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Number 2 Pencil (Short Film)
by Jeff Helton (jeffhelton2000@yahoo.com)

Rated: G   Genre: Drama   User Review:
NOT YET
RATED

A short film. A group of teenagers take a stand against questions they are to answer on a placement test.


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.



NUMBER 2 PENCIL (SHORT FILM)

EXT. CAMPUS - DAY
                                                            
Random pick up shots of students moving around campus.
                                                            
 
EXT. QUAD - DAY
                                                            
                                         OVERHEAD JIB
                                                            
From above, five students sit in the middle of the quad.
Four of them on separate benches, one on the rock.

Each has a back pack and sits with a concerned look.
                                                            
CUT TO
                                                            
                                         PUSH ON EACH STUDENT
                                                            
                                         ALL CONFIDENT
                                                            
School bell rings/buzzes
                                                            
                       JAMIE
I am.
      (gets up walks
       away)
                                                            
                       HAILY
I am more than you think.
      (gets up walks
       away)
                                                            
                       JAZMIN
I am more than you think because
you only know me by my test
scores.
      (gets up walks
       away)
                                                            
                       COLLIN
And newspaper stories about how
stupid I am.
      (gets up walks
       away)
                                                            
                       KENNEDY
I'm armed with my number two
pencil.
      (gets up walks
       away)
                                                            
 

2.

EXT. CAMPUS - DAY
                                                            
All students have gotten up and are walking in different
directions.

(VO of dialog that fits will be placed here)
                                                            
                                         POV WALKING
                                                            
                                         OFF CAMERA
                                                            
 
INT. CLASSROOM - DAY
                                                            
Students are all seated at their desks filling out their
tests as a teacher sits at the front of the class.
                                                            
                       JAZMIN
      (pleading)
I am more than a bubble on an
answer sheet.
                                                            
                       JAMIE
      (pleading)
What I may know doesn't fit on a
multiple choice question.
                                                            
                       HAILY
      (sternly)
I am not option A, B, C, D or E.
                                                            
                       COLLIN
      (INQUISITIVE)
What if I'm ...an F or a G?
                                                            
                       JAZMIN
      (INQUISITIVE)
What if I'm ...none of the above?
                                                            
                       KENNEDY
      (matter of fact)
Or all of the above?
                                                            
                       JAMIE
I am becoming good at figuring out
what pleases my teachers.
                                                            
                       JAZMIN
What pleases my parents?
                                                            
                       COLLIN
What pleases the test?
                                                            

3.

                       HAILY
      (fills in bubble)
Does this make me smart?
                                                            
                       KENNEDY
      (fills in bubble)
Does this make me a good student?
                                                            
                       JAZMIN
Does this mean they're always
right?
                                                            
                       JAMIE
      (pauses before
       filling in bubble)
How do I know for sure?
                                                            
                       COLLIN (VO)
      (screams inside,
       but looks calm)
I have questions...
So many questions...
      (looks around)
                                                            
                       JAZMIN
Where do I turn to ask them?
                                                            
                       HAILY
      (duct taped mouth,
       mumbles)
Why do you censor my voice when I
do?
                                                            
Student walks by and rips off Haily's tape.
                                                            
                       COLLIN
      (sternly)
Why do you make me and my number
two pencil a political issue?
                                                            
 
EXT. STADIUM - DAY
                                                            
                       JAMIE
      (shouts)
Will anyone listen?
      (address camera)
Will you?
                                                            
 

4.

INT. DRAMA STAGE - DAY
                                                            
                       KENNEDY
Maybe it will prepare me for the
real world I am told about...
      (mockingly)
Because I will know how to please
people in authority without
thinking.
                                                            
 
EXT. GRAFFITI WALL - DAY
                                                            
Collin and Haily sit on ground with backs against small
graffiti wall. They are on opposite side of it.
                                                            
                       COLLIN
      (frustrated, hands
       on head)
Is this what you want?
                                                            
                                         OPPOSITE SIDE
                                                            
                       HAILY
A parrot?
                                                            
 
INT. BATHROOM - DAY
                                                            
Starring into mirror, crying
                                                            
                       JAZMIN
A mirror?
                                                            
 
INT. DRAMA STAGE - DAY
                                                            
                       KENNEDY
A blank mind is sitting and
starring...
                                                            
 
EXT. STADIUM - DAY
                                                            
Sits alone in the bleachers
                                                            
                       JAMIE
      (sad)
Armed with a number two pencil.
                                                            
 

5.

INT. CLASSROOM - DAY
                                                            
                       HAILY
Is thinking important?
                                                            
                       JAZMIN
      (looks at Twilight
       poster)
I want to write...
      (address camera)
even with a number two pencil.
                                                            
 
EXT. STADIUM - DAY
                                                            
                       JAMIE
Why do people lie to me about how
important I am?
                                                            
 
EXT. CAMPUS - DAY
                                                            
Collin stands alone facing the school.
                                                            
                       COLLIN
      (facing school)
Look at my school.
                                                            
Kennedy walks up on Collins left.
Haily walks up on Collins right.
They both walk forward as Collin remains standing in the
b.g.
                                                            
                       KENNEDY
Is this the future?
                                                            
                       HAILY
Does this look like a place you
want to be?
                                                            
 
EXT. LIBRARY - DAY
                                                            
Jazmin sits on ground against Library wall.
                                                            
                       JAZMIN
Can I enter the 21st Century here?
                                                            
CUT TO: JAZMIN TUGGING ON LOCKED DOOR, BANGS ON IT.
                                                            
                       JAZMIN
Hello!!???
                                                            
 

6.

INT. COMPUTER ROOM - DAY
                                                            
All students sit at random computers
                                                            
                       JAMIE
With this equipment?
                                                            
                       KENNEDY
With this structure?
                                                            
                       HAILY
      (sassy)
And my number two pencil.
      (press key
       w/pencil)
                                                            
                       COLLIN
Why do people that know nothing
about education get to make all
the rules about my school?
                                                            
                                         RACK FOUCS TO:
                                                            
                       JAZMIN
When did I become a political
issue?
                                                            
                       HAILY (VO)
      (typing)
Mr. and Mrs. Politician, do you
have any idea who I am?
                                                            
                       KENNEDY
What I need?
                                                            
                       COLLIN
What I need to know.
                                                            
                       JAMIE
Why do you lie to me about how
important I am?
                                                            
 
INT. CLASSROOM - DAY
                                                            
                                         ROUND DOLLY ON:
                                                            
                       JAZMIN
Gag my teachers with needless
trivia, pointless testing and
pacing guides....
                                                            

7.

                       JAMIE
What about my pace?
                                                            
                       KENNEDY
      (ANGRY)
And then keep me voiceless as you
decide how much I am worth.
                                                            
Someone walks by and places duct tape over Kennedy's mouth.
She has a look of disbelief on her face.
                                                            
                       COLLIN
      (ANGRY)
By cutting my throat with your
budgets.
                                                            
SCHOOL BELL RINGS/BUZZES
                                                            
Entire class rises then files towards the teachers desk with
their tests in hand.
                                                            
                       HAILY
Is this test score what I am
worth?
                                                            
PU SHOT OF TEST BEING PUT IN PILE.
                                                            
                       JAZMIN
How to tell if I am smart?
                                                            
PU SHOT OF TEST BEING PUT IN PILE.
                                                            
                       JAMIE
Do you want me to be smart?
                                                            
PU SHOT OF TEST BEING PUT IN PILE.
                                                            
                       KENNEDY
...or do you need me to be smart?
                                                            
                       HAILY
I'm smart enough to know what is
fair and what isn't.
                                                            
 
EXT. IMMACULATE HOME - DAY
                                                            
Collin stands in front of a very nice home.
                                                            
                       COLLIN
What if I come from here?
                                                            
 

8.

EXT. POVERTY NEIGHBORHOOD - DAY
                                                            
Jamie stands in the street of dilapidated neighborhood
                                                            
                       JAMIE
...and I come from there?
                                                            
 
EXT. CAMPUS - DAY
                                                            
A group of young skateboarding teens sit with each other.
                                                            
                       JAZMIN
What if I'm one of "those" kids?
                                                            
 
INT. CLASSROOM - DAY
                                                            
The teacher sets down a graded test on a students desk
INSERT TEST SCORE WITH A "D" ON IT
Then sets down a test score on Kennedys desk.
INSERT TEST SCORE WITH AN "A" ON IT.
                                                            
                       KENNEDY
And I am the good kid.
                                                            
 
EXT. GRAFFITI WALL - DAY
                                                            
                       HAILY
How do I know the scale you use is
just?
                                                            
                       COLLIN
What if I know poverty up close
and personnel?
                                                            
 
EXT. STADIUM - DAY
                                                            
Jamie stands with the mountain tops in the b.g.
                                                            
                       JAMIE
And I view the ocean from high on
the hill?
                                                            
 
EXT. CAMPUS - DAY
                                                            
Jazmin walks across the campus holding her keys up.
She adorns sunglasses and a shoulder bag.
                                                            

9.

                       JAZMIN
And I drive my Benz
                                                            
 
EXT. ALLEY WAY - DAY
                                                            
Kennedy walks an alleyway with a bandanna on her head.
Appearance is very street urban.
                                                            
                       KENNEDY (VO)
And I run the alleys
                                                            
 
EXT. DILAPIDATED MOBILE HOME - DAY
                                                            
Haily sits on the steps of a rundown mobile home.
Appearance is ragged.
                                                            
                       HAILY (VO)
What if you had to live in some of
the places I do?
                                                            
 
INT. BATHROOM - DAY
                                                            
Jazmin stands and stoically looks into mirror as she dries
her tears.
                                                            
                       JAZMIN (VO)
What if you looked like some of us
do?
                                                            
 
INT. CAMPUS - DAY
                                                            
Jamie sits on a wall with the campus in the b.g.
                                                            
                       JAMIE (VO)
And then went to my school?
                                                            
 
INT. CLASSROOM - DAY
                                                            
Collin sits and stares at a pencil he is holding.
                                                            
                       COLLIN (VO)
Armed with this number two pencil.
                                                            
                       TBD
To enter the 21st Century.
                                                            
                       HAILY
Would you feel important?
                                                            

10.

                       TBD
Would you feel like the future is
yours?
                                                            
                       JAMIE
It really is mine!
                                                            
 
INT. DRAMA STAGE - DAY
                                                            
Kennedy stands alone then turns and sees Collin and the rest
of the cast approaching behind her.
                                                            
                       COLLIN
Where is your courage that you
keep telling me I must have?
                                                            
                       KENNEDY
      (nods head)
How come poverty isn't on the
agenda?
                                                            
                                         PUSH
                                                            
                       HAILY
How come discrimination and
stereotyping aren't on the agenda?
                                                            
                                         PUSH
                                                            
                       JAZMIN
Or on the test?
                                                            
                                         SIDE
                                                            
                       JAMIE
Cant write that with your number
two pencil.
                                                            
                                         PUSH
                                                            
                       COLLIN
You expect me to live it...
                                                            
                                         PUSH
                                                            
                       KENNEDY
and hope for my future...
                                                            
                                         CU HALF FACE
                                                            
                       HAILY
with this number two pencil...
                                                            

11.

                                         CU HALF FACE
                                                            
                       JAZMIN
that I know lies!
                                                            
                                         PUSH
                                                            
                       JAMIE
You crush my learning into numbers
and trivia...
                                                            
                                         SIDE
                                                            
                       COLLIN
And then we play trivial pursuit.
                                                            
                       KENNEDY
Each year to show how much we
know.
                                                            
Each student should be sitting or laying on the stage.
                                                            
                                         ROLLING DOLLY
                                                            
                       HAILY
I am bored.
                                                            
                       JAZMIN
I am bored.
                                                            
                       JAMIE
I am bored.
                                                            
                       COLLIN
I am bored.
                                                            
                       KENNEDY
I am bored.
                                                            
 
EXT. LIBRARY - DAY
                                                            
All five students sit on separate tables eating their lunch
outside the library.
                                                            
                       HAILY
      (holding sandwich)
I want to know... the why behind
it all.
                                                            

12.

                       JAMIE
      (holding juice box)
Are you afraid of what I might
learn?
                                                            
                       COLLIN
Are you afraid of what I am
capable of?
                                                            
                       KENNEDY
      (filing nails)
I know the lies.
                                                            
                       JAZMIN
I want to know the truths.
                                                            
                                         CU HALF FACE, FULL
FACE AND MOUTHS
                                                            
                       COLLIN
I can stand controversy...
                                                            
                       KENNEDY
I can stand the ugliness I might
see...
                                                            
                       HAILY
I can stand to know things that
might offend or challenge me...
                                                            
                       JAMIE
I am stronger than you think.
                                                            
                       JAZMIN
I am smarter than you think.
                                                            
                       KENNEDY
You keep telling me how important
I am.
                                                            
                       COLLIN
You keep telling me I am the
future.
                                                            
 
EXT. STADIUM - DAY
                                                            
All five students stand in-line ready to foot race.
They all leave but Haily does not.
                                                            
                       HAILY
You keep telling me I need to
compete.
                                                            

13.

ON FOOTBALL FIELD
                                                            
A cheerleader does a somersault in the b.g.
                                                            
                       JAZMIN
I can do that on the athletic
fields.
                                                            
On cue Jamie walks behind Jazmin
                                                            
                       JAMIE
It's where you put all your
attention.
                                                            
On cue Collin walks past Jamie
                                                            
                       COLLIN
That equipment is first rate.
                                                            
 
EXT. CAMPUS NEW GYM - DAY
                                                            
From behind all 5 students stand and stare at the new gym
being built through a chain link fence.
                                                            
                       KENNEDY
Look at new gyms, fields,
uniforms, schedules, advantages.
                                                            
INSERT PU FOOTBALL FIELD
INSERT PU GYM EQUIPMENT
                                                            
                                         ROLLING DOLLY POV
                                                            
                       HAILY
You don't need a number two pencil
there.
                                                            
                       JAZMIN
Look at my school and see what is
most prominent.
                                                            
                       JAMIE
What if you're wrong?
                                                            
All students let go of the fence, turn and slowly walk away
except Collin.
                                                            
                       COLLIN
Where is the science room where I
can peer into my future?
      (lets go of fence,
       walks away)
                                                            
 

14.

EXT. CAMPUS - DAY
                                                            
All five students are on the move separately across the
campus
                                                            
OVERHEAD SHOT WITH JIB ON HAILY WALKING
                                                            
CUT TO: CU
                                                            
                       HAILY (VO)
Where is the technology where I
can help create the future?
                                                            
                       KENNEDY (VO)
Where is the leadership to lead me
into the future?
                                                            
                       JAZMIN (VO)
Where is the freedom for my
teachers to really teach me?
                                                            
                       JAMIE (VO)
Where are the arts to help me
understand, imagine, and express
my voice?
                                                            
                       COLLIN (VO)
Creativity doesn't fit in option
A, B, C, D...
                                                            
                       JAMIE
Where is the place where I learn
compassion?
                                                            
                       KENNEDY
empathy...
                                                            
                       HAILY
benevolence...
                                                            
                       COLLIN
vision...
                                                            
                       JAZMIN
How do you measure this in option
A, B, C, D...
                                                            
                       KENNEDY
I've already got my number two
pencil.
                                                            
 

15.

INT. DRAMA STAGE - DAY
                                                            
                       JAMIE
      (sings aloud)
I want to sing
                                                            
                       HAILY
      (does ballet spin)
dance...
                                                            
                       TBD
      (wears glasses
       holds clipboard)
solve...
                                                            
                       TBD
reason...
                                                            
                       TBD
believe...
                                                            
                       TBD
wonder...
                                                            
                       HAILY
explore...
                                                            
                       COLLIN
inspire...
                                                            
Group turns to Collin in acceptance.
                                                            
                       JAMIE
      (sings aloud)
I still want to sing
                                                            
                       KENNEDY
I am.
                                                            
                       JAMIE
I am a mind that wonders.
                                                            
                       JAZMIN
I am a mind that wonders why?
                                                            
                       HAILY
I am a mind that wants to create.
                                                            
                       COLLIN
I am a mind that wants to be free.
                                                            
                       KENNEDY
I want to see the world as it is.
                                                            

16.

                       HAILY
      (holding iphone)
My technology gives access to all
the trivia I could ever need.
                                                            
                       TBD
Without a number two pencil.
                                                            
                       TBD
I need to know the why...
                                                            
                       JAZMIN
So I can understand.
                                                            
                       COLLIN
      (stands on chair)
I am.
                                                            
                       JAZMIN
      (stands)
I am searching.
                                                            
                       HAILY
      (stands)
I need light.
                                                            
From behind, all 5 students burst through the drama class
double doors as a light washes out the view.
                                                            
                                         MATCH CUT
                                                            
 
EXT. DRAMA CLASS - DAY
                                                            
all five students burst through the drama doors outside and
head toward the quad.
                                                            
                       TBD
I need help.
                                                            
                       KENNEDY
I need guides.
                                                            
                       JAZMIN
So I can find my way.
                                                            
                       HAILY
I am.
                                                            
                       TBD
I am so much more.
                                                            

17.

                       JAZMIN
I want to be so much more.
                                                            
                       KENNEDY
I want to get there... from here.
                                                            
                       COLLIN
I need your help... really.
                                                            
 
EXT. QUAD - DAY
                                                            
All five students arrive at the rock in the quad and lean
against it with Jamie sitting in the middle.
                                                            
                                         PUSH ON EACH STUDENT
                                                            
                       JAZMIN
I am.
                                                            
                       HAILY
I am searching.
                                                            
                       KENNEDY
Researching.
                                                            
                       TBD
Wondering.
                                                            
                       TBD
Who am I?
                                                            
                       TBD
What if...
                                                            
                       KENNEDY
I am here.
                                                            
                       HAILY
With my number two pencil.
                                                            
                                         OH JIB LOWERS ON
GROUP
                                                            
                       JAMIE
Now.
                                                            


FADE OUT.


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