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The Park Bench (Short)
by Shane Knee (shaneknee@gmail.com)

Rated: PG-13   Genre: Drama   User Review: **1/2
An old man sits on a park bench seeking solace and quiet only to meet a young man who's destined to start a conversation of a lifetime. (Although I've written some short stories, copy for greeting cards and do the PRs for my company, this is my first script/play. It's obvious I lack the knowledge regarding the proper format and syntax that should be adhered to. I'm open to any criticism or ideas regarding this piece.)


This screenplay is copyrighted to its author. All rights reserved. This screenplay may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.



THE PARK BENCH (SHORT)

FADE IN:

EXT. PARK BENCH IN A PARK - DAY
                                                            
An OLD MAN, a senior citizen, sits alone on a park bench. A
few seconds later a YOUNGER MAN, middle aged, arrives and
sits on the bench too.
                                                            
                       YOUNGER MAN
What a beautiful day.
                                                            
OLD MAN is silent and does not respond
                                                            
                       YOUNGER MAN
It's days like today that make you
appreciate life's simpler joys;
children playing, birds eating
crumbs of bread, a couple walking
hand-in-hand.

I mean, I know everyone has a
cross to bare. Life wouldn't be
life if it didn't give us a hard
time once in a while; some have it
tougher than others I guess. But
in the end, I think it's all for a
reason. Maybe it's so we'll learn
to appreciate what's really
important; family, faith...

You agree?
                                                            
OLD MAN remains silent and looks the other way.
                                                            
                       YOUNGER MAN
You come here often?
                                                            
                       OLD MAN
      (slightly raises
       hand)
I'm sorry, I don't feel like
talking right now. I'd just like
to be left alone please.
                                                            
                       YOUNGER MAN
I apologize. I understand.

It just feels so good to be out
here today. Makes me forget all
the pain.
                                                            

2.

                       OLD MAN
      (aggravated groan)
                                                            
                       YOUNGER MAN
I apologize Tom. I know what it's
like to want some peace and quiet.
I'll shut up, I promise.
                                                            
                       OLD MAN
      (shocked puzzling
       look)
Excuse me, do you know me?
                                                            
                       YOUNGER MAN
(closed lip smile, looking down)

Um, truth is, I've been looking
for you.
                                                            
                       OLD MAN
Yeah? Why?
                                                            
                       YOUNGER MAN
I'm Vince.

Vincent.
                                                            
                       OLD MAN
      (puzzled)
Vince? Vincent?
                                                            
                       YOUNGER MAN
Yes, Vincent. Um...Little Minnow.
                                                            
                       OLD MAN
      (stunned)
Excuse me?
                                                            
                       YOUNGER MAN
V-I-N-C-E-N-T.
                                                            
                       OLD MAN
      (angry)
Who the hell are you! I'm
seventy-two years old and I'm not
in good health. I don't need any
funny business in my life right
now! Please! Leave me alone!
                                                            

3.

                       YOUNGER MAN
      (soothing)
Tom. I know you're not well, and
I'm not here to hurt you. I'm
Vincent your...
                                                            
                       OLD MAN
      (stuttering)
Vincent was my son, well I mean, I
mean, he was my father's son, and
he died when he was fourteen! And,
and, whoever put you up to this,
this, this is cruel!
                                                            
                       YOUNGER MAN
I know this is hard to believe. I
don't blame you for getting angry
and upset, but I needed to find
you. I didn't have a choice! And
there's something you need to
know. I-am-your-son. You left
thinking you'd been betrayed, and
that's understandable, Pops having
an affair with mom and all...
                                                            
                       OLD MAN
...Bullshit! You don't know
anything! And look, I don't know
who you are, but Vince was not my
son! And as far as his mother,
what she did was inexcusable! My
father...I can't even begin...

(starts to breath heavy, puts hand
on chest)
                                                            
                       YOUNGER MAN
Look, what they did WAS
inexcusable...the affair, but when
you left, she begged Pops to take
a paternity test, and it turned
out I wasn't his.

(slight smile)
I don't think we need to take
another test. Look at us.

(slightly shaking head, yes)

You can see it for sure.

When I came home and you were
gone...I was devastated.
                                                            

4.

                       OLD MAN
This is a bunch of...
                                                            
                       YOUNGER MAN
...At the time I couldn't
understand why. I mean, even if
Pops had been my father, I mean
biological father...you were my
dad! The wonderful times we had,
fishing, camping, those crazy
rockets we'd make that would land
on the neighbor's roof!

You were so good to me; it didn't
make any sense...I never even got
to say goodbye Dad.
                                                            
                       OLD MAN
Vince died! He was fourteen! I
know. I came back for the funeral!


(shaking head in disgust)

I was planning on coming back to
the kid. I loved him. I just
needed some time. Some time to get
my head around everything. But
none of this is any of your
business anyway!

(growl)

Why am I even talking to you!

(He stands up)

And one last thing; no one ever
told me about any test! Believe
me, she felt so terrible about
everything she would have done
anything to rid herself of the
guilt! And, and, I would have been
the first person she would have
called so she could put that guilt
on me! Obviously this is some
final cruel...I guess her last
attempt from the grave to make me
pay. IT AIN'T GOING TO HAPPEN!

(Starts to walk away)

I don't how much she left you to
do this...and I don't care!
            (MORE)

5.

                       OLD MAN (cont'd)

(looking back)

Son of a bitch!
                                                            
                       YOUNGER MAN
You mean, son of Thomas McGraw.

Dad, you can't go that way. I'm
here. I'm your son. I was always
your son. And yes, I died,
thirty-two years ago. It was an
accident. I never saw the paper
thinness in the ice. They tried
for an hour to bring me back, but
I was gone within minutes.

It was my time Dad.
                                                            
                       OLD MAN
      (Slowly turns
       around)
                                                            
                       YOUNGER MAN
      (Walks towards his
       father)
All is forgiven. I know you've
suffered. I know your heart. I
know you've longed to go back and
un-ring the bell. We can't do
that...but we have now.

We have forever.
                                                            
                       OLD MAN
I'm scared. Who are you? What is
this?
                                                            
                       YOUNGER MAN
I'm Vince. Your Little Minnow. And
there's no reason to be scared.
You're going home. We're going
home.

(smiles)

We can fish again...whenever we
want.
                                                            
Vince grabs his father's hand.
                                                            

6.

                       OLD MAN
I'm dead?
                                                            
                       YOUNGER MAN
I wouldn't call it death. I mean
look around. Death got
short-changed in its definition.

(chuckling)
There's nothing dead about any of
this.

Let's go, we got a lot of things
to catch up on, Dad
                                                            


FADE OUT.


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From zak Date 10/19/2008 **1/2
It was a nice try, but there are quite a few problems with it - the main one being that you don't need to put BEAT in there all the time. That's just something that's used to help actors memorize the lines. All it does for the person reading the script is to annoy them. The other main thing is that the dialogue just doesn't flow that well. They don't sound like real people, they sound like characters, and it's pretty hard to empathize with either one of them. No one talks like 'oh isn't it a beautiful day'. But I like the premise a lot so keep working on it.

From Patrick Date 10/15/2008 ***1/2
Another good book I found to help is "Screenplay" By Syd Field

From Kevin Mitchell Date 10/7/2008 **
It just doesn't work. The dialogue is un-natural. You have the OLD MAN speaking when it's suppose to be the YOUNG MAN (PG. 3) Overall it's confusing and difficult to read. I like the premise... Sort of reminds me of my short story, (Next stop)but you need to change the dialogue. Try reading it out loud and see if it sounds right. I applaud you on your effort but you need to restructure it.

From David Chase Date 10/6/2008 **1/2
If you want to pursue screenwriting, I'll recommend a book that will help with the structural issues, it's called "The Screenwriter's Bible" by David Trottier. I swear by it and so do most of the people I've recommended it to. I would do some reading on screenwriting and then give this another go, you'll see right away what needs to be cleaned up. As for the story, I'd try to make the back story a bit clearer. I wanted to know more about the betrayal, who was involved, and why. I know it's just a short, but you can tighten this up quite a bit, which will create room to fill out that back story.


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