First-Place Winner, November 2009 - April 2010
Screenplay Contest – Teleplay/Short Series
Written by Tristam A. Thomas
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
From early childhood stories meant everything to me. Growing up, I had the opportunity to meet numerous film directors and producers (my father happens to be a film score composer), and by watching them work I became genuinely inspired. These experiences forged my affection for the film industry and the idea of using the medium of film to tell stories and shape an audience’s emotional response.
In referral to my writing abilities, actor John Sessions wrote; “Tris has an eye and ear for the macabre and has lots of potential”.
Another of my life’s passion is acting. I believe there is a multitude of characters inside all of us and the world truly is a stage on which to cast them. I have acted in school and amateur dramatic productions since as long as I can remember, but to me true characterization comes from living, not from rehearsing.
I am currently studying for a BA (Hons) degree in film production at the Arts University College, Bournemouth and hope to graduate next year.
I am truly grateful for the opportunity you have given me.
Additional Writer Information:|
LIFE, CAMERA, ACTION!
The story is about a young man named Marvin who suffers from a reclusive, psychotic disorder and a misplaced obsession with Diana Ross. He is desperate for companionship and understanding, but is prevented by the mental pressure of having spent his life being locked in his bedroom by his bible-bashing parents. Things are then complicated further when he runs away from home, and his veil of sanity begins to slip when introduced to a stripper named Cindy who is the embodiment of a young Diana Ross. Reality and voyeuristic fiction truly begin to blend in a sexually infused cocktail of film and documentary through the eyes of a killer.
The Shooting People screenplay, copyright, and story idea below is owned by Tristam A. Thomas. No copying of any of the below pages is allowed unless approved by owner.
INT. MARVIN'S CAR. NIGHT
Credits over MARVIN driving in his car. He is singing aloud to 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' by Diana Ross. Every now & then he checks his rear view mirror and smiles.
aaaahh ahh aah aaaah!
We see the passion in his face as he sings.
oooooooo ooo ooooooo
MARVIN looks in the rear view mirror and holds his gaze, as if singing to someone sat in the back seat.
If you need me, call me. No matter
where you are, no matter how far.
Just call my name, I'll be there in
a hurry, on that you can depend and
The CAMERA tracks up to the rear view mirror, in the back seat we see a girl, a pretty girl about twenty one years of age. She is bound and gagged and screaming for dear life.
Tears of makeup stream down her face as she struggles desperately to get loose.
Pan back to MARVIN, still singing.
Can't stop me baby, If you are my
go-oooaaal! Aaaaahh ahh aah
FADE TO BLACK.
EXT. INTERVIEW IN THE PARK. DAY
MARVIN is lit in true interview fashion. The camera locked off on a tripod and the background is soft focus. He has a smile on his face and looks happy and comfortable. He speaks with absolute freedom, but his eyes blink almost uncontrollably.
There's that one about Freudian
Two guys are sat at a bar and one
says to the other: "y'know, I hate
those fuckin Freudian slips. The
other day me and the wife were
getting a train to Pitsburg and I
went up to the booth and the girl
there had these huge tits and
instead of saying 'can I have two
tickets to Pitsberg?' I said 'can I
have two pickets to Titsberg?'"
The other guy chuckles to himself
and says "I know what you mean. The
other day I was leaving the house
and instead of saying 'Mother, I'll
be back in an hour' I said 'BITCH,
YOU RUINED MY LIFE!'"
He laughs long and hard to himself.
CUT TO: BLACK
CUE MUSIC AND OPENING CREDITS
EXT. OUTSIDE MARVIN'S HOUSE. DAY
MARVIN stands talking to the CAMERA. He is wearing glasses and has only a moustache, he looks about twenty three years of age and dresses like a 1990’s throwback. When he speaks we can hear hints of a Welsh accent. He has a small video camera in his hands and is trying hard to fix it.
Fuckin', piece, you.
He slaps the camera and gives up on fixing it.
Once I get this fixed then it's
justa matter of time, y'know. Then
just got to make the film and we'll
be out in Hollywood, man. It's just a
matter of time.
No it's good to be out. Good to be
out good to be out.
(inhales a deep breath)
Good to be out in the fresh air.
He smiles proudly at the CAMERA.
INT. MARVIN'S HOUSE. DAY
MARVIN is giving us the tour of the house. At regular nervous intervals he picks up different items and shows them to the CAMERA. He passes a bird cage with a beautiful Eastern Rosella parrot sat inside. MARVIN pauses and glares at the bird.
This is Tallula. Don't pay any
attention to her, she'll just waste
(to the BIRD)
Isn't that right.
(he looks disgusted)
Sat there all high and mighty like
you're something big.
MARVIN aggressively squares up to the cage.
With a twinkle in her eye, THE BIRD stares relentlessly back at him.
That's what I thought. That's why
you're in the cage.
He moves on.
We enter his bedroom, it is small and covered in posters and memorabilia of Diana Ross, in her prime.
Noticing the camera noticing the posters MARVIN speaks
Ah yeah, Diana.
He nods, smiling knowingly at the camera.
Diana probably wasn't very happy at all when Mary & Cindy were shoulder-to-shoulder with her. After all, that would mean the audience is seeing all of them as equals as opposed to background scenery, which Diana would have preferred. I'm sure we all remember the Motown 25 incident when Mary & Cindy did this same thing, and you know what happened next!
INT. MARVIN'S HOUSE. NIGHT
MARVIN is alone in his home watching the TELEVISION – still manically trying to fix the video camera. He is watching a black and white romance movie and the scene is of a MAN romancing a WOMAN.
Hold on his expression.
EXT. STREET. DAY
We follow MARVIN from behind as he walks, with some difficulty down the street. He glances over his shoulder and notices the CAMERA. As we catch up with him we see that he has a TELEVISION in his arms.
Oh what that? It's a television.
A soft woman's voice speaks, as if coming from the CAMERA.
Can I ask where you're taking it?
I'm returning it.
INT. ELECTRONICS SHOP. DAY
MARVIN stumbles into the shop and drops the television on the floor. The INDIAN SHOP OWNER comes bundling out from behind the counter. He is furious.
THE SHOP OWNER
This bloody guy! Why you come back
MARVIN stands back, stunned.
I would like to return this
THE SHOP OWNER
Return it! You bloody stole this
one! For a third bloody time.
He hustles MARVIN out of the door.
THE SHOP OWNER (CONT’D)
Go on! Get out! I tell you this is
the last time you do this, you
hear! You get out of my shop.
THE SHOP OWNER (CONT’D)
Bloody bastard guy!
THE INDIAN SHOP OWNER pushes the lens of the CAMERA down as we
INT. MARVIN'S CAR. DAY
MARVIN has parked his car outside a GARDEN CENTRE. We watch him from the passenger seat biting his nails, patiently waiting for something.
When he feels the time is right he exits the car. Looks around and suddenly bolts towards the entrance of the GARDEN CENTRE. From the passenger seat we witness him grab an assortment of potted plants from the display outside the shop.
Frantically, he bundles as many as he can into his arms and runs straight back to the car. The pots fall all around him and smash on the road as he runs. Dazed people begin to exit the shop watching MARVIN sprint away.
He throws the remaining few into the back of his car, jumps into the driver's seat and speeds away. As the GARDEN CENTRE disappears into the distance a slow smile emerges across his
OFF SCREEN we hear the WOMAN'S SOFT MOTHERLY voice.
Why do you think you steal things?
EXT. INTERVIEW IN THE PARK. DAY
I don't steal things. I'll take
You can't return the ones that were
After a moments pause MARVIN replies.
I could fix them.
Do you need money?
I have a job.
EXT. MR TICKLE'S. NIGHT
ESTABLISHING SHOT of MR TICKLE'S strip joint. A giant neon sign flashes above the entrance. It is of Sir Mr Tickle of the 'Mr Men' books with a crude smile on his face and his hand up a woman's skirt - she blushes excitedly.
This is it.
INT. MR TICKLE'S. NIGHT
MARVIN shuffles in through the entrance wearing a white 'Tommy Bahama' shirt with blood red shoulder stitching. Two bouncers are stood mumbling to each other, they both stop and watch in silence as MARVIN moves past.
We follow through the lobby, up the stairs and into the bar. Music booms louder every step MARVIN takes until it finally blares out when he opens the door.
INT. MR TICKLE'S - CONT'D. NIGHT
The bar is filled with clients and dancers. MARVIN shuffles awkwardly across the room, trying to be invisible. He makes his way into a back room which has more strippers in it than the bar itself. As MARVIN enters they briefly stop what they are doing to acknowledge him.
They all carry on with what they were doing. None acknowledge him.
MARVIN continues into yet another back room which is the MANAGER'S OFFICE. We hear the sound of the manager, MARCUS snorting a long hard line of something. He throws his head
back as he comes into our view. For a moment he sits, convulsing from the line. Then casually, as if nothing has happened he sits forward and looks sternly at MARVIN.
There's sick in one of the bins.
Clean it out.
MARVIN leaves the room immediately. The CAMERA stays holding on MARCUS.
(shouting after him)
And change your shirt! You look
like a fuckin' tampon!
EXT. MR TICKLE'S. NIGHT
MARVIN is holding a bin in one hand and a hose pipe in the other. Water is spraying everywhere and the bin keeps tipping over.
We hear the voice over from MARVIN'S interview
Do you like your job?
Do you like yours?
EXT. INTERVIEW IN THE PARK. DAY
Watch people all day, everyday? I
love watching people I do. I tell
you if I could have one super power
it would be to be able to see
everything, all at the same time.
One camera on me
(he points to the camera)
And one on everyone else, like on
I love the tele, watching the tele
y'know. Fascinates me the way they
string it all together. When I was
young my mother took me to a
television studio when they were
doing that show. But we watched it
from inside the actual studio bit,
where they control the cameras
from. And I remember watching the
Director just sliding from one shot
to the next, some dissolved, some
span, some just straight cut, gawh
he was like a surgeon! He had an
eye on every lens, he could see
I'm not sure.
To always hear what people are
saying about you?
I'm not stupid. I know what people
say about me.
INT. MARCUS' OFFICE. NIGHT
MARCUS is interviewed in his office with a bald half naked woman on his lap. He delicately places an acid tab under his eyelid, SCREAMING with pain as he does it. She has a line.
Once the tab is in place he casually leans back as if nothing has happened and calmly says
He's a moron. But he's on £3.75 so
what you gonna do.
There's a knock at the door and MARVIN walks in.
You didn't hear that did you?
EXT. OUTSIDE MR TICKLE'S. NIGHT
Two BOUNCERS stand next to each other in silence in front of the CAMERA. Finally one of them speaks
MARVIN walks out from behind them with a full bin bag, just missing what they are saying.
INT. INSIDE MR TICKLE'S. NIGHT
Two STRIPPERS giggle to each other and talk to the CAMERA.
Attractive!? What, that fat little
so n so?
Wouldn't sit on his face if he
fuckin' paid me.
He'd have to, mind you.
Well I'm just sayin' he'd have to.
I mean, look at it.
The CAMERA pans to show MARVIN stood feet away listening to their entire conversation.
STRIPPER TWO (CONT’D)
Who's gonna get wet from that?
MARVIN looks solemnly into the CAMERA and walks on.
EXT. GRAVEYARD. DAY
A grieving MOTHER and her two young sons stand over the grave of their newly buried father and husband. The MOTHER places a bouquet of flowers down on the grave. So overcome with
emotion she hurries her boys back to the car O/S. We hold on the GRAVE.
MARVIN ambles into the frame. He snatches the bouquet from the grave and shouts after the MOTHER
The MOTHER and her sons pause and turn.
MARVIN holds for eye contact then sprints off in the opposite direction. We follow him to see that his car is parked at the nearby entrance to the graveyard.
The MOTHER runs after him, but as he speeds away into the distance she hopelessly drops to her knees in a flood of tears. Her two young sons standing by.
EXT. MILLFIELD PREPARATORY BOARDING SCHOOL. NIGHT
MARVIN creeps in though the entrance of the prep school. Weary of who is watching him. He rushes through the grounds to a forest on the far side of the campus.
EXT. FOREST. NIGHT
We stalk MARVIN as he walks through the shadows of the forest. Armed only with a torch he constantly looks around, over his shoulder and up into the trees.
Eventually he reaches a small shack hidden deep in the forest and camouflaged in leaves and branches.
MARVIN pulls out a key on a piece of string around his neck and quietly opens the padlock on the door. The darkness consumes him as he steps inside. He hangs his torch from the roof of the shack.
The little light falling through the cracks in the roof spills onto a large covered mound inside the shack, covered in military camouflage rags. MARVIN takes the rags in one hand and rips them off. He turns to the CAMERA and ushers it inside.
You have to see this.
As we move through the darkness of the doorway and into the light of the shack we see beams of light shining off symbols and toms. A beautiful shimmering DRUM KIT sits hidden in the shack, deep in the forest.
MARVIN sits at the kit and smiles warmly to himself.
He starts to play 'Come See About Me' by Diana Ross with absolute ease and as he plays her song begins to join in.
From outside the shack we listen while MARVIN effortlessly plays on with Diana into the night.
INT. MARVIN'S HOUSE. DAY
MARVIN is showing us 'Come See About Me' performed by Diana Ross and The Supremes on Youtube. MARVIN laughs to himself and imitates Diana
'Come see about me'.
He smiles and turns to the CAMERA.
Diana probably wasn't very happy at
all when Mary & Cindy were shoulderto-
shoulder with her. After all, it would
mean that the audience is seeing all of
them as equals as opposed to background
scenery, which Diana would have
preferred. I'm sure we all remember
the Motown 25 incident when Mary &
Cindy did this same thing, and you
know what happened next!
He stares lovingly into the screen.
Look at her. Always smiling. If
only I could put Diana in the
movie. That would be the one.
INT. MARVIN'S HOUSE CONT'D. DAY
MARVIN is writing a letter on a scrappy piece of paper with a broken pencil. We hear the words he is writing as a V/O, but fragmented as if being read by an infant.
Dear Mother, I am writing to let
you know that I am safe and happy.
The days seem to be rolling into
one on recently. I have not had
much sleep in the last few days,
but I intend to have a long rest
when the film is finished.
Holloywood is everything you would
expect it to be. The streets are
littered with stars. It is so nice
to be surrounded by like-minded
individuals. Just the other day I
saw Woody Harrelson - he asked me
for the time. I Hope that you will
attend the premiere even though I
know it is not your bag. I am
thinking of you always and pray for
the day that we will all be
together again, out here, living
the life that I have built. Love.
He scribbles out the last bit and writes in its place
MARVIN V/O (CONT’D)
Your son. Marvin Rumney.