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Screenplays

The Why Matters More

I wrote this screenplay a few weeks ago. My first full screenplay in Scrite. I am mindfully making an attempt to become more visual in my screenplays. I used to write a lot of dialogues before, but with this screenplay I worked on being more visual.

It’s a small 7 page screenplay. We contrast the learning capacity of people when they are thrown in different situations – with an intention to explore that maybe the “why” (or the reason for learning) matters more than the actual content of learning.

You can read the screenplay below or download it as a PDF file for reading later.

INT. STUDY ROOM – DAY

We see a young hand holding a pencil and writing on a book. The sound of pencil moving on the paper is clearly audible.

Up close, we see the contents of the page as writing continues. It is a math text book.

We see long hair. The hand is of YOUNG GIRL, about 10 years old.

We are now looking at the page from behind her head. The question reads: Four children buy 20 chocolates for 40 rupees and spit them equally among themselves and another friend. How much did each child pay and how many chocolates did each child get?

We see the young girl’s face for the first time. We notice shifting expressions on her face in quick successions

– She is thinking

– She is confused

– She looks left

– She looks right

– She looks bored

– Finally she looks to the page and starts writing

We are now looking at the page on which she is writing. We see her writing: “Ech child gats 6 choklets and payd 12 rupis.”

She moves on to the next question. As we pan the rest of the page, we notice that her answers to all other questions on the page are wrong.

INT. COMPUTER LAB – COLLEGE – DAY

We show a hands typing something on the keyboard. The sound of keys being hit on the keyboard is clearly audible.

We see on the computer screen, a C program compilation in progress. It finishes and lot of errors are reported.

We see the face of a YOUNG MAN, aged about 19 years, looking at these errors. He is wearing spectacles. We can see reflection of the monitor in on his glasses. His face is tense. He is nervous.

In quick succession we see

– He is sweating.

– He closes his eyes.

– Looks slightly up as if trying to remember something.

– His lips move, but no sound.

– He looks down and starts typing again.

He is still nervous. We hear a well defined hit on the Enter key.

We see the computer screen. Again a screen full of errors.

EXAMINER (O. S)

Time is up!

We now see a computer lab. The young man is sitting in front of one of the computer terminals. There are 2 girls and 2 boys in front of other terminals. They hand over their paper to the examiner, get up and walk away. The young man is still at his terminal. He turns to look in the direction of the invigilator.

YOUNG MAN

(whispering)

One minute sir..

We are now seeing his face. He is sweating even more. He closes his eyes in panic trying to remember something. He turns towards the screen, opens his eyes and is about to type.

We see a palm on his shoulder. The young man stops, his face turns pale. He looks towards the person whose hand is on his shoulder.

EXAMINER

(sternly, but softly)

Time up. You need to leave.

The young man picks his stuff up from the table. He is disappointed and sad as he walks away.

INT. PRIMARY SCHOOL CLASSROOM – DAY

We see a YOUNG BOY’s face, aged about 10 years. His eyes are closed tight. His lips are moving. No voice. Shortly later, he opens his eyes.

YOUNG BOY

The cock.. the cock is crowing….

(pause)

The.. the.. the stream is flowing

(pause)

The.. the.. birds..

TEACHER (O.S)

(in an angry & firm tone)

THE SMALL BIRDS…

We see the YOUNG BOY standing at his desk in a classroom, with atleast another 60 kids. Some of the kids looking at him and giggling.

YOUNG BOY

Sorry ma’am.. The small birds twitter…

(pause)

The green field.. The green field.. The green field…

TEACHER (O.S)

(angry and loud)

COME ON.. we don’t have all day.

YOUNG BOY

(nervous and scared)

Sorry ma’am. I had by-hearted it at home. Don’t know why I cannot remember.

TEACHER (O.S)

SIT DOWN. Next…

The young boy sits down. His face is red. He is avoiding eye contact with anybody. He looks down at his book. We hear a few light giggles in the background.

The boy sitting next to him stands up and efforlessly renders the poem.

As we move closer to the young boy’s face, we see tears rolling down his eyes. He takes a breath sobbing.

EXT. BACKYARD – DAY

We see young hand adjusting a Kag Hacksaw with Frame on a pencil marking on wood. A few seconds later the young hand starts moving the saw making a cut in the wood. The sound of saw cutting the wood is clearly audible.

As we step back, we see that it is the same YOUNG GIRL who was solving math problems before. A piece of wood is properly clamped on a workbench table. There are wood pieces of assorted sizes. It appears as if the wood pieces were left overs from a carpentry job.

Nearby on the workbench is a sheet of A4 size paper, some pencils and a scale.

We are now looking at the A4 sheet, as we continue to hear the sound of the saw cutting the wood. The page has hand made 3D diagram of an inclining 3 step ladder shelf. Markings near the diagram reveal its size to be 2 feet wide by 3.5 feet tall. Below the diagram are scribbled math equations involving multiplication and division. They look a bit more complicated than the ones on text book and solutions to all those equations are correct.

We are now seeing from behind the YOUNG GIRL as she finishes sawing. She loosens the clamp, moves the wood a little bit and clamps it once again. She begins sawing at the next pencil mark. We notice more pencil marks on the wood.

CUT TO:

INT. CUBICLE IN A SOFTWARE COMPANY – DAY

We show a hands typing something on the keyboard. The sound of keys being hit on the keyboard is clearly audible.

We now see a desktop workstation with two monitors. There is Visual Studio IDE on one screen. Outlook Email client on the other screen. Several panels are open in Visual Studio and the code looks complex.

We now see a YOUNG MAN, aged about 24 years, typing on a computer keyboard. It is the same young man who was in the computer lab before, he looks well groomed and slightly older. He has a stiff face, he is intently focused on the code he is typing.

We see his fingers hitting Ctrl + Shift + B.

We see the computer screen showing compilation in progress on Visual Studio. No errors. No warnings.

We are now looking at the young man’s face. A gentle smile comes on his face.

We see his finger hit F5 on the keyboard.

We see a GUI application launch on the computer screen in front of Visual Studio. It is rendering a 3D diagram of a flight engine. We see the diagram rotating, zooming in and then zooming out. Suddenly the application crashes.

We see the young man’s face. It is stiff once again. He continues typing something for a while.

We see his fingers hitting Ctrl + Shift + B.

We are now looking at the young man sitting in front of his desk. He sips coffee from his mug. He places his mug back on the desk and presses a key on his keyboard.

We are now looking at his computer screen, it is the same GUI application. 3D diagram zooms in, zooms out and the application continues to work smoothly.

We see the young man’s face. That gentle smile is back again. We see him turning to the the second monitor. He is now typing something into a window on the second monitor.

We are looking at the second monitor. He is composing an email. He pastes a screenshot of the GUI application. Hits enter key and types: “I think the issue is now fixed. Can you please check?” The mouse pointer clicks on the ‘Send’ button.

We are now looking at the young man get up and pack his things. There are other people in the office, working. He undocks his laptop. The display from both the monitors disappear. He puts his laptop into his bag. As he is about to leave, his phone buzzes. He picks it out of his pocket.

We see his phone. Its an email. It reads: “Fantastic work. Really appreciate you seeing it through.”

We are now looking at the young man’s face. The smile is back.

We see the young man put the phone back into his pocket as he walks away from his desk towards the elevator.

INT. RANGASHANKARA – EVENING

We see a MAN, aged about 24 years, on a theatre stage. He is the older self of the young boy from school who couldn’t remember the poem. He is in the middle of his performance.

MAN

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

(pause)

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

(pause)

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

(pause)

And you, my father, there on the sad height,

(pause)

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

(pause)

Do not go gentle into that good night.

(pause)

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Thus saying he bows down to the audience. We hear a loud applause. Other actors from the play join him on the stage. They all take a bow. Applause continues. Lights go out.

INT. BACKSTAGE AT RANGASHANKARA – CONTINUOUS

We notice the actors entering back stage. The play director is congratulating each actor has they step inside.

The man who just performed the closing act is is now shaking hands with the director.

DIRECTOR

Boy.. you really nailed that last bit. Good work!

INT. STUDY ROOM – DAY

IN SLOW MOTION: We see the young girl, thinking, looking left, looking right being bored and looking at her math text book.

EXT. BACKYARD – DAY

IN SLOW MOTION: We see the YOUNG GIRL sawing the wood. We pan over the diagrams and the math on a sheet of paper on the workbench.

INT. COMPUTER LAB – COLLEGE – DAY

IN SLOW MOTION: We see the young man typing on the computer in the lab. We see him sweating, tensed and nervous.

INT. CUBICLE IN A SOFTWARE COMPANY – DAY

IN SLOW MOTION: We see the YOUNG MAN writing code with a smile on his face. We see him get up satisfied and happy.

INT. PRIMARY SCHOOL CLASSROOM – DAY

IN SLOW MOTION: We see the young boy struggling to render the poem. He is asked to sit down by the teacher. We see him cry.

INT. RANGASHANKARA – EVENING

IN SLOW MOTION: We see the MAN rendering his lines flawlessly on stage. People applaud.

FADE TO BLACK

We continue to hear the applause.

Title: THE “WHY” MATTERS MORE!