Making Friends: Journey from Story to Film, Part II

Okay, so a little trouble posting in screenplay format, but below you will find my adaptation of Dad’s short story, “Making Friends.” If you look at my previous post, you’ll be able to read the original short story. Here you will see some changes I’ve made from the original tale, and please feel free to comment or ask questions on why certain changes were made.

This is part II of my recollection of the journey of making my first short film. Enjoy!

INT. SHARON’S STUDIO APARTMENT – DAY

SHARON, 20s, turns up an OLD RADIO playing ragtime jazz.

PACKED BOXES clutter her STUDIO apartment, suitcase with clothes remains open on her BED, otherwise nicely made with a couple pillows at the top.

Scenic drawings and one or two PHOTOGRAPHS remain mounted on the wall.

BOB, 20s, her fiance, admires Sharon from the doorway, HAT in his hands.

He walks softly to the radio, clicks it off.

BOB

Nearly finished, darling?

Startled, Sharon springs to life, dashes into his arms.

SHARON

You’re early!

BOB

We’ll be married in a few days. You’ve got to get used to the idea of me being around when you least expect it.

SHARON

Isn’t it wonderful? I’m so nervous!

BOB

I know. It brings out that spark in you.

(beat)

You won’t miss this place too much, will you?

SHARON

Not all of it, not as long as I have you.

They kiss, passionately.

Suddenly, a CHILL washes over Sharon, hair on the back of her neck bristling. She stiffens.

BOB

What’s gotten into you?

He follows her eyes to

THE DOORWAY, a PERSON emerges from the shadows, remains in silhouette a moment.

MILLIE, a kind old lady with a cold smile, stands in the doorway, watching the couple.

MILLIE

I’m not interrupting, am I?

BOB

(short)

Hello, Millie.

MILLIE

Hello, Bob. What’s the cause for celebration?

Bob glances at Sharon, uncomfortable.

SHARON

Bob and I are getting married. I’m moving — we’re moving to the country.

MILLIE

I’m very sorry to hear you’ll be leaving. It’s always a little painful when a friend moves away.

SHARON

Yes, I suppose it is.

(beat)

Was there something you needed?

MILLIE

I was going to invite you – the two of you, now – to dine with me tonight. All this time we’ve been neighbors, and we haven’t yet shared a meal.

SHARON

That’s awfully kind of you, Millie–

BOB

Oh, I’m sorry, I can’t tonight.

SHARON

You can’t?

BOB

I can’t, darling, I have to go to the office. I’m on a deadline.

MILLIE

Well, then, Sharon. Just us girls? Seven o’clock?

SHARON

Bob —

BOB

Go on ahead, darling. I’ll make it for dessert if I can.

(to Millie)

Be nice to see her relaxed, she’s been a bundle of nerves lately.

Millie nods.

MILLIE

I can tell. Seven o’clock, then.

She leaves before Sharon has the chance to object.

SHARON

Poor old woman. She must lead quite a lonely life.

INT. MILLIE’S APARTMENT – NIGHT

Millie walks to the RECORD PLAYER, places the needle. She hums throughout.

A SLOW JAZZ song starts, quiet, romantic.

KNOCKING.

Millie opens the door on Sharon, a bit awkward, adjusting her button-up SWEATER.

MILLIE

Come in.

Sharon enters, admires the record player.

SHARON

I enjoy Jazz.

MILLIE

You sure you don’t mind? This song is one of my favorites.

SHARON

Not at all, I quite enjoy it.

Sharon steps around the apartment, admiring

TIFFANY LAMPS, knickknacks, CLOCKS, CHINA, CANDLES – an antique dealer’s wet dream.

Millie snatches two full wine glasses off the tabletop.

Sharon reaches a shelf in the far corner, upon which are about 15 FIGURINES: clothes perfectly fitted, blank expressions on each figure’s face, people from farmers to maids to a SAILOR in a Navy uniform.

Millie takes an extra beat, admiring her own collection, then

She hands Sharon a glass. They both sip, admiring the figurines.

SHARON (CONT’D)

These are wonderful.

MILLIE

I spent many years collecting them. I’ve always been a bit of a collector. Used to drive my husband mad.

She gestures around the apartment.

She caresses one of the figurines.

MILLIE (CONT’D)

These are…the most cherished of my collection. Each one so full of memories, exotic places… wonderful friends.

Millie’s look becomes glazed, distant…nostalgic.

Her eyes suddenly LOCK onto Sharon’s, such that Sharon has a tough time pulling away. But she finally does.

She sees: THE SAILOR figurine.

SHARON

(reaching)

May I?

MILLIE

By all means.

The smile returns to her face as Sharon lifts the figurine. She rubs his face, his legs.

SHARON

It’s…it’s soft.

MILLIE

You like him, don’t you?

Sharon’s eyes FOCUS on the sailor, something about him…

SHARON

Yes…

MILLIE

I don’t blame you. He’s always been my one and only favorite.

They lock eyes, Sharon unable to pull away, sucked into Millie’s look of unsettling appreciation.

The record player SCRATCHES to a halt. Millie and Sharon both JUMP. Millie spills WINE onto Sharon’s sweater.

MILLIE (CONT’D)

Oh, I’m terribly sorry. Let me take that from you, I know just the thing to get those stains out.

SHARON

I’m really – it’s quite alright –

Millie gestures for the sweater, insisting.

Sharon hesitates, removes it.

SHARON (CONT’D)

Well, alright.

MILLIE

Really. I’ll have it clean for you before you know it. Before you move, in any case.

She brings the sweater with her into the kitchen. As she passes through the living room…

MILLIE (CONT’D)

I have just the recipe to wipe this clean, my dear. But it can’t happen in a flash. Good cleaning takes time.

(beat; peppy)

Hope you’re hungry!

INT. SHARON’S APARTMENT – BEDROOM – NIGHT

Sharon shuts her window, crawls into bed, and falls almost immediately to sleep.

MOMENTS LATER

Something soft BRUSHES Sharon’s cheek. She lifts her head, opening her eyes, dream-like, just wide enough to see

THE SAILOR, taking her in his arms. They kiss, passionately. He pulls back. He smiles —

Sharon WAKES with a start. She rises out of bed, stretching out the kinks in her arms and legs.

Sharon hops out of bed and SEES that the WINDOW is now open a crack. She shuts it, a confused look on her face.

INT. SHARON’S APARTMENT – EVENING

Sharon’s small dining table. She sets a full glass of water on the table before sitting in front of an open MAGAZINE.

Bob sips brandy and reads a paper.

SHARON

I like the Spacemaker from General Electric. But the Maytag is wider. I just can’t imagine eating that much food.

BOB

With you, nothing is ever too much — except maybe your dream last night. What did you say it was again? A Sailor?

SHARON

Yes. My dream was so vivid, so strange, Bob. It must’ve been that doll, in Millie’s apartment. He triggered something for me. That, or the awful cake she made. I swear she just invented the recipe right on the spot…

BOB

Well, I hope you took notes on what not to do the next time you bake me a cake.

She stares off, lost in her thoughts.

BOB (CONT’D)

(checking his watch)

Darling, I hate to say this but…

(beat)

Sharon?

He looks at her: SHARON, eyes glazed, unblinking.

He waves his hand in her face – nothing! He shakes her, smacks her softly on the cheek. Nothing.

BOB (CONT’D)

Sharon! Sharon!

He grabs her water and SPLASHES her face, pulls his hand back to slap her – she jolts out of her daze.

SHARON

Bob! Why did you —

BOB

What happened?

SHARON

What happened? I was telling you about my dream, and the next thing I know you’re splashing me with water.

BOB

You went blank —

SHARON

No, I didn’t.

BOB

Sharon, one minute we’re talking, the next minute, you’re…covered in water!

She shakes her head, rubbing out the cobwebs.

SHARON

Just…I’m alright. Don’t you have to go to work?

BOB

I can stay —

SHARON

Bob, go to work. You have a deadline. News won’t stop just for you to comfort your future wife.

He smiles, comforted by her smile. He gets up, kisses her on the forehead.

BOB

One more day, my dear.

SHARON

I love you…

BOB

And I love you.

Sharon works out the kinks in her muscles, stretching her arms and legs.

INT. SHARON’S APARTMENT – BEDROOM – NIGHT

Sharon is asleep. She curls into a ball, and

A HAND reaches for her cheek, caressing it lightly. Sharon moves into it.

The Sailor again. They kiss, passionate. The Sailor stands.

He holds out his hand.

SAILOR

Come.

She takes it willingly, follows him

INT. MILLIE’S APARTMENT – NIGHT

Millie stands by the record player. The Sailor enters and guides Sharon in. The door shuts behind her.

MILLIE

We’re all so glad you could join us.

Millie looks at

PEOPLE – A Farmer, a Maid, and a Man much like the Ed Norton character from the Honeymooners (call him “Honeymooner”).

Their eyes and faces have long shadows, and they never blink. They look very tired.

Sharon’s eyes search the room, FIND

The SHELF, now EMPTY.

MILLIE (CONT’D)

It’s not a dream. Don’t be alarmed.

The Farmer stands next to a Maid, both with hands at their sides and glazed looks in their eyes.

Sharon turns to leave, bumps into the Sailor. Panic begins to set in.

She circles the room, careful not to touch anyone. Millie is slowly following her circle.

MILLIE (CONT’D)

My husband and I, we were very much in love, but very much apart. He was in the service. Always on duty. I traveled, to stay close to him. It’s hard to make friends when you travel so much.

Millie stops, reaches for a bookshelf in the corner, for a specific book, old, tattered. She hesitates, then withdraws her hand.

MILLIE (CONT’D)

On one of my journeys, I came across a book, a very old book. In it was a recipe, something to help make my life more…real.

Sharon, frightened walks to the Honeymooner, the Maid, waving her hand in front of their faces. Slowly, her hand moves with less ease, her legs become stiff.

SHARON

Hello? Hello? Anybody…anyone… Can you hear me?

Sharon finds her legs sticking in one place. She struggles to remain standing.

MILLIE

In the beginning, I felt like a child learning how to have fun for the first time. My husband, he was so willing. So enchanting.

(beat)

I’d really hate to see you leave, Sharon.

Millie wraps her hand over the Farmer’s, whose hand hangs limp.

Sharon glares at Millie, helpless, unable to open her mouth. She flexes her hands, and her fingers become stiff.

MILLIE (CONT’D)

Since you and I met, I just knew. You have a glow about you. A spark. I like you. I want to continue to be your friend. To always be your friend.

Millie is now uncomfortably close to Sharon, smiling.

MILLIE (CONT’D)

(beat)

I like Bob, too. You do make an enchanting couple.

Sharon struggles, one word:

SHARON

How?

MILLIE

A little of this, little of that, some words of minor importance. But really, it’s all about the willingness of the Friend. You have always been so willing, so eager to please –

She puts her arm around Sailor, rubs her cheek to his cheek, holds his hand like a teenager in love.

MILLIE (CONT’D)

– He is quite enchanting, isn’t he?

Sharon struggles, staring straight ahead, helpless.

INT. MILLIE’S APARTMENT – DAY

A record spins, static at the end of the record.

PULL BACK to reveal BOB, sitting on Millie’s chair. He looks haggard, sleepless and unshaven. He wrings his GLOVES in his hands.

BOB

I just don’t understand, it’s not like her at all to just…just disappear.

Millie holds out a tea cup, which Bob takes, handing her his GLOVES.

MILLIE

Maybe she got cold feet.

Millie clutches the gloves TIGHTLY, moves to the RECORD PLAYER.

MILLIE (CONT’D)

She’ll turn up. Relax for a spell, won’t you?

Bob suddenly stands, anxious. Millie watches, still clutching the gloves.

Bob wanders over to the SHELF in the corner. He leans in to get a closer look at

A DRESS, on a figurine behind the Sailor. A dress not unlike Sharon’s nightgown…

Millie, behind Bob, smiles her icy smile. She moves the needle to the start of the record: soft jazz, the song from her dinner with Sharon, begins to play.

Bob sips tea. He picks up the doll, cradling it…

Millie places her hand carefully on Bob’s shoulder.

Bob takes another large gulp of tea.

BOB

Sharon, where are you?

His eyes tear up. He hands off the doll to Millie, unable to stand it any longer. He sits, tired, exhausted, in the armchair.

MILLIE

Don’t you worry, Bob. I’m sure you’ll see her soon enough.

Millie places the Sharon doll back on the shelf in the FG, still smiling.

A brief glimpse into the camera…

FADE TO BLACK.

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