Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old ALEX RUTLEDGE spends his lonely days sloppily tagging passing boxcars and shattering his booze bottles on them. Until one day fate intervenes and Alex hears of an errand-boy job to help a strange man at a dingy apartment complex.
The strange man is IAN CROCKER (50-ish), a former train engineer, a shut-in with only his model train layout as friendship. Alex accepts the errand job and an awkward father-son relationship develops.
Alex shares his emotional struggles and self-esteem issues relating to why his parents abandoned him. Ian reveals his eerie god-like dominion over his train-layout “reality.” What Ian doesn't uncover are the delusional fantasies of heroism that he suffers as his way of dealing with his unspeakable guilt and insurmountable craving for forgiveness.
Alex comes to learn that his parents were killed in a horrific train accident, and that Ian is responsible for their deaths. Alex explodes with rage and their relationship descends into a vile cauldron, which only accentuates Ian’s loneliness, isolation and despair.
We end with two bombshell endings — with only Ian or Alex alive — along with an unveiling confession of betrayal and the reasons behind Ian's heroic fantasies.
Due to feedback I received from others at Amazon Studios, I clarified my script's use of several daydream scenes and sequences by annotating exactly when the story shifts to and from such scenes and sequences.
For this revision, I re-entered most of the cuts I had previously made, in an effort to bring the screenplay back to its original and authentic version -- essentially back to the version that was placed on Amazon Studios' "New & Notable" List for a couple of months early last year.
This revision underwent numerous changes -- now a script that Greg Beal, the Director of the Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, noted received two positive reads in 2012's competition. I increased dramatic tension within daydream scenes; massaged quite a bit of dialogue; added a "forgive me" motif within daydreams; and removed all amateurish character parentheticals. A perfect project for AS.
This revision is a major rewrite of the last version. I eliminated several characters and deleted superfluous scenes to tighten the script and make it more coherent, while editing all the dialogue to remove on-the-nose wastage. A severe rewrite.
This revision has been lightly edited since the last version, incorporating some of the feedback I've received since my last upload. Also, since my last upload, I received a valuable review from noted nationally acclaimed screenplay reviewer Carson Reeves, who said "Flat Pennies": "... actually has a great ending. Like “holy shit” level ending. I was shocked."
This version is ideal for the Consider List. It's one of the most recognized projects at Amazon Studios (475 downloads), discussed in the forums, with innumerable opinions regarding improvement. Though the script needs renovations, the nationally acclaimed screenplay reviewer Carson Reeves said it: "... actually has a great ending. Like “holy shit” level ending. I was shocked."
This revision is the script I want everyone to read. I have placed some new action scenes into the storyline and changed the ending of the script to reflect these additions. I believe that this, the 12th draft, is a more powerful read, with improved flow and pacing, and the overall emotional impact is heightened and intensified. I hope you enjoy reading my draft 12 as much as I enjoyed writing it.
I changed my screenplay to reflect back on my original idea for this engrossing story. I also incorporated much of the feedback I received from others here. Plus, used a somewhat horrific cover pic for punch. Enjoy this ghost story ride!
In this revision, I analyzed all of the characters' lexicon and exchanged weaker words for more powerful ones, thereby strengthening the dynamic flow and power of each interaction between characters. The scenes now have much more emotional weight and punch.
I added crosscuts early to introduce my main character sooner; gave my protag a more pronounced character arc; showed both main characters having fun to balance out sad scenes; chopped up verbose action, giving what remained some breathing room; massaged all dialogue so subtext could bubble up; and made structural changes to make the shocking ending more powerful.
This version has the daydreams removed to make for a lighter, quicker read. (For those of you desiring a richer, more complex read, the 5th revision (Script 5) should also be read for a full experience of the original storyline, which contains the daydreams as intended.) I also went through the dialogue and made some of it a little snappier and less "on the nose", as they say in the business.
This version has the daydreams removed to make for a lighter, quicker read. (For those of you desiring a richer, more complex read, please check out the 5th revision (Script 5), which contains the daydreams as originally intended.)