Ideas for Screenplays

A MULTI-PURPOSE OPENING TO A MONSTER MOVIE OR A MOVIE ABOUT PERSONAL CRISIS

It’s a slow morning. Our protagonist, a twenty-something male, struggles out of bed. He’s obviously tired. He wipes his eyes out in front of the mirror and splashes water on his face, then he puts on shorts, a grey t-shirt, and running shoes. He wonders whether or not his body is capable of generating energy.

In a single shot our protagonist bounds out the front door of his basement apartment and up the concrete steps. He hits the street and starts running. Next shot, chest level. Houses pass us in the background. The day is warm and sunny, but it’s still early and the streets are deserted. A contemplative, eccentric, yet slightly upbeat song with French lyrics, sung by a male vocalist, plays in the background.

The runner stops. Something in the distance, away from the camera, worries him. He puts a single hand on his forehead to shield his eyes from the light. His uncertainty is jarring, especially in contrast to the music. What is he looking at? What’s wrong? In the background a child runs in the opposite direction up the street.

TENSION

At Bloor Station on the Yonge line, early evening. The station is packed with commuters. The line is deep and wide at the lottery kiosk, which, in the cramped subway tunnel looks like a medieval butcher counter. Men and women wait in heavy, dark-coloured coats, each clutching their own ticket. No one scrambles or pushes, but the press from the crowd is overwhelming.

AN EXPERIMENTAL ENDING

The final shot of the funeral is framed from a distance. It’s mid-spring. Trees have all of their leaves and, from somewhere in their boughs, birds twitter. The black-clad funeral-goers, the priest, the white flowers arranged on the black coffin, all seem an extension of nature.

Fade out to a series of shots in a forest. The shots are long. The vegetation breathes, its sighs caught on the audio. We see and follow a bird as it chirps and flits from tree branch to tree branch. The bird is not a transcendental symbol of the dead person’s eternal soul, he is simply another character in the drama. Perhaps there is another bird or two about, a nest. We watch as the birds go about their business. Somewhere in the distance a woodpecker hammers at a dead log. We follow him as well. And so on.

The coffin is lowered into ground. Dirt splashes on it. Some kind of hymn or baroque, continental music plays in the background.