death. (gazes across city) A cynical man might consider he'd planned to go out this way. Pickett hesitates- Then bolts up out of his chair. Ambles towards the door- Quite the speed for a man of his bulk. INT/EXT. PICKETT'S SEDAN – LATER Pickett looks vaguely ridiculous wedged behind the wheel of his Sedan. Engine idle- Stuck at the lights. EXT. LEAR'S HOME – AFTERNOON The afternoon light begins to fade over suburban life as Pickett waddles up the path to Lear's front door. There's an audible CREAK of bones as he stoops to lift the mat. Underneath—- the key. Just where Lear said it'd be. INT. LEAR'S HOME – AFTERNOON The CHINK of a key slipped into a lock. Pickett unlocks the door. Slips it open. He GAGS as the stench hits him- Like sour Milk. The next thing to catch his attention-- --Arrows. Painted crudely on the floor. Leading across the hallway. Past the staircase. To a door leading down to— INT. LEAR'S HOME – BASEMENT Each rickety step CREAKS displeasure as Pickett makes his way down the staircase. Darker down here- but no problem— --The arrows now painted in UV paint. Glowing in the darkness. Pickett keeps his eyes to the floor. Following the path laid out for him. Not watching where he's walking— --WHAM! His shin slams into a writing desk. At the moment where the arrows stop. The desk flush against the wall. No way for someone to sit behind it—- --And then the full extent of it all hits him. As he looks up— At a crumbling brick wall. Words painted in UV paint— :MR. PICKETT, BY NOW I'LL BE GONE. AND THE FACT YOU'RE HERE MEANS YOU LIKE WHAT YOU READ. End of paint paragraph. And in the gap between that and the next. A gap in the brickwork. About the size of an letter box- But tilted downwards- to allow view of the desk. He stares into the gap- AND A PAIR OF LIFELESS EYES STARE BACK! Lear's earlier words echo through his head- LEAR (V.O.) You cut yourself off from the rest of the world. Seal yourself away brick by brick if you have to. He continues to read the painted words: THE RIGHTS ARE ALL YOURS. IT COULD MAKE YOU MILLIONS OVERNIGHT. BUT HOW FAR ARE YOU WILLING TO GO THIS TIME- LEAR (V.O.) Like me, you understand how far we must go to get what we want. Pickett follows the crumbling brick down. To another hole. At perfect writing height to the desktop. And something inside— LEAR (V.O.) It's not my handwriting. --A hand, frail and withered almost to the bone. And still attached to the poor bastard walled up in Lear's cellar. The final painted words: HE WROTE IT BEAUTIFULLY. BUT HOW FAR ARE YOU WILLING TO GO FOR IT THIS TIME, MR. PICKETT. HOW MUCH DOES HIS MANUSCRIPT MEAN TO YOU? Pickett stares into the deep dark gaps. At the crumbling brickwork fall away piece-by-piece. And something else— --on the desktop. Something he hadn't seen before. Bricks and mortar. Already prepared. Along with a trowel. INT. PUBLISHER'S OFFICE – LATER Mr. Pickett waddles along the corridor. Breathless. Drenched in sweat. His SECRETARY stands up from her desk as he approaches his office- SECRETARY Mr. Pickett. Detective Harrison left a number for you to call him. He still has some questions. MR. PICKETT Tomorrow. For today, hold all my calls. SECRETARY Yes, Mr. Pickett… oh, sir? Pickett pauses halfway through the door. Secretary waves a manicured nail at his suit pants. SECRETARY You've got some stains on your suit there. Pickett freezes. He regards her warily. All his cocksure swagger long gone. He slowly closes the door on her. FADE OUT:

Last edited by Harbinger : 04-23-2011 at 05:01 AM. Reason: One very bad typo
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Old 04-22-2011, 01:00 AM   #4
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Default Re: Open Challenge: Paperback Writer

Why not -- up late with nothing better to do...
Okay -- so I couldn't keep it to three -- came out as five pages in about an hour and ten minutes -- spent 20 minutes knocking it down to four.

So probably failed the parameters of the challenge -- but whatevs...

INT. PRISON CELL It's hard to tell whether it's day or night. The light is always the same either way... Dim and yellow. Provided by a single bulb, encased in a wall sconce made of steel mesh. There's a chair backed against the iron bars. On that chair, a MAN sits with a clipboard in his lap. The scratch of pen on paper echoes in the space, as he writes furiously. JACOB COLLIER is 43, but looks at least ten years older and 20 pounds over-weight. His teeth and fingers are tobacco stained. A Rorschach splatter of coffee defiles a wrinkled shirt. And his hair is two months past due for a cut. But in this moment, there's a glimmer in his eyes. A cadence to the movement of his pen across the paper. There is a hope and excitement that is obviously foreign to Mr. Collier. COLLIER And this was when? He leans toward a pair of bunks hanging from the stone wall in front of him. The top shelf is unmade and unoccupied. Hidden in the dark recesses of the lower bed, is a second MAN. His face is veiled by shadow. The tenor of his voice betrays a soul that exists in a place beyond blackness. Although not visible, simply hearing ALDOUS ROBICHEAUX speak in his tortured bayou drawl is enough to induce chills. ALDOUS I'd have to say... And it does pain me in a most loathsome way to reminisce about such things... Aldous inhales deeply. Collier can't help but scoot to the edge of his seat. His pen poised. Ready for the details. ALDOUS SUDDENLY SURGES FORWARD! His momentum is halted by manacles, chained to the wall. But the movement is enough to make Collier recoil in fear. He practically pisses himself as Aldous' face kisses the light. It's a visage born of torture. Both endured and inflicted. A thick rope of scar tissue slashes from the outside of his left eye down across his cheek and into his neck. The remnants of an unsuccessful surgery to repair a cleft palate, have left his upper lip and nostrils a ruinous mess. But the most chilling feature Aldous Robicheaux possesses, is a pair of eyes that bore into their target with unmistakable and unbridled hatred. A complete lack of humanity. ALDOUS (CONT'D) Ever hear that song, Paperback Writer? You know, Beatles? It was summer time. 1966. My sister stole the record from some store in New Orleans... And I... Well... EXT. WOODS - DAY The harmonies of "Paperback Writer" echo through the trees with a detached and ominous foreboding never intended. ALDOUS (V.O.) I decided... The girl needed to be punished for her grievous offense. Behind a thick copse of trees a small and slouching shack is revealed. A black cable snakes from the roof, providing this isolated hovel with electricity. INT. SHACK - DAY That electricity powers a beat down record player. And now, the record is skipping. Mercilessly repeating the refrain... "Paperback Writer... Paperback Writer... Paperback Writer..." Over and over it bleats. And now, something else joins the repeating phrase. A percussive beat keeping time. Camera creeps away from the record player into a hallway and to a back room. Where we reveal the source of the beat. 17-YEAR-OLD ALDOUS... The left side of his face not yet scarred, but his grotesque hair-lip and those dead eyes are obvious giveaways to this young man's identity. He stands over his prostrate 10-year-old SISTER. He beats down on her with a slender stick. Her dress has ripped at the back. Bloody slashes are visible on her skin. Aldous starts to repeat "Paperback Writer" along with the skipping record. Laughing maniacally as he does so. Then, suddenly, he pauses. Stands up straight. As his sister lies fetal on the ground, sobbing, the sound of the record fades away and young Aldous reaches out to touch the wounds he has inflicted upon the small girl. ALDOUS (V.O.) Was one of those times people talk about. Whattayacallits. Apathy? COLLIER (V.O.) Ummm. You mean epiphany? ALDOUS (V.O.) Right... That's the word. Young Aldous seems mesmerized by the lines on his sister's back. He nods his head for a moment. Then smiles wide. INT. PRISON CELL Collier sits, still as can be. Waiting for Aldous to go on. ALDOUS Like some kind of divine spirit floating down and whispering into my ear. "This is your mission, son. This is what you need to do." Collier clears his throat again. Furrows his brow. COLLIER I'm sorry. What does that have to do with my initial question? ALDOUS Not too bright are ya? Whatta you... Write for the paper to pay the bills? But you got this dream right? Like the song. Wanna be a real writer. Begging everyone who matters. "Will you please read my book? Been working on it for years. Got a thousand pages and I can write more..." COLLIER (nervous smile) Well this here... This is... I guarantee I'll sell the rights to this one for at least a million. ALDOUS One more leech to steal my blood. Profit off my genius. Aldous sinks back into the dark cover of his bunk. His face once again hidden, as his confession continues. ALDOUS (CONT'D) My sister was my first paperback. EXT. WOODS - DAY Young Aldous stands by a stream. In his hand is a knife, dripping with blood. His arms and torso are splattered red. On a rock in front of him, a large square of material is flattened on the rock. Blood seeps from the edges. Aldous glances over his shoulder. Huddled in the grass, is his younger sister. A large square of skin has been cut from the center of her back. ALDOUS (V.O.) She inspired me. And I didn't get a thousand pages, but I got a lot. INT. WAREHOUSE A dimly lit warehouse is swarmed upon by POLICE. Officers move between rows and rows of sheets, hanging throughout. In the fractured light, it's hard to make out details. ALDOUS (V.O.) When they found my writings, I was understandably devastated. Someone turns on a light. The hanging sheets are revealed: All dried skin cut from the backs of Aldous' victims. Each is dehydrated and covered with endless ink scrawl. INT. PRISON CELL Collier's eyes are focused on his pad as he writes. Aldous leans forward, into the light once more. ALDOUS Funny thing is. I really only need one more page to finish my paper back... One... More... Page... Collier stops writing. His head tilts up, ever so slowly. Aldous stares at him with the cruelest of smiles. Then the killer holds up his hands to reveal: The manacles no longer hold him! Collier opens his mouth to scream, as Aldous pounces.

Last edited by Johnson : 04-22-2011 at 01:04 AM. Reason: format fix
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Old 04-22-2011, 03:23 PM   #5
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Default Re: Open Challenge: Paperback Writer

INT. LOVELY HOME - NIGHT Hardwood floors, flowers on a Chinois table in the foyer, a curved staircase that leads to the second level from which we hear muffled yelling, then silence for a moment or two. LAURA, in a flannel babydoll nightie (yes, it's plaid) and slipper socks (yes, they're striped), comes running down the stairs, breathing hard, frantic. She passes the entryway and disappears into what might be the kitchen. The sound of drawers opening and slamming shut, their contents(silverware, junk, knives?) noisily shifting. Laura reappears, empty handed, and goes for the coat rack. She digs in the pocket of a trench coat and pulls out a pair of handcuffs. Eureka! She hears the man starting down the stairs and hides the cuffs behind her back. ROBERT, the husband, the man, in a silk dress shirt and slacks, walks right past her and gets his coat. Laura presses her back against the door. LAURA I won't let you go. Robert swings it open as if she wasn't even there. Damn slipper socks. EXT. CUL-DE-SAC - NIGHT Robert almost makes it to a shiny black BMW in the driveway, when Laura bursts out the door. LAURA Please, don't go! It''s dangerous. ROBERT Safewords, I keep telling you. There's nothing to worry about. LAURA (suddenly defiant) Well, you can't go without these. She holds out the handcuffs for him to see and chucks them over the neighbor's fence. FREEZE The cuffs come back over the fence, frame by frame, click, click, click, click, back into Laura's outstretched hand. LAURA Eseht tuohtiw og t'nac uoy, llew. FREEZE A beat. LAURA (defiant) Well, you can't go without these. She holds out the handcuffs for him to see, drops them down her panties and switches gears to what should be sexy, but sounds desperate. LAURA Come and get them. Robert sighs. He presses a button on his key ring. The trunk opens for him to retrieve a set of furry pink cuffs. ROBERT I'm going to look like an idiot, now. Thanks. Whatever fight was left in Laura surrenders to an obvious conclusion. LAURA You don't want me anymore. He softens, walks over and takes her by the shoulders, loving, kind. ROBERT No, I don't want you, but I need you. You can't have both from a man. Nancy, Shawna, Jimbo, Pam, I won't even remember them after tonight, but you, Laura, you are my light. I'm nothing without you. Click, click, click, click... INT. EXECUTIVE OFFICE - DAY A hand repeatedly clicks the backspace button on a keyboard. The hand belongs to RONALD, disheveled and dirty, looking entirely out of place (and a bit like Robert) at a shiny mahogany desk. The door opens. RONALD Five more minutes, Lore. LORI (Laura?), dressed to fit these fancy surrounding, enters with NORMAN, a co-worker, both holding Styrofoam carry out containers. LORI I have to get back to work. RONALD Helloooo, Norman. Norman gives a dismissive nod. Ronald pockets a flash drive and vacates Lori's seat at the desk. RONALD See you tomorrow, babe? LORI Sure. She hands him her lunch leftovers. Norman gags a little as Ronald passes. Just for that Ronald takes his leftovers, too, and then he's gone. NORMAN How long have you been divorced, three years? I don't get why you let him use your office. LORI He needs a break, and he wants to be a paperback writer. NORMAN Paperback writer? (shakes his head, whatever) Still, after all the sh!t he's pulled. Lori goes to the window, presumably watches Ronald down below. She smiles, sad, pitying with the lingers of what used to be love. Norman sits in Lori's chair. Gags again. NORMAN Get the Febreeze. It's not rhetorical. There's a bottle of Febreeze on the far shelf. Lori spins around, locks eyes with Norman. LORI Get it yourself. Electricity. This is their thing. And they're on each other like wild animals, all mouths, hands, guttural noises. EXT. STREET - DAY Ronald strolls past a shiny black BMW and claims a parked shopping cart. He pushes it along, wheels squeaking, whistling a jaunty Beatles song, She Loves You. FADE OUT.
Standing on a hill in my mountain of dreams telling myself it's not as hard, hard, hard as it seems.
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Old 04-22-2011, 05:24 PM   #6
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Default Re: Open Challenge: Paperback Writer

This took about 50 minutes.

FADE IN: INT. BASEMENT OFFICE - DAY A dark room cluttered with rotting boxes and books, old and broken furniture, and piles of moth-eaten clothing. Thick dust chokes the light of the single bare overhead bulb hanging by a cord. The few windows, high up on the concrete walls, are so grime-covered it's difficult to even tell it's day time. WILL HARRIS sits in a chair beneath the light, head on the desk before him. Crusted blood marks his temple and mats his dirty-blonde hair. His suit is badly wrinkled. After a moment he stirs, brings a hand up to touch the side of his head and winces. His eyes open as his head lifts off a large stack of typewritten paper. WILL Hello? No answer. WILL Where am I? (beat) Darlene? Phil? Anyone? He lifts himself from the chair and takes a step. A loud clink draws his attention to his left leg. It's shackled to the floor. WILL What the hell? JOHN (O.S.) Sit down, Mr. Harris. The voice startles Will. He peers into the gloom, shading his eyes. WILL Who's there? A man steps into the light. He's balding with a long, filthy beard. Dirty, stained pyjamas and a tattered housecoat. Stained teeth. Intense, crazy eyes. WILL Who are you? JOHN Sit down. WILL Tell me who-- The man lunges forward and swings a ****ing crowbar. Will screams and drops heavily into the chair, clutching his arm. JOHN Good. You may call me John. WILL Oh God, oh God! What do you want? JOHN I want you to read my manuscript. WILL What? JOHN My manuscript. It's there, on the desk. Read it. Tell me what you think. Will stares at the stack of paper for a moment, then turns back to John. WILL Are you out of your mind? I'm not reading your ****ing manuscript! JOHN Have you heard of Edward Lear? He's a genius. I think you'll find I really captured his vision. WILL (hesitantly) And if I don't read it? John violently and effortlessly turns the chair and Will to face one corner of the room. Something is there, a vaguely human shape lying across heaps of clothing. Will leans forward, peering. CLOSE ON a woman's horror-striken eyes framed in dried rivulets of blood, mouth frozen wide in terror. She hasn't been dead long. Will recoils, nearly tipping over the chair. WILL Jesus Christ! John turns the chair back to the desk. JOHN It's a thousand pages, give or take a few. Will takes the first page and, with shaking hands, begins reading. JOHN (CONT'D) I can make it longer if you like the style. WILL But...but this doesn't even make sense. JOHN NO! John slams his fist down on the table so hard it rattles. JOHN I've spent years writing that! Do you know what it's like trying to understand genius? To get into a man's head and really understand him? Don't you dare say it's nonsense! John is gripping the crowbar in two hands as though trying to wring the life out of it. WILL (staring at the crowbar) Okay! All right! Let me read some more. Maybe I'm not getting it. Will takes the next page and scans it. Then another. WILL You know, when it's put into context, this is actually pretty good. JOHN You really think so? WILL Oh, yes. In fact, if the rest reads like this I'd be happy to run it by my publisher, see what she thinks. John places a pen and paper on the desk. JOHN I'm very glad to hear you say that, Mr. Harris. Write down her address and I'll send a copy to her. WILL No, I'll take it to her myself. It's the only way she'll-- John slams the crowbar down hard on Will's leg. He screams again. JOHN You're not leaving here, not until I sign a book deal. If you like it, you can have the rights. You'll make a million bucks overnight, I promise you. But I want my book deal. WILL (sobbing) You got it! I'll sign, I'll sign anything! Just let me go. JOHN How can you say that? You haven't even read it. Go ahead, read. Then we'll discuss it. John's face comes within inches of Will's. JOHN (CONT'D) I want to be sure you really get it before I let you take it.
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Old 04-22-2011, 06:35 PM   #7
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Default Re: Open Challenge: Paperback Writer

ya'll are rockstars. i didn't even come close to an hour - it took me about three hours.

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FADE IN: A close-up on a writing pad. A hand reaches in and writes text on the page: "The Beatles, 1960". The MUSIC of [i]Paperpack Writer[/i] drifts over us soft and lilting. JOSHUA LEAR, 17, is entirely focused on his writing. A fairly unnoticeable kid except for his overly long hair and quirky newsboy hat. His foot thumps to the music. Joshua takes off the headphones and pulls out a small recorder. PULL BACK to see the lawns and building behind him. EXT. LINCOLN HIGH SCHOOL - DAY Middle-class public school. Students are milling about for the lunch break. JOSHUA LEAR (into the recorder) Paperback Writer. McCartney wrote it in 1966... January I think. His words are in the form of a letter to a publisher... The song was recorded in only two takes... Research that train of thought, it could be a cool angle... Joshua pauses the recorder. He notes THREE GIRLS walking past him toward the school doors. MANDY PHILLIPS, 17. A blonde goddess. She chats with her two friends but we can't hear them. Joshua grabs his belongings together. He hurries over to the girls. Just as they reach the door he OPENS it for them. JOSHUA LEAR Hi Mandy. Mandy sails through the open door. Her two friends follow without comment. JOSHUA LEAR I like that skirt your wearing... RANDY (O.S.) Yeah, cause it barely covers your ass. REVERSE ON RANDY, 18, a rocker wannabe. His orange bowtie and slick hair make him look like a David Bowie throwback from the 60s. EXT/INT. LINCOLN HIGH SCHOOL - FOYER - SAME Randy and Joshua dodge students as they enter the large hall. JOSHUA LEAR Did you finish your paper? RANDY It's a bogus assignment. Are you going to the game? JOSHUA LEAR It's ten percent of our grade. RANDY Cause I'm thinking we could carpool. JOSHUA LEAR You don't drive. Have you picked a subject? RANDY Your car. JOSHUA LEAR Your writing about my car? RANDY No, we're taking your car. I wrote about David Bowie. JOSHUA LEAR Dick. A CLASS BELL RINGS. RANDY Later. JOSHUA LEAR See ya. INT. CLASSROOM - SAME A TEACHER stands outside the classroom door talking to a couple of students. He is MR. HARRIS, 40s. He finishes the conversation. As the students drift away-- INT. HALLWAY - SAME Joshua approaches. JOSHUA LEAR Hey, Mr. Harris. The teacher turns to Joshua. MR. HARRIS How are you today? JOSHUA LEAR Good, good. I was thinking about the class paper. MR. HARRIS No extensions. JOSHUA LEAR Nah, I'm working on it. You said it could be about any historical music though, right? Mr. Harris nods. JOSHUA LEAR So I'm doing it on The Beatles. MR. HARRIS That's nice. I'm a fan of the Rolling Stones. (chuckles) You know, I still have Brian Jones' broken guitar string from their '64 U.S. tour... JOSHUA LEAR Cool. Hey, can I get an extension? FADE TO BLACK.
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Old 04-22-2011, 09:44 PM   #8
Richmond Weems
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Default Re: Open Challenge: Paperback Writer

I suck. According to my iPod, took 33 songs. But my kids were not doing as they were told. Kept slipping out of the cuffs, and trying to escape.

Anyway, 3 pages exactly. I think.

FADE IN: INT. BOOSTORE - NIGHT KINGSTON LEAR, 40ish, sits at a small wooden table, idly tapping his pen against his glass of water. A stack of hardcovers next to his elbow. One of the books is displayed on top of the others, shows the title and the author: HIS THREE DAUGHTERS by Kingston Lear. TINK...TINK...TINK...the pen taps. A CUSTOMER wanders into his eyeline. Lear perks up. The customer glances once at Lear, then quickly looks away, suddenly finds interest in the Gay/Lesbian section. Lear watches as the customer suddenly realizes what section he's in, looks around to see if anyone's noticed, sees Lear looking right at him... Lear smiles, pen at the ready. The customer, embarrassed, looks for an escape, scurries away through the Inspirational section. Lear sighs. A$$HOLE CLERK (O.S.) At least you don't have to worry about number one fans, now do you? Lear darts his eyes to the thin, pimply-faced college-aged kid shelving books nearby. He's got tie on, has James Dean on it. Lear notices the kid isn't even paying attention to where he's placing the books, just giving Lear a smarmy smile. LEAR Excuse me? A$$HOLE CLERK I've read your book. LEAR (brightens) Really? What'd you think? A$$HOLE CLERK Couldn't make it past page twenty- six. (approaches) Those signed? LEAR Yeah, but I've still got ten minutes left-- The A$$hole Clerk grabs the books. Lear manages to snag the display copy; holds it like a dog with a bone. The A$$hole and Lear glare at each other: Mexican standoff. HONEY (O.S.) Oh, thank God, you're still here. A pretty blonde, 30s, races in. She's built like a thoroughbred race horse: muscles and curves in all the right places. She's a beauty with the body to match. The A$$hole Clerk salivates openly as Honey approaches with a copy of Lear's book. Lear gives Honey a toothy smile. LEAR Hi. I'm-- HONEY I've read everything you've written, from An Abundance of Moral Turpitude to Dreams of Avarice, but my favorite is Head Full of Traffic. And when I saw that you were finally getting a hardcover, and that you were actually doing a signing HERE...well... Lear gives the A$$hole Clerk a smug smile as Honey hands him her book. He grabs it, transfixed by her beauty. LEAR And who do I make this out to? HONEY Honey. Your number one fan. She turns to the clerk, still openly staring. Glares at him until the clerk shuffles away. LEAR That's your real name? He quickly signs, snaps the cover shut. HONEY What can I say? My parents were sweet on me. Lear laughs a little too loudly as he holds the book out to her. LEAR So you're my number one fan? She grabs the book... HONEY I'm embarrassed to say that I know a LOT about you... Lear notices her hand: the knuckles are calloused, and the middle knuckle looks to have been broken before. Their eyes meet. Lear FLIPS the table up as Honey throws a jab, CRACKS the table, but Lear PUSHES the table at her, using it as a shield. Honey backpedals, then sidesteps as Lear and the table come crashing down. She reaches behind her, pulls out a GUN. Lear expertly rolls into the Art section, comes up and grabs an oversize book of Impressionist paintings. Honey steps into the aisle, gets a face full of Monet as Lear pounds her with the book. She staggers back, but keeps her feet. She FIRES a shot at where Lear had been. SCREAMS. A$$HOLE CLERK Hey, what the f***...Oh, s***! A$$hole takes off. Honey ignores him, and the few CUSTOMERS racing for the exits. She eases into the aisles, hunts down Lear. Whips into the Biography aisle, gun raised. The embarrassed customer from earlier, tries to shield himself with a book: MEN AND BOYS, TOGETHER. CUSTOMER (terrified) Don't... Honey passes him by, checks the aisles. Comes across an ELDERLY COUPLE, who scream and hobble away. Honey continues... Peaks around a SANDWICH BOARD that has Lear's name and book dry markered on it. Sees Lear duck by the magazine shelves, but she doesn't have a clear shot: the magazine shelves are vertical to the horizontal lines of shelves Honey's in. She knows where he is now, though. The magazines have four aisles, and there's no way he can leave that section without her spotting him. He's cornered himself. Honey approaches, cautiously, but confident. Positions herself so she can see into two aisles at the same time, about five feet from the openings. She's not getting a book in the face this time. First two aisles, clear. She smiles. Gun ready to fire, she moves to the next position. Lear YELLS as he pushes the A$$hole Clerk in front of him right at Honey. The kid has James Dean balled up in his mouth. She gets off THREE SHOTS before she realizes it's not Lear who caught the bullets center mass. Lear SHOVES the dead body of the A$$hole at Honey, and all three tumble to the ground. Lear pins her gun arm, and head butts her in the already broken nose. She GRUNTS in pain, and throws Lear off with a convulsive kick. Lear blocks the gun arm swinging his way, puts it in an arm lock, and BENDS. Honey YELLS, blocks out the sound of the elbow breaking. The gun drops. Lear picks it up. Honey KICKS him in the face. The gun skitters away. He trips her up as she races for the gun. Lear's on top of her, grabs a magazine on the floor. PULLS on her broken arm. Honey SCREAMS. Lear SHOVES the folded up magazine (Reason) into her open mouth. She gags. He SHOOOOVVVVVVES. And doesn't stop until her eyes are wide and staring. He rolls off her, breathing heavily. Blood trickles into his eyes from the gash on his head where she kicked him. Sweat rolls off him. SIRENS approach. He checks her pockets. Nothing. Grabs the gun. Heads to the back of the store. EXT. BROWNSTONE - NIGHT On a SECOND FLOOR window, a light is still on. INT. BROWNSTONE - STUDY ANTHONY MERCER, 50s, is a fat man with impeccable taste in clothes and cigars. Office is furnished in leather and oak, and the walls are adorned with pictures of Anthony shaking hands with heads of state. He's sipping a whiskey, watching one of his three computer monitors when the intercom BUZZES. Punches a key on the keyboard, one of the monitors changes scenes. MONITOR Lear stands on the front stoop, looks at the camera. Mercer pushes a BUTTON underneath the lip of his desk. The front door BUZZES open. He opens the desk drawer, puts his hand on a GUN in the drawer. Two seconds later, Lear walks into the study. MERCER The signing went well? Lear sits in a leather chair facing Mercer. Mercer notices Lear's condition. MERCER (CONT'D) No, it appears not. A disgruntled fan, perhaps, or...? LEAR Someone named Honey. Mercer nods. Takes his hand off the gun, closes the drawer.


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Old 04-23-2011, 02:15 AM   #9
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Default Re: Open Challenge: Paperback Writer

Concept and dialogue leapt to mind immediately. Hour and a half total time. format fixed.

FADE IN INT-LITERARY OFFICE Dungeon dark, parlor-warm. Walnut walls with velvet chairs. Knights in Armor guard the door with lance and sword. Tower Bridge in view outside for- DESMOND JONES (25) sullen and mop-topped. The crusty airs of English Lit on shelves make him quiver- -as does a BEEFEATER, chair-side, with razor-sharp harlberd axe aimed neck-high, wicker basket with maroon stains just beneath. A plain white manuscript box sits on a table before Desmond, working-class rough but polite. DESMOND There it is, then, Miss Mills. Done. MISS MILLS (40ish) sits opposite, taut and severe in tweed cape, tight jodhpurs and boots, a riding crop tucked up her arm. An author's aristocrat. HEATHER Call me Heather. Heather's every syllable of King's English is crisply perforated, even through the dog-leg bend of her lips. HEATHER (CONT'D) I like the style, Mister Jones. Course, we might have to change it 'round a bit. He protests with soft pause and manners. DESMOND Desmond, please. Glad you like it, But if I may point out, you haven't read it yet. HEATHER I usually like what I haven't read. (draws him out) No matter. If I'm to take you on, I must know you. How are you getting on now? DESMOND Oh, I've a few jobs. I get by, mostly. Sometimes, its with a little help from my friends. (a bit proud) Bit of a struggler, I am. Worker bee, mostly, but me wife doesn't get the big notions. She doesn't understand my need to create. HEATHER (tactfully) Have you considered an...edit, as it were. In your home? DESMOND You mean, divorce? Nah, Molly's a good sort, mostly. (playful) Besides, I'd tell her to wanker off, and I'd likely end up with a crazy bird with a wooden leg. He slaps Heather's knee. A hollow thunk- Desmond nervously taps his fingers against the table. HEATHER And if I don't take you on? DESMOND Well, life goes on then. Ob la di, ob la da, that sort of thing. Right? More finger-taps, staccato. She paws the box- HEATHER You say it's based on a work by a man named Lear. He opens up on his writing. DESMOND That's right, mum. It is. HEATHER Norman Lear? American? (he's lost) King of telly? DESMOND King Lear. See, I say it's based on a novel by a man named Lear, cause if I say it's based on Shakespeare then you lot think I've buggered on the whole thing. And I haven't. So Shakespeare, Lear. See what I did there? That's all right, isn't it? Nerves and tapping increase, now a rhythm. HEATHER (re; the box) And the murder weapon is a silver hammer? DESMOND Right, but that's the herring, you see? The hammer is really an axe. C'mon, luv, you get it. A guitar. HEATHER So your man's offed his mates with a guitar, because they cast him out? DESMOND Betrayed him, they did. (hopeful) Some lot, eh? HEATHER (mulling) It's..Biblical! Her riding crop snaps against the manuscript box. Desmond jumps- Almost decapitates himself on the Beefeater's harlberd- HEATHER (CONT'D) I love things in the Biblical sense. DESMOND You're a madwoman! HEATHER Mad for your talent, man. (knowing, wary) Do you have mates, Desmond? DESMOND I have. I did. I thought I did. They're across the pond, on business. (sure they are) Getting on famously, so I'm told. His tapping's now all-out drumming, a perfect pop beackbeat. HEATHER You've got quite the beat there. Have you done music? DESMOND Not really my thing, so I'm told. HEATHER Well, Desmond, I think I might like to take you on. But Desmond Jones is not a name with color to it. Not for a writer. DESMOND It's just me pen name. We can change it 'round. HEATHER What to name you. Something marketable. (off in thought) Desmond Goode, perhaps. John? Paul? No. 'Desmond' fears her swift discovery. But it comes- HEATHER (CONT'D) Peter! -and he says, before he knows it- DESMOND I don't think that name suits me best. -His hand shoots to cover his mouth, but she's caught it. HEATHER That's it! Peter! Pete. Pete Best, the paperback writer. You'll be bigger than... She's searches for the word, distracted. He's pissed at himself, cat out of the bag. DESMOND/PETE Jesus! HEATHER Yes! Jesus! You'll be bigger than Jesus, and we won't make any apologies for it! She rises, interview over. He's blown it. He thinks. DESMOND/PETE Well, I hope I passed the audition, as it were. HEATHER You're almost there, man. On the brink. I've one more writer to interview. A Yank, but I can't imagine finding anyone better than you to write my paperbacks. The drumming finally stops. Smiles spread but only for a moment- For as he leaves- -a squalid and bearded American in glasses pushes in and slaps his manuscript down over Pete/Desmond's box. BEARDED AMERICAN Heather, this one's gonna make a million for you. Overnight. -it's title is 'Carrie'- HEATHER I would like a million, Mister King. -and Pete Best' smile fades as the door closes him out. FADE OUT

Last edited by callingit : 04-23-2011 at 10:15 AM. Reason: format
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Old 04-23-2011, 08:02 AM   #10
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Default Re: Open Challenge: Paperback Writer

Okay, so maybe I goofed trying to keep it literal. But it WAS fun.

EXT. ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE - DAY Small, squat houses line a long and winding road. Of course, it's threatening rain - it's England. JOHNNY LENIN (19), kicks at a mud clod with his army boot. It explodes on impact, spraying him with mud. A second youth walks with him - tall, gangly, pale. He almost disappears into the black overcoat he's wearing. Black Goth attire completes the picture. This is PALL MCCARTNEY (18). EXT. AUNT MINI-ME SMITH'S HOUSE The two head for the back door and unlace their boots. JOHNNY Aunt Mini-me says she can get me a job at the stockyard. PALL Only two jobs for new blokes - dehorning cows or shoveling manure. INT. JOHNNY'S ROOM Pall turns sad, hound dog eyes on Johnny. PALL So, whatcha gonna do? Johnny grabs a box containing a manuscript. JOHNNY I want to be a paperback writer . PALL Paperback writer??? (considering it)_ Paperback writer. Capital. How're you gonna get 'em to read it? Johnny holds up the first page from the stack. JOHNNY "Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?" -- Pall rips the page out of his hands. PALL Are you daft?! Every sodding writer says that! He grabs Johnny by the shoulders. PALL (CONT'D) It's like the stockyard, mate. You're either grabbing the bull by the horns, or you're sitting back at the arse-end, waiting for something to happen. Pall's grabbing clothes out of Johnny's dresser. PALL (CONT'D) You've got to go to them! Show up unannounced at their doorstep and demand that they read your book! EXT. LONDON ALLEY Pall is using spirit gum to attach a false beard to Johnny's face. He doesn't have enough and has to spread it thin. INT. AARP PUBLISHING OFFICE As the AARP PUBLISHER sits in his chair, Johnny's heavy into his spiel. But the false beard is flapping at the edges. JOHNNY It took me years to write, will you take a look? EXT. AARP PUBLISHING OFFICE Johnny, now clutching the fake beard in his hand, runs out - pursued by the AARP Publisher brandishing a cane. EXT. ACME ROMANCE PUBLISHING OFFICE Pall's placing a Fabio wig onto Johnny's head. As Johnny unbuttons the top half of his shirt, Pall uses Elmer's Glue to paste the fake beard onto Johny's chest. INT. ACME ROMANCE PUBLISHING OFFICE The ROMANCE PUBLISHER is all agog as Johnny holds his manuscript, acting out a scene. JOHNNY It's based on a novel by a man named Lear. She's practically panting. Until the Fabio wig slips forward over Johnny's face. Then she lunges forward, rips his "chest hair" off. EXT. ACME ROMANCE PUBLISHING OFFICE Johnny runs out, screaming and clutching his chest. EXT. BUS STOP - LATER Pall and Johnny stand next to a banker, GEORGE (50s). Standing next to him and holding a couple of raincoats is GEORGE'S HAIRY SON (16), who's talking with Johnny. JOHNNY ...And I need a job so I want to be a paperback writer. GEORGE Paperback writer. Ha! The sky lets loose with a pouring rain. George ignores it. His son hands a raincoat to Johnny. GEORGE'S HAIRY SON He never wears a mac. INT. R. U. SMUTTY PUBLISHING HOUSE Johnny enters, wearing the raincoat. And, from the looks of his bare legs, apparently no pants. JOHNNY It's the dirty story of a dirty man. And his clinging wife doesn't understand. EXT. STREET Pall, Johnny and George's Hairy Son stand around, dejected. PALL He's been working for the Daily Mail. It's a steady job, but he wants to be a paperback writer. EXT. EPIC LENGTH PUBLISHING COMPANY Pall opens a ream of new copy paper and inserts it into the middle of Johnny's pages. INT. EPIC LENGTH PUBLISHING COMPANY Johnny's manuscript bulges out of the box. JOHNNY It's a thousand pages, give or take a few. I'll be writing more in a week or two. I can make it longer if you like the style, I can change it round. I want to be a paperback writer. In the b.g. appears a GREEK CHORUS, composed of AUNT MINI-ME (short, squat, 50s), Pall, and George's Hairy Son. GREEK CHORUS Paperback writer! INT. FAMOUS MOVIES PRODUCTION COMPANY Johnny, trying to look like Terrance Mulloy. JOHNNY If you really like it you can have the rights. It could make you millions overnight. Hands the PRODUCER a business card. With his name and address written on it in pencil. JOHNNY (CONT'D) If you must return it, you can send it here. The producer takes the card, grimaces, flips it over. It's really from the hiring manager of the stockyard. EXT. FAMOUS MOVIES PRODUCTION COMPANY Johnny's being hustled off the lot by a security guard as he's trying to explain. JOHNNY But I need a break and I want to be a paperback writer! The Greek Chorus stands on the sidewalk, sunglasses on. GREEK CHORUS Paperback writer! A lorry drives by. On the side is printed: EPSTEIN PUBLISHING. RINGO, WEST YORKSHIRE. GEORGE'S HAIRY SON Where's Ringo? FADE OUT:

Last edited by DangoForth : 04-23-2011 at 09:46 AM. Reason: durned formatting and changed an I to a U
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