Erin Swartz Treatment A young boy is sitting on the top of a stairwell listening to his parents scream. He seems to be about mid-teens. He does not look alarmed, but like he is listening to a sad song. His father, Randy, is seen charging toward the door at the bottom of the staircase. He has his coat on and car keys in hand along with a suitcase. His mother, Sarah, begs him not to go as he walks out and slams the door shut. We cut to a few years later. The boy, Jake, now appears to be nearly twenty and is walking out of his house to head to work with an expensive work suit on. He jumps in his Jaguar and pulls out of the driveway. Upon arrival, he is greeted by a boy, Gabe, who appears about the same age and is wearing the same apparel. They walk into the large building together, and are greeted by the receptionist in the lobby. They get on the elevator and arrive on their floor. They walk to Jake’s office and get to work. They have to come up with a new, top scale game to keep sales up. The competing video game companies compete harshly. After a long day of work, the boys decide to go to a friend’s house for a party. Here, Jake meets Grace. He is immediately smitten and gets her number. After a crazy night of partying, the boys go home. When Jake walks in, he finds his mother, Sarah, staring at old pictures and crying. LISA, his sister, is holding her. Jake goes to comfort her, telling her they’re better off without “him” anyways. This happens at least once a week, but decreases in frequency as the movie continues. Although Jake is strong for his mother, he feels a strange sense of emptiness throughout the movie. The next day at work, Jake cannot stop talking about Grace. Gabe suggests he call her, but Jake insists she must think he’s crazy after the party. This routine of work and always
thinking about Grace continues for a week until Gabe finally sits Jake down and makes him call Grace. He tells Jake that he has had his head in the clouds and in order to keep sales up, he needs to get this off his chest. Grace answers the phone and agrees to go on a date with him. A year passes by. Jake and Gabe come up with an amazing piece of technology and it’s time to make a huge deal. A bunch of old businessmen come in and sit down. They listen to the boys’ pitch. Due to the boys’ excitement over the technology, they had practiced. Their pitch carries a vibe of confidence that almost bleeds into arrogance. The old men are doubtful at first, but after further convincing, the old men are sold and take the deal. The boys are so elated with joy that they each rush home to get ready to go out. On the way, Jake makes a pit stop at Grace’s house. He tells her about the wonderful deal and invites her out with them. After the night of fun, Jake takes Grace back to her place, walks her to the door, and asks her to marry him. The wedding is gigantic. It is in a top of the line church with flowers everywhere. The only thing missing is Jake’s father. The wedding and reception are shown. Gabe is the best man. Life after the wedding continues as normal as far as the business is concerned. Gabe finds a wife and the boys continue to make millions. Still, Jake secretly misses his father and the money does not fill the hole. We flash forward another year and Jake is in the hospital with his wife, who is about to go into labor. It’s a boy, Brock. One look at him, and Jake knows he will be there with him always. He could never leave the way his father did. This causes Jake to be even more confused. He did not understand before, but now he really does not understand how his father could just leave. The family returns home from the hospital and puts the baby to sleep. Grace walk into the
room where Jake is sitting and can tell something is bothering him. They have a long, deep conversation about Jake’s father and it makes him feel better, but he still has the empty hole. Jake is in his office one day in the following month working on a new project when his father, Randy, comes to see him. Jake knows immediately that he came for money, but figures he will take this opportunity to figure things out and tell his father how he feels. They get into a long conversation, turning into an argument at times. He was right about his father wanting money. He reveals that his father is the reason he opened the business in the first place. He tells him about how he promised his mother that they would have money even after he left. He gives his father a thousand dollars, partly just as a way of showing him up, and tells him to leave. That night, he gets home late, goes into his son’s room, and holds him just to hold him for an hour until Grace walks in. He tells her all about what happened and he comes to the realization that the empty space is gone. Although he started the business to make money for his family, he realizes he may have subconsciously hoped the money would help fill his emptiness as well. In the end, all he needed was closure. He’ll never understand how his father could do what he did, but at least his father knows how he feels. The story ends with a family dinner the following weekend at Jake’s mother’s house. Jake, Brock, Grace, Lisa, and Sarah all come. The dinner is a happy one with laughter and love. Plates were passed around and the aura is joyous. After dinner, Jake pulls his mother aside and tells her about his visit from his father. He explains how the hole is gone and how wants to help her fill hers. She simply says, now that he is okay, and she knows it for sure, she can be okay. It may take time, but she, too, can heal now.
SCENE 1-INT-JAKE’S OFFICE-5 PM
[The scene starts with JAKE working on a project in his work office. He is standing behind his desk, which faces the door. His back is to the door as he works on a poster board held up by a stand. The office is very professional, containing a book shelf and a window behind the poster board.] SECRETARY NANCY Mr. Waller, someone is here to see you. JAKE Send them in. SECRETARY NANCY One moment! RANDY Hey, there! JAKE [turns around, sees it’s his dad, and turns back to his poster board] What in the world are you doing here? RANDY Just came to see you, bubby! JAKE Don’t call me that. [long silence] RANDY So, how’ve you been? JAKE Awesome. Randy Yea, that’s cool, that’s cool... JAKE So, why are you here? [continued]
RANDY I wanted to see you. Just thought I’d drop in. JAKE No, you didn’t. Of all days, of all years for that matter, I doubt you would pick this very moment to see me. RANDY Can a father not visit hiJAKE I know why you’re here already. RANDY Why is that? JAKE [turns head to his father] Isn’t it funny that I haven’t seen you for six years and now all of a sudden, perhaps, now that I have money, you decide to just drop in so happy and excited to see me? RANDY I came to talk! Jeez! JAKE Well then let’s chat. [puts hands on desk and leans forward] How have you been for six years? RANDY Oh, good. Just hanging out... JAKE That’s cool. RANDY How have you been? JAKE You already asked me that. RANDY Why are you being like this? [continued]
JAKE Oh I don’t know. RANDY Look, man, I know things are rough between the two of us. Let’s just try to start over. JAKE Start over? You want us to just start over? RANDY Well, yea, why not? JAKE You screwed our family. RANDY I did not screw our family! These things just happen. JAKE Why, though? Why did you leave me, Lisa, and mom? And with nothing? RANDY I gave so much! JAKE What did you give?! RANDY I worked every day for sixteen years to make sure you had food, cloJAKE Oh, poor you! You had to go to work and support your family?! Like millions of other men don’t do that happily every day?! You hid your money so the courts couldn’t find it and you left without looking back. You left us with nothing. RANDY Jake, I’m sorry IJAKE What? [continued]
RANDY I left because your mother and I were fighting. JAKE You left because you were sleeping around. RANDY No I wasn’t. JAKE You still can’t admit it. I can’t believe it. We all know. Everybody knows. The more you deny it, the more you look like a jackass. RANDY I left because I needed to feel young again! I realized, wow, I’m forty-five, I’ve been married for twenty years. I needed something. I felt like I had nothing to show for my life. JAKE How about us? Your family? Well, your old family I guess. RANDY Oh, you’re not my family anymore? JAKE No, dad. You left. You’re the most selfish person I’ve ever met. You left because we weren’t good enough and now you expect us to still baby you? RANDY What are you talking about? JAKE You cheated on mom and left us because you didn’t want to go to work and do stuff for us. Now you think we still consider you family? RANDY I worked my ass off for you! JAKE Yea, and meanwhile mom was going through hell! She kept [continued]
it from Lisa and I until you left. She had to tell us then. Do you know how many nights I stayed up with her because you weren’t there? Do you know how long she wondered what she could have done so things turned out differently? A long time. RANDY What about me?! She was always on me! JAKE Because she knew what you were doing! She’s not stupid! RANDY I know she’s not stupid. JAKE Well apparently you didn’t think she was smart... [long silence] RANDY How’s your business going? JAKE Really? Smooth subject change. It’s going well. Actually, you know what? In a way I should thank you. Of the nights I stayed up with mom there’s one in particular I’ll never forget. She was crying, saying she wouldn’t have any money for us. She was so upset that I would have to be poor; that I couldn’t have friends over because we’d live in a little shitty apartment. I just looked at her and said “Mom, we will have money. I promise. And next time we see dad, we will tell him to fuck off.” So actually, if it wasn’t for you, I probably never would have opened this business. Thanks for giving me a reason to become rich. How’s your business doing, Mr. Awesome? RANDY I had to close it down... JAKE Oh, what a shame. RANDY Yea [continued]
[cell phone rings and he answers. Jake turns back to his poster board.] Hello?...I’m just running some errands...Yea I’ll be home...No, no luck today...I know, I’m trying...Yea...Ok, I’ll be home...Love you, bye. [hangs up phone] JAKE Who was that? RANDY Oh, my friend Lacey. JAKE Your new girl... RANDY No...she called to tell me the electricity got shut off. JAKE Hmm. RANDY Look, son. I love you and I’m sorry for what I did. But you’ve gotta help me... JAKE I knew it! [Turns around] I knew you came to ask for money! RANDY I’ll pay you back! I just need to keep my place warm! I’ll have the money for you next week. JAKE You know what, there is no reason in the world that I should help you provide for a new family when you walked out on us. Absolutely no reason. When I look in my baby boy’s eyes I can’t imagine leaving him. I can’t imagine just one day deciding I didn’t want to see him every single day. I love coming to work and making money so he can have a good life. I don’t know if your soul just went to hell early or what. All I know is that my family, my family is my world. They’re the [continued]
reason I get up in morning. My wife, my son, Lisa, mom. I’d never abandon them and I certainly would never have the nerve to find a new family and ask the old one for support. RANDY I’m sorry things played out the way they did... JAKE You’re so pathetic. But I’m feeling nice today and I don’t want any potential step children freezing because you’re incompetent. Since you’re the asshole who inspired me to open this business, I’ll throw you some chump change [puts $1000 dollars on the desk and turns back to poster board]. Buy yourself a nice prostitute on the way home to your new wife. RANDY Thank you...I’ll pay you back next week. JAKE Don’t bother. I won’t miss it. RANDY I’m paying you back. JAKE Get out of my office. RANDY I love you, son. JAKE Whatever. RANDY I doJAKE Leave! [Randy walks out and Jake is left in his office. He opens up a drawer and pulls out an old picture of himself and his dad, and looks at it longingly. After a few seconds, he angrily throws it back in the drawer and slams it shut.]
Erin Swartz Reflection This story is very close to my heart because it was inspired by my little brother. I definitely put my heart into the script and, in a way, wrote a letter that will never be sent. Writing this story was an excellent way of expressing myself. I did not think I would really dig deep and find something to write about, but it worked out. I was just thinking one day about what my story could be and all of a sudden, it hit me. For me, the hardest part of the dialogue was deciding what points have Jake make to his father. There is always so much to say in such a situation that deciding what to say to get a point across is tough. You have to choose your battles. I tried to make Randy come across as a sneaky kind of guy who never really comes clean to his son. Jake is man in the scene, and handles the situation pretty well for a guy who has all this built up anger. He rises above his father and beats the odds. The treatment was a good opportunity to play things out in my head. It was hard to keep it short, but it was cool to truly get the story together. Originally, I had the concept of money filling the hole in Jake as a bigger part in the story. The bigger part of the story ended up being about rising above and getting closure. Overall this project was a positive experience and introduced to me to something I had never tried before. The dialogue was my favorite part because it allows you to really say what is on your mind. Even if the story is not based off of anything, the opportunity to say what you think would be said in a particular situation is still there. It is expression in a literal sense.