Film Scriptwriter

Film Scripts by Alan Howarth

There’s a lot of pseudo-theories about producing a film script. What it really comes down to is one question. Can you tell a story or not?

I guess I’m a sucker for film writing theory books – I must have read them all, and I guess they do help – but only after I’ve written the first, or maybe second or fifth, draft.

They help solve problems, but that’s all – they can’t make you a natural storyteller.

One of the best selling books is Robert Mckee’s ‘Story’ – the title says it all!

I think there are two ways one learns the art of story telling – being told stories as a child and telling stories to children.

Children are the harshest critics – sure, they can suspend disbelief, but they demand a good story – both in structure and content.

They also give you the chance to constantly re-edit your story, they like a story repeated and they’ll allow your to change the story, but it had better be a better story.

Film Script: It’s Now or Never

So, c’mon Alan, put your money where your mouth is.

O.K. Here’s one I wrote earlier. Give it a read, let me know what you think, please.

I’m available for commissions. . . . call me.

(For the newbie – OS means Off Screen.)

FADE IN:

INT. JONES’S HOUSE. GWEN’S BEDROOM – NIGHT
The smaller bedroom of a two-up-two-down terrace, It’s the early hours GWEN, aged 9, is woken by the back door opening followed by raised voices – even before the door is closed her mother MRS JONES ranting at her father downstairs.

MRS JONES (O.S.)
How much longer are you going to carry on this disgusting behaviour?

CUT TO:

INT. JONES’S HOUSE. KITCHEN – CONTINUOUS
Prim and neat kitchen of the two up two down terrace, the wife is house proud in a plain, utilitarian sort of way. Mrs Jones is angry, her husband TOM JONES is trying to appease her.

TOM JONES (O.S.)
(Occasional calming interjections)
Calm down Pet.

MRS JONES
(Angry)
Dressing up like you do, wearing that make-up and jewelry it’s not right I tell you. You’re a father and a husband. What do you think the neighbours are saying about you, and about me.

TOM JONES (O.S.)
It’s just something I’ve got to do …please, try to understand.

MRS JONES
It’s wrong. I tell you Thomas Jones,

CUT TO:

INT. JONES’S HOUSE. GWEN’S BEDROOM – CONTINUOUS
Gwen remains in bed.

MRS JONES (O.S.)
I was brought up religious like and it’s something you got to stop right now, or I’m leaving you, and that’s a fact.

GWEN
(softly mixed with tears)
Mummy please stop shouting. Oh daddy I love you,

Gwen quietly cries herself to sleep as the shouting fades.

FADE TO BLACK:

FADE IN:
INT. JONES’S HOUSE. GWEN’S BEDROOM – NIGHT

Gwen is an early teenager now, she lies awake, she’s masturbating. She hears the back door open and close, then downstairs her mother starts shouting.

MRS JONES (O.S.)
It’s always been the same with you. This dressing up and carrying on wearing all that make-up. .

CUT TO:

INT. JONES’S HOUSE. KITCHEN – CONTINUOUS

MRS JONES
. . and jewelry. Why can’t you stop it? It’s wicked! It’s no way for a father, or a husband, to behave. I’m so ashamed. What d’you think the neighbours say?

TOM JONES (O.S.)
But Gwen, love, I need to do it. I can’t live without it. Try and understand.

MRS JONES
I won’t. And let me tell you Thomas Jones..

CUT TO:

INT. JONES’S HOUSE. GWEN’S BEDROOM – CONTINUOUS

MRS JONES (O.S.)
..I was brought up religious like and it’s something you got to stop right now, or I’m leaving you and that’s a fact.
Gwen’s face turns to worried anger

GWEN
(To herself)
Oh for gods sake mam, leave dad alone – it doesn’t hurt anyone.

FADE TO BLACK:

FADE IN:

INT JONES’S HOUSE. GWEN’S BEDROOM – NIGHT
Gwen is 20 now.
She’s being quietly yet vigorously and poorly shagged.
By a spotty oik – SHANE.
She looks bored and impatient for it to be over.
She lights a fag.
Darren keeps banging away.
She takes another drag.
Downstairs the front door opens Mrs JONES starts shouting again as it closes.

MRS JONES (O.S.)
What time do you call this? I been waiting up half the night,

Gwen pushes Darren off.

MRS JONES (O.S.) (CONT’D)
You. Dressed up in your weird outfits . .
Gwen climbs out of bed.

SHANE
(Pleading)
Gwen? Lover? I’m nearly there. . .

Ignoring Darren, her T-shirt drops down covering her bum. She walks towards the door

MRS JONES
you out gallivanting. . .

Gwen stubs out the half smoked fag in an overflowing ashtray on a chaotic dressing table and walks purposefully out of her bedroom.

CUT TO:

INT JONES’S HOUSE. PARENT’S BEDROOM – CONTINUOUS
Downstairs the argument continues.
Gwen walks into the bedroom, grabs a suitcase . .

MRS JONES (O.S.)
. . .making a spectacle of yourself in front of god knows who.

Gwen starts throwing her mother’s clothes into it.

MRS JONES (CONT’D)

All the street talking about you. You in your make-up and jewelry.

TOM JONES (O.S.)
Gwen dearest, it makes me heart beat faster, it makes me come alive, after you and Gwennie it’s my whole life.

CUT TO:

INT. JONES’S HOUSE. GWEN’S BEDROOM – CONTINUOUS
Gwen sticks her head back into her room

GWEN
(To Shane)
You! Get dressed and fuck off!

CUT TO:

INT JONES’S HOUSE. STAIRWAY – CONTINUOUS
Gwen tumbles downstairs with the suitcase still overhearing argument and Darren calling.

SHANE (O.S.)
Come back Gwennie…

CUT TO:

INT JONES’S HOUSE. GWEN’S BEDROOM – CONTINUOUS
Shane sits in bed dazed and confused

SHANE
(slowly to himself)
Bloody hell . . I was just coming, an all . .
(He finishes himself off, comes on her bed)
Fuck her!

CUT TO:

INT JONES’S HOUSE. STAIRWAY – CONTINUOUS
Gwen heads down stairs with the suitcase.

MRS JONES (O.S.)
Well, let me tell you Thomas Jones

CUT TO:

INT JONES’S HOUSE. KITCHEN – CONTINUOUS

MRS JONES
I was brought up religious like and it’s something you got to stop right now,

Gwen bursts through the door

MRS JONES (CONT’D)
or
(looks round at Gwen)
(beat) I’m leaving you and that’s a fact.

Gwen dumps the suitcase at her mother’s feet.

GWEN
Mother, you know how many nights I’ve listened to this? Telling Dad how you was brought up religious like. Telling Dad how you’ll leave him. (beat – for reaction) Here’s your stuff. Now fuck off.

Gwen stands by her dad.

GWEN (CONT’D)
Give us a break, Mam. Just go. Let Dad live his life the way he needs to.

Mrs JONES too stunned to argue picks up the suitcase and heads unsteadily for the door.

MRS JONES
(looks at Tom)
I told you I’d leave you didn’t I. Well I did. And now I am. I’m going to my sister’s..

GWEN
Fuck off mother. (Beat)
Dad it’s OK, I love you, we’ll be OK

Gwen sees Shane standing in the doorway.

GWEN (CONT’D)
(to Shane)
I told you – fuck off.

(To Tom)

Dad it’s OK – the way you like to dress – the make-up – the jewelry – You look great – You’ve got one life – Live it – It’s now or never.

We see TOM JONES now for the first time – a five foot Elvis Presley look-alike, tight cat suit, weighed down with imitation gold jewelry and layers of orangey-brown fake tan – the full Las Vegas look

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. WORKING MENS CLUB – EARLIER THE SAME EVENING
Tom belts it out, Elvis style,: “It’s now or never . . . ”

CREDITS ROLL

FADE OUT