Writing a Treatment

Following on from the logline for my short script (available here) and an outline for the very same (available here), the next step was to write a treatment.

So here is what I have come up with so far:

ACT ONE

MICHAEL WOOD, 27, sits behind the counter of an empty bookstore. He scribbles on a piece of paper. He puts his jacket on and hurries out of the door.

Moments later, Michael stands outside a grocery store, peering in at KRISTI CONNOLLY, working behind the counter. Michael reads his piece of paper, tucks it in his inside jacket pocket, steps inside the store. Inside, Michael approaches Kristi, fiddling with the paper in his pocket. Another customer heads towards the counter. Michael lets them go in front.

Finally, Michael approaches Kristi, nervous and sweaty. Kristi greets him as a familiar face. Michael says he wants to ask her something, but he’s shoved out of the way by JOHN, Kristi’s boyfriend, who tells Kristi to get him something from behind the counter, but she says she’s dealing with someone. Michael says it doesn’t matter. Kristi gets what John wanted. John says he’ll pay her back later, but has a disrespectful attitude. Michael starts saying something, but backs down when challenged. John pushes Michael, tries to get him to come out and say whatever it was. Michael, nervous as hell, puts his hand inside his jacket, unconsciously fiddling with the note.

The other customer, watching the scene unfold, wary of Michael’s peculiar behaviour, declares Michael’s got a gun. Michael backs away, his hand still in his pocket. He sees a policeman walking past outside, panics, locks the door and turns the sign to read ‘CLOSED’.

SECOND ACT

Michael slumps down by the door, keeps his hand in his pocket. John asks what the plan is, hotshot. Michael glares at him. It’s clear there’s no plan. Kristi tries talking to him, telling him he should let them go. Michael seems like he wants to, but then John announces he has plans with Kristi for the night, which upsets Michael, so Michael makes them all stay where they are.

The Customer asks for a drink. Michael tells her to go and help herself to a water from a refrigerator. She does so, but trips on the way back, falling to the ground. Michael goes to help her. John takes his opportunity and hits Michael hard from behind, knocking him out. John looks through his pockets. He finds nothing but a set of keys and a folded-up piece of paper, which he tosses to the ground.

Kristi says they should just call the police and let them take care of it, but John tells her not too: he wants to teach Michael a lesson. John drags him to a chair, ties him up. Kristi tries to stop him, but John shoves her out of the way, causing her to fall and bump herself, a bad cut on her forehead.

John slaps Michael across the face, pours water over his head, until he comes around. Michael immediately notices that Kristi is hurt. He asks if she’s okay, but John tells him not to worry about Kristi, but to worry about himself, and what exactly was he playing at, pretending to have a gun.

As they’re talking (or, rather, as John talks at Michael), Kristi takes the opportunity to sneak around a corner of the store and call the police.

Michael notices his piece of paper on the ground. He tries not to look at it, but it’s so obviously there that he can’t help but look. John notices his gaze, picks up the piece of paper. It’s addressed to Kristi.

Much to Michael’s humiliation, John reads the note to himself. He doesn’t read it out loud. John sees Kristi return from where she’s been calling the police, but he’s so wrapped up in the note that he fails to question what she’s been doing. John tells Kristi that the whole situation is because of her, and tells Michael to tell her what’s in the letter. Michael stays silent, so John starts hitting him, over and over.

Though it’s clear he wants to tell the truth, Michael’s shyness cripples him, and there’s no apparent sense of self-worth. He can do little more than take the beating John’s dishing out.

THIRD ACT

The police turn up; banging on the door, they demand to know what’s happening. Michael tells everyone they should just leave. But John gets between them and the door, says they’re not going anywhere until Michael tells Kristi what’s in the note.

Michael finally relents. He tells Kristi that he’s in love with her. John forces him to read the note in its entirety.

John smiles, seeing the defeated look on Michael’s face. He says that now they can go, and Michael should hand himself in to the police – be a man. But this time, Kristi gets between them and the front door.

The way she sees it, there are witnesses to say that John was the one who bound and beat up one of the ‘hostages’, and even hit her; Michael did nothing wrong.

Kristi turns to the other Customer, asks if that’s how she remembers things happening. The Customer looks between John and Michael – John’s posturing masculinity compared with Michael’s love-sick puppy – she agrees that it was, indeed, only John who did anything worth getting arrested over.

Kristi tells John that he should hand himself in to the police – be a man.

John says it’s ridiculous, and they’d never believe the story. He steps outside, hands in the air. The others follow him out, identically. The police take one look at John’s bruised knuckles, Michael’s beaten appearance and the cut on Kristi’s face and immediately put John in handcuffs, despite his protestations.

As John is led away, Kristi slips her hand in to Michael’s.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s