Cramming and Writing…

 

So, I’m sitting here in Mackinaw Hall at Grand Valley State University trying to develop a short story script. I have a rough idea of what I want, but it’s difficult to figure out to put it onto paper. I have to present this idea in a five minute proposal to my class.

The idea is very simple, and admittedly, copied off of another great short film that I found last semester while researching short films. I have , of course, changed the story and characters quite a bit, however the form and style of the production is very similar. I find it’s easier to change existing material than it is to come up with new stuff, when you have little time to devote to the project. The great part about this venture is that I never have to actually produce this work, because it’s for the scriptwriting course. The only thing that is important is the writing of the script itself, which makes this much easier.

I think I’ll write about a solider, Aaron, who has come home from his tours in Iraq. The ex-marine is at his daughter’s 5th birthday party and there are balloon animals, colorful streamers, fluffy animals, toys, and of course 10-20 screaming children running around having fun. He arrives home from work to this chaos of a house after a long day. He’s wearing a blue business suit, and grasping a black leather briefcase. He heads into his bedroom to change his clothes and be ready for the party that is already taking place.

 

While inside his room, Aaron will notice photos of his family and friends on the wall above the dresser. There, among the various photos and medals hanging proud, is a small photo of First Lieutenant James Towers, A proud man next to Aaron pictured in full uniform along with half a dozen of his fellow marines. The photo stops Aaron where he stands, and encourages him to grab for it. He pulls it off the wall and looks at it for a moment, completely absorbed in the memory.

The film takes the viewer from this point through a short four minute scene into Aaron’s memory of a time on the battlefield in Iraq. The two men along with a handful of brothers in arms are trapped in a small house in the middle of the city with gunfire going off all around them. They yell back and forth to each other about what they can see and where the enemy is located, and then James comes out from behind the cover of the thin walls and fires four rounds at opposing insurgents across the street, wounding one and distracting two more enemies that proceed to help their injured comrade. Aaron takes this opportunity to move out the backdoor and around the building, supplying cover fire for James as he rolls out of the house and takes post behind a small broken down vehicle.

James’s weapon, however, doesn’t fair him well, as ammo decreases to zero, and he now faces countering attacks from across the street. He is hit in the left shoulder and square in the chest. The multiple impacts force him to the ground. James sees what has happened and opens fire on the men across the street, hitting another square in the face as he moves to help Aaron.

The pain is great. The second round has been completely absorbed by his vest, however the round that found his shoulder has missed it entirely, and has gone straight through. He lays on his back and James attends to him, assessing his injuries as five more marines quickly run past them into covering positions. He picks Aaron up over his own shoulder and runs him around a nearby house to safety.

From here, the two men will exchange some dialogue that discloses information about their past together in the service. The words such as “I’ll be alright” and that jazz will of course be said, but the main point of the dialogue in this piece will be to describe to the viewer just how close these two men have grown to become friends, and how their experiences together has shaped who they have become today. The line “it’s about time I get the chance to save your ass” will inevitably come from James, informing the viewers that Aaron is usually the one doing all the heroics between the two. Closeups on the mens’ faces as they speak to one another will place the viewer into the intense relationship between them, and their short punctual joke in the middle of the dialogue will allow people to relate to them. They babble back at each other with memories of a girl they met, and how much “more of a man he’d be in her eyes with lead in his shoulder.”

The film will fade back to present day, when Aaron’s wife, Jen, comes into the room and gives him a big hug and asks how his day at work was. A slight grin will come, and he’ll reply “I’ve seen worse days” as he turns to look at her.

With a short kiss, Jen says “He’s here”

“Already?” He looks up to see James standing in the doorway of his bedroom. “Hey Bro!”

…or something like that. I haven’t worked out everything yet, of course… but I suppose it’s a start. I was going to type this all up on the computer and stuff, but I figured it’s just as useful here and I can share it this way.

Charlie Pryor

Charlie is a media producer, writer, and a traveler. He grew up in Michigan, all of his life and attended Grand Valley State University for a B.S. in Film and Video Production. He's married to a wonderful woman named Hang, and simply hopes to one day turn himself into a man that many will remember long after he's gone.

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