Debate

Debate <— Clicking on the link will open a .pdf.

This is a sketch of the debate section of the story.

The inciting incident of the story creates a new set of rules and goal for the protagonist.  He then debates the ramifications.  Once the protagonist understands the rules and goals, he is compelled to move forward toward the goal.

Published in: on April 23, 2010 at 3:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Midpoint

Midpoint <— Clicking on the link will open a .pdf.

This is a sketch of the midpoint of the story.

The midpoint is where the protagonist learns what he thought was the solution to the problems created by the inciting incident are not really his issue at all and the story takes a new direction.

Published in: on April 23, 2010 at 3:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bob at 28

Bob at 28 <— Clicking on the link will open a .pdf.

This scene may or may not appear in the script, but serves as a sketch of Bob when he was 28-years-old.

Published in: on April 23, 2010 at 3:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bob at 22

Bob at 22 <— Clicking on the link will open a .pdf.

This scene may or may not appear in the script, but serves as a sketch of Bob when he was 22-years-old.

Published in: on April 23, 2010 at 3:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bob at 16

Bob at 16 <— Clicking on the link will open a .pdf.

This scene may or may not appear in the script, but serves as a sketch of Bob when he was 16-years-old.

Published in: on April 20, 2010 at 2:04 am  Leave a Comment  
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Bob at 10

Bob at 10 <— Clicking on the link will open a .pdf.

This scene may or may not appear in the script, but serves as a sketch of Bob when he was 10-years-old.

Published in: on April 18, 2010 at 8:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think)

Wikipedia

I know you’re never supposed to call out specific music in a spec script, but I’d love to be able to somehow get this piece in the scenes following the establishment of Bob working in Act 1.

Published in: on December 31, 2009 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Outline

This is the outline read in the Cindy Hewitt Screenwriting II class at UCLA December 3, 2009.


“Unwritten Pages” outline by Paul Quade

Log Line – A middle-aged loser gets a second chance at youth, but struggles with Fate to choose between success or selflessness before time runs out.


Doors bursts open on an emergency room and a man on a stretcher is wheeled in.  This is Bob.  Paramedics brief the Doctors about Bob’s condition.  It doesn’t look good.  Bob’s vitals are dropping.  His eyes flicker.

Bob’s life flashes before his eyes.

Blackness.  A heartbeat.  A baby.

Bob in elementary school.  Bob walks into a boys room.  Bullies are picking on a younger kid named Simon.  Bob tells them to stop.  They say they’ll leave him alone if Bob gives them his lunch money.  Bob gives them his lunch money.  They take it.  They give both Bob and Simon a swirly.  Bob says they lied.  The bully says, “so sue me.”

Bob in high-school.  Bob makes a final summary in a debate.  He wins.  His coach tell him he’d make a good lawyer.

Bob at college.  Meets Jill, a beautiful girl working in the college bookstore.  She’s the girl of his dreams.  She’s pre-med.  He’s pre-law.  They go out.  Jill’s family makes too much money for her to qualify for aid, but not enough to pay for school.  She’s working her way through college.

Bob as a law clerk.  The boss points to a motivational poster of a sandglass.  Below it in large type; “TIME” and below that;

“What Is The Most Important Thing You Should Be Doing Right Now?”

Bob works hard.

Bob at 28.  Bob’s boss complains he has put the wrong year on a report.  Bob realizes two years of his life seem to have vanished.  Jill is gone.  Bob asks a co-worker about Jill who says she ran out of money and had to quit school.  Bob’s life is empty.  He’s growing older alone.

Bob at 42.  He has turned into a middle-aged office drone.

Bob’s friends are concerned.  Bob needs to eat better and exercise.  While jogging for his health, Bob is hit by a bus.

A white void.  A heart beat.  A man.

Bob looks for the Pearly Gates.  A woman sits at a desk writing in a black 5 by 8 inch black book.  The desk is piled high with more black books.  Behind the woman are thousands more women, all of them look exactly alike, all sitting at desks, all piled high with black books.

Bob talks to the woman.

“Hi.  I’m Fate.”

“Faith?”

“No.  Fate.  Faith has nothing to do with this.”

Fate explains that these are all the Fates that write each person’s ‘Book of Life.’  Well, write probably isn’t right; it’s more like an outline.

Life used to be simpler and there used to only be three Fates, but with six billion people on earth at any given moment, they’ve had to expand and they’re horribly behind, so outlining is about the most they do now and it allows for some free will.

“Free will?  How can I have any free will if everything in my life is predetermined?”

“You still get to choose what you’re having for lunch.”

Bob asks to see his book.  Fate hands him the book and he flips through it.  Everything after page 46 is blank.

“Really?  Middle of page 46 you just write ‘hit by a bus’ and that’s it?”

“Yeah, pretty much.  I’m done with this book now.”

“That’s the end?”

“‘Hit by a bus,’ did I really need to write more?”

Bob flips through more pages.  Flip, flip, flip, thunk.  Stuck.  There are pages 24 and 25, on the other side, 28 and 29.  Two pages are stuck together.  Bob carefully thumbs the pages and they unstick.

Pages 26 and 27 are blank.

“You skipped them?  If you skipped them, what happened to me?”

“Ever lose track of time?  Put the wrong day or month on a check?  That’s how it goes.  We skip something, it doesn’t exist, you don’t even remember.”

“What?!  This is two whole pages!”

“It’s just an outline anyway.”

“Outline!  It’s two years of my life!”

“Already submitted and approved before you were born.  I can’t change a word of what is written.”

“What about what you didn’t write?”

“My work on this is done.  Just let it go.”

“No!  I might not have been a great lawyer, but I know a product liability lawsuit when I see one.  Who approved this?  Who’s your supervisor?”

Bob, threatens to expose Fate if she doesn’t fix it.

Bob and Fate strike a deal and make a contract.

Bob will go back in time and Fate will transcribe into the book what he does so the complete story will make sense.

Bob sent back to end of page 25 in his Book of Life.

Bob regrets not having spent more time with Jill.  This time Bob’s going to do it right.  Bob and Jill go out of dates, discuss the future, children and his dislike of jogging.

Bob uses his knowledge gained in life to get past issues and win Jill.  What are the things you would change in life if you could go back?

Fate visits Bob in a dream.  Bob’s book had already been written. There was simply no way to change that.  Fate tells Bob the bottom of page 27 has to make sense with the top of page 28.

Bob ignores Fate.  Fate begins to make appearances in Bob’s life to screw up his relationship with Jill and make the bottom of page 27 match up with the top of page 28.

Fate insinuates herself into Bob and Jill’s relationship.  Fate breaks them apart.  Bob can’t marry Jill. He can’t become a success. That part is done. Finished and unchangeable.

Bob appeals to the Fate. He’s been cheated. No. Actually, they had an agreement. This is the way is was to be and there was noting that could be done about it.

Bob resigns himself to the deal made with Fate.

Bob sees the only thing to do is to sacrifice his last year to make her life better.  He secretly arranges dates for Jill with men he has screened.  With the money he has accumulated, he creates an anonymous trust fund for Jill.  Bob writes a note summarizing the entire story to Jill and on the bottom of page 27, goes to sleep.

Bob in operating room.  Dr. Jill saves him.

Published in: on December 3, 2009 at 7:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Inspiration

This was the short story written and published as a Facebook Note on September 11, 2009.


Every writer I know has a notebook of some kind. I’m a bit of a geek and wanted to make my notebooks mean something and be symbolic of something greater. When I bought mine I did what a lot of aspiring writers do and bought the “classic” Moleskine notebook. 240 lined pages, 5 x 8 and 1/4 inches with an expandable inner pocket.

“The legendary notebook of Hemingway, Picasso and Chatwin.” or so says the ads.

Its distinctive black cover and elastic band to hold it closed is easily spotted from across the room. If you see a guy carrying one of these into a coffee shop anywhere you know you’ve found, at the minimum, a wanna be writer. Who else would buy one?

That, of course, is not the point of this.

So, I’m coming home tonight from Burbank on the train to Anaheim and I notice that a couple of weeks ago while in class a couple of pages must have stuck together as I was flipping pages taking notes. That meant I had two blank pages between some very dense note taking in a screenwriting class.

Ok, so I don’t want to waste .83% of the very expensive notebook, so I started to jot down some shaky notes (I was after all on a moving train) about a story idea.

It’s a story about Bob. Bob is like a a lot of us. He went to college and met an incredible girl named Jill. Jill was pre-med, Bob was pre-law. After college Bob started working on his career as a legal clerk, hoping to one day be a lawyer. Bob worked very hard at his new job.

One day Bob woke up and discovered that it seemed just like yesterday he had started his career, but was now two years into it and Jill, the girl of his dreams was the one that got away. She had dropped out of med school due to lack of funds and drifted off. Bob struggled with this. His career went nowhere. He never became a great lawyer. He became bitter and was kind of a dick. He lived alone.

Sometime after Bob turned 40 he was out jogging in his neighborhood, for his health, and was struck by a bus.

When Bob approached the Pearly Gates, he wasn’t greeted by St. Peter. A woman, one of the Fates, greeted him. She held a book. Bob’s “book of life.” It was the Fate’s job to write the outline of Bob’s life in the book; where he would be on such and such day, what major things would happen in it. This meant that while some of Bob’s life was determined before his birth, it was mostly Bob’s free will that would determine what happened on a moment by moment basis. It was, after all, just an outline. You can’t expect the Fates to write every detail of every person’s life! There just isn’t the time. These books are all intertwined and the stories are so confusing as it is.

As it turned out, somewhere in Bob’s book, pages 25 and 26 to be specific, the pages had stuck together and when the Fate wrote in the book, she had skipped them. As it turned out, those pages that stuck together were the years just after college. When he had woken up and thought the years had flown by they actually had! He’d just skipped right past them.

Now, of course, Bob might not have been a great lawyer, but he knew a thing or two about product liability lawsuits. He also knew that if word of this got out, the Fate would probably get in trouble so he made a deal with her. Bob could go back to fill in the missing section and the Fate would transcribe it so it all made sense in the larger context of the book.

Some sort of magic was performed and Bob was sent back to the living and back to the time and place at the end of page 24 of his book.

Bob knew what he had to do. First and foremost he had to get to Jill and put in some quality time. He needed to not make the same mistakes he had made as a young man. Work hard. Become a success.

Bob and Jill went out on dates. They talked about the future; a home, children, their life in old age and how much Bob didn’t like jogging.

One night, while Bob was sleeping, the Fate visited Bob in his dreams. The Fate had been watching what was going on and was dutifully noting each twist and turn in Bob and Jill’s relationship, but was growing concerned. She was concerned that while page 25 was going along at a great pace, she didn’t know how Bob’s page 26 was ever going to make sense with pages 27 and beyond.

You see, most of Bob’s book had already been written. There was simply no way to change that. Whatever is at the top page 27 is just going to continue on from bottom of page 26. Bob can’t marry Jill. He can’t become a success. That part is done. Finished and unchangeable.

Bob appeals to the Fate. He’s been cheated. No. Actually, they had an agreement. This is the way is was to be and there was noting that could be done about it. The choice now becomes Bob’s to make; does he live out page 26 the way he wants to and crush Jill and leave her as a widowed mother when he suddenly disappears from her life at the top of page 27 or does he resign himself to the facts of his life and try to somehow make hers better?

Bob sees the only thing to do is to sacrifice his last year to make her life better. His will, from this point forward, be an unrequited love and only from afar. He breaks up with her. He pours every dime he has into investments, in her name. He is somewhat relieved to know he’ll have a job at the top of page 27 so he can’t be fired, so he begins to slack off. He secretly arranges dates for Jill with men he has screened.

On the night before he goes to sleep to wake up on page 27, he writes a note to Jill seals it in an envelope and mails it. Bob then goes to sleep.

Bob wakes up in the ether and the Fate is there to greet him. As it turns out, there was another mistake found in his book. Well, not HIS book, but one of the other books that was intertwined with it. On the day the bus hits Bob, he’s somehow saved at the hospital by Dr. Jill.

Published in: on September 11, 2009 at 7:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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