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STARK - reality
by Joseph Parascandalo (naykdpoet@outlook.com)

Rated: PG-13   Genre: Film Noir   User Review:
NOT YET
RATED

An aspiring, young cinematography student meets an unexpected fate in his naive pursuance of capturing the true essence of human emotion as his subjects experience a life altering event


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.



STARK - REALITY

FADE IN:

INT. 3RD FLOOR RESIDENCE DORM - MORNING
                                                            
Roch Cameron a third year university film student who shares
a third floor dorm residence with his buddy and accomplished
film student Craig Foster, stumbles from his room to see if
Craig is awake yet.

It is quiet on the floor. Most students have gone home for
the Thanksgiving weekend.

Dragging his feet along the short, carpeted corridor to
Craig's room, he saw that the door was slightly ajar.

Great he thought Craig must be awake already. A bit of a
surprise, seeing as Craig typically liked to sleep in on
Saturday morning, especially a long weekend.
                                                            
                       ROCH
      (mumbles
       questioning)
Craig
      (waits for
       response)
You awake?
                                                            
Entering the room he found it was empty. He was a bit
surprised given it was only about nine in the morning. In
all the years he has known Craig, he has never known him to
be this ambitious, to be up and out so early. Looking
around the room for a clue of where Craig might have gone he
noticed that the camera equipment normally leaning up
against the wall was gone. He figured Craig must have gone
on an early film shoot. Now that was truly a surprise he
thought since Craig had not said anything about it the day
before. Scratching his head for an explanation, he scanned
around the room for a further clue. He noticed Craig's
computer was still on. On the screen was the last email
Craig had received.

He reads the email:
                                                            
                       ROCH
      (surprise, shock)
O my God!
                                                            
Still seated at Craig's computer desk, there is a knock on
the dorm room door
                                                            

2.

The shock of what he read on Craig's computer still
registered on his face, he turns to find two uniformed
police constables walking through the open door.
                                                            
                       1ST CONSTABLE
      (authoritative)
Excuse me sir, is this Craig
Foster's room?
                                                            
                       ROCH
      (mumbles
       affirmative)
Yes this is. Has something
happened to him?'
(fears what may have happened to
Craig)
                                                            
                       1ST CONSTABLE
      (authoritative)
In due time sir
      (air of suspicion)
Maybe we can start by you telling
us who you are and what it is you
are doing in Mr. Foster's room?
                                                            
Officer takes report book from hip pocket to record entry
waits for ROCH to respond
                                                            
                       ROCH
      (nervous, reserved)
My name is ROCH Cameron
(hesitates)
I am a 3rd year cinematography
student, friend of Craig's
      (pauses, stutters)
I just got up and walked over to
see if Craig was awake yet. I was
surprised to find his door open.
When he didn't respond to my call,
I came in only to find the room
was empty. I noticed Craig's
camera equipment gone so I just
figured he had gone out on an
early film shoot but that wasn't
typical for Craig.
                                                            
                       1ST CONSTABLE
      (questioning)
And why is that so unusual
                                                            
                       ROCH
      (explaining)
Well honestly officer, Craig is a
brilliant film director but
            (MORE)

3.

                       ROCH (cont'd)
ambitious, he's not. (pauses)
Especially if it means getting up
early on the Saturday of a long
weekend to go on a film shoot, is
not Craig. Not unless he
absolutely had to.
(hesitates, smiling) But he always
seemed to avoid that condition.
                                                            
                       1ST CONSTABLE
      (questioning)
So what more can you tell us
leading up to today (waits)
                                                            
Roch realizes seriousness, a sobering takes over demeanor.
                                                            
                       ROCH
      (sober serious)
Well Officer, Craig was working on
a new film project. (pauses)

About two weeks ago he had
received notice he had been
awarded a grant from the National
Film Board for his latest
production project
                                                            
                       1ST CONSTABLE
      (questioning)
How do you know this?
                                                            
                       ROCH
      (confidently)
Coz I read the letter. I mean, I
had picked it up for him from the
front desk. It had come special
delivery. When I saw it was from
the NFB, I knew he would be
excited. So much so, he asked me
to open it and read it to him. I
will never forget how his eyes lit
up when I read him the part "and
we are proud to present you with
this grant of five thousand
dollars to further your film
project - Stark Realities"
                                                            
                       2ND CONSTABLE
      (inquisitively)
"Stark Realities? What is that?
                                                            

4.

                       ROCH
      (knowledgeably)
Ya! It was Craig's idea to film,
document subjects, people, as they
spoke of a major life altering
event experienced in their lives.
You know, something like a near
death experience or, things
profound as that
                                                            
Constables each have confounded look at the explanation but
suspect a connection
                                                            
                       1ST CONSTABLE
      (confounded)
What else?
                                                            
                       ROCH
      (explanation)
Well, we talked about how he would
source his subjects and I had
suggested he place an ad on this
website that supports the arts not
to mention everything else you
could be looking for. It is sort
of a data base type setup
      (pauses, gazing
       forward)
                                                            
Both Constables seem puzzled by the explanation or lack of
understanding the explanation
                                                            
                       ROCH
      (continues
       sarcastically)
Look Officers, suffice it to say
he placed an ad on this website
asking for participants to his
movie project (annoyed)
                                                            
                       2ND CONSTABLE
      (matter of
       factually)
Then what? What happened next?
                                                            
                       ROCH
      (explaining)
Well not much that I know of but,
in the last week Craig seemed
really preoccupied, like something
was really gnawing at him..
                                                            

5.

                       1ST CONSTABLE
      (questioning)
What do think was bothering him?
Girlfriend? fellow students?
                                                            
                       ROCH
      (explaining)
No nothing like that (pauses)

Craig didn't have much time for
girlfriends but everybody loved
him. He has this sweet gentle
nature that you couldn't help but
like. His focus was the arts and
about the morality and ethics in
the arts. He seemed to question
lengths some filmmaker go to in
the pursuit of conveying their
message. Especially in how it
related to the types of films he
wanted to produce.
                                                            
Roch looking at both officers saw again the puzzled look in
their respective faces. He realized his explanation was not
what they had been hoping for.
                                                            
                       ROCH
      (concerned)
Look Officers; I don't know what
kind of trouble Craig has got
himself into but all I can tell
you is this: something has been
seriously bothering him for the
last week and I think the email
that is currently on his monitor
might have something to do with it
                                                            
Roch turns in his chair toward the computer monitor pointing
to the email visible on the screen.

The two officers walk closer to the monitor. Roch notices
the second Officer is holding a large, plain paper bag.
                                                            
Roch pulls away from the desk to let the Lead Officer have a
closer look to what is on the screen:

The email reads:

"Well I am glad you chose to pursue this. I think it will
do wonders to advance your career even if it's a snuff type
film. Be at the Mangrove Recreation Park 6:30 AM sharp. Go
to the rear parking lot, I don't want to see you. I'll show

6.

up in a white SUV, you film from there. Do not reply, I will
expect you to show up!
                                                            
Second Officer leans in to scan the monitor
                                                            
                       2ND CONSTABLE
      (inquisitively)
Who's sending this email, is the
person's name there..?
                                                            
                       ROCH
      (answers,
       frustrated)
No, I looked it's an anonymous
email address. Probably sent so it
couldn't be traced back to whoever
this person might be, for obvious
reasons.
                                                            
The second Officer holding the bag directs his comment to
the lead Officer.
                                                            
                       2ND CONSTABLE
      (clarifying)
Well that might explain some of
this.
                                                            
The second Officer turns to Roch and retrieves a
semi-professional quality digital video camera from the
paper bag he is holding
                                                            
                       2ND CONSTABLE
Do you know how to operate one of
these?
                                                            
Startled at the sight of the camera knowing it was Craig's
by the Dolphin's football logo pasted on the underside of
the video camera
                                                            
                       ROCH
      (shocked, confused)
Ya, I know how to operate one of
these. That's Craig's camera,
isn't it?
                                                            
Roch points to the Dolphin's logo on the bottom of the
camera
                                                            
                       ROCH
      (continues)
I know it is! Craig put that on
just after he got it even if
belongs to the university.
                                                            

7.

Takes camera from the Officer
                                                            
                       1ST CONSTABLE
      (reassuring)
Look son, calm down we need you to
connect this camera up to
something so we can see what he
was filming before we found this.
                                                            
                       ROCH
      (knowledgeably)
Well we can either view it through
the on-board LCD (pauses)
                                                            
Roch starts to explain only to stop short seeing the same
confused look in the Officer's faces
                                                            
                       ROCH
      (knowledgeably)
Ok, well I'll just hook it up to
Craig's computer here.
                                                            
                       1ST CONSTABLE
      (cautionary tone)
Wait! Before you touch or do
anything; tell us first, then we
will tell you if to proceed..
                                                            
Made super nervous by the Officer's instruction, Roch
explains how he would close the email screen being sure to
save the last email instinctively knowing it had something
to do with Craig's situation. He then connects a cable from
the camera to the laptop
                                                            
                       ROCH
      (instructively,
       nervous)
So I've made sure to save that
email to Craig's message file
folder and I will connect the
camera to the laptop so we can
view it on the monitor screen..
                                                            
Roch pushes a buttons on the camera body and watches the
video recording rewind on the monitor screen until it got to
the start position while explaining his steps to the
Officers
                                                            
                       ROCH
      (instructively)
Ok, I've rewound the video in the
cassette to the beginning as you
can see on the monitor. Now I will
hit play and we will see what it
            (MORE)

8.

                       ROCH (cont'd)
is he was filming...
                                                            
All three crowd closer to the desk to get a view of what is
about to be played on the monitor
                                                            
On the laptop monitor the scene opens to a black and white
image of an empty parking lot. Roch knew immediately that
Craig had taken this as he always shot in black and white.
His films typically demanded the drama that was inherent in
black and white movies. As the scene plays on it becomes
obvious that Craig had placed himself in some bushes
adjacent the parking lot and was focused on one specific but
empty parking space. The tape plays out for several minutes
with nothing happening but the recording of Craig's
ramblings in the background. What he was about to embark
upon was having its toll on his emotions.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
      (scared, nervous,
       anxious)
Who is this person and why would
they want to do this?
                                                            
Craig's voice sounding quite nervous and or shaken either by
the cold of the early morning or his increasing nervousness
over what he was about to witness
                                                            
                       CRAIG
      (
       anxious,questioning)
What, what am I doing here. Is
this stupid movie worth someone's
life?
                                                            
Roch turns away from the computer to gage the reaction of
the two Officers
                                                            
Craig now sounded to be crying, his voice shaking asking
himself if what he was doing crossing some kind of ethical
line. He said a sort of prayer asking God to forgive him for
what was about to unfold.
                                                            
                       CRAIG
      (shaken)
Bless me God for what ever is
about to happen...I hope this is
all worth it?
                                                            
Suddenly, a late model silver SUV comes into the scene. It
drove up slowly and took its mark in the parking space that
the camera took into focus. It was though it had been

9.

blocked in advance. Craig's background rants become
obviously and suddenly quiet.
                                                            
Roch and the two Officers appear to be holding their breath
in anticipation of what is to unfold on the screen
                                                            
The image on the screen goes in and out of focus as Craig
adjusted the lens focal length to sharpen the image through
the viewfinder. The occupant of the vehicle is barely
visible through the windshield.
                                                            
The camera zooms closer, the face of a male probably in his
mid-twenties becomes more visible.

The young man sits as if contemplating what next; Craig can
be heard growing increasingly anxious and questioning his
actions
                                                            
                       CRAIG
      (anxious, nervous)
Com'on man! What are you
doing..what are you about to do..
this is gonna change everything
and I'm feeling sick inside, coz I
know this is not right...
                                                            
Through the windshield the silvery reflection of a handgun
comes into view. The young man hesitantly puts the gun
toward the temple of his head.

Suddenly the image on the screen shakes violently as though
the camera had gotten jarred or shaken amidst harsh,
wrestling sounds of Craig running from his perch in the
bushes. The image settles as the camera is still recording.
                                                            
The camera has recorded Craig running toward the driver side
of the vehicle yelling and pleading at the top of his lungs
                                                            
                       CRAIG
      (pleading,
       emotional)
No, no don't do it. It's not worth
it!
                                                            
Craig begins to bang on the driver's side glass of the
vehicle
                                                            
Next comes the sudden and loud sound of a gunshot, echoing
in the early morning silence, glass splintering outward,
Craig's body flops to the ground
                                                            

10.

                       ROCH
      (
       horrified,pleading)
Oh! My! God! Craig, NO!!
                                                            
Roch jumps to his feet grasping his head in disbelief to
what he just witnessed
                                                            
                       ROCH
      (crying)
No, no this can't be happening.
Not Craig, my God why?
                                                            
Both Officers too recoiled from what they had just witnessed
                                                            
The last frame images on the laptop play mysteriously in
slow motion as the final image of Craig laying on the ground
amidst a growing pool of blood. The young man in the SUV
hesitates only long enough to look at Craig's body and
seemingly without remorse, quietly drives away from the
deadly scene.
                                                            
Roch shaken to the core by the outcome, now slumped in
Craig's desk chair, sits mired in disbelief only to laugh a
sad but sarcastic laugh
                                                            
                       ROCH
      (sarcastic mumbled
       laugh)
                                                            
                       1ST CONSTABLE
      (puzzled)
What is so funny? You just
witnessed your buddy being shot
dead!
                                                            
                       ROCH
      (shaking head,
       disbelief)
Craig was, is, a brilliant film
director. He has won awards for
the work he has done but, I can
still hear him complaining: "I'd
give my life to be able to capture
the true depth of reality of human
emotion by just one of my films"
                                                            
Roch looks intently at the two Officers, them to the freeze
frame of Craig's dead body on the laptop monitor
                                                            

11.

                       ROCH
      (long pause,sadly)
Ironically, I guess, in a strange
and twisted way: he finally did.
                                                            
Closeup of monitor with Craig's body lying in a pool of
blood
                                                            
                                         FADE OUT TO CLOSE
                                                            


THE END


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