Tangent It’s the beginning of the 1990s in industrial America. A single father works full-time and struggles to support his two sons, TJ and Sal. They live in an apartment building in Portland, Oregon. TJ’s older brother, SAL, is heading off to college to study. We think Sal knows what direction he wants to go in his life but like many college students he has no idea what exactly he wants to do. TJ looks up to Sal as a male figure, but without Sal around to guide him, TJ is responsible for taking care of the house while his father is at work. The same week TJ starts middle school his brother starts his first week of college. TJ is at home alone while his father at home. He has missed a lot of school recently, and when he does attend, he comes home with multiple bruises. His brother was the one who woke him up for school previously, but without him around he finds no motivation to go. Left to his own devices and struggling with his feelings of betrayal by his brother and indifference to his own life, TJ begins to battle with his imagination as ordinary objects begin to take on new forms in his mind; inanimate objects become animate and talk to TJ arguing with him about his own feelings. Sal comes home for a surprise weekend visit, but we see it’s mostly because he’s stressed from school. We see that Sal is struggling with college by himself. He worries about how everyone at home is doing without him since he was the primary bearer of order in the house since TJ and Sal’s father worked most of the time. Sal walks into TJ and his father fighting about TJ missing school. Sal tries to confront TJ about his bruises, but TJ yells at Sal to mind his own business. They fight about Sal leaving and abandoning the family before TJ storms off. Sal works on his required homework. He struggles with math although the subject comes easily for him, the numbers and structure of it all driving him to his breaking point. Sal and TJ confront each other again. Sal finds TJ drawing and tries to bring up the issue of his bullying again. He asks about the drawing TJ is making and TJ finally admits
that he misses Sal being at home. Sal tells him he can do it if he doesnâ€™t give up. Sal goes back to school, still debating about his future. He finds himself in the schools new computer lab, and falls in love with the way the numbers work to bring up complex things. He finally decided to jump into the computer field. Meanwhile, TJ takes his brothers advice and doesnâ€™t give up, finding a group of kids who accept him after they see him drawing up so many cool ideas. They start drawing their own comics together, and soon he is able to get over the bulling.
Olivia, Stefan, Laura, and Jada Tangents: Research and Inspiration â€˘
Our group drew on Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream by Hunter S. Thompson. In the novel, Thompson questions where and what the American dream is. Sitting in a circus-themed bar, run by a man who used to dream of joining the circus, Thompson claims he has found the heart of the American dream. Instead of actively living his dream, the man runs a distorted reflection of it, and he does so from afar. Thompson suggests that pursuit of the American dream leads to a distancing from who we were in order to avoid the pain of what we lost. It's a kind of numbing and ultimately, an evasion of contentment. People attempt to substitute what was lost with materialism, drugs, and in the case of our movie, knowledge and imagination.
Another novel we drew on was Please Don't Come Back From the Moon by Dean Bakopoulos. This gave us our setting: the 1990s and Detroit, Michigan. This novel most closely reflects our story. A boy's father disappears from his life and leaves his son to take on the roles he left behind. Sal's fulfillment of his father's failures is partly inspired by this and our own family experiences. The character in the book is both part of the educated youth and laboring youth. He goes from college to working a menial job. His girlfriend who dumped him in order to pursue a higher education returns to the Detroit suburb no happier than the rest of those stuck there. After receiving an education, the main character too still returns to the familiar cycle of labor. This gave us our main idea for the dad and his magnetic effect on Sal to pull him into the factory life. As seen in this novel,
college was becoming more of an option in the 1990s, and America was coming out of its post-industrial age into the information age. New venues of freedom and choice were being awarded to the lower-middle class that hadn't been there before. We chose this transitional period in order to reflect Sal's transition from his role as replacement-parent to acquiring his own identity. The book questions what makes the main character happy. After becoming educated and working a factory, he isn't happy. With our film, we hope to poke at the same questions. Is it a college education that makes someone happy? Is it skipping school and living a life based on imagination and basic instincts like TJ that results in human happiness? Is it freedom of choice? Freedom from the collective dream?
If anything, our movie may be called a very loose interpretation of this novel.
We got our information on 90s fashion trends from Kidzworld.com.
For 90s music, we drew on an article from the magazine Spinner that listed the musical movements, top genres, and top artists.
Waynecountyhistory.com gave us our history on Detroit and its abundance of steel, iron, tobacco, and cars. Detroit has had variety of factories and industries over the years, which made it a good location for our story. The University of Michigan in Ann Harbor and Detroit is about 45 minutes away. This was also influential because Sal’s college would have to be a public university near Detroit.
INT. BEDROOM – MORNING
SAL suddenly wakes up. The monotonous beeping of the alarm clock comes to ear. Sal desperately slaps around on his desk in attempt to quite the alarm clock. He attempts to get his brother, TJ, up for school. SAL then goes through his morning routine. He grudgingly gets up and stretches. (alarm sounds) SAL (slaps desk) Ugh.. (rubs eyes and stretches) SAL (sits up, looks at brother in bed next to him) Hey...wake up. (reaches over and shakes his shoulder) You’re gonna be late. TJ Mm... (rolls over) SAL C’mon, get up. (shakes his shoulder again) TJ (muffled) I will... SAL (grunts, gets up and picks up a shirt from the floor) Whatever, your problem. (puts shirt on) TJ (mumbles incoherently) SAL (looks over at him, shoves him more roughly) Get up. I’m not gonna drive you to school if you’re late again. TJ (Pulls pillow over his head)
I don’t need you to drive me anywhere! Leave me alone! SAL Fine, whatever. Have fun walking in the rain. (punches his shoulder) TJ Stop it! SAL (pulls pants on that he grabbed off the ground) You’re gonna be late. (walks out of the room into the bathroom) 2
INT. BATHROOM – MORNING
SAL walks into the bathroom. He plods over to the toilet to take a piss. He then proceeds with his normal routine. SAL (flips on light switch and walks over to toilet and sits) (walks over to sink and looks at himself in the mirror) SAL (smells his pits and shrugs) Eh, not too bad. (fixes hair and quickly brushes his teeth.) (leaves bathroom) 3
INT. HALLWAY – MORING On his way to the kitchen SAL walks through the hallway stumbling over everything from toys to shoes to pizza boxes. SAL (walks into hallway and stumbles half way though) Who’s hubcap is this?! TJ (yelling from the bedroom) Sorry. SAL Why do you have a hubcap?
TJ I found it yesterday. SAL That doesn’t answer my question. TJ It looked cool. SAL This thing is gross. Did you find this thing in a dumpster or what? You could have at least washed it off. TJ Nuh-uh, it was on the side of the road, stupid. SAL What are you even going to do with it? TJ I dunno, maybe I’ll make a spaceship or something, you’ll see! SAL Right... (tosses hubcap to the side on another pile of junk) Get up. 4
INT. KITCHEN – MORNING
SAL walks into the kitchen in hopes of getting a bite to eat before school. The kitchen is a complete mess, like the rest of the house. The dishes are piled high in the sink. Sal struggles to find a clean bowl for cereal. After Sal sits down, his father walks in dressed in his work clothes. He is half dressed: his shirt open, an untied tie sits around his neck, and his belt is undone. SAL (enters kitchen. He looks around at the filth.) Who’s turn is it to do the dishes?! (no one answers) (angrily grabs a dirty bowl and spoon and cleans them) What am I, their maid? (fishes through the cabinets for cereal, grabs milk from the fridge and sits down to eat.)
FATHER (rushes into the kitchen and walks over to the sink for a plate) Why aren’t the dishes done, Sal? SAL Well good morning to you too dad. FATHER It was supposed to be your turn to do the dishes. SAL (grumbles) It’s always my turn to do the dishes. FATHER (not paying attention) What? SAL I’ll do them tonight (sigh) FATHER I’m not asking you to do much. I need all the help I can get. SAL I know. FATHER (looks around) Where’s my tie? SAL (Points) There. FATHER (looks around again, not noticing the tie draped around his neck) Where? SAL (sighs) Your neck. FATHER (grabs at his neck) Oh. (pulls it off his neck, buttoning up his shirt)
SAL You’re welcome. FATHER (ignores, struggling to tie the tie around his neck) I’m going to be home late again tonight, so pick up your brother from school. SAL Like I always do? (rolls eyes) Okay. You’re going to have to tell him to wait for me. I’m talking to a tutor tonight. FATHER (ties tie sloppily) Since when did you have a tutor? SAL (stands up, fixes tie) Since I started caring about my grades. FATHER Mm. (looks back through dirty dishes) Someone really needs to clean. SAL I said I would do it. Give me some time, jeez. FATHER (ignores still, gives up on dishes and grabs a poptart) This place is a pigsty. SAL I’m not blind, I know it needs cleaned. I’m busy too, you know. FATHER I work all the time, so I know I don’t have much time at home, but it still would be nice to come back to a decent house. SAL You act like I made all this mess by myself. FATHER I’m just making conversation. SAL
(shovels more cereal into his mouth) Right, dad. Conversation. TJ (walks into room, still not dressed) SAL (looks over at him) You’re going to be late. TJ Shuttup. (grabs cereal box) SAL Fine, whatever. Not my problem if you miss school and have to work at the factory like dad. FATHER (interrupts, more sternly) I work hard for you two, and the factory isn’t bad. TJ Shuttup, maybe I will! SAL Right, whatever. Get dressed, TDummy. TJ Dad, Sal’s being a jerk! FATHER I don’t have time for this, I’m already going to be late! (walks out of room) TJ (holds up cereal box, looks inside) Sal, you ate all of the Apple Jacks, you’re a jerk! SAL Hey, maybe if you got up on time you would’ve got some! If you’re not ready in ten minutes, you can walk by yourself. FATHER (walks back in room, grabbing the keys off the counter) Don’t bully your brother, Sal. TJ
Yeah, you’re not the boss! SAL You’d never get to school if I didn’t force you to! Seriously, get ready or I’m going to be late. TJ Fine. I just won’t eat and starve. SAL Fine. Put on some clothes. I’m starting the countdown now. TJ (grumbles, walks out of the room) FATHER I’m leaving. I’ll bring home something for dinner. (leaves the house) SAL (slips backpack over his shoulders, heading for the door) One… (grabs a pen off the counter, rubbing some green gook off it with his shirt) Two… (puts a hand on the door knob) Three…I’m leaving! TJ I’m coming! Gimme a second! (stumbles out of room, backpack half on his shoulders) SAL (flings door open, the bleating sound of a horn can be heard) TJ (catches him before he closes the door) Hey. I said I was coming. SAL And I said I was giving you the count of three. (rolls eyes) Come on, TDork let’s go. (TJ in the hallway in front of them, Sal closes the door behind)
INT. DORM ROOM – MORNING
SAL is waking up in his dorm room with the help of a blaring alarm clock. The room has books and empty food packages scattered around but is cleaner than the home seen previously. Sal sleeps on a top bunk; the bed below him is empty with the bed unmade and two books thrown into the center. SAL (alarm clock blaring, hands juts out from covered searching for source) Shhhuuut uuup! (sits up, staring forward, unmoving, leans over and hits the alarm) Hey, TJ! Get up! (turns head, eyes half-open, surveying the room) TJ? (looks around the room, eyes brighten, realizing he is in his dorm room) Right. Uuugh. (jumps off the bed, stumbling as he steps forward) Hey, Jos(find his roommate gone) Oh. (sighing and squinting his eyes, looks at the alarm clock) Oh. Shit! Shit, shit, shit! (grabs a pair of pants, quickly slipping on, doesn’t change white shirt, grabs back pack and stumbles out the door) Crap! (stumbles back in, grabbing keys off his desk, turning off the light) 6
INT. LIBRARY HALLWAY – MORNING
SAL is standing in a long hallway at a PAY PHONE. Students wall around in the background chatting and carrying books. Sal wearing the white shirt and blue jeans from before and has his backpack sitting on the ground in front of him. SAL (putting quarters in the pay phone, puts the phone up to his ear, rings) Come on. Pick up, TJ. (runs hand through hair) Wake up, stupid. 7
INT. BEDROOM – MORNING
TJ is asleep in the bedroom we saw in the first scene. The room is in its same filthy state with pizza boxes and other various items scattered around. Sunlight streams in through the window and onto TJ’s face. The phone can be heard ringing throughout the house and in TJ’s room. TJ (phone ringing) Give me just one more minute. (turns onto his side) Uuuugh. Please, Sal. (the phone stops ringing, TJ remains in bed, the answer machine catches the message) (a few hours later, the morning light we saw previously has darkened but the room is still the same) TJ (emerging from the room, rubbing his head groggily, he rubs a black eye) Ow. Uuugh. What time is it? (looks around, finding the clock on the wall) I’m only... (thinks) ...four hours late for school today. (walking over to the couch and sitting, notices the blinking light on the answer machine, pushes play) ANSWER MACHINE You have one new message. (Sal’s voice) Hello? Sorry, I don’t know why I called. I missed my first class. Thought I’d see how everything was going. You better be in school, TJ. I’ll call back later. Bye. (machine beeps) TJ (staring at the machine, deletes the message and sits on the couch) I wonder what’s on TV. (flips through channels, finding nothing, turns off, sits up on the couch) There’s nothing to do. (he draws his knees under his chin, resting his head in his arms)
(billow of clouds, transparent, begin rising around him, following him as he stands up) TJ This sucks… (discarded coke cans tremble below his feet, touched by the strange cloud behind him, they seem to magnetize together, forming some kind of robot) Woah! What the(TJ backs away, falling into the couch, the cans pile up larger and larger before him) I…uh…What… ROBOT Theodore James! I hail from W.K.W.Y.D.A.T.I.S.I! TJ (tries to pronounce) W-what does that stand for? Is that…is that even a planet or something? ROBOT We know what you did and that is inexcusable! TJ You sound like my brother. ROBOT This brother of yours sounds intelligent! Is he also a robot or an organ-bag like yourself? TJ Uuuh…an organ-bag, I guess. (shakes his head) But...what…What are you doing here!? ROBOT I have come to make you pay for your absences! TJ (sitting on the top of the couch) I-I don’t know what you’re talking about. ROBOT (the robot approaches causing TJ to fall off the couch) I think you do. (the robot’s arm, made of coke cans, transforms into a sword) And you will pay for your transgressions!
TJ (fumbles on the floor, searching for something, the cloud still surrounding him touches a worn shoe transforming it into a mace) Wha-? ROBOT (lunges forward over the couch) Fight TJabberwocky! TJ (rolls across the floor, hitting a pizza box, the cloud touches the pizza box transforming it into armor) This…is… (puts the armor on, dodging another strike from the robot) Hey! What are you trying to do? Kill me? ROBOT I will do whatever is necessary to prohibit your absenteeism. TJ Big words for a guy with aluminum for brains! ROBOT Words will not save you, young TJackadandy. (moves forward into the kitchen, pursuing TJ) TJ Ah! I…I didn’t even do anything! Just leave me alone! ROBOT Fight me. (attempts to strike the boy, missing and hitting the sink) TJ Ah! I d-don’t want to fight you! ROBOT (pointing to his eye) But what is this? Are you not already a seasoned fighter? TJ M-my…my eye? ROBOT
It is black with the unbroken blood of a brawl! TJ T-this…I just got it…Just leave me alone! (lunges forward with the mace, hitting the coke bottle legs) ROBOT (tumbles to the ground, coke cans scattering everywhere) I knew you were a fighter! Brute force! Persistent! Diligent! Industrious! TJ What…what are you even talking about? Just go away! ROBOT You are all these qualities, young knight! You have won! Now, do your duty and finish me! TJ Wait, what? ROBOT Take your mace to my breast! TJ What is wrong with you dude? I’m not going to do that! ROBOT Kill me, TJustice. TJ (lifts the mace hesitantly) I don’t… ROBOT (head which is made of a cotton ball bag sinks down) Your way has won, and my time is done. TJ You are such a freak. (sweeps the weapon down) FATHER (the front door opens, walks in, humming a song to himself, he turns, seeing TJ on the ground) TJ? TJ
(beating a coke can with a shoe) Dad? FATHER What are you doing? TJ …Recycling. FATHER Okay and why aren’t you in school? TJ Recycling is very important? FATHER You’re not supposed to get out of school for another hour. (sighs) TJ (looks away, knowing what is coming) What? FATHER We have to talk.
INT. LIVING ROOM – EVENING
The room is messier than before. The dishes have spilled out from the sink and are spread onto the counter. Dirty socks are also in the sink, strewn on a dirty plate. A strange smell permeates throughout the room and a hoard of flies buzz around discarded food. The room was cluttered but is now truly neglected. TJ’s father is pacing before him furiously. TJ’s black eye has faded to a pale yellow, but new bruises decorate his arms. FATHER I don-I just…What am I supposed to do, TJ? Tell me! (TJ remains silent) Dammit, TJ. I’ve punished you! I’ve…(gestures) But none of it seems to be getting through! What am I supposed to do TJ? You tell me because I’m done! I’ve had enough. (TJ still remains silent)
I just-I can’t take it! Providing for you and getting your brother through that stupid school! And neither of you appreciate how hard I work for you! You think I work at that factory because I like it? (shakes his head) You come back with these bruises… (below his shouting a door opens and closes) Where do you even get them? Come on, talk! (grabs TJ’s arm to get his attention, TJ cringes) TJ, are you listening to me! TJ! (TJ is staring at the door) (Sal has entered) SAL Um…hey? FATHER (turning, red-faced, taking a long breathe and looking to the side) W-welcome home. (frustrated, stares back at TJ) I’m…I need…I’ll be outside. TJ That means he’s going to take a smoke. SAL (surprised) You started again? FATHER Enough, TJ! (he gives the boy a long look) I am the adult here. Get that in your head! (he pushes past Sal to the hall outside) (TJ looks up at Sal expressionless) SAL (carrying a duffle bag lets it drop to the floor, looks around the room) It looks like a take-out tornado blew through here. (picking up Chinese container) You guys forget how to feed yourselves without me? TJ Dishes are all dirty. (matter-of-factly)
SAL That’s why you clean them. Or did you guys forget how to turn on the sink too? (has moved to the edge of the couch) TJ Sink’s clogged. (not looking at him) SAL (feeling very tense about TJ’s behavior) I see, I guess. (tries to look at TJ but TJ turns his face quickly, Sal realizes something is amiss) What… (walks around to look at him but TJ just turns around the other direction) (thinking, tries to distract him) (pretending to step on something) Oh crap! Is this…a transformers figure? TJ (looks up suddenly, grabbing at Sal) You stepp(Sal holds him back with a hand to his forehead, grabbing his chin and holding up his face) SAL What did you do? (indicating the faded black eye) TJ (pulls away sharply) I…Stupid liar! (Sal holds on to his arm as he tries to walk away)
SAL Hey, TJerk, answer my question. What happened? (intent concern scrawled over his face) TJ I didn’t do anything! Let me go! SAL Stop being a baby. (ruffles his hair, TJ growls, shocking him) Hey now! What the hell’s gotten into? Living like an animal makin’ you an animal? (pulls him down onto the couch to sit with him) What’s this about you skipping classes, TJ? You stupid or something? TJ It’s none of your business. (Sal getting increasingly frustrated) SAL Dammit, TJ. You can’t do this. You can’t be a loser stuck here— (gestures to the mess) I mean, do you even want that? I knew I shouldn’t—(shaking his head) What are you even doing here? Watching TV?...Drugs? (cringing as he says it, afraid) TJ (silent) SAL You’re doing drugs! TJ! You really are a moron! (yelling at him now) All you’re doing…all it is…is escaping into some fantasy! It’s not real! You have to have a future. You have to attend classes soTJ So? So what? So I can be like you? (tugs his arm from Sal’s grip) I’m not doing drugs, moron. All that schooling, and you don’t know anything! (his voice raising) Think you’re so much better don’t you? (pushes Sal, who just stares in shock) I guess you would talk about escaping since you’ve become so good at it!
(Sal grabs him, TJ struggles violently) Let me go! Agh! (TJ manages to punch Sal in the face, Sal stares at him, silent and lets go) (breathing raggedly) I want to escape from bullies like you! (screaming, staring at him furiously) There! Now you know everything in the universe! Go receive your fucking diploma. (starting to tear up but fighting it) Go escape from us. I’m sure they’ll welcome you in hell! (walks out of the room, kicking a table on his way, limps) SAL Leave, ya little monster! (calls weakly back to him, sighing) 9
INT. KITCHEN – NIGHT
SAL sits in the kitchen at the table with his books before him. He has pushed dirty dishes and take-out boxes to the side. Angry and not paying attention, some of the trash has fallen to the ground. His father, who has fallen asleep on the couch, can be heard snoring gently off screen in the living room. His unconscious noises cut through the angry silence that surrounds Sal. (scratching his pen furiously over paper and turning textbook pages curtly) SAL The derivative of… (putting numbers into a calculator) 25. (chewing mindlessly on a pencil) If the tangent is this then… (scribbling again) 40 degree angle. Stupid TJ. (erasing) Where does he get off. Prove the antiderivative…(getting distracted by problem)
5 to the 5th power. (scrunching face in frustration) But if 5…no…Agh! (pushing the book away, causing an aluminum can to fall to the floor) Why isn’t it coming out right? What the hell are formulas for if they don’t even work? (leaning onto the table) I shouldn’t have left. Everything’s fucked up. (eyes brighten, realizes his mistake on the problem, grabs pencil and scratches against paper) (staring at the perfected problem) (smiles to himself) But…(frustrated) I can’t stay here. (looking around at the mess) Everything comes out wrong no matter what. (pauses, grabs pencil, erasing the formula on his paper) I don’t wanna follow anymore formulas. Not when they only lead me in circles.
INT. BEDROOM – NIGHT
TJ is in lying on his bed mindlessly doodling on a tattered piece of paper. A light knock sounds from the door, and Sal enters. The room is much like before, but now, dirty clothes are piled onto Sal’s bed. SAL (looking at the bed) I see you’ve replaced me. Less annoying but still just as smelly. (TJ doesn’t respond to Sal’s selfdeprecation) Ah, come on, you that lazy you can’t even insult me? I have to do it all myself?
TJ That’s what you’re good at. SAL (sighing, sitting on the bed) What are you drawing? TJ None of your business. SAL Can I see? TJ Why do you care? SAL Just let me look (grabs at it) TJ No. (scooting away) SAL (restraining himself from trying to get it from him) Listen, TJ. I…(shaking his head) This is so stupid. (looks at him) You’re not a monster, and I didn’t leave because I don’t like you or dad. TJ (silently doodling) SAL I just…can’t go on being here, playing housekeeper. I…I need to figure some stuff out for myself. TJ Stuff? (scornful) SAL Yeah, stuff. I know you don’t want to stay here the rest of your life. TJ (shrugs) Maybe not. But I don’t want to be like you. Pretending to be something I’m not.
SAL Fair enough. (smiles) That’s just the thing I’m trying to figure out, TJ. What to be. (leaning back) Maybe you’re right though. Maybe I’ve been…trying to follow some formula. (shaking head) You’re not as dumb as you look, ya know? (smiling lightly) TJ (look at him for the first time, sighs in faux-hurt) Stupid. SAL So, what are you drawing TJerk? TJ Nothing. (let’s Sal look) (he is drawing a robot stepping on a boy) SAL Well, uuh. That’s…imaginative. TJ (shrugs) I wish it’d come true. SAL (giving him a meaningful look) What happened TJ? What happened to you? TJ Nothing. SAL TJ, tell me what happened, or I will give these kids a stern talking to. Do you want me to do that? TJ No! (crossing his arms) I just…(looking away) When you left, these older kids just started picking on me on my way to school. It’s not a big deal. SAL You don’t go to school. TJ Because I hate it.
(starts drawing again furiously) SAL TJ…this (grabbing the notebook) isn’t going to solve anything. (looks at the robot) Unless you beat the bullies over the head with your notebook. Just drawing won’t do anything. TJ What am I supposed to do then? SAL (a strange look on his face) I don’t know. You’re going to have to figure it out on your own. TJ Big help you are. (takes the notebook back) SAL I know you can do it. (pauses) Tdummy. TJ (rolls eyes) SAL I saw that, loser (tackles) 11
INT. CLASSROOM – MORNING
Sal is sitting at a desk with a shaggy looking friend. The friend is wearing a dirty white T-shirt with a plaid over-shirt and torn jeans. He has his hands in his pockets casually and is leaning over Sal to mess with a computer. SAL (looking at a boxy computer) What…is this? FRIEND It’s the fuuuutuuuure! (gestures) SAL The future is a…chunky box? FRIEND (rolls eyes) It’s a coooompuuuter.
SAL Please, stop talking like that. I know what a computer is. I was being sarcastic. FRIEND What’s new? (sighs) Okay, okay. Just check this out. The math department has ten new computers, but the cool part is this. (starts typing in a bunch of numbers) (programming a game, pushes enter, a moving picture shows up) I learned some stuff over the summer, but we’re starting some programs in design. SAL This is amazing…(leaning in) You did this with…numbers? FRIEND Cool, huh? SAL It’s beyond anything I could’ve imagined. 12
INT. CLASSROOM – LATE AFTERNOON TJ is sitting at his desk at school doodling. The rest of the kids are in the hall getting ready to leave. Lockers can be heard slamming. TJ’s teacher is collecting her things. A student named JAKE enters and notices TJ’s drawings. JAKE Dude, that’s awesome! TJ (surprised) Um…thanks? JAKE You’re a good artist, man. Dude, you like robots or something? TJ Well, I mean…I like…monsters and stuff too.
JAKE Well hey, we’re going to have a club meeting here in a minute. It’s a comic book club. TJ Oh, sorry(realizes he has been stalling) JAKE Nah, you should stay. We’ve been talking about starting our own comic book, but none of these guys here can draw. TJ Well…um… JAKE Come on, I stole my brother’s playboy. TJ Playboy? What’s that?
Scene Shot 1 100 1
Description Close shot, zoom out: Sal’s sleeping face as he lays in bed, zooms out into his bed High angle long shot: Establishing the shoddy bedroom from the corner
Close shot: Shot of clock, Sal’s hand slaps the desk which makes clock shut off High angle medium long shot, slow zoom out: Sal’s bed, Sal’s hand still resting on clock, hand slips off, skewed angle of bed, diagonal in the shot, zooming out from long shot Medium shot: Sal rubs his eyes, reaching out of shot to shove TJ Medium shot: TJ curled under blankets, being shoved by Sal Medium shot: Sal telling TJ he is going to be late Medium shot: TJ is still in bed telling Sal he will get up Medium shot: Sal tells TJ that it is his problem if he misses school Close shot: T-shirt that Sal picks up Medium shot: Sal putting on T-shirt Medium shot: TJ mumbles in bed from tiredness Medium shot: Sal shoves TJ again Medium shot: TJ puts pillow over head from exhaustion Medium shot: Sal puts on pants, and leaves room Sal’s POV: Walks into bathroom and flicks light switch on to see a toilet, shower, and sink with mirror Medium shot: Sal walks to toilet to sit and take a piss Close shot: Sal sitting on the toilet Medium shot: Sal stands back up and walks over to sink Medium shot: Reflection of Sal looking at himself and smelling his pits in the mirror
Elements Sal, messy bedroom, messy appearance, early morning light Horribly messy bedroom, two beds pushed close together, clothes and junk thrown out everywhere, dirty walls, muted colors, wallpaper falling off walls Sal, alarm clock blaring, table next to bed Sal, closer than shot 100, messy bed, only Sal’s bed in shot, silence
Sal, TJ, movie poster on wall Sal, TJ, blanket, pillow, bed Sal, dirty walls with wallpaper falling off TJ, blanket, pillow, bed Sal, dirty walls with wallpaper falling off Wrinkled T-shirt Sal, T-shirt, dirty walls with wallpaper falling off TJ, blanket, pillow, bed Sal, TJ, blanket, pillow, bed TJ, pillow, blanket, bed Sal, TJ, dirty walls with wallpaper falling off, blanket, pillow, bed Sal, messy bathroom
Sal, towel, messy bathroom Sal, messy bathroom Sal, messy bathroom Sal, mirror
3 3 3
350 360 370
4 4 4
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Medium shot: Sal combs his hair and then brushes his teeth Medium shot: Sal leaves bathroom, and turns bathroom lights off Medium shot: Sal stumbling over miscellaneous objects in hallway Medium shot: Sal hits a hubcap with his foot Medium shot: Sal shouts about why there’s a hubcap in the hallway Close shot: Rusty hubcap Medium shot: Sal asking about TJ’s hubcap Close shot: Hubcap thrown into a pile of hubcap Medium shot: Sal looking confused by TJ’s hubcap spaceship idea Medium shot: Sal entering messy kitchen Medium shot: Sink full of dishes Medium shot: Countertop with boxes and food Medium shot: Sal upset and shouting about mess Medium shot: Sal fishing through cabinets for cereal and getting milk out of fridge Close shot: Inside of fridge not very stocked Medium shot: Father walks in and grabs a plate, and also complains about mess Medium shot: Father asking where tie is Medium shot: Sal telling Father that tie is around neck Medium shot: Father still confused where tie is Medium shot: Father finally realizes where it is with Sal sighing Medium shot: Father telling Sal that he needs to pick up TJ from school with Sal looking unpleased Medium shot: Sal telling Father about him seeing his tutor Medium shot: Father looking confused about tutor Medium shot: Father telling Sal to clean up the place and grabs a poptart Medium shot: Sal eating his cereal with
Sal, comb, toothbrush, mirror Sal, messy bathroom Sal, hallway, toys, shoes, pizza boxes Sal, hubcap, hallway Sal, hallway, picture frames Hubcap Sal, hubcap, hallway Hubcap, pile of junk, hallway Sal, hallway, “I dunno, maybe I’ll make a spaceship or something, you’ll see!” Sal, kitchen, boxes, dishes, food Dishes Various food, boxes Sal, kitchen, papers hanging on fridge, messy countertop Sal, kitchen Milk, eggs Sal, Father, kitchen, plate Father, kitchen, tie Sal, kitchen, tie Father, kitchen, tie Father, Sal, tie, kitchen Father, Sal, tie, kitchen
Sal, kitchen Father, kitchen Father, Sal, poptart box, kitchen Sal, cereal, spoon
father’s voice in background Medium shot: TJ walks into kitchen undressed Medium shot: Father telling boys that he works hard at his factory job Medium shot: Sal and TJ still bickering Medium shot: Father telling Sal he’s taking the car Close shot: Sal shocked about what his father just said Medium shot: Father leaves room with Sal in shock Medium shot: TJ upset while holding empty Apple Jacks box Medium shot: Father comes back in room to get keys Medium shot: Sal telling TJ that he should get ready for school Medium shot: Father walks out the door with no one paying attention
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Medium shot: Sal sitting up in his bed looking tired Medium shot: Sal turning off alarm Sal’s POV: Surveying dorm room
Medium shot: Sal asking where TJ is
Close shot: Alarm clock Medium shot: Sal realizing he’s late for his class, moves around room fast putting on clothes and rushes straight for door Medium shot: Sal’s dorm room Sal entering his dorm room because he forgot the keys and turns off light after
Medium shot: Sal with his backpack next to door ready to go and giving TJ a countdown Medium shot: TJ looking annoyed that Sal almost left him with door being flung open Medium shot: Sal telling TJ to go already Medium shot: Sal closes the door behind him Close shot: Blaring alarm clock Medium shot: A well-kept dorm room
Sal, TJ, Father, kitchen Father, kitchen Sal, TJ, kitchen Father, Sal, kitchen Sal, kitchen Father, Sal, Apple Jacks, kitchen, milk, bowl, spoon Sal, TJ, Apple Jacks, kitchen, milk, bowl, spoon Father, Sal, TJ, Apple Jacks, keys, kitchen, milk, bowl, spoon Father, Sal, TJ, kitchen, milk, bowl, spoon Father, Sal, TJ, kitchen, “I’m leaving. I’ll bring home something for dinner.” Sal, kitchen TJ, Sal, apartment hallway Sal, TJ, apartment hallway Sal, door shutting noise Sal’s dorm room, alarm clock Sal’s dorm room, books, empty food packages Sal, Sal’s dorm room, blankets Sal, Sal’s dorm room, alarm clock Sal’s dorm room, Sal, chairs, food wrappers, books, shoes Sal, Sal’s dorm room, blankets, “TJ?” Sal’s dorm room, alarm clock Sal, Sal’s dorm room, clothing
Sal’s dorm room Sal, Sal’s dorm room, keys, light switch
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leaving Long shot: Library hallway with students walking in the background Close shot: Payphone with Sal’s voice in background Medium shot: Sal with his backpack, white shirt, and blue jeans at the payphone with students in background Close shot: Sal’s hand with quarters in it Medium shot: Sal putting quarters in payphone with phone on his shoulder Medium shot: TJ’s messy bedroom with phone ringing in the background Close shot: Cordless phone ringing Medium shot: TJ ignoring phone in bed Medium shot: TJ gets out of bed to find the time Close shot: Clock with TJ’s voice in the background Close shot: Phone with answering machine playing and TJ pushing the delete button Medium shot: TJ turning on TV flipping through channels Medium shot: TJ looking bored with imaginative clouds above him Close shot: Empty coke cans rolling on the floor Medium shot: TJ falling back onto couch, while looking at cans forming into a robot Medium shot: Robot looking serious Medium shot: TJ making conversation with robot Medium shot: TJ sitting on top of couch looking confused
Medium shot: Robot approaching TJ causing TJ to fall off couch 980 Medium shot: Robot’s arm turns into a sword 990 Medium shot: TJ fumbling on floor with cloud following him transforming shoe into a mace 1000 Medium shot: Robot lunging over couch with clanking noises in background 1010 Over the shoulder shot: TJ rolling across floor
Students, Library hallway Library hallway, payphone Sal, students, library hallway, payphone Sal, library hallway, quarters Sal, library hallway, payphone, “Come on. Pick up, TJ.” Messy bedroom, pizza boxes Messy bedroom, phone TJ, messy bedroom, blankets TJ, messy bedroom, pizza boxes TJ, messy bedroom, clock, “I’m only…… four hours late for school today.” Messy bedroom, answering machine TJ, messy bedroom, TV, TV remote TJ, messy bedroom, transparent clouds above his head Messy bedroom, coke cans TJ, messy bedroom, coke can robot, couch Robot, messy bedroom TJ, Robot, messy bedroom, couch TJ, messy bedroom, couch, “I have come to make you pay for your absences!” TJ, Robot, messy bedroom, couch Robot, messy bedroom, sword TJ, messy bedroom, cloud following him, mace Robot, messy bedroom, pizza boxes, “Fight TJabberwocky!” TJ, Robot, messy bedroom, cloud,
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with cloud behind transforming the pizza box into armor 1020 Close shot: TJ looking scared 1030 Medium shot: TJ moving into kitchen area 1040 Medium shot: Robot moving into kitchen making clanking noises 1050 Medium shot: TJ explaining to Robot that he has no idea what is going on 1060 Medium shot: Robot asking about TJ’s eye 1070 Close-up shot: TJ’s black eye 1080 Medium shot: TJ looking nervous, and grabs mace to attack Robot’s coke can legs 1090 Close shot: Coke cans tumbling and rolling on the floor 1100 Medium shot: Robot falling to ground with TJ holding a mace by his side 1110 Medium shot: Robot telling TJ to kill him 1120 Medium shot: TJ thinking the Robot is bizarre, and sweeps his mace down 1130 Close shot: Robot’s head is a cotton ball bag 1140 Medium shot: Father walks in, while humming a tune to himself 1150 Medium shot: Father questioning what TJ is doing with the coke can 1160 Medium shot: TJ telling Father that he is recycling 1170 Medium shot: Father telling TJ they need to talk 1180 Cutaway shot: Messier kitchen than before with a foul smell 1190 Medium shot: TJ with Father pacing furiously. TJ’s black eye has faded with new bruises on his arm 1200 Medium shot: Father yelling at TJ, and doesn’t know what to do 1210 Medium shot: TJ with a blank expression across his face 1220 Medium shot: Father continues to yell at TJ and is upset about TJ’s bruises 1230 Medium shot: Sal enters the living room and the room gets quiet. Father welcomes Sal
armor TJ, messy bedroom, “Hey! What are you trying to do? Kill me?” TJ, kitchen, cloud Robot, kitchen TJ, Robot, kitchen, messy countertop Robot, TJ, kitchen, messy countertop TJ, kitchen TJ, Robot, kitchen, messy countertop, mace Kitchen, coke cans TJ, Robot, kitchen, coke cans, messy countertop Robot, kitchen, coke cans, “Kill me, TJustice.” TJ, Robot, kitchen, coke cans, messy countertop Robot, kitchen, cotton ball bag Father, kitchen TJ, Father, kitchen, coke can, shoe TJ, kitchen, coke can, shoe Father, kitchen Kitchen, messy countertop, dishes, dirty socks, flies around trash TJ, Father, kitchen, messy countertop Father, TJ, living room TJ, living room Father, living room Sal, TJ, Father, living room, “Welcome home. I’m… I need… I’ll
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and stares back at TJ. 1240 Medium shot: TJ explaining to Sal that Father is going to smoke 1250 Medium shot: Father getting upset over TJ’s comment, and goes out to the hall 1260 Medium shot: Sal drops his duffle bag and inspects the house 1270 Medium shot: TJ agreeing that the room is dirty, and Sal asking TJ why he hasn’t cleaned it. 1280 Medium shot: Sal noticing that TJ looks distracted 1290 Medium shot: Sal walking around room and steps on a Transformers figure 1300 Close shot: Transformer figure on floor 1310 Medium shot: Sal holding a transformer figure with TJ trying to grab at it, and holding TJ back with his other hand 1320 Medium shot: Sal questioning TJ’s black eye 1330 Medium shot: TJ with a blank expression 1340 Medium shot: Sal looking very concerned and has TJ sit on the couch with him to talk about what has been going on 1350 Long shot: Sal and TJ on the couch having an awkward silence as to what to say next 1360 Medium shot: Sal and TJ getting into an argument about school, which ends up with TJ shoving Sal 1370 Medium shot: Sal looking pissed 1380 Medium shot: TJ looking worried 1390 Medium shot: TJ punches Sal because Sal grabs him, which leads TJ to walk out of the room and hit a table on his way 1400 Over the shoulder shot: Sal looks as TJ exits 1410 Medium shot: Sal writing down math and staring intensely at textbook, while chewing on a pencil 1420 Close shot: Sal looking seriously focused 1430 Medium shot: Sal frustrated with life and erasing his paper furiously 1440 Long shot: Ceiling light highlighting Sal
be outside.” Sal, TJ, living room Father, living room Sal, TJ, duffle bag, living room Sal, TJ, living room
Sal, TJ, living room Sal, living room Living room, Transformer figure Sal, TJ, living room, Transformer figure Sal, living room TJ, living room Sal, TJ, living room, couch
Sal, TJ, living room, couch Sal, TJ, living room, couch
Sal, living room TJ, living room TJ, Sal, living room, couch, table
Sal, TJ, living room Sal, kitchen, textbook, paper, chewed pencil, chair Sal, kitchen Sal, kitchen, textbook, paper, chewed pencil, chair Sal, kitchen, textbook, paper, chewed pencil, chair, “I don’t wanna follow anymore formulas. Not when they only lead me in
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1450 Medium shot: TJ doodling in his bed 1460 Medium shot: Bedroom with a knock 1470 Medium shot: Sal enters the bedroom and comments on the appearance 1480 Close shot: Dirty clothes piled on Sal’s bed 1490 Medium shot: Sal asking TJ what he’s drawing and tries to grab it 1500 Medium shot: TJ goes back to his bed to doodle, and lays down quietly 1510 Medium shot: Sal explaining his case to TJ with TJ finally looking up to acknowledge his presence. Sal asks what TJ is drawing, but TJ doesn’t tell him 1520 Close shot: TJ’s drawing of a robot stepping on a boy 1530 Medium shot: Sal wanting to know what happened to TJ, and why he doesn’t go to school 1540 Medium shot: TJ starts drawing furiously 1550 Medium shot: Sal grabbing TJ’s notebook, and looks at the robot picture 1560 Sal’s POV: Looking at the robot picture 1570 Medium shot: TJ taking the notebook back from Sal 1580 Medium shot: Sal giving encouraging words to TJ 1590 Medium shot: TJ rolling his eyes 1600 Medium shot: Sal tackling TJ 1610 Medium shot: Sal looking at a computer with a confused look, and a friend explaining what it is 1620 Medium shot: Friend saying the word “computer” very obnoxiously 1630 Medium shot: Sal looking embarrassed 1640 Medium shot: Friend explaining to Sal about his knowledge of computers 1650 Close shot: Moving images on computer show up 1660 Medium shot: Sal looking amazed by the computers 1670 Medium shot: Students exiting the classroom
circles.” TJ, messy bedroom, paper, pencil Messy bedroom Sal, messy bedroom Messy bedroom, dirty clothing Sal, TJ, messy bedroom, doodle, paper TJ, messy bedroom, doodle, paper, pencil Sal, TJ, messy bedroom, doodle, paper
Messy bedroom, TJ’s doodle Sal, TJ, messy bedroom, doodle
TJ, messy bedroom, doodle, paper, pencil Sal, TJ, messy bedroom, notebook, doodle Sal, messy bedroom, notebook, doodle Sal, TJ, messy bedroom, notebook, doodle Sal, messy bedroom, “I know you can do it.” TJ, messy bedroom Sal, TJ, messy bedroom Sal, Friend, classroom, computers
Friend, classroom, computers, “It’s a coooompuuuter.” Sal, classroom, computers Sal, Friend, classroom, computers Classroom, computer Sal, Friend, classroom, computers Students, classroom
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at the sound of the bell 1680 Medium shot: TJ’s teacher packing up 1690 Close shot: TJ’s doodle 1700 Medium shot: Jake comes up to TJ to tell him that his drawing is good 1710 Medium shot: TJ acting humble and shocked over the comment 1720 Medium shot: Jake inviting TJ to come out to the comic book club 1730 Medium shot: Jake urging TJ to come 1740 Medium shot: Jake mentioning his brother’s Playboy to TJ 1750 Close shot: TJ with a confused look about Playboy
Teacher, classroom, bag Classroom, doodle TJ, Jake, classroom, notebook, pencil, backpacks TJ, classroom, notebook, pencil TJ, Jake, classroom, notebook, pencil, backpacks Jake, classroom, backpacks TJ, Jake, classroom, backpacks TJ, classroom
Soundtrack 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Theyâ€™re Coming to Take Me Away (Dr. Demento) Wonderwall (Oasis) Imagine (John Lenon) Yellow Submarine (The Beatles) Passion Pit (Sleepy Head)