The Visibility - Script Extract

Thanks for all your nice feedback on a story I posted last year. Rachel Fox mentioned in her comment that it might make a good TV Play. Funnily enough, I have spent some time working it up as a short film script.

So I thought it might be fun to also show you just a few pages of that.

Some of the original script-formatting has been lost on the way to the blog-page.

Oh, can I also just warn you that there is quite a bit of strong language in this extract. So if that sort of thing bugs you, perhaps you might call back next time.

I promise I'll be better behaved then.




FADE IN:

Int--night--driving in a car.


The windscreen wipers are going fast. Lots of rain is coming down.

The headlights are on full beam but still they hardly put a dent in the gloomy road unfolding before the car.

Maurice (V.O. Darkness)
I knew I had to kill him. I just didn't know how...


Int--day--The Confessional


It is dark.

A panel slides back revealing the dimly-lit silhouette of the priest in the next booth.

Priest
Yes?

Maurice
Bless me father, I have sinned.

Priest
Yes?

Maurice
It is twenty-seven years since my last confession.

An awkward silence.

Priest
Yes?

Maurice
I've forgotten the 'Act of Contrition', father.

Priest
I'm sure we'll find a way around that, Maurice.

Maurice
You know who I am.

Priest
It's only a bit of chicken-wire that's between us.

Maurice
And the seal of confession.

Priest
That too. Tell God your sins.

Maurice struggles inwardly.

Maurice
I killed a man.

Priest
Now Maurice, we all know that was an accident...

Maurice
Are you my priest or my fuckin' judge?

Priest
Carry on so.

Maurice
He was my neighbour. I knew I had to kill him. I just didn't know how.

Ext--day--A pasture--running down to a river

A beautiful summer's day. The grass is long and the fast-flowing river looks cool and inviting.

Maurice (v.o.)
I had all the land I needed, except for the river pasture.

Int-- evening --the pub

CLOSE UP of a tattered old Ordnance Survey map being slammed onto the beer-soaked bar counter.

Maurice (o.s.)
One Two five. Final word.

LUDLOW looks up from his pint and into Maurice's eyes.

Ludlow
Sure it's not worth half that.

Maurice
Still and all. It's a one time offer. Take it or leave it.

Ludlow sups his pint.

Ludlow
I'll leave it so.

The bar echoes with quiet laughter. All the customers have been listening.

Maurice
Why won't you sell? You don't use it for anything.

Ludlow drapes a comradely arm around Maurice's shoulder.

Ludlow
I'm an old man, Maurice, I've few pleasures left to me.

He leans in conspiratorially.

Ludlow (cont'd)
Watching you fuckin' squirmin' is one of them.

Maurice gets up storms off to the toilet. A young man, MILES, leaves the table of guys he was drinking with and follows Maurice out.

Int--evening --the toilet

MAURICE is having a piss against the stainless steel urinal.

MILES comes and stands beside him. He unzips.

Miles
He's an old prick.

Maurice
He is.

Miles
He coughs and chokes all night these nights.

Maurice
Does he?

Miles
When he dies, I'll sell it to you.

Maurice
Will you?

Miles
I will. For the price you mentioned.

Maurice
Right. Good man.

Miles
It'll have to be index linked though.

Maurice
What?

Miles
The price, index linked, yeah?

Maurice
What's that?

Miles
I don't know.

Maurice
Index linked it'll be so.

He extends a hand. Miles eyes it warily.

Miles
Maybe we'll have a bit of a wash first.

Int--day--the doctor's surgery

MAURICE has his shirt up around his neck while McQUAID, the doctor, listens to his chest.

McQuaid
Smoke?

Maurice
Yeah.

McQuaid
Drink?

Maurice
Yeah.

McQuaid
How many units?

Maurice
Seven pints or so.

McQuaid
A week?

Maurice looks at him as if he is mad.

McQuaid
Christ.

He motions for Maurice to dress himself.

McQuaid
You're as well as you can hope for.

Maurice turns his back while tucking in his trousers.

Maurice
Better than old Ludlow so.

McQuaid
Who?

Maurice
Ludlow. I heard he was bad.

McQuaid shakes his head.

McQuaid
The man's an ox. He'll bury us all.


(c) Ken Armstrong

14 comments:

Fiendish said...

I have yet to go back and read the prose piece, but I really like this. As usual, the dialogue is snappy, and in fact I think this is a kind of atmospheric piece. Well done :)

Jenaisle said...

So this is how it is done....It is like doing a comic strip..you describe the scene and then put in the dialogue.... as usual, I'm laughing in spite of the theme of the story. Your dialogue is snappy. and I'm not use to the language as you have warned, but... I enjoyed it anyhow.

It would be great as a short TV show . Thanks for sharing.

Rachel Fox said...

Yes, I like this more in this form. The short, sharp, nasty dialogue and the dirty details...it all works well. I can smell their bad breath from here.

CelloBella said...

That was fun. And interesting.

You seemed to add more humour in the script... the loo scene for example.

:)

It's very same same but different.

Very interesting to see the differences between script and prose.

Thanks

Sarah :: Grammar and Spelling Tips said...

It reads like a dream. I can imagine it as a great piece on the television!

Great work!

Dave King said...

Yes, I enjoyed this, too. I also laughed a lot - but don't ask me which version I preferred!

Ken Armstrong said...

There is more humour in the screenplay - I have to struggle hard not to try for laughs.

I kind of like the script myself - I was pleased that it veered away from literally placing the story on the screen and sought ways to 'show' the plot developments rather than simply 'tell' them like the story does.

BTW, if you're passing through and seeking some quality writing, have a click on 'fiendish's comment at the top of this post then click through to her site. 'Some fine writing going on over there.

Rachel Fox said...

Trying for laughs is natural if you know you can be funny. Some people couldn't be funny if they tried their whole life so if you can...enjoy it. People need laughs...and laughs in amongst serious subjects are particularly effective. Why fight it..

Kimmie said...

The plot thickens! I liked this very much, now I need to read the story. I usually like to read first, but I am getting tired. I will come back and read some more. Very nice piece, colorful? I am an American, your take on colorful is much different in England. ;-) Cheers!
Kimmie

Jena Isle said...

Hi Ken,

Reading this the second time still made me laugh..lol..I still cringed at the language, but it was made funny and not "dirty".

The touch of a master...twitted you too.

hope said...

I've finally figured out what it is EXACTLY that I love about your writing style...dialog! Sometimes we as the writer get in the way trying to fill in the details when if "we" would shut up and let the players talk, the story would progress more smoothly.

I've always enjoyed writing dialog more than storyline...maybe I should enroll in your course on "How to Write a Play". ;)

Laura said...

I like it. It isn't dumbed down as so many things seem to be. As if we all have the attention span and intellect of a flea circus.

Susan said...

Hey, that works beautifully! I loved the opening in the confessional especially--great back-and-forth. Good luck with finishing up the whole thing; I'd love to see this one produced.

Ken Armstrong said...

Thanks for kind words. There is some possibility that this might get made someday.

I'd like that.

Meanwhile, short film, Channel 31 starts shooting early early July - post on this soon. Promise.