The weekend between Christmas and New Years 2014, Jess and I did a second full dress rehearsal for the 48 Hour Film Project. Once again we used the script specifics generator and got the following:
Name: Derek / Dori Beehler
Occupation: Utility Meter Reader
Prop: a garden
Line of Dialogue: I am going to sleep.
Genre: Mistaken Identity
Here is what we came up with:
Summary: Paranoid person freaks out over meter reader and captures them.
“Shiny Side Up”
INT. HOME OFFICE - DAYTIME Paranoid person sitting at DESK with NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS and other paranoid BOOKS. SETI screensaver playing on the screen. A TIN FOIL HAT sits upon his head. Some sort of music is on in the background. Sitting at desk and scrolling through stories. PARANOID PERSON: They can’t hide for long with all the technology we have at our disposal. I wonder if the McRib is back. Paranoid person stands up and looks out the window in case someone is out there. Sits down and works more. PARANOID PERSON: I could always get a cheeseburger, I suppose. Come on, SETI. Find ‘em. Paranoid person stands up and looks out the window. PARANOID PERSON: What the...
EXT. “BACKYARD” - DAYTIME Meter reader walks along SIDEWALK wearing a BRIGHT ORANGE JACKET with WIRELESS READER and CLIPBOARD in hand. Stops in front of the house. Shakes wireless reader as though it is not working. Begins to walk toward the house.
INT. HOME OFFICE - DAYTIME Paranoid Person sees meter reader through WINDOW and begins shaking. He stands up and begins pacing. PARANOID PERSON: (Agitated) They’re back! No! No! No! Not again! Paranoid person looks out the window through his TELESCOPE. PARANOID PERSON: (Agitated) What the fuck is she doing in my garden!? Paranoid Person puts the telescope down, opens a LEDGER, and makes a note in it. PARANOID PERSON: The last time she came around was November 15th. That’s exactly 30 days! And before that, October. 30 days again!
INT. HALLWAY OF HOME - DAYTIME Paranoid person races to the door, clumsily putting on BOOTS and JACKET. PARANOID PERSON: (Putting on JACKET) Not this time! Paranoid person opens the DOOR and storms out.
EXT. “BACKYARD” - DAYTIME Meter reader puts WIRELESS READER inside JACKET and writes down her findings on a CLIPBOARD with a PEN. Paranoid person comes up behind her. Meter reader turns and looks over her shoulder. Paranoid person hits her across her face. Meter reader gets knocked out and lands on the ground.
INT. GARAGE - NIGHT Meter reader sits unconscious and bound with her hands behind her back to a CHAIR. Paranoid person searches her jacket, finding her WIRELESS READER. Meter reader begins to wake. Paranoid person steps back, examining the device. METER READER: (Groans) PARANOID PERSON: (Stands in front of the meter reader) Where are your friends? Meter reader opens her eyes and reaches to touch her face. Upon realizing she can’t move her arms, she begins to wiggle her hands and arms to break free. METER READER: What the fuck? PARANOID PERSON: You heard me! Where are the rest of them!? METER READER: I don’t know what you’re talking about! PARANOID PERSON: Is this what you use to communicate to the mother ship? Huh!? METER READER: Mother ship? Let me go you crazy fuck! PARANOID PERSON: Oh, how the tides have turned. Tell me how to contact the others. METER READER: Fine! In my other pocket there’s a phone. Dial 9-1-1 and tell them a crazy person has a government employee hostage! PARANOID PERSON: You work for the government! What a clever cover. How many others work for the government? METER READER: (To herself) This is not happening. This is not happening. PARANOID PERSON: Stop it. Stop talking to yourself! METER READER: My name is Dori Beehler. I went to CSU. I live with my parents while I save up enough money to get my own place. Check my pockets. I have my credentials. Please! Check my pocket. Paranoid person searches other jacket pocket, finds CREDENTIALS CASE. Flips it open, revealing her ID and GOVERNMENT CARD. PARANOID PERSON: Of course you would have an ID. You have to keep your cover. Paranoid person hits random buttons on her WIRELESS READER and holds it in the air to get a signal. METER READER: What are you going to do to me? PARANOID PERSON: What am I going to do to you? What are you going to do to me!? Paranoid person opens the GARAGE DOOR slightly and bends down to peek out. METER READER: HELP! Someone help! Please! FIRE! Paranoid person quickly closes the GARAGE DOOR. PARANOID PERSON: Would you shut up!? METER READER: Why? If you’re going to kill me, maybe someone will see and you won’t get away with it. PARANOID PERSON: (Startled) Kill you? I’m not going to kill you. I’m not a monster. METER READER: Then why won’t you untie me and let me go? PARANOID PERSON: Because I was bound for what felt like an eternity. When I got back, not a day had gone by and no one cared. METER READER: If you let me go, I’ll help you find them. PARANOID PERSON: That doesn’t make sense. Why are you here every 30 days for the last 6 months? Are you checking in on me? METER READER: What? No. I’m a Utility Meter Reader, like it says on the card. I have a grid of utility boxes to check, and the neighborhood box just happens to be in your backyard. Usually I can get the readings wirelessly, but today our network decided to be spotty. Just my luck. PARANOID PERSON: All right, Meter Reader, answer me this. Are we alone in the universe? METER READER: No, man. The truth is out there and shit. There have to be other life forms. I just don’t know why they’d be interested in a species like us. PARANOID PERSON: Oh, they’re interested. Very interested. I was taken once. To find truth, you have to filter out the static. Paranoid person reluctantly removes TIN FOIL HAT and places it upon her head. PARANOID PERSON: There. Are you getting the signal? METER READER: Oh, boy. PARANOID PERSON: Well? The garage door opens. GREEN and WHITE LIGHT streaming in. He looks back at Meter Reader who has turned her head away. (Camera Direction: MCU on PP’s legs silhouetted by the lights, pull back and up for wide frame shot of PP in front of garage door and lights.) (spaceship sound effect) (fade to white) METER READER: (Scoffs) Took them long enough. Meter reader pulls her hands free without issue and stands up. ROPE goes flying. Removes TIN FOIL HAT. METER READER: Fucking things actually work. (dark screen, pause a second)
INT. HALLWAY OF HOME - DAYTIME Paranoid person walks through his home as though he had been assraped. PARANOID PERSON: I am going to sleep. (Credits roll)
This one was far better than Sycamore, and the actual movie was something we haven’t been too ashamed to show people since then. (Warning: Some NSFW language.) It actually took us 51 hours to get to this point, which is better than we did with Sycamore (which wasn’t technically finished for a week or two after the weekend).
We’ve gotten good feedback on the script, and have actually tried a few things on the edit, such as shortening the whole thing, having the meter appear in a vignette through the telescope, taking out the “what the—” lines, etc. I was really happy with the music (or lack thereof in some places) we used.
For something two people who don’t quite know what they’re doing to put together in a weekend? Not bad! More practice to come, of course.
Here’s the video: