Monday, August 22, 2005

Southbound

Instead of a short story I've posted a treatment. That means, in one sense, a rough guide that can be used to prepare a script for a film or TV show. As it was the erection of the statue to Phil Lynott (see http://belfastmetalheadsreunited.blogspot.com/ for more info.) this is 'sorta' topical. Anyway I hope you enjoy, post your comments to let me know!

J
PS - the abbreviations are CU - Close Up; INT - Internal; EXT - External; etc...

SOUTHBOUND

Prologue:
1.
CU - A hand drawing on the front of a school jotter the cover of a Thin Lizzy album. A voice shouts - Armstrong, when you've finished your artwork can you tell us what John Donne was referring to!
2.
EXT - Crowd outside concert venue in Belfast
3.
INT - Concert venue - crowd shouting "LIZZY, LIZZY"
4.
INT - Enterprise train to Dublin, Man is sitting in the first class carriage. A laptop computer is in front of him; an open briefcase is beside him, and he has headphones from an MP3 player on. The Thin Lizzy song 'Southbound' is playing.
5.
CU hand holding a gun, pull out to see gun is pressed to the side of a man's head
Act 1.
1. Two teenagers, obviously below the drinking age are standing outside an off licence in South Belfast, egging each other on to see if they can be served. They are both wearing black concert t-shirts, motorbike jackets and cut off denims, emblazoned by the legends of rock and metal acts. They are bantering and nervous, until they see an older man, also wearing a motorbike jacket approach. He offers to go into the off licence for them.
2.
EXT: Connolly Station, Dublin, the man seen earlier on the train is on the escalator to street level, laptop bag on his shoulder, briefcase in one hand, suitcase in the other. He is wearing a conservative suit but his hair is slightly long for the business 'look'.
3.
EXT: Lisburn Road, Belfast. Then two teenagers seen earlier getting help to buy a carry-out are walking along the road, obviously worse for wear. They have been joined by several others, similarly dressed. The group is singing, off-key, the Thin Lizzy song "Jailbreak". One sees an approaching police Land Rover and the singing abruptly stops. Attempts to present themselves as sober end up in giggling and much holding on to each other to pretending to be capable of walking in a straight line.
4.
EXT: Outside Connolly Station
The man seen earlier hails a taxi and directs the driver to take him to a city centre hotel, not too far from the Point Depot. The driver asks him if he's in town for business. The man says it's a bit of both as he's going to the concert tonight. The driver responds by saying "The Lynott Tribute? Me and the missus'll be there, maybe we'll see you later."
5.
EXT: Crowd outside same Belfast concert venue as before.
The teenagers we have seen earlier are pressed up against the doors, waiting for them to open. We can see only 10 or 15 of the crowd, but the noise and hum make it clear that there are many more also in the press to make sure they are among the first through the doors to make sure they are at the front. The conversation is about who they can score a spliff off and any other illicit substances as there's no drink on sale inside. One of the teenagers pulls out a plastic baggie. Inside it is crammed with magic mushrooms. Amid whoops of joy the final beer cans are toasted and dozens of mushrooms are passed around.
6.
INT: Taxi in Dublin
The man is getting out of the taxi. CU. We see him passing not only his fare to the driver, but a bulky brown envelope. The taxi driver says "What about we meet up for a pint in your hotel before the concert? The missus would love to meet another fan."
The man replies yes, and mutters I'll be in the bar about half seven" And steps away from the taxi.

Act 2:
1.
EXT: Belfast Street.
The two teenagers seen before are walking to school. They are now dressed in uniform. They are bantering each other about sickness. One was sick during the concert, and the other is insisting it was the drink, while the one who vomits maintains it was the mushrooms. Just before they reach the school gates they slope off to an alleyway where they share an illicit cigarette. They concoct plans for the weekend to steal the stash of cannabis one of their brothers has accumulated.
2.
INT: Crowded Dublin hotel bar - the business man seen before is now wearing ripped jeans and a Thin Lizzy tour t-shirt from the Thunder and Lightning tour. CU we see his hand is shaking as he lifts the pint to his lips. A voice hails him and a small amount of the beer spills. As we pull out we see the taxi driver from earlier. He is with a woman and both are wearing Lizzy t-shirts from the 80s. The woman is considerably younger and looks disinterested. After introductions our man from the train offers a drink, but taxi driver declines, instead giving his partner money and instructions to get three in at the bar. As she leaves grumbling he turns and says "You were 10k short". The reply is "And I've not seen a fucking thing yet." The taxi driver replies: "Take this and see" before offering a hotel key card.
4.
INT: Small bedroom.
Our two teenagers from earlier are laying back on fold out beds, trying to smoke joints and both coughing and spluttering, but from the giggling and the beer it appears they are succeeding. On the hi-fi Thin Lizzy's "Suicide" is playing. As the giggling calms down conversation turns to careers. One talks about the police, the other about academia. Both agree that when they are 18 they are stopping the joints, but keeping on the booze. Together they say, "Well, maybe the odd joint the odd weekend" and burst out laughing.

5. Hotel room.
CU as hands open a small suitcase, identical to the one seen earlier. In it are rows of plastic bags containing white powder. We see a hand slice one open, use a small spatula to scoop a tiny amount into a test tube. When the liquid in the test tube turns blue, the hand holds it against a paper of graduated blue tints.

6. Crowded hotel bar from earlier
The man, the taxi driver, and the disinterested partner are drinking. The taxi driver encourages them to depart to see the start of the gig. As they are putting coats on we see an envelope slip between two sets of hands.

Act 3.

1.

INT. Large living room, tastefully decorated. The camera pans around the room, lingering on pictures of well groomed and presented children on the mantelpiece. The Thin Lizzy song 'Emerald' is playing in the background. As the camera passes the television, we see the businessman that we saw earlier in a hotel bar, slumped in a chair. The camera pans to focus on the man. In his left hand is a can of beer. In his right a gun. He is lifting it to his ear when we hear loud bangs, coming from what appears to be the door. He looks at the mantelpiece, as the camera pulls out. We see his hand shaking and the sound of voices, shouting, "he's in here"

3.

The businessman is again on the train. This time the Enterprise is northbound. He is looking the worse for wear but is nursing a large glass of what appears to be whiskey. CU We see him typing a message into his mobile phone. It reads: "Deal done, coming across the border in 20 minutes meeting to go as planned".

4.

A crowd is emerging from Dublin's Point Theatre. We see the two men and woman from earlier. They are animatedly talking about the concert; about the fitting tribute it is to Lynott, and to how it will be a long time before that sort of show is in Dublin again. They stop into a nearby bar. Once again the woman goes to the bar for the men. When she is gone the taxi driver leans over. His face is mock conspiratorial. He tells the man that the handover is at 5 o'clock in a small bar in Belfast. He warns the businessman to be there or…CU we see him make the shape of a gun and pull the pretend trigger with his forefinger, before bursting out laughing. "Sure, you're the best mule we've ever had! Perfect cover a wee wankstain businessman. Just kidding!"

5.

We see the two schoolboys from before, this time out of uniform and wearing jeans and a t-shirt. They are walking towards a North Belfast school, joking with each other about the grades they are not going to get in their 'A' Levels and whether they will be going to university, and what they plan to do there. One brandishes two concert tickets, declaring that that can all wait until after Deep Purple at Knebworth!

6.
INT. The living room as before
The businessman is sitting with the gun to his temple, when two masked men 'burst' through the door. At the same time the window smashes. Through the broken glass comes a smoke grenade. The room fills with smoke. The last image we see as the smoke clouds the room is a CU of the gun barrel to the man's temple. A voice booms through the broken window declaring that armed police are outside and all inside must throw down their weapons or they will use deadly force.
Finally the smoke obscures the room.
We hear a gunshot…

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