SMALL COURTROOM - DAY
SLUGLINE: THIS ELEMENT ESTABLISHES
LOCATION, TIME OF DAY AND, OCCASIONALLY,
OTHER EFFECTS SUCH AS INSERT, MONTAGE
OR FADE IN.
A late middle aged
JUDGE stares at sets of papers before him with sad, sincere eyes.
Before him sit David and his lawyer on one side, with Jennifer and
her lawyer on the opposite side of the aisle.
ACTION: THIS ELEMENT INCLUDES ALL DESCRIPTIONS
OF CHARACTERS, APPEARANCES, LOCATIONS, EVENTS AND ACTIONS. REMEMBER
- YOU CAN ONLY INCLUDE IN ACTION WHAT CAN BE SEEN. FILM IS A STRICTLY
VISUAL MEDIUM. YOU CANNOT INCLUDE OMNISCIENT NARRATION IN ACTION.
David just stares
into space, expressionless. He looks haggard and worn. He didn't age,
yet he seems older -- his eyes heavier. Jennifer wears all black and
constantly fights back tears behind burning eyes.
The judge pushes
the papers away:
CHARACTER: THIS ELEMENT SIMPLY INCLUDES
A CHARACTER'S NAME. IT IS ALWAYS IN ALL-CAPS AND SITS IN THE
CENTER OF THE PAGE.
I've sat in his chair for 13 years. Not as long as some, but
long enough to see a hell of a lot of ugliness. But, I never
get used to something like this. A husband and wife... driven
to divorce by the death of their only son.
DIALOGUE: THIS ELEMENT INCLUDES A CHARACTER'S
LINES. IT CAN INCLUDE LINES SPOKEN IN NARRATION OR TO THE CHARACTER
Jennifer lets bitter
tears come, but David remains stoic.
WHEN DIALOGUE IS INTERRUPTED BY ACTION,
THE CHARACTER'S NAME SHOULD WEAR A "CONT'D."
My heart goes out to both of you for the loss of young Eddie.
PARENTHETICAL: THIS ELEMENT SHOULD
SUGGEST A READ FOR THE SPECIFIC LINE OF DIALOGUE FOLLOWING IT.
A WRITER CAN SUGGEST EMPHASIS, EMOTION OR PACING. THESE SHOULD
BE USED SPARINGLY AS DIRECTORS AND ACTORS RARELY APPRECIATE
Your attorneys assure me that you have made every effort to
reconcile since the tragedy.
David still does
not respond, but his lawyer nods for him. Jennifer looks to her attorney
and mirrors his nod to the judge.
Very well. Then I grant the divorce due to irreconcilable differences
and approve the separation of the joint estate according to
your legal settlement.
Jennifer sobs quietly
now. The judge looks to David, who remains silent, expressionless,
dead... until a pager beeps on David's belt. He immediately snatches
it up, checking the number. David shows the pager to the judge:
Your Honor? Please?
The judge seems
momentarily stunned by David's sudden enthusiasm, but he motions him
permission to leave.
As David stands,
he sees the hate and disgust in Jennifer's damp eyes. David hesitates,
as if searching for something to say to her...but he simply exits.
Jennifer's lawyer looks over to the now sobbing woman, but he can
offer no comfort.
David rushes out
of the building, a cell phone to his ear:
Detective Mast, please... Bill?! I got a page from one of the
uniforms. Are you mobile?
David rushes to
his car, leaving the parking lot with reckless speed.
THIS ELEMENT LEADS THE READER TO THE NEXT SCENE AND CAN INCLUDE "CUT
TO:", "DISSOLVE TO:", ETC. IT USUALLY PROCEEDS A SLUGLINE
TRANSITIONS ARE USED SPARINGLY IN MODERN SCREENPLAYS AND SHOULD ONLY
BE USED TO AVOID CONFUSION BETWEEN LOCATIONS.