First-Place Winner, May - October 2014
Screenplay Contest - Teleplay/Short Series
"Life in the Fast Lane"
Written by Debi Calabro
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Debi’s passion for writing started at a very early age winning poetry contests in elementary school and looking forward to writing weekly letters to her “Grandpa Taft” a descendant of President Taft. She opted to skip college and go straight into the job market working her way up to branch manager at an international bank. During her time at the bank fellow employees often complemented her on how she has a knack for writing reports, memos, etc, leaving her to think that perhaps she should look into this writing thing.
After her first child, she stopped working and studied the art of screenwriting by reading many books on the topic and attended many creative writing and screenwriting courses. She wrote her first screenplay about fifteen years ago and gained representation fairly quickly at Earth Angels Literary Agency in Los Angeles. To date she has written seven feature film scripts in a few different genres and one TV pilot. She has a project in development at this time entitled, “Out of Brooklyn” with very prominent attachments. It is listed on IMDB.
About five years ago she’s become very involved in the sport of horse racing and is a proud owner of a filly who’s father was a Preakness winner. This prompted the idea of Life in the Fast Lane.
Additional Writer Information:
A diverse group of race horse fans are drawn together for better or worse.
Life in the Fast Lane is a TV pilot dramedy about three groups of people, a divorced couple and their wild teenage daughter, a gay couple and a billionaire couple.
Lead role, Sal, is usually in trouble with his ex-wife Sonia since he’s such a screw up but she’s still in love with him and often falls victim to his charming ways. The ongoing conflict between them is usually stirred up by their teenage daughter, Jessie. Sal enjoys taking Jessie to the track with him, something that drives Sonia completely crazy since Sonia is trying to steer Jessie away from anything unpractical and to get her interested in going to college. Jessie, being a chip off of Sal’s block, doesn’t want to hear it. At the track Jessie starts to admire very wealthy racehorse owner, Maria and wants to be just like her. Sal, who accidentally bumps into Maria one day at the track, tells her how much his daughter admires her. One thing leads to another and they eventually wind up in bed. Gay couple Ryan and Michael purchase their first racehorse with the commission Michael receives selling a very expensive house. They befriend Sal and Jessie at the track one day and wind up winning a big stakes race together and celebrate at an upscale racetrack restaurant. This new found friendship will set up the ground work for the next episode when Maria purchases a condo from Michael and he eventually finds out it’s her little love nest for her and Sal.
Other future episodes will include Maria’s husband, James, getting very suspicious of Sal and Maria, calls some of his friends from “the old neighborhood” to teach Sal a lesson. Maria becomes pregnant with Sal’s baby. She’s thrilled since James is sterile and having a baby is something she’s been yearning for. Sal is not as thrilled. Maria lies to James and tells him she was artificially inseminated.
Jessica finds out about this and has mixed feelings. Though she feels bad for her mom on one hand, she’s intrigued since now she will have an in with Maria on the other.
The season will end with Maria having the baby and dumping Sal leaving him to believe she only used him to have a baby.
With this disparate bunch of characters and the backdrop being the sport of horse racing there will be plenty of material to sustain a fun, endearing and entertaining show for years to come.
The Life in the Fast Lane screenplay, copyright, and story idea below are owned by Debi Calabro. No copying of any of the below pages is allowed unless approved by owner.
ESTABLISHING SHOT - BELMONT RACETRACK - DAY
INT. BELMONT RACETRACK - CASHIER WINDOW – DAY
SAL MANCUSO, 48, scruffy, lean built, strangely handsome with a
slight limp, wearing a very worn baseball cap with Yankees
logo, walks up to the cashier, HARRIET, 55, skinny white woman
with bad teeth and dyed black hair in an upsweep alla nineteen-fifties.
He pulls out his very used wallet and takes out a twenty.
Hello, Mr. Mancuso.
Hey Harriet. Twenty bucks on the five
horse to win.
You must have a lot of faith to put
all of that on one horse.
Got a hot tip.
She picks up a racing program, looks, then she shakes her head.
From who, the Easter Bunny? She’s the
longest shot on the board. What
happened to your handicapping system?
A hot tip’s a hot tip.
She looks at the program again.
A Pavese horse is running in the same
race. Why don’t you box your horse
The hell with Pavese.
She hands him his ticket.
Good luck, Sal.
Sal takes a deep, nervous breath then takes the ticket and
leaves the window.
EXT. STANDS - CONTINUOUS
Sal walks down steps then pulls down a stationary folding chair
and sits facing the track.
It’s post time!
Sal turns his cap around. He sees the FIVE HORSE fussing a
little about going into the starting gate.
The horse is the last to enter the gate. Now all the horses are
lined up inside the gate ready to go.
SFX: STARTING BELL; HORSES CRASH OUT OF THE GATE
And they’re off!
Sal watches intently.
The horses are running down the back stretch.
Sal rises to his feet as he watches the horses run around the
Come on. Come on.
The horses run past the clubhouse.
Sal’s almost out of control.
Yes! Yes! Yes! ...No! No! No!
The race is over. He plops down on his chair then turns his hat
A couple of MEN, look like regulars, walk up the steps toward
How’d ya do, Sal?
He puts a thumbs down.
Never bet against a Pavese horse.
They continue walking toward the club house with smart alec
grins. Sal rips up his ticket in little pieces and throws it in
the air like confetti.
WINNERS CIRCLE - SAMETIME
The winning horse enters the winners circle with it’s happy
owner’s, JAMES PAVESE, 45, short, average looking, decked out
in designer everything and his wife MARIA, 42, attractive, a
little taller than him probably because of the Christian
Louboution heels she wears and also sporting the fanciest
A couple of others enter the area and a picture is taken.
A SPOKESWOMEN, 35, sophisticated, steps over to James and Maria
holding a trophy with a horse on it.
I’d like to present Mr. And Mrs.
Pavese with this trophy on behalf of
the Whitney family.
She goes to hand James the TROPHY but Maria intervenes and
INT. BELMONT RACETRACK - CAFETERIA - A LITTLE LATER
Not your five star restaurant. A couple of people placing food
orders, a couple of others on line waiting and a few sitting
eating simple food items.
Sal sits alone at a table eating a burger and fries with a
racing form and a pen and paper. He appears to be working on
some serious mathematical equation.
SCARE CROW (45), scrawny black man, sits down at Sal’s table.
You still working on your handicapping
Hey, Scare Crow.
You know. I tried using your very
fancy method but I got nothing but a
lot of confetti.
I don’t remember giving any guarantees
but my system’s probably better than
hot tips or hunches.
Harry the Hat’s pissed. He used your
little system there and got burnt a
few times. You know Harry doesn’t like
to be burnt.
Again, I didn’t give any-
HARRY THE HAT (45) big as a house wearing a big hat is walking
toward Sal’s table. He’s with a couple of other THUGS, same age
but not quite the same size as huge Harry.
HARRY THE HAT
There you are you piece of shit.
He goes right over to Sal, picks him up from his shirt and
pulls him close to his face.
HARRY THE HAT
You guaranteed me your method works.
Scare Crow looks very surprised.
Sal quickly turns to Scare Crow. Scare Crow quickly gets up and
HARRY THE HAT
I lost two large using your fucked up
I’m trying to make it better. Look.
Sal points to the pad and paper with math scribbling on it.
Harry the Hat looks, picks up the pad still holding onto Sal.
He throws the pad down on the table then Sal onto his seat. A
couple of people look over but that’s about it.
HARRY THE HAT
It better work, Mancuso. You owe me.
He walks away. Sal continues to sit looking defeated.
END OF COLD OPENING
EXT. PAVESE MANSION - LONG ISLAND - LATER
Huge, perfectly manicured suburban mansion.
INT. ENTRYWAY - CONTINUOUS
Maria quickly enters her home carrying the trophy leaving the
door open. She disappears into the next room as James enters
and closes the door behind him.
Maria, I’m going to jump in the shower
to get ready for tonight.
He heads for the staircase.
James! Come here a minute!
He does what he’s told.
INT. LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS
Maria is staring at the trophy that’s now on a shelve with many
other trophies to do with horse racing. James enters.
Look at this.
James looks at the trophy collection.
You don’t see it?
James looks again.
What it are you talking about?
She points to the new trophy.
This horse has a penis.
James steps up to the trophy to take a better look then
chuckles a little.
Oh. Look at that. Very detailed.
Yeah, it’s very detailed alright.
Jenny’s Dream is a filly! The Whitney
is a race just for fillies! They gave
us a male horse trophy!
Maybe they ran out of girl horse
Marie looks blankly at James.
How did you ever become a billionaire?
James goes over and hugs her.
I couldn’t have done it without you
He gives her a kiss. She gives him a snooty little smile.
And don’t you forget it.
Maria quickly walks out of the room. James goes over to the
trophy again to take another look. He looks under the horse,
INT. ANDY’S BAR/RESTAURANT - LATER
Your normal neighborhood place where one would go to escape for
Sal’s sitting at the bar eating a hamburger and drinking a
beer. ANDY, 45, bartender/owner, heavy New York accent, is
leaning on the counter not too far from Sal. They watch a
Yankee game. A Yankee strikes out.
And they pay them millions to do that?
Remember how good you was in high
school? You could’ve been a Yankee if
it wasn’t for...well-
If I wasn’t a complete nut job as a
teenager and wrap my car around a
Yeah, that. They were fun days though.
Except for ...
Andy gestures towards Sal’s leg as Sal takes a big gulp of his
beer and continues to watch the game. Andy tends to another
CONNIE, 48, kind of scraggly but cute, enters the restaurant
wearing tight black pants and top. She sees Sal and quickly
fixes her hair with her fingers. She goes over to him and puts
her big tote bag on the chair next to him.
You got money on the game?
Connie pulls out a black apron from her bag and starts to put
it on as Sal takes a bite of his burger.
Go to the track today?
I’ve still never been to Belmont.
It’s fifteen minutes away. Why don’t
you just go?
I don’t want to go by myself. I
wouldn’t know what to do.
Ya just go to a window, place a bet
Connie smiles at his snide remark.
Are you still looking for a job?
Sal just gives her a, “what do you think” look.
Remember Fat Kim from high school?
Well, she’s not so fat anymore.
I ran into her the other day. She
married some big shot that works for
We exchanged numbers. I could give her
a call and see if her husband could do
something for you. I mean, baseball
was always your thing.
I’m not exactly young enough or fit
enough to be a ball player.
No. Not a player. Maybe something in
the office or, something like that.
You know more about the game then
anyone I know.
Sal smiles at her.
She just stares at him. The spell is broken when A YOUNG COUPLE
enters the restaurant. Connie picks up two menus.
You still have the same phone number?
She nods and goes over to the couple to greet and seat them.
Andy goes back over to Sal.
She’s had a crush on you since we was
Yeah, that’s what a need. Connie Fusco
in my life. It’s bad enough Sonia
thinks I had an affair with her.
Sonia. At least she was able to keep
you in line ...for awhile.
What a you mean? I’m in line.
Right, the line at OTB, Belmont, the
A right. A right.
He gets up, pulls out his wallet and opens it. Empty.
Oh, I could’ve sworn-
Forget about it.
I’m going to the track with Jessie
tomorrow. Maybe she’ll bring me luck
and we’ll come back for dinner with
Andy just looks at Sal with a slight smile.
Sal gives his friend a little nod and leaves. Connie watches
him walk out the door as she waits on the patrons.