One of my 2020 writing goals was to write my first screenplay but that didn't happen. Fast-forward to July 2021, and I've finally done it. This short was based on a writing prompt from the instructor and the requirement was NO DIALOGUE.
What I've learned about screenwriting so far is that it's almost the other side of the coin from novel writing. The character's head stories are silent, and can only be shown by expression, or gesture and the literary prose is limited. It's also a different approach to scene definition, since, in a story, I can show their progression from one place to another, even listen to their mental ramblings as they go about their day, but in a screenplay, unless the person is rambling aloud, we won't hear their thoughts. Also, the camera won't follow the person from point A to point B. They'll leave them at the restaurant then pick them back up at home...
So, here it is, the first of who knows how many screenplays I will write:
“NOT OUR DAY”
Screenplay by Holly Manno
This screenplay is the property of
Distribution to any unauthorized person is prohibited.
INTERIOR-Glitzy High-rise building-at night, 2021
The building is elegant, with marble floors and contemporary furnishings. The second-floor mezzanine that leads to the executive suites, has a wide mouth at the top of a stairway and a corridor where the restrooms and offices are located.
A janitor is mopping marble floors on the second level of a high-rise building. The floors are slick since he used a little too much product tonight, and he decided not to put out the “Caution, Wet Surface” sign because it’s late and he’s alone. After finishing the floors above the stairway, he makes his way down the hall, props open the restroom door and begins to work. He hears a man holler.
TOP OF THE STAIRS
The janitor runs toward the sound.
The janitor jogs in the direction of the scream, looking anxiously and retraces his steps toward the stairs. Upon arrival, he stops abruptly. He can see that the CEO has fallen. He lay sprawled on the first landing. His leg is contorted awfully and he isn’t moving.
The janitor wipes his hands down his pants and paces nervously. He lunges toward the stairs but hesitates to study the phone he’s fished from his pocket. After a second, he puts the phone away and slowly descends the stairs. As he draws near, he can see the CEO is breathing. He gets close to touching him then pulls back. His expression flashes panic then resignation as he, once again, removes his cell from his pocket, and this time dials 9-1-1.
EXTERIOR – IN FRONT OF THE BUILDING
Ambulance lights flash and the CEO is strapped to a stretcher. The janitor stands in front of the building. A police officer and a corporate-looking woman question the janitor as he stares at the pavement. The corporate-looking woman extends her hands. The janitor detaches his badge from his pocket and gives it to the woman. The janitor’s shoulders slump as he turns and walks away.