It’s Remembrance Day. I wrote a screenplay about remembrance a couple of years ago. I thought I’d share the Scene Breakdown.
EXT. DESERTED BEACH. DAWN.
A shadowed figure, WINSTON, is standing on the edge of the sand. His back is turned and his shadow casts a long image across the beach. He is carrying a rake.
EXT. BUSY SHOPPING STREET. DAY.
A high street is bustling with shoppers. Everybody is dressed in coats and there is a chill in the air. A motorbike roars through the middle of the street parting the crowd through the middle. For a moment in is possible to see Winston amongst the crowd. He is shuffling down the street with two canvas bags in his hands.
He stops briefly outside a trinket shop with a range of stone soldiers in the window with the sign ‘Mystery Soldiers. £5.’ TWO WOMEN walk out of the shop. They are discussing the soldiers, expressing their value to their children. There is a subtle twitch in Winston’s expression, a slight smile.
He continues to move slowly and carefully through the crowd. A BOY and a GIRL are sitting outside a cafe, sharing headphones and watching a youtube video on their ipod. On the screen is a YOUNG GIRL holding up a small stone soldier. The couple look entranced by the video and for a moment Winston is too before he is nudged by a passing MAN talking loudly on his phone.
EXT. BUS STOP. DAY.
The bus stop is on the town square. A war memorial monument is in the middle of the of square, it stands tall and proud. A group of TEENS are gathered at its base. The are messing around, some are smoking, one is kicking a football, they are laughing loudly and playfully screaming. One of the TEENS stubs out his cigarette on the statue.
Winston watches on with a tear in his eye, as he stands amongst the others waiting for the bus. His fists clench around his shopping bags and he looks around at the other people. No one else has noticed the TEENS. Winston sinks back, he is unable to do anything.
The bus arrives, screeching to a halt.
The people waiting begin to move towards the opening doors. The TEENS run to get to the bus. They dash by Winston and one inadvertently knock him to the floor, not stopping to help him up.
He lands with a clutter to the floor. Everything goes silent and all he can hear is the sound of his heart. Everything blurs. Winston is breathing heavily. His vision slowly comes back into focus.
The BUS DRIVER with a friendly face asks if he is okay and puts his hand towards Winston to help him up. Instead Winston grabs hold of the bus railing and pulls himself slowly to his feet, he is shaking.
INT. CROWDED BUS. DAY.
The bus driver helps him on to the bus and to a seat and hands him his bags. A few passengers glance over at him but nobody takes much notice, Winston clutches to his shopping bags. His hand is bleeding.
More people come on to the bus. A MOTHER holding the hand of a LITTLE BOY stand in the space in front of Winston. The mother staring out of the window, absentmindedly. The Little boy he sucking his thumb a bit of looped string is hanging from his hand, he is looking at Winston’s bleeding hand.
The bell of the ‘Bus Stopping’ button rings.
The boy holds out his hand to Winston and offers him the string. He whispers, “Lucky.” His mother then pulls on his hand and they leave the bus.
Winston looks down at his hand, a little stone soldier looks back at him. He smiles and chuckles to himself, shaking his head.
INT. WINSTON’S LIVING ROOM. EVENING.
The room is glowing in moonlight by two windows which look out on to sea. It is clearly lived in; a little dusty and very cluttered. A lumpy, out-of-date sofa takes up a majority of the room. A old television set stands like an antique against one wall , it is on. A dark wooden desk and chair piled with papers and boxes lurks in a corner watched over by black and white photographs and framed newspaper clippings. The room sounds unearthly and is filled with dark corners and shadows. Winston is asleep on the sofa. The television remote lying on his stomach, and his hand in a bandage.
By the front door a grandfather clock chimes loudly, waking Winston suddenly from his sleep. His attention turns to the TV. A local news team are standing on a beach.
EXT. BEACH. DAY TIME. (TELEVISION BROADCAST)
A smartly dressed PRESENTER stands with the sea behind her talking into the camera. She is wrapping up a news piece on the Mystery Soldiers.
“We don’t know why they’re here. Who they’re from. Or what exactly they are for. But it’s clear from everyone here that they are bringing people together and creating a new and exciting treasure hunt for all the kids down here at the Coast.”
She smiles into the television. And then everything goes black.
INT. WINSTON’S LIVING ROOM. EVENING.
Winston switches off the noise, his eyes still heavy. He pushes himself off the sofa and stumbles to his feet. He pads over to his desk and opens a small box. In it are three silver military medals with George V inscription and on coloured straps.
He closes the box and heads to a coat stand near the front door. He puts on his coat, flings a satchel over his shoulder, puts on tweed hat and picks up a rake.
EXT. STREET. EVENING.
Winston is walking down a neighbourhood street. Streetlights make the night become yellow and artificial. Winston looks at the glows from behind curtained windows, and solemnly continues his path. A white pigeon flies past him and lands on one of the street lamps.
EXT. BEACH. EVENING.
The roar of the waves greets Winston as he steps on to the sandy beach. The moon is now high in the sky and shines a blue, mystical glitter over the sea. A COUPLE are cuddled close and do not notice Winston arriving. They continue to sit on the sand as Winston begins to rake.
He looks down at the ground, his face covered by his hat and methodically moves up and down the beach in a rhythm with the waves. Every now and then he pauses, reaches into his bag and places something on the sand in front of him.
EXT. BEACH. LATER THAT NIGHT.
The couple eventually leave when Winston gets nearer to them. The beach is in perfectly raked lines and Winston is still moving like clock work.
EXT. BEACH. MORNING.
The sun is high over the beach, a shadow of a SECOND COUPLE walking hand in hand moves gracefully across the sand. They walk with a rhythm of their own. The man bends down to the sand and pulls out a piece of stone. He looks down at it. It’s a intricately carved and painted stone soldier. He smiles and puts it in his pocket.
The mother and little boy from the bus come on to the sand. The little boy is clutching a red bucket, he is shivering. The mother leads him onto the sand and stands to wait for him as the little boy bends down and begins to search in the sand.
More families begin to emerge onto the beach. Children leave their parents and begin digging in the sand with excited giggles and running feet.
INT. WINSTON’S LIVING ROOM. MORNING.
Winston is sitting at his desk. His coat and hat are hung up and the rake is leaning against the wall. There is music playing from a cd player and Winston is quietly humming along. He is hunched over his desk working very closely with something obscured. He then swirls a paint brush into the mug next to him and holds his hand up to the light, holding a stone soldier.
His desk is covered in small stones in different stages of becoming soldiers. Winston starts to smooth down another piece of stone, stilling humming a wartime tune.