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Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by VillageBoi(m): 10:53am On Sep 20, 2013
Just posting a short script here.
Feel free to critique, make suggestions or ask questions. Thanks.

NOTE: PDF also added for downloading.




"MOTHERING HEIGHTS"


INT. OFFICE - DAY

A group of workers are gathered in a large open part of an office. The last two lines of "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" are SUNG. The rendition comes to an end and the two male and five female staff members in the room applaud as the celebrant TASHAI, whose name we gathered from the song, blows out the candles on the cake shaped in the form of the number '21'.

JAMES, twenty-five, a good-looking well kempt Caucasian man in a very smart business suit, sitting on one of the desks, stands up and congratulates TASHAI.

The door OPENS, a WOMAN of about thirty enters the office.

WOMAN
(to James)
Sir, the lawyers are here to see you,
they don't have an appointment
but it seems important.

JAMES
Thank you Heather.
(to the staff)
You can all knock off an hour early.
Tell the barman to put the first round on my tab.



INT. OFFICE WINDOW - LATER

From an upstairs window we see a woman in the company foreground court shaking hands with some lawyer-like men. The men get into the back of their car and drive off.



INT. JAMES' OFFICE - MOMENTS LATER

James sits in an executive chair; swivelling, staring up at nothing, lost in thought.

A KNOCK on his door.

JAMES
Yeah, come in.

In steps the woman from the 'foreground' court. AMANDA, forty- ish, tanned, slim, oozing class dressed in an immaculate white blouse tucked into a pin-striped skirt.

AMANDA
So, what did they want?

James opens his mouth to respond but before he can...

AMANDA (CONT'D)
James, what happened to the
photographs on your desk?

JAMES
They weren't my biological
parents... And no, I wasn't born
in Zimbabwe either.

AMANDA
What?!

JAMES
They said I still own the company
though.
(a beat)
Amanda, this is f*cked up.

AMANDA
So who were they?

Amanda sits on his desk.

JAMES
(shrugging)
I've been lied to my whole life.

AMANDA
(touching his shoulder)
At least they gave you everything.

JAMES
Except the truth.

Beat.

AMANDA
There are always answers... but do
we 'really' want to ask the questions?

JAMES
Good point.

James leans back and exhales

JAMES (CONT'D)
To ask or not to ask?

AMANDA
Hun, they're gone... it's been
seven months.

James rubs his temple, Amanda leans forward and kisses him deeply.




EXT. ROADS - MORNING

A silver Porsche 911 meanders through traffic, it turns off a road and into a dense urban area then stops.

Inside the car, James checks the direction on a map, he looks around to get his bearings and then drives off.



INT. STAIRWELL - DAY

James makes his way up a grubby stairwell; it is littered with needles, drug use paraphernalia, used condoms and general rubbish.

Graffiti adorns the damp covered walls. James climbs up the next flight of steps and holds his hand to his nose; squinting as the stench of urine hits him.

He makes his way onto the third-floor landing; he looks left and right, checking the flat numbering. Behind him the rest of the council estate provides a backdrop of despair and desolation.

He follows the landing to his right, taking out a birth certificate from his jacket pocket. He double-checks the address and stops outside one of the flats; returning the birth certificate to his pocket.

He reaches to press the buzzer then stops.

James takes a deep breath and exhales noisily through his mouth, puffing his cheeks. He hesitates, composes himself, he swallows and slowly reaches for the buzzer with his finger.




INT. INTERNET-CAFE - DAY

A finger JABS the 'return' on a keyboard a few times, we now see it belongs to a YOUNG WOMAN, she leans over to say something to someone. It is James. He stops what he is doing, points over to her screen and says something. The woman smiles at him and turns her attention back to her computer.

James moves his mouse, clicking it. He logs off, stands up and goes over to the counter where he pays for and picks up a print-out.




EXT. PARK - AFTERNOON

The day has become sunny and the park is full of people enjoying the weather; picnickers, sunbathers, people playing, others walking dogs and all the usual.

James is sitting on a bench with his mobile phone to his ear, talking as he watches some NOISY kids queuing at an ICE-CREAM van. He hangs up and crosses off another address from the list he printed out.

James looks at the next address down and dials the number.

JAMES
(into phone)
Oh, hello... I'm looking for a
resident... a Mrs Emilia Vanderbilt...
Er, no, she doesn't know
me... James, James Meade...
I'm hoping I can get to see her
as she might know the
whereabouts of... Sorry?..
Oh, you'll ask her if she would?..
Thank you, I'll wait.




EXT. HOME GROUNDS - LATER

An orderly and James walk down a few steps into the large grounds of an old peoples' home. The grass is freshly mown and flowers bloom in the beds. Maple and oak trees adorn the vast expanse of land.

Visitors, residents and staff are dotted all over the gardens, enjoying the beautiful day in these serene surroundings.

The orderly leads James to a Caucasian lady in a wheel chair, she is about seventy-five. MRS. VANDERBILT, long silver hair, with strong chiselled features has a shawl tightly draped around her shoulders and sips juice from a tumbler. She smiles up at them and they smile back.

James looks at the orderly who nods and gestures; indicating he can sit down. They both sit.

ORDERLY
Hello Emilia, this is James.

JAMES
Thank you very much for seeing me
Mrs. Vanderbilt.

EMILIA
Please call me Emilia.

James nods as Emilia takes another sip from her tumbler.

EMILIA (CONT'D)
Look at you, who would have thought
I'd ever get to see you?
(beat)
You were the year of the hunger
strike. I remember...

James looks at the orderly who shrugs.

EMILIA (CONT'D)
...yes, I remember. Bobby Sands
started his hunger strike... that
changed a lot of things.
(beat, chuckling)
I used to follow Irish Republican
Army politics you know... hmmmm
yes... 1981... that was the year
you were born.

JAMES
Did... did you know my mother?

EMILIA
Oh yes, she and her sister used to
come to my flat a lot. Her sister
was different...

She leans closer to James and whispers.

EMILIA (CONT'D)
Born out of an affair!.. They were
both very beautiful... they stopped
coming a few months before you were
born... I heard your mother got
married and her sister disappeared...
just like that! Well their father hated
her... I used to make them cookies.

James frowns, not understanding.

JAMES
Cookies??

EMILIA
I was a bit of a hippie back in the
days, and so what if they were
young?.. They loved my company.

Emilia laughs to herself.

JAMES
And my mother?

EMILIA
Ah, Rose... I bumped into her a few
years later... she, she never spoke
about you... she lives close by
now... did you visit her on your
way here?.. They're my only other
visitors you know.




EXT. HOUSE - LATER

A nervous looking James is standing in front of a large black door; he adjusts his jacket to look presentable. He reaches for the door knocker and RAPS it LOUDLY. He steps back and waits.

A moment later that seemed like an eternity to him, the door opens. A GIRL of about twenty in jeans and a T-shirt stands in the doorway.

They both look at each other. They have the same eyes.

JAMES
Hi, I'm James, I'm looking for
Rose. Emilia called.

GIRL
(turning to face indoors)
Mom! It's James.

ROSE (O.S.)
Honey, bring him in.

The girl steps aside and opens the door wider to let James in.

GIRL
I'm Karyn by the way. With a 'Y'.

JAMES
Pleased to meet you.

Karyn leads James inside and into a living room. She sits down in a chair.

KARYN
Please have a seat, she's in the
kitchen.

JAMES
Thanks.

James sits down and takes in his surroundings as Karyn scrutinises him. The room has contemporary decor. An understated monochromatic colour scheme makes it feel quite modern, flaunting style and elegance.

KARYN
A bit weird isn't it?

JAMES
Pardon?

KARYN
(notioning around)
All of this.

ROSE (O.S.)
James!

James and Karyn turn toward the voice. Standing there holding a tray with coffee and biscuits is ROSE. She is in her mid- forties, tall and elegant. Her satin blouse is tucked into slacks, complimenting her figure. James stands up. Rose sets the tray down and holds out her arms.

ROSE (CONT'D)
Look at you!

She steps forward and embraces him.

ROSE (CONT'D)
Oh my God! I never thought I'd see
the day.

Rose holds him at arms length, tears well up in her eyes... their eyes. Then she pulls him closer; into a tight embrace.

JAMES
(tearfully)
Mom?

Rose steps back.

ROSE
Oh baby... I'm not your mother. I'm
your aunt... It's a very long
story.




EXT. ROSE'S HOUSE - DAY

A high view of the house and sky, the bright yellow sun drops and turns orange as it sets in an instance. Noon turns to dusk.




INT. LIVINGROOM - NIGHT

JAMES
(disenhearted)
Wow!.. I understand.

A deafening silence engulfs the room.

ROSE
For years I had given up hope of
ever finding her... now you've
found me... we can find her
together.
(beat)
You are family you know?




INT. LIFT - NIGHT

A lift opens and a MAN walks into it. He sees a tired looking James; they exchange greetings.

They ride together in silence and the man gets off a few floors up. On the twentieth floor James gets off and walks to an apartment. He takes his keys out from his pocket and opens the door.




INT. PENTHOUSE - CONTINUOUS

James drops his keys on the side-table and makes his way through the deluxe and modernly furnished apartment, over to the huge bedroom. He smiles as he hears MUSIC PLAYING from the en-suite bathroom.

He saunters over to and enters the bathroom. Amanda is soaking in a bubble bath, drinking a glass of red wine.

JAMES
Hiya babes.

James leans over and kisses her.

JAMES (CONT'D)
Missed you... Starving... you
eaten?

AMANDA
No... I was waiting for you hun.

JAMES
I'll order some Chinese from
downstairs.

AMANDA
I don't really like Chasing Dragon.
Can't we have Po's instead?

JAMES
Too far away, they won't deliver.

AMANDA
(making a sad face)
Please!

JAMES
Damn... you're beautiful... I'll be
back in an hour... got some great news to tell you.

AMANDA
Thanks sweetie... I love you.

JAMES
Love you too sweetie.

James leaves the bathroom.




INT. BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

James takes out the contents of his jacket and drops them on the bed. He takes off his clothes, dropping them too. He changes into jeans and a shirt and leaves the apartment.




INT. PO'S - NIGHT

James leaves the shop with the bags containing his order.




EXT. APARTMENT BLOCK - NIGHT

Red and blue police and ambulance beacon lights flash, creating a syncronised display of colour on the faces of the gathered crowd.

James gets out of his car, order in hand and paces over to the crowd.

The 'man in the lift' spots him and says something. Two POLICE OFFICERS march over to James.




INT. APARTMENT BEDROOM - LATER

Forensic officers pack up their kit. A FEMALE POLICE OFFICER comforts James sitting on the bed, tightly clasping a piece of paper in his hand.

He stands up and lumbers towards th balcony. The police woman and a detective look at each other and follow him. James looks over the balcony, down to the ground. The crowd, police cars, ambulance - everything looks so small and insignificant.

James looks at the note in his hand.

AMANDA (V.O.)
... as soon as I saw the birth
certificate on the bed... I died. I
am so sorry... I had changed my
name and we never knew... but I
want you to know that I loved you
so much and it broke my heart to
have you taken away from me... just
as much as it breaks my heart to
have to leave you again for what
we have done... I can't ever live with
this...

Down below the AMBULANCE CREW pick up the stretcher with Amanda's body in a bag.

AMANDA (V.O.)
The good news you wanted to tell me
means you must have found my
sister... tell her I'm sorry for running
away and never returning and that
I love her... just as I love you...
my son.

The crew slide the stretcher into the back of the ambulance and climb in. They slam the doors shut.

FADE TO BLACK.

Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by sholay2011(m): 10:55am On Sep 20, 2013
I'm so glad cheesy tongue
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by semid4lyfe(m): 10:58am On Sep 20, 2013
Finally, the most anticipated script has been posted. Downloaded PDF and reading it now

I'll come back with my comments l8r. . . .
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by VillageBoi(m): 11:01am On Sep 20, 2013
Thanks for having patience people.
Thanks @ Semid.
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by semid4lyfe(m): 11:11am On Sep 20, 2013
Centre Alignment formatting does not work. Just space it out, use colours, fonts and embolden the characters. . .like in Sholay's Paranoia
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by prof800(m): 11:21am On Sep 20, 2013
FINALLY.!
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by VillageBoi(m): 11:26am On Sep 20, 2013
semid4lyfe: Centre Alignment formatting does not work. Just space it out, use colours, fonts and embolden the characters. . .like in Sholay's Paranoia

Doing that at the moment... it takes ages lol. Have patience.
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by VillageBoi(m): 11:55am On Sep 20, 2013
Done! Copy & Pasting a script is officially hard lol
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by sholay2011(m): 1:12pm On Sep 20, 2013
Damn!!!! I have read it. Hmmmm...

Villageboi. ..you try well well. Thank God you practised what you've been preaching on scriptwriting: detailed description, okay dialogue and a story wiv a wonderful end...though didn't 'feel' the story too much as a whole but you tried in keeping the reader tensed as regards James finding his real mother.

This is a nice work. And maybe because you're a director too helped. Of course, you "showed", you didn't "tell".

Btw, why were you using CAPITAL LETTERS for some words? Was that done intentionally so I can have smth to tackle? grin Also, are names better written in uppercase just lyk you did?

I admire your words of description. I could easily picture that stairwell even though I've nt been to one. You try.

Goddamnitt!!! angry angry let me read it again...maybe I will have more negative things to point out. grin grin
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by Nobody: 1:56pm On Sep 20, 2013
Finally sir villageboi, i know personally that this script isn't your number 1 best, but it's the best i've read here so far, it's intriguing but no much 'jigi-jigi', now i really know what u meant by showing the readers not telling like sholay said. I want to ask sir villageboi, are there no transitions in short scripts or is it just because it's your 'thing-thing'?
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by VillageBoi(m): 2:06pm On Sep 20, 2013
sholay2011:
Btw, why were you using CAPITAL LETTERS for some words? Was that done intentionally so I can have smth to tackle? grin Also, are names better written in uppercase just lyk you did?

I admire your words of description. I could easily picture that stairwell even though I've nt been to one. You try
First of all thank you very much for your words... you're still being kind.

Sometimes CAPITAL letters are used to 'highlight' a word, also the FIRST time we meet someone is in caps and some 'sounds' are in caps too.
Uppercase for names? Oh, normally only if it's the first time we see the name.

Ah the stairwell... yeah, it was a horrible stinky one.
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by sholay2011(m): 2:14pm On Sep 20, 2013
VillageBoi:
First of all thank you very much for your words... you're still being kind.

Sometimes CAPITAL letters are used to 'highlight' a word, also the FIRST time we meet someone is in caps and some 'sounds' arein caps too.
Uppercase for names? Oh, normally only if it's the first time we see the name.

Ah the stairwell... yeah, it was a horrible one.
I see. Well, maybe I can't be "unkind" like you sha no matter how hard I try. grin Well done.
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by VillageBoi(m): 2:22pm On Sep 20, 2013
tony ayo: Finally sir villageboi, i know personally that this script isn't your number 1 best, but it's the best i've read here so far, it's intriguing but no much 'jigi-jigi', now i really know what u meant by showing the readers not telling like sholay said. I want to ask sir villageboi, are there no transitions in short script or is it just because it's your 'thing-thing'?
You're quite right, this is old. But from reading it you can see I'm definitely very Nigerian. Wow, thanks a lot Tony... I'm really glad you liked it and can pick something from it.
Lol... next time I might post a sample with 'jigi-jigi'.

Transitions! I just never 'really' write any, not even in features... did you read one of my 'old' feature scripts? I can't remember. You might notice I sort of describe transitions if I want to bring attention to it and it's part of the 'story' eg -

James takes a deep breath and exhales noisily through his mouth, puffing his cheeks. He hesitates, composes himself, he swallows and slowly reaches for the buzzer with his finger.
INT. INTERNET-CAFE - DAY
A finger JABS the 'return' on a keyboard a few times, we now see it belongs to a YOUNG WOMAN


That above is a 'misdirect transition'... I do that a quite a bit to make the cuts very smooth and also sometimes with audio spilling over from one scene into the next (I don't have a sample of that in this script) but if I ever post something that has it I'll point it out to you.

For the most part I'd rather the director & editor use whatever transitions they want.

Again, thanks a lot for your kind words.
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by VillageBoi(m): 2:28pm On Sep 20, 2013
sholay2011:
I see. Well, maybe I can't be "unkind" like you sha no matter how hard I try. grin Well done.

Sure you can. Find something wrong with it or something you didn't like and say it to me straight up.

You did notice it is a very, very typical Naija story abi? Or as SpeedyBoi would say -
speedyboi:
The storytelling looks 'Nollywoodish'
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by sholay2011(m): 3:08pm On Sep 20, 2013
VillageBoi:

Sure you can. Find something wrong with it or something you didn't like and say it to me straight up.

You did notice it is a very, very typical Naija story abi
Of course, I did. wink That's why I said I didn't "feel" the plot that much but the way it was told is quite good.
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by mufex(m): 8:18pm On Sep 20, 2013
I'll read at midnight. I'm just so tired now.
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by sholay2011(m): 8:18pm On Sep 20, 2013
mufex: I'll read at midnight. I'm just so tired now.
Sorry ehn.
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by VillageBoi(m): 9:25pm On Sep 20, 2013
mufex: I'll read at midnight. I'm just so tired now.

Me too will say "Sorry ehn."

But why you dey wake up for midnight... that's another 'script' grin
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by lynx200(m): 10:12pm On Sep 20, 2013
Nice one Villageboi. You practice what you preach, dude. I read through all of it and was really engaged with it. Nice one dude. Try and shoot this and make some good money with it. This script beats most of the short and feature films I have seen. More power to your efforts dude.
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by mufex(m): 10:20pm On Sep 20, 2013
VillageBoi:

Me too will say "Sorry ehn."

But why you dey wake up for midnight... that's another 'script' grin
I want to read and dilute d script with a refreshed brain...
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by mufex(m): 10:50pm On Sep 20, 2013
The writing is good...I really like your dialogue..d interaction btw characters is perfect. But d story and plot were terrible and lacking...may be for me.
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by VillageBoi(m): 11:23pm On Sep 20, 2013
lynx200: Nice one Villageboi. You practice what you preach, dude. I read through all of it and was really engaged with it. Nice one dude. Try and shoot this and make some good money with it. This script beats most of the short and feature films I have seen. More power to your efforts dude.
Thanks a lot Lynx, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Very nice words of encouragement.
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by VillageBoi(m): 11:25pm On Sep 20, 2013
mufex: The writing is good...I really like your dialogue..d interaction btw characters is perfect. But d story and plot were terrible and lacking...may be for me.
Hey Mufex, thanks for reading it. May I ask what specific things in the story and plot you felt were really bad?
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by alkalineak: 11:50pm On Sep 20, 2013
Nice work bro.. I like the way you ''show'' but its abit too much in couple of places, have read alot of hollywood scripts and they didnot show as much as do. I guess everyone have its own style of writing.

I like the plot but ''whats at stake'' is not really high, i heard what makes a good short is ''a plot that has something big at stake'' Overall well written script.
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by VillageBoi(m): 12:45am On Sep 21, 2013
alkaline.ak:
Nice work bro.. I like the way you ''show'' but its abit too much in couple of places, have read alot of hollywood scripts and they didnot show as much as do. I guess everyone have its own style of writing.

I like the plot but ''whats at stake'' is not really high, i heard what makes a good short is ''a plot that has something big at stake'' Overall well written script.

Thanks.

On the contrary, there isn't much 'showing' in this; it's actually pretty dialogue heavy. Not sure which scripts you mean but I have a ton of Hollywood features and no two are the same - they all vary in the amount of showing vs telling they have. For example films like 'Cast Away' and 'Wall-E' have very little and in the case of Wall-E almost no dialogue... if I remember correctly. Many features have big blocks and chunks of 'showing'. They do a lot of 'imagery/visuals'. Even 'Django' doesn't have any dialogue until page 3. Some scripts even further.

'What's at stake' really applies to feature length films - shorts can have anything from something at stake to absolutely nothing at stake. Sometimes they are a snapshot of a 'part'. However, I do understand your points.

One of the major problems with this script is that is has a very weak and uninteresting beginning.
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by original2k: 5:05am On Sep 21, 2013
Let's make ur dream a reality by helping you shoot your short film. Let's work something out, call me on 08182891928
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by mufex(m): 6:11am On Sep 21, 2013
I think the idea wasn't original. I was really expecting something extra-ordinary..something dat when I am through reading, I will sit back and reflect on. Like I did after I read sholay's 'paranoid' but ur dialogue and descriptions are very seductive.
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by VillageBoi(m): 6:16am On Sep 21, 2013
original2k: Let's make ur dream a reality by helping you shoot your short film. Let's work something out, call me on 08182891928
Hi Original, thank you but this is not a script I ever wanted to shoot... this was me 'learning' how to write... I'll hit you up and talk about other far more commercial stuff.
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by VillageBoi(m): 6:19am On Sep 21, 2013
mufex: I think the idea wasn't original. I was really expecting something extra-ordinary..something dat when I am through reading, I will sit back and reflect on. Like I did after I read sholay's 'paranoid' but ur dialogue and descriptions are very seductive.
I don't think the first screenplays anyone on earth has ever written has ever been extra ordinary grin
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by mufex(m): 6:25am On Sep 21, 2013
VillageBoi:
I don't think the first screenplays anyone on earth has ever written has ever been extra ordinary grin
wow! This is ur first screenplay?!
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by VillageBoi(m): 6:30am On Sep 21, 2013
mufex: wow! This is ur first screenplay?!
I think it was the 2nd I wrote when I was still at Uni. It was for one of our writing modules... so it's a 2006 script cos I finished in 2007.
Re: Mothering Heights - A Short Film Script by prof800(m): 9:56am On Sep 21, 2013
mufex: I think the idea wasn't original.
...wasn't original?
I don't understand.

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