Author Topic: Feedback on my short screenplay - "The Pardon is Right&  (Read 1987 times)

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Born Under Punches

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Feedback on my short screenplay - "The Pardon is Right&
« on: June 17, 2004, 11:26:32 PM »
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I don't post a lot here on Xixax, but here's a short screenplay of mine.  Give it a glance over and tell me what you think, good or bad.

The Pardon is Right
by Jay McLendon

INT. CORRECTIONAL FACILITY (HALLWAY) – DAY
A DEATH ROW INMATE is escorted down a long corridor with his wrists and ankles cuffed and chained, walking defiantly. On both of his sides are prison guards. He is JOHN TALBOT BISHOP, and he's on his way to his execution.

PRISON GUARD
Dead man walking!

INT. DEATH CHAMBER – DAY
The guards lead Bishop into the death chamber where a two-man EXECUTION TEAM cloaked with hoods and a CLERGYMAN stand in place. The guards unlock his shackles, hand Bishop over to the execution team and exit.

The Execution Team places him on the gurney and restrains him with gurney straps across his arms, torso, and legs. As they work, the clergyman begins to recite Biblical scriptures. One member threads the IVs from the anteroom into his arm.
After he's done the other pulls back the curtain to reveal a two-way window to…

INT. WITNESS ROOM – DAY
A darkened room, not as resonant as the death chamber but not pitch black. A few members of the press and members of the sit in seats and watch as Bishop is prepped for his execution.

WARDEN
(Over the intercom)
John Talbot Bishop, for your various crimes against the people of this state, you have been sentenced to execution by lethal injection. Have you any last words, sir?

BISHOP remains stoic, unflinching.

WARDEN
(Continued)
Very well. Proceed with the execution. And may God have mercy on your soul.

INT. ANTEROOM – DAY
The Warden nods to the Executioner to commence.

INT. WITNESS ROOM – DAY
A bright prison spotlight hits one of the members of the press: a young woman.

EXECUTIONER
(In Game Show Announcer voice)
Karen Travers. Come on down! You're the next  contestant on…

INSERT: GRAPHIC CARD - "THE PARDON IS RIGHT"

BEGIN: Sequence "A" – GAME SHOW OPENING
Everyone in the witness room erupts in loud applause, rooting her on.
A "contestant's row" rises from the floor to the front of the witness window. Three other people of the press stand behind contestant's row.
Karen walks up to contestant's row and is met by nice greetings from the other contestants.

John looks around in befuddlement.

The spotlight moves round and round.

We slowly start to ZOOM IN on a chicken-wire glass industrial door that leads into the witness room.

EXECUTIONER
(Cont'd; OS)
And now here's your host: Walt Covington.

A BUZZ sounds and the door opens.

We see the host of the show, WALT COVINGTON, an extroverted ex-weatherman type of guy with pearly-white capped teeth and a dapper walk, dressed in a tweed Seersucker suit.

The Warden walks up to Walt and hands him his microphone. Walt is met by a cacophony of applause from the audience in the witness room.

END Sequence "A"

WALT
Wow. Thank you, and welcome to "The Pardon Is Right," where death row inmates are given a possible second chance at life and redemption and one of our lucky contestants can win fabulous prizes. Now before we begin, let me just give a shout-out to our fabulous studio audiences. The
inmates of Cell Block D.

CUT TO:

INT. RECREATION ROOM – DAY
A congregation of convicts, wearing their prison blues, sits on bleachers style seats and cheer on. On both sides of them are prison guards armed with shotguns.

BACK TO:

WITNESS ROOM

WALT
Now today is an especially special edition with convicted rapist and serial killer John Talbot Bishop or as we liked to call him during his massive manhunt, the Butcher of Burnfield.  John, why don't you say hello?

CU – JOHN TALBOT BISHOP
Looking awkward in the gurney, sweating profusely.                          

JOHN
Uh…hello?

WALT
Now we have a new contestant, so let's get underway. What is the item that we have up for bid?

EXECUTIONER
(Voice-over)
The item up for bid is the number of crimes infringed by John Talbot Bishop, which includes misdemeanors and felonies. Back to you, Walt.

WALT
Karen you're the first contestant up for bid.

KAREN
I'll say 78 counts.
With each score appears a corresponding bid on the contestant's panel.

WALT
Mark Forrester, of the Daily Herald.

MARK (2ND CONTESTANT)
I'm going to go with 92, Walt.

WALT
Peter Gibson, Agro Crop Report.

PETER
Let me, get uh…let me get, uh…let me get, uh…

PETER continues to stammer on and on and on. Everyone waits a little agitated, especially WALT who has to hold his million-dollar smile.

PETER
I'm going to say…thirteen hundred.

WALT
And Michael Avery of the Courier Gazette.

MICHAEL
I'm going to go with one count.

WALT pulls out a note card to reveal the price.

WALT
The actual criminal count is seventy-seven. Michael, you win! Come on up.

MICHAEL looks surprised and gleefully walks from contestant's row into…

INT. EXECUTION ROOM – DAY

WALT and MICHAEL shake hands and exchange pleasantries.
BISHOP stays in the gurney with a hectic expression on his face, still unaware of what's going on.

WALT
Well, Michael you are our lucky winner. This is your tenth time on contestant's row, but you've finally passed the gauntlet, huh?

MICHAEL
Yeah.

WALT
Why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself?

MICHAEL
Well I'm a journalism graduate from Rutgers University, still paying off my massive student loans, and I've been writing for the Courier Gazette here in Burnfield for two years now.

WALT
Have you taken to living in the town?

MICHAEL
Yeah, it's a nice place. A great town with great people. But because of my loans and work schedule, I haven't been up north to see my mom and dad.
(Into camera)
Hi, Mom. Hi, Dad.

WALT
Well, Michael you may be able to see Mom and Dad if you win this…

CUT TO:

INT. PRISON YARD – DAY
A curtain comes up to reveal a brand new car.
The driver's side door is open and a PRISON CONVICT (HOT-WIRE) hangs out of the driver's side door, trying to hot wire the car.

EXECUTIONER
A new car!

MICHAEL jumps up and down in excitement.

The EXECUTIONER goes off and tells about the features of the car.
Hot-wire notices the camera on him and then goes into faux-ungraceful game show hostess mode to blend in with the scenery.

BACK TO:

INT. EXECUTION ROOM - DAY
A huge display fixture, made from lights and felt fabric, comes down from the ceiling with the words "Cliff Hangers." WALT leads MICHAEL next to BISHOP, who now looks drugged out of his mind.

WALT
Michael that brand new car can be yours if you win this game. Now, you know the way the game is played. You have to guess the price of three regular items without going overbid. For every dollar you are overbid on each item, we will inject that much of the toxic agent Potassium Chloride into John's circulatory system. For ever dollar you go overbid, we're going to pump that much into Bishop. Guess all the prices without emptying the tank and you win and Johnny Boy gets his pardon from the state and a shot at karmic redemption. Go overbid, you lose the car, and Bishop ends up on the cover on Necrophilia Bimonthly. Now, we've already injected him with the Sodium Thiopental anesthetic and the Pancuronium Bromide paralyzing agent.
(To JOHN)
Inmate Bishop. How are you doing? JOHN mumbles incoherently.

WALT
State executioner, what items do we have for bid?

INT. PRICING STAGE - DAY
Three display stands hold three different products. We go through each product at a time.

EXECUTIONER
(Voice Over)
A carton of Bentongold Cigarettes. Bentongolds: known the worldwide for their cool menthol flavor taste and smooth tobacco leaves. Each carton comes with ten packs of cigarettes.

WALT
Michael, what do you think is the price for that carton of cigarettes?

INT. RECREATION ROOM - DAY
The inmates yell and yell their prices.

BACK TO:

INT. EXECUTION ROOM – DAY
MICHAEL thinks about the prices, amid the sound of the inmates yelling.

MICHAEL
It's a tough one. I don't smoke. I'm going to say twenty-five dollars, Walt.

WALT
OK. Let's see the tank.

INSERT: POTASSIUM CHLORIDE TANK

A large tank filled to the brim with a solution of Potassium Chloride. On the side of the tank are hatch marks from $1 at the top to $60 at the bottom.

As the Potassium Chloride mixture drains from the tank into the IV, a little jingle plays.

MICHAEL watches on with his fingers crossed.

The tank stops at $6.

WALT
All right, Michael. Good guess there. You were only six over bid What's the next item we have up for bid?

EXECUTIONER
(Voice Over)
A month-long supply of lunchtime fruit cups from Foodco.
The inmates in the audience begin to ooh and aah in unison.
JOHN begins to lick his licks in hunger.

EXECUTIONER
(Continued)
Foodco lunchtime fruit cups are made with natural tropical fruits and sweet fruity syrup, filled with all the essential vitamins, minerals, and no additives, part of a nutritious diet plan. Foodco: the food wholesaler for correctional institutions.

The inmates yell their bids, like before with more cacophony than ever.

MICHAEL ponders for a second.

MICHAEL
I'm going to say $100, Walt.

WALT
Let's check the tank.

The tank slowly begins to drain, going past the halfway mark and stops at $40.

A that-was-close chorus of oohs from the audience meets the bid.

WALT
That was a real close bid right there. You're twenty dollars off the mark. You need to get the next product's price right within $20 or you'll go overbid.
(To JOHN)
John, how are you doing over there?

JOHN expression has changed from gleefully stoned to bug-eyed and twitching.

WALT
Jumpy like a dog in a hubcap yard.
(To EXECUTIONER)
Executioner, what's the final item up for bid?

EXECUTIONER
(Voice-over)
It's the Anal-lyzer 3030. The very latest in sex toy technology, it comes fully equipped multi-speed control settings with a clear flexible latex exterior, a sculpted head on the main unit, and an auxiliary pleasure wand for further stimulation. Back to you, Walt.

WALT
Now, Michael. What's your bid on that item?

MICHAEL looks perplexed.

The recreation room prisoners are now completely silent, except for on feminine sounding voice.

PRISON BITCH
$65! $65!

RANDOM INMATE
Shut up, bitch!

MICHAEL
I guess $65?

WALT
$65! OK!

The potassium chloride drains past the hatch marks. The tank is now empty.

A row of awws sound from the audience.

WALT
Oh, sorry Michael. You went overbid. You didn't win the car and John Talbot Bishop is no longer of this mortal coil. Tough luck kid, but we do have some lovely parting gifts for you. That's all the time we have for this edition of the Pardon is Right. Join us next week when we put Sammy "The Southside Strangler" Marciano in the wet seat. Remember to help control the prison population. Have your bitch turned out or claimed. Good night, everybody.

BEGIN SEQUENCE "B" – CREDIT SEQUENCE

As the final credits quickly roll up the screen...

The other contestants applaud looking up at the camera.

The execution team tends to John's corpse.

The Recreation Room audience each assumes the photo prison pose (kneeling and looking badass.)

The car is gone from the soundstage, with only two hot tire tracks on the floor.

END Sequence "B"
                         THE END

A World Apart

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Feedback on my short screenplay - "The Pardon is Right&
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2004, 12:26:52 AM »
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Very Morbid, Very Funny. I loved the price is right feel. You pegged that perfectly. I really liked the dialogue, it was well-written and it flowed really well too. I could actually picture everything happening, especially the announcer dude from Price is Right describing the items up for bid. Great Job.
No, I've never seen that, I've never seen anyone drive their garbage out to the curb and bang the hell out of it with a stick.

reelistics07

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Feedback on my short screenplay - "The Pardon is Right&
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2004, 07:42:49 PM »
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I like it alot, I can imagine the tone of the film as it goes from depressing execution to upbeat gameshow to really flip the hell out of the audience. Needs a rewrite though, definately. why would a serial killers fate fall into the hands of some random jackass that knows how much fruit cups cost?

Born Under Punches

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Feedback on my short screenplay - "The Pardon is Right&
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2004, 08:08:31 PM »
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Uh...you do know this is a fucking comedy, right?

cine

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Feedback on my short screenplay - "The Pardon is Right&
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2004, 08:22:33 PM »
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Dude, you've been around since March 2003.. you didn't seriously expect something from reelistics, did you?

Ghostboy

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Feedback on my short screenplay - "The Pardon is Right&
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2004, 09:48:26 PM »
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Yeah, it's really funny. Nice work. I'd make the last question a little more suspenseful, though, like I imagine a game show (I don't know I've ever actually seen one, outside of SNL Jeopardy skits) doing on the final round or whatever.

reelistics07

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Feedback on my short screenplay - "The Pardon is Right&
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2004, 10:22:55 PM »
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social commentary

Born Under Punches

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Feedback on my short screenplay - "The Pardon is Right&
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2004, 10:51:46 AM »
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Sorry, Cinephile.  I'm a floater.  I haven't frequented this board enough to know all of the residents here, other than SoNowThen likes Paris Hilton and Godardian is a fan of Morrissey.

To Ghostboy, I based it on a game on The Price Is Right.  I'm not real sure of the name of it, but it's the one where the cliff jumper climbs up the wall based on the differences in prices and their estimated guesses.  There's nothing more suspenseful than wondering if that little mountain climber'll go over the edge.

MacGuffin

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Feedback on my short screenplay - "The Pardon is Right&
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2004, 12:10:39 PM »
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Quote from: Run Fay Run
To Ghostboy, I based it on a game on The Price Is Right.  I'm not real sure of the name of it, but it's the one where the cliff jumper climbs up the wall based on the differences in prices and their estimated guesses.  There's nothing more suspenseful than wondering if that little mountain climber'll go over the edge.


“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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