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A Time Machine and a Bullet- SCREENPLAY

by Sylar


A Time Machine and a Bullet

copyright 2013

FADE IN-

INT. JESBEN’S GARAGE. EVENING.

JESBEN, a girl with long, curly tendrils of chestnut hair, glasses, and bright green eyes is tinkering with a capsule-like machine with GRANDMOTHER, a short, mousy woman with tufts of gray hair stuffed into a bun.

Jesben:

Grandmother, I think we did it!

The machine lights up, light pouring out of its one small window.

Grandmother:

Oh, Jesben. This is amazing! I know your parents would be proud.

JESBEN looks down, saddened by her grandmother’s comment.

Grandmother:

I’m sorry, Jesben.

JESBEN looks up.

Jesben:

It’s okay.

Grandmother:

Well, on a lighter note, where are you going to go?

Jesben:

I want to meet that girl that saved my great great great great great grandfather.

CUT TO-

INT. YOUNG GIRL’S BEDROOM. NIGHT.

The walls are a rose blossom pink. A white bed with pink sheet and a white bedside table with a lamp on it sits next to a window. A small GIRL with bright green eyes and cascading strands of chestnut hair sits in her bed. Her GRANDMOTHER sits on the foot of the bed.

Grandmother:

Jesben, would you like to hear the story about the girl that saved our family?

Young Jesben:

Oh, yes Grandmother!

Grandmother:

Okay, one more time.

ZOOM IN- YOUNG JESBEN’S FACE. She opens her eyes. ZOOM OUT.

CUT TO-

EXT. CIVIL WAR BATTLEGROUND. DAY.

The sky is a pastel blue, without a cloud in the sky. The sun shines over hundreds of small, raggedy tents pitched up next to a creek. There is a small forest on the other side of the creek. SOLDIERS line the tents, talking, polishing guns, drinking. YOUNG JESBEN is sitting on the high grass, panting.

Grandmother (V.O.):

It was a warm, sticky day in 1863. Your great great great great great grandfather was polishing his gun when he heard someone screaming his name.

Young Jesben (Screaming):

Samuel Hollows! SAMUEL HOLLOWS! SAMUEL!!!!!!

SAMUEL, a tall, slender man with curly chestnut hair and illuminating green eyes looks up from polishing his bayonet, covered with crusted blood on the blade.

Grandmother (V.O. Cont.):

He found the sound of the screaming. It was a girl, about twelve, six years older than you Jesben. She wanted to talk to him, but she couldn’t. A terrible battle broke out.

There is a GUNSHOT in the distance. Suddenly,there are soldiers sprinting around each other frantically, shooting in chaos. SAMUEL grabs YOUNG JESBEN’S hand.

Samuel:

Come with me.

Grandmother (V.O. Cont.):

As they ran, Samuel saw a man reloading his gun. As the man shot, the girl jumped in front of him. The girl died, but the Hollows family lives on.

A SOLIDER reloads his gun, standing ready to shoot SAMUEL. YOUNG JESBEN jumps in front of SAMUEL. The bullet hits her, and she crumples to the ground, lifeless.

ZOOM IN- YOUNG JESBEN’S FACE. She opens her eyes, and gasps as if she swallowed a mouthful of water. ZOOM OUT.

CUT TO-

INT. YOUNG GIRL’S BEDROOM. NIGHT.

YOUNG JESBEN is panting.

Grandmother:

Are you alright Jesben?

Young Jesben:

Sorry, I dozed off.

CUT TO-

INT. JESBEN’S GARAGE. EVENING.

Jesben:

Okay Grandmother, everything’s set. You sure I’m allowed to do this.

Grandmother:

Yes. You’ll come back, I know you will.

Jesben:

Okay Grandmother. Goodbye!

Grandmother:

Goodbye!

JESBEN hugs GRANDMOTHER. JESBEN sits inside the capsule. The garage door opens, and the capsule flies out, into the air.

FADE IN-

EXT. CIVIL WAR BATTLEFIELD. DAY.

The capsule appears in the air and hits the ground. It is SMOKING. JESBEN opens the capsule door slowly.

Jesben (Excited):

Oh my God, it worked! It actually, properly worked! Yes!

JESBEN jumps in the air, SQUEALING with joy. She stops abruptly.

Jesben:

Oh, right. (a pause, then screaming) Samuel Hollows! SAMUEL HOLLOWS! SAMUEL!!!!!!!

JESBEN runs into SAMUEL.

Samuel:

And you are?

Jesben:

Jesben Hollows. Can I talk to you for a minute?

CUT TO-

INT. CAMP TENT. DAY.

It is a cramped area. There is a bed roll on the right corner of the room, along with a small, cabinet-like box filled with food and other supplies, such as gunpowder. There is a desk cramped in the bottom left corner. There are two pistols, a rifle, a bayonet, and a uniform laid on the desk. JESBEN sits on the bed roll on the right side of the tent. SAMUEL sits on a pillow on the left side of the tent. He hands JESBEN a dirty thermos.

Samuel:

Here, drink some water. You look parched.

JESBEN takes the thermos and drinks a sip.

Jesben (disgusted):

Thanks.

JESBEN hands back the thermos.

Samuel:

You’re welcome. Now, what did you want to tell me about?

Jesben:

You probably won’t believe this, but I’m a time-traveller.

SAMUEL is confused.

Samuel (Confused):

Like “Journey to the Center of the Earth” time-traveller?

Jesben:

Yeah, I guess so.

Samuel:

Well, what year are you from?

Jesben:

2013.

SAMUEL does a spit-take.

Samuel (Shocked):

WOW!

Jesben:

Thanks. Oh yeah, something to tell you . . . I’m kind of you’re great great great great great granddaughter.

SAMUEL does another spit-take.

Samuel:

This is amazing! I-

Jesben (Cutting SAMUEL off):

Yeah, okay, but I came here for a special reason. Has anyone saved your life today?

Samuel:

No, um-

A gun SHOOTS in the distance.

Samuel:

It;s a skirmish, oh God . . .

SAMUEL holds out his hand, and JESBEN grabs it. They run through fighting SOLDIERS. A LONE SOLIDER reloads his gun, ready to shoot SAMUEL.

JESBEN:

It’s me! I’m the girl! I saved myself!

JESBEN turns around and is hit by the bullet. She falls, lifeless, to the ground.

FADE TO BLACK.


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Fri Feb 21, 2014 11:26 pm
jls1638 wrote a review...



I like it. This is the first screen play I have read so my critique may be slightly skewed. I Think that you did a wonderful job. The only thing that i have issues with is that it's a little confusing. Mainly with the part where it says, "As they ran, Samuel saw a man reloading his gun. As the man shot, the girl jumped in front of him. The girl died, but the Hollows family lives on.
A SOLIDER reloads his gun, standing ready to shoot SAMUEL. YOUNG JESBEN jumps in front of SAMUEL. The bullet hits her, and she crumples to the ground, lifeless." I don't know if it was a mistake in that you repeated it in a different way and meant to erase one or if it was purposeful and supposed to be a different point of view of the scene.




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Fri Feb 14, 2014 5:25 pm
Renard wrote a review...



Hey!

You have some really solid concepts here. Good characterisation, pacing and interaction.
You don't need to remind the audience every time of the curly hair and green eyes thing, it's kind of self explanatory after the first time.

'Like “Journey to the Center of the Earth” time-traveller?' It doesn't show up here, but within the script, it appears in a completely different font from the rest of the work.

I'm not necessarily one to label things, but I wouldn't know how to classify the genre of this story if I tried. It's a very unique work and you should be proud of your creation.

I would say, I'm not sure who you are aiming this at audience wise. The interaction with the Grandmother throughout the majority of the script could put people if, if they don't find it that relatable or they just prefer seeing generally younger characters.

Just a few nit-picks really, the grammar, punctuation and spelling are good.

Good job. :D






Thanks for the feedback!





Anytime. :)



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Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:48 am
ninjafangirl wrote a review...



This one certainly isn't in the Green Room, but I'll give you a decent review. Ok...

You didn't really explain much. What happened to her parents? What happened after she died? Wasn't this supposed to be Doctor Who fanfiction? Are you going to ever continue this?

The world may never know...

GRAMMAR!

"It;s a skirmish, oh God..."

*It's

So basically the grandmother is worried that she is going to hurt Jesben (who I just called Jensen by accident...) by mentioning her parents death (well, I assume they're dead). However, we see that Jesben is in the care of her grandmother by age six. She seems to be in good spirits, so her parents can't have died less than a year before. This means that she hardly remembers her parents. So she is hurt when the death of two people she hardly remembers is mentioned, but the mother/mother-in-law of those people is not?

The overall tone of the screenplay is kind of... bland. God, that sounded awful. Don't get me wrong, it's a great story, but there isn't any personality in any of the characters, which results in them just telling the story, instead of BEING the story. Does that make sense? Probably not. If you want, I can explain further at school.

When Samuel finds out that his great great great great great granddaughter is a time traveler, he just sort of goes with it. If this happened to you, wouldn't you be a tiny bit more suspicious?

The grandmother/legal guardian sends a twelve-year-old child time traveling to the civil war. Basically, call child services. What was she thinking?

Ok, there you go, review.






Thanks. I really need to rewrite this.



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Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:37 am
spacesoldier wrote a review...



wow I wasn't sure if I would finish this because I was tired...but now I'm wide awake this story is just amazing I just love it! Except I knew something bad would happen because they said goodbye...and, goodbye means forever which is sad anyways you did a great job! Keep up the great work and, thanks for this very interesting night you've given me a lot to think about oh and again great job! :)






Thanks!



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Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:14 am
CarolineNaveen wrote a review...



I'll begin with I like the concept idea. The formatting by the way is great there were a few slip ups here and there, but I would love to know your secret for keeping that formatting so clean when uploading it to this site. Okay now on to your story:
In the opening it seems a little of the grandmother would mention the girls parents. Because if they did die, which I'm assuming that's what happened by the way it was approached it would be a painful subject for her as well. One that she would not approach so casually.
I like the way that you are able to portray the great-great grandfather it was very easy for me to picture him in my head right from the start I would use this to your advantage get to know him a little better, root for him and not want him to die. Also he seems very trusting of the girl right from the start....which seems odd immediately offering her his water canteen a luxsury that had to be a little difficult to come by and coveted/rationed to some extent.
Also at the climax you need to have a little bit more of a sense of urgency, something that the characters are fighting against. You have an incredibly well written concept and idea here, but let it play out a little more. Let the readers not know what's going to happen, let them hope for the best. Not wanting either conclusion for example maybe the girl shares what's going to happen and the grandfather not want her to lose her life for him. Both not wanting to die and have the other die.
Also at the conclusion, it seems unfinished. She died. And? Did she go back to 2013? Or did she die? Is there any way for her to maybe send a message to grandfather so he knows she is truly alright?
Overall a great story and concept with a little bit more rewriting it can be a fantastic great screenplay for any student filmmaker. :) I wish you the best of luck in your future screenwriting endeavors.






Thanks, but she died. If your're confused on how that works, I already answered Lioness on the bottom of the page.



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Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:19 pm
Bellator wrote a review...



Hey! First off, I think this is a really god idea. However, I was confused on the "Young Jesben" part. I think you should make it more clear that she is dreaming. However, if she is dreaming, how can she hear her grandmother's voice? Also, Jesben's grandmother said that the girl didn't get a chance to talk to Samuel, but when Jesben actually goes, she does talk to him. If you clear these things up, I think you have a really great screenplay here! Keep writing!






Thanks, but she's not dreaming, only imagining her being in the role of the girl, who she doesn't know is her yet.



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Fri Aug 09, 2013 9:36 pm
EloquentDragon wrote a review...



Aw sweet, a screenplay! FYI, I've been into filmmaking since I was 13, and have a few SPs under my belt as well. So hopefully I'll be able to give some more specific advice here.

First off, I know that "she" (spoiler) dies in the end of this, so immediately the tone/mood of the movie should be evident. However, it doesn't appear as though you've identified a mood. Here's what I mean:

...is tinkering with a capsule-like machine with GRANDMOTHER, a short, mousy woman with tufts of gray hair stuffed into a bun...

"Grandmother, I think we did it!"

...The machine lights up, light pouring out of its one small window.

..."Oh, Jesben. This is amazing! I know your parents would be proud."

...JESBEN looks down, saddened by her grandmother’s comment.

"I’m sorry, Jesben."

JESBEN looks up.

"It’s okay."

"Well, on a lighter note, where are you going to go?"

"I want to meet that girl that saved my great great great great great grandfather."


First of all, read this out loud to yourself. Voice this the way you see it in your head. Can you visualize it? To me, this seemed a bit childish, mostly due to your dialogue. Having your characters "talk" the exposition is a bad way to do exposition... it's rather obvious, and no one speaks like this in real life. Secondly, the actions lend themselves to a more "unserious" nature; at least the actions of Jesben. Characterization will mostly be left up to the actress, there is no need to throw in neccesary directions such as "she looks sad" unless it is vital to the script. Also, the pacing is a bit off here, each page of screenplay should equal one minute of screentime. That being said, this entire scene would take about a minute and a half. Probably not enough time for the reader to fully grasp what is going on.

NOTE: This is purely technical: You only have to capitalize a character's name completely the first time they appear in a script. After that, use regular capitalization except for the dialogue tags, which remain in all caps.
Also, I know you tried to space things out so that this reads as 2 minutes, but adding extra paragraph tabs is sort of like cheating. Double spaced, one "line" between each paragraph of action text. No more, or the timing gets all screwy. Usually, it's single spaced between dialogue tags and the dialogue itself. But eh, I didn't count that.


A small GIRL with bright green eyes and cascading strands of chestnut hair sits in her bed. Her GRANDMOTHER sits on the foot of the bed.


Just put "YOUNG JESBEN," reintroducing her as "THE GIRL" is redundant.

"Jesben, would you like to hear the story about the girl that saved our family?"

"Oh, yes Grandmother!"

"Okay, one more time."


Again, read your dialogue out loud. It should sound natural, like someone in real life could really be saying this. I'm not getting this right now. It's flat, and sort of stage-play-ish.

http://www.dailywritingtips.com/dialogue-writing-tips/
This article gives a couple of tips on that subject. It is worth a good read through.

Dialogue takes a lot of practice, and like anything, the more you do it the better you get at it. So push yourself, work on this. Don't settle for the first thing you come up with, strive to be original and unique. Give each character their own life, "breathe" life into them.

ZOOM IN- YOUNG JESBEN’S FACE. She opens her eyes. ZOOM OUT.


Okay, so... you needed to indicate that that was a flashback, or that this is her flashback, or something. Because right now I'm throuroughly confused, and the viewer will be too. "Does this take place in her past?" "Is she through the time machine already?" etc. etc.

[quotet]Grandmother (V.O.):
It was a warm, sticky day in 1863. Your great great great great great grandfather was polishing his gun when he heard someone screaming his name.[/quote]

You know, this might flow better if you had this "story" scene come before the first scene where she's in the garage. That's just my opinion.


Samuel Hollows! SAMUEL HOLLOWS! SAMUEL!!!!!!


This is incorrect. All caps like this should not be used, nor should !!!!!! As I said earlier, characterization is left up to the actress. You indicated that she was screaming already-that is sufficient.

SAMUEL, a tall, slender man with curly chestnut hair and illuminating green eyes


I'm going to pause here for a second... don't stress the details of eyes and hair when describing a character. That doesn't give us much of a mental picture. It flattens the character, and we generally could care less about his/her eye/hair color. Besides, don't pigeon-hole casting options like this. Descriptions should be short, yes, but give us something that instantly identifies this character. Ever heard this? "Give every character a limp and an eyepatch." Which means, especially in shorts, that your character needs to be immediately recognizable. Eye and hair color aren't going to cut it.

He found the sound of the screaming. It was a girl, about twelve, six years older than you Jesben. She wanted to talk to him, but she couldn’t. A terrible battle broke out.


Eh? Again, see my notes on dialogue. Not to mention that "He found the sound of screaming" is incredibly awkward. Try to achieve a more "natural" way of putting things. This takes some revision.

Suddenly,there are soldiers sprinting around each other frantically, shooting in chaos. SAMUEL grabs YOUNG JESBEN’S hand.


History note: If they are in their camp and are attacked, there would probably be some chaos, but let's hope they're not so dumb as to start shooting wildly... not to mention it's highly unlikely that a camp would be attacked. We see this a lot in fantasy stuff, but keep in mind that they did post scouts. There would have been some warning. They would have been able to rally and such.

Also, never use "suddenly" in screenplays. If it's sudden that should be evident.

Grandmother (V.O. Cont.):
As they ran, Samuel saw a man reloading his gun. As the man shot, the girl jumped in front of him. The girl died, but the Hollows family lives on.


Ah! You killed the suspense: The narration is moving way too far ahead of the dialogue. I would suggest trying to be more ambigious. Suggest, don't state.

-----

Young Jesben:
Sorry, I dozed off.


Uh... A little kid probably wouldn't be saying this. They don't just brush things off. If something upsets them, then they are upset. Jesben's actions need to be realitic... for her circumstances and her age. Try and give her character a bit more believability.

"Okay Grandmother, everything’s set. You sure I’m allowed to do this."

"Yes. You’ll come back, I know you will."

"Okay Grandmother. Goodbye!"

"Goodbye!"

JESBEN hugs GRANDMOTHER. JESBEN sits inside the capsule. The garage door opens, and the capsule flies out, into the air.


This all moves a bit too fast. What's going on inside they're heads? Are they really acting like Jesben's just going out for an evening drive? What Grandma ever says "I'm sure you'll come back?" The dialogue here could use a lot of work. See my previous advice.

Also, this is supposed to be science fiction, but it has very little to do with that genre. How did Jesben, at twelve, know how to invent a time machine that actually works? How did she build it? You probably should show us some of that. Also, what is this time machine supposed to look like, and how does it work? Give us some more description here. You need to think through all these questions carefully. Give it some time. Try to be different than anything you've seen before. There are a million time machines out there in TV and film---what makes yours different and special and rememerable?

Jesben:
Jesben Hollows. Can I talk to you for a minute?


She just "bumps into him?" Isn't there a more original, better way that they could originally meet? This is sort of... unsuspenseful.

Samuel:
Like “Journey to the Center of the Earth” time-traveller?


May I point out that Journey to the Center of the Earth, in the original Vernes novel written in 1864, had nothing to do with time travel. Hollows would not have any way to know about our modern movie either, nor would he know about that novel unless he was very well read and "up with the times" ---not exactly probable since it's the middle of a war.

Samuel:
Well, what year are you from?


He accepts the fact that she's a time traveller right away? He doesn't doubt her at all? She could be lying to him (from his point of view). This seems a little unbelievable.

Jesben:
2013.


Also, your "dating" your movie by stating the year like this.

SAMUEL does a spit-take.


What is a "spit-take?"

Samuel (Shocked):
WOW!


Probably not something a guy from the 1860's would say, just letting you know.

SAMUEL holds out his hand, and JESBEN grabs it. They run through fighting SOLDIERS. A LONE SOLIDER reloads his gun, ready to shoot SAMUEL.

JESBEN:
It’s me! I’m the girl! I saved myself!


Nice turn of events. However... why would Jesben throw herself in front of Samuel? That she's saving herself is good as a motivation, it's not enough. She wouldn't have been able to come to that conclusion so fast. There needs to be more time, more developement. Maybe she saves Samuel because she cares for him? Try and give her actions more credibility. Allow her character some room to grow and express itself.

All that being said, this is a very interesting concept you've got here. But that's sort of all you have right now, a concept. This needs more work in order to be a truly great short film. Keep in mind that a "story-arc," the same thing used in movies and books, is also used in shorts, just at a mini-scale. There should be more here... what makes the viewers care about Jesben and Samuel? Things need to be urgent and suspenseful.

This was good, keep writing!
~ED




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Fri Aug 09, 2013 9:21 pm
KnightTeen wrote a review...



Wow. This is really amazing.

But, is there someway that you can delete or remove the large blank areas? They add unnecessary lank to the piece.

I love the formatting and text style that you used here. And your grammar and spelling is very good, for I can see no errors here.

I do have one thing to say, however. I think that you should italicize the lines that aren't character names, or dialogue. In other words, italicize the setting description, to distinguish it from the rest of the screen play.

The only thing I hated about this was the ending. And it wasn't the ending that I hated, but the fact that it ended.

I see a lot of future potential in this, there is a lot the you can elaborate on and add to if you ever choose to, and that makes me glad that there may be a slight chance of seeing more than Jebsen.

Things that you could turn into furture screen plays:
How did they build the time machine
What happened to Jebsens parents?


You get the idea.

Peace!
HT






Thanks so much! You're suggestion about the dialogue is nice, but I've I use a professional screenwriting software (Final Draft) and that small formatting will get me out of the running in a screenplay contest, sorry! I'll think about your other suggestions though, thanks so much!



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Fri Aug 09, 2013 2:46 pm
Lioness wrote a review...



Wow. Just wow. I never can write screenplays, mine never seem right. But you have a talent for it, I can see that.
As far as I can see, there are no mistakes in this, apart from the line:
Like “Journey to the Center of the Earth” time-traveller?
This isn't the same font as the rest of the text, but that isn't a grammatical error or anything like that.
I never saw the part where Jesban is the girl who saves her G-G-G-G-G grandfather. The twist was remarkable, and very carefully thought out. I just have one small issue, wouldn't Jesban being the girl create a paradox? If she is the girl who saves herself, surely she won't be there in the future to do the same? Sorry if this sounds a little strange. PM me if you want me to elaborate. Apart from that, it was very well written, thought out, and just brilliant.
Lioness.






Thanks so much! To answer your question, Jesben dying is a fixed point in time. Here's the list of events: Samuel Hollows is born in the 1840s. In the 1860s, he is enlisted in the Union Army. In 1863, some random girl dodges a bullet for him. Then, all other generations exist, and Jesben is born in 2001. In 2005, her parents die, and in 2012, she goes back in time and never returns. See? No paradox, Jesben dying has always happened in time, like Pompeii or the Titanic. I hope that answers your question!



Lioness says...


Okay. I think too much into things. I'm a whovian, this sort of stuff confuses me, mainly 'cause the Doctor says something weird.





I'm a whovian too, but there's something in my brains that understands all the timey-wimey stuff the the Doctor says. Doctor Who and Back to the Future were my main inspiration.



Lioness says...


The Name of the Doctor and the angels take Manhattan were the ones that confused me. Paradoxes and timelines. My strongest point as a whovian is definitely the TARDIS and the aliens. I also understand the Doctor a lot.




Lice on rats on a horse corpse on fire.
— John Oliver