I entered a 48 hour screenplay competition called the NYC Midnight Short Screenplay Challenge. You have 48 hours to write a screenplay using an assigned genre, location and object and it can be no longer than 5-pages. It’s then sent to a panel of judges and whomever accumulates the most points after the first two challenges, moves on to the third round. I made it to the third round and I’ll hear whether or not I made it to the finals come the end of the month.
So leading up to that, each week I wanted to release the screenplay I wrote for each challenge. Here’s Challenge #1.
Genre: Action-Adventure Location: Airfield Object: Bar of Soap
(Please excuse the formatting, it didn’t translate from Celtx to WordPress very well and I had to eyeball the adjustments. Hope you like it!)
Clean Money By Will Abeles INT. UPTON COUNTY AIRPORT - MIDDAY DOM KELLY (35) walks into the only terminal of Upton County Airport. He’s built like a linebacker, with tapered, dark brown hair and piercing green eyes. He’s wearing a t-shirt, jeans and a blue track jacket. He looks around as he approaches the ticketing desk DOM Excuse me. The STEWARDESS (60), looks up from her computer. She has big, blonde Texas hair and deep, sunbaked wrinkles. STEWARDESS (smiling) How may I help you, sir? DOM I was wondering if you could point me in the direction of the private airfield. I’m supposed to be meeting my business partner. STEWARDESS Of course, darlin’. What’s your business partner’s name? She looks down, anticipating Dom’s answer at her keyboard. DOM Jack Reynolds. Her fingers start to fire away, then abruptly stop. She looks back up, concerned. She forces a smile. STEWARDESS You must be mistaken. Mr. Reynolds doesn’t have a hangar here in Upton County. CLICK, CLICK. A glock is pressed into Dom’s back. A wry smile crosses his face as he looks over his shoulder to come face-to-face with a LARGE MAN (40) in aviators and a PRADA suit. LARGE MAN He’s not mistaken. He’s right where he’s supposed to be. Hi, Dom. DOM Hi, Brick. BRICK (to the Stewardess) I’ll escort our friend from here, honey. The Stewardess nods to Brick. She’s seen this before. EXT. JACK’S PRIVATE AIRFIELD - SAME DAY Dom walks ahead of Brick and his outstretched gun through the abandoned airfield. Empty hangars long forgotten line a newly paved airstrip. The Upton County Airport is 200 yards away in the background. DOM Jack still hasn’t promoted you yet, huh, Brick? Guess he still hasn’t forgiven you for Miami. BRICK (laughing) Nah, I just like getting my hands dirty. Earning my paycheck, ya know? Dom chuckles. BRICK (CONT’D) And besides, it was easy to forgive me for shooting your wife once you stopped working for us. I earned him about two million dollars at the end of it all. He stops. DOM She. BRICK What? Dom’s eyes grow cold as a crushing memory floods his brain. DOM She earned that money, and you killed her for it. He throws a flying elbow backwards, connecting with Brick’s gun. BANG! Brick instinctively fires a shot as his arm waves wildly from the hit. In that moment, Dom throws a calculated haymaker into Brick’s right cheek. Brick doubles over and drops the gun. Dom grabs the back of his head with both hands and knees him in the face. He crumbles to the floor, clutching his shattered nose. Dom picks up the gun and clears the chamber. He points the glock at Brick. DOM (through heavy breaths) Jack may have forgiven you. But I haven’t. BANG! Lights out for Brick. He tucks the gun in his belt beneath his track coat. There’s blood on his hands. Dom notices and his calm demeanor instantly becomes that of panic. He holds his hands out in front of him and looks around, his eyes wide with terror. Fifty-feet away sits a red water spout. Dom runs to it and pulls the old, red lever up and after a few seconds, muddy water spits out. As the water becomes clearer, Dom scrambles to remove a rectangular case from his pocket. He throws the lid off to reveal a blue bar of soap. He hurriedly washes his hands. As the blood rinses off, his breathing slows. He closes his eyes and composes himself. His hands are clean now as he stands straight up. Dom looks down at the bar of soap as if it’s an old friend. It’s thin and weathered down and probably only has a few more uses left. DOM (to the soap) You’re almost done. Good. He snaps the bar of soap to reveal a SHINY METAL OBJECT. It’s a small razor! CLICK, CLICK, CLICK, CLICK, CLICK, CLICK. The sound of several cocking guns echoes through the airfield. Dom gently closes his hand around the razor. JACK (O.S.) (yelling) The infamous Dom Kelley. You must have killed a hundred men and yet you’re still scared of a little blood. Dom smirks to himself as he turns around to see JACK REYNOLDS (50) and five armed bodyguards. A guard approaches him and zip tie his hands behind his back. Jack’s wearing a linen grey suit with a black oxford. He adjusts his onyx and gold cufflinks. DOM It’s not the blood that scares me, it’s the people who’s veins it runs through. JACK (patronizing) Well whatever the reason, you’re getting too old to be afraid of cooties. Why are ya here, Dom? DOM I think you know why I’m here. Jack gives a knowing nod. JACK I do. I do. But unfortunately that money is no longer yours. In fact, I’m taking that money right now, on that there aeroplane to give it to the man it now belongs to. Jack points to a white G5 sitting in the nearest hangar. Dom secretly starts cutting the zip ties with the razor. JACK (CONT’D) You see, Dom, you’ve been gone a long time. Drugs and gun running no longer interest me. I’m an oil man now! But you do still need to throw a bone to a few hungry dogs you used to feed so that they leave you alone. DOM But that’s the thing, Jack. A hungry dog will always come back. Dom cuts through the zip ties and elbows the nearest guard in the face. He pulls the guard in front of him. JACK Are you fucking kidding me?! Kill him! Jack runs towards the plane. The guards start firing. Dom uses the guard as a human shield. He grabs the AK hanging from his arm and fires it back at them PAP, PAP, PAP! They all drop dead. Dom drops the body and picks up another AK. He sees Jack running and sprints towards the hangar. INT. JACK’S HANGAR - SAME DAY Jack enters the open hangar door and sprints towards his G5. DOM (O.S.) Don’t move! Dom enters and Jack turns to face him, clapping. JACK I have to hand it to ya. You haven’t lost your touch. You gonna kill me, Dom? DOM (Smiling) No. Whoever you owe that money to will do it for me when you don’t pay them. Jack’s not joking anymore. He scowls. JACK Wrong answer! He goes to a pull a gun from inside his jacket. Dom let’s the bullets fly. PAP, PAP, PAP! Jack falls to the ground, dead. Dom approaches the body. He looks up at the G5, millions of dollars bundled up next to it, waiting to be loaded. DOM Guess every dog has his day. END.
Hey everyone! I’m so excited to share with you my first half hour set taped live at the PIT Loft on August 21st! Thanks to everyone that made it out and to all my friends and family that have been with me through this incredible journey. I can’t wait to see what’s next. I hope you all enjoy the video and please, please, please like, share and spread the love!
At this point, why not just tell the damn story. In college, I took a class about the underlying anxiety and stress caused on families and individuals during the Cold War. If you’ve ever seen or read Revolutionary Road, that pretty much sums it up. There was a sense of helplessness during a war of Capitalism and Communism, that was compounded by the fact that at any moment, someone might set off a nuclear bomb. Since this election started, I’ve had this growing anxiety. All the attacks in Europe, Africa and especially, most importantly, here at home, definitely don’t help that uneasiness. At 27, it still feels like I’m too young to cause massive change at the polls and in politics (outside of, ya know, voting). And it’s frustrating to know that I’m not voting for peers, I’m voting for representatives my parents and grandparents’ age who, regardless of how hard they may try to be relatable, are from a different generation. And because of that, the majority of them are huge fucking assholes.
Am I saying that come 2050 when I’m 62 years old and we’re all living on boat houses because of the climate change that, even then, definitely still doesn’t exist, we’ll all be happy, holding hands and living in harmony? Absolutely not. But at least then, if there’s a major problem, it’ll have been my generations fault. We’ll have had ample time at that point to have fixed some stuff, and if we don’t, well then that’s on us. But for now, I have trouble taking a lot of the blame. Or at least I thought I did until the other day.
I was on my way back to Williamsburg when this middle-aged Latino woman walked on and just began screaming in Spanish. No one knows what set her off, and according to the man next to me who spoke fluent Spanish, no one knows what she was saying. But at the same time, it’s rush hour, it’s New York, and it’s the L train. If it’s not her screaming, it’s the Showtime Showtime kids. If it’s not the Showtime Showtime kids, it’s that overly aggressive homeless dude who I’ve named “Mikey” that demands for money then berates you if you ignore him. What I’m getting at is, scream away lady, scream away.
But then, and of course there’s a “but then,” this straight-laced, white collar, middle aged man with drunk eyes (that red line around the eyes that says “day drinking”) is chuckling to himself about it and yells out “Yeah! Tell them how you really feel!” So, naturally, she starts directing her Spanish towards him. And that’s when it get’s real. After an odd exchange of words and actions where she slaps her ass and he stumbles over a few “I don’t speak Spanish” attempts, he composes himself and starts yelling, “This is New York! We speak English here. I can’t understand you because I live in New York where we speak English!”
Will’s headphones have come off. Because Will knows that 18% of New Yorkers speak Spanish, 49% speak a second language other than English at home and that as a country, we have more people that speak Spanish than fucking Spain does. THAN FUCKING SPAIN!
Then the woman starts yelling at him in broken English. But that’s not good enough and he screams back that good old Trump-Pence anthem of “This is America! If you don’t speak English, then go back to your country!”
And cue Will.
“Hey, dude. DUDE! Shut the fuck up!”
The man thinks I’m talking to her and ignores me.
He looks over.
“SHUT YOUR FUCKING MOUTH! YOU SOUND LIKE A FUCKING IDIOT!”
The man looks shocked. How dare he! A white man siding with a latino woman? No, no, no. What hellish nightmare am I in?
And then the person sitting next to me chimes in. “Yeah, man. You sound like Trump!”
And how does the man respond?
“GOOD! What are you going to do, vote for Hillary? Good luck!”
My counterpart cowers. I don’t. I’ve gotten the shit kicked out of me enough to know I don’t cower, even when it’s for my own good.
“Dude, you are why this world sucks. You fucking suck, man.”
He responds, “Okay, you hipster.”
“Oh, good one man. What’d you hear that term on Comedy Central? Good for you.”
The man mutters under his breath, “Shut up.”
Now at this point, three things happen. The woman has not stopped screaming the entire time, and she’s still going. Secondly, I notice that I was getting approving smiles and nods from the people around me so if it escalates again, I have back-up. And thirdly, I notice that the man was with his two young daughters.
The way I rationalized it in my head is that at some point, those two daughters will hit high school and agree that “their dad sucks” as well. Whether or not they think this is because their dad’s a racist asshole, we’ll have to wait and see.
Now let’s come back around. What went through my head moments before I started yelling was, “Someone should say something. He shouldn’t be allowed to say things like that.” And then I thought, “No. I should say something.” We’re all that somebody if you want to be. I don’t want to live in a world filled with hatred and bigotry, and despite the fact that I already do, no one can stop me from doing my best to try and eradicate it when I see it.
Of course, I wish I had said something more intelligent (like my Spanish-speaking peoples in NYC statistic. God, that would have been gold!) and I wish I hadn’t cursed in front of his kids. But at the same time, I wish I had hit him, brawled with the dude like we were playing Men’s Over 40 Basketball at the YMCA. But what would that have accomplished? How would that have made me any better than him? By creating fear in his children? By forcing my opinions and beliefs on him through violence? No. I chose a path that was at least a little bit closer to the high road, by saying, “If you don’t want her screaming, fine, I’m with you. But if you don’t want her here because she’s different from you, then you can get out.”
I’ve told a few people about this, and for the most part, I haven’t felt any satisfaction in standing up to this guy because, regardless, I still have to come home and see another black man shot by police, or another cop shot by a radical, or Trump at the RNC instilling fear on the simple minded. And the hatred and the anger and the anxiety of being helpless to stop it that has been dormant inside of me started to grow. And for the last few days, it has just absolutely consumed me to the point where I feel numb.
Until yesterday. Every morning I wake up and make daily videos on the comedy news app Headliner. So, every morning, I wake up and I go through Twitter and Facebook to see what’s trending and then get on CNN.com to read about the events from the night before. And the headline that stuck out to me more than anything else, more than Michelle, more than Bernie, more than anything, was “Senator Booker Says, ‘I Love You, Donald.'”
Two night’s ago the future of the Democratic party, Senator Cory Booker from New Jersey gave a rousing speech at the DNC and in particular attacked Donald Trump on his inaccuracies and flaws. And Trump responded on Twitter with his classic misdirection saying, “I know more about Cory than he knows about himself.” Sure you do. But what blew me away was how Senator Booker responded. He said, “I love you, Donald. And I’m going to keep praying for you.” He said he didn’t want him to be his president, but he knows there’s good inside of him and he’ll keep praying for him. He said he refuses to fight hate with hate. He said he’s going to fight it with love.
How could it be that simple and yet take me so long to come around to this idea? Just fight hate with love. We have to love this country, and what we stand for, more than we hate Donald Trump (or Hillary for that matter). We have to let love guide us towards what we can create together, instead of let hate destroy us. We have to let love be our future, and put hate in our past.
And like that, my anxiety was lifted. Well until I remembered that rent was due in a week. But to finish off the story from the subway, the man and I sat there silently as we both had a few stops to go. The woman kept screaming in Spanish. A lot of people had gotten on and off in the last three stops so most of the people on the train now did not see our argument. So the man and his daughters go to get off at their stop and he turns and yells “Go Trump!” in which someone in the crowd responds, “FUCK YOU!” New York, I love you. America, I love you. And to all of you reading this, I love you. Now let’s get it together.
I’ve had something going on with my knee for 6 months. To the point where I could barely put weight on it. The original diagnosis was “You’re getting old.” A shot of cortisone helped, until it wore off. My doctor finally ordered an MRI. The funny part about the MRI is how it really was, compared to how everyone told me it would be. Most people said, “Oh, you’ll hear the clicking of the machine.” Clicking? That’s called jackhammering. I really didn’t mind the noise so much because they had given me headphones and a heated blanket (I want one of those blanket ovens in my house). The technician said it would be about 20 minutes, and started playing light rock music through my headphones. I figured each song was about four minutes long, so after five songs I would be finished. And sure enough, just as Rick Springfield told me for about the 13th time he wished that he had Jesse’s girl, it was over.
Now here’s the weird part. The very next day, I woke up and my knee DID NOT HURT. Not a bit. I swear it was because of the magnets in the MRI. So I put my knee to the test. I planted tomatoes, peppers, sweet potatoes, and herbs in the garden. Planted my window boxes. Planted some planters. Checked my wildlife/who-is-hunting-on-my-property cameras in the tree line down the hill. And walked the dogs up and down the lane. Still no pain. The day after that was my checkup to read the scan. I went skipping into the doctor and told him in my best Thor voice that my knee felt better and it had to have been the magnetic force within the MRI. He was not amused (“Excuse my science from getting in the way of your healing.”) The scan showed some torn cartilage, and somewhere down the road I should have arthroscopic surgery to clean it out. But for now I’m pain free and decked out in my magnetic knee brace and copper bracelet. According to my great-grandmother’s book Dr. Gunn’s Newer Family Physician and Home Book of Health (newer being 1870), copper can be “used in the solid state to destroy proud flesh.” I think proud flesh is basically scar tissue that gets in the way of healing. And we’ll ignore the fact that that line was in the Home Guide for Treating Diseases in Domestic Animals part of the book. My great-grandmother raised 10 kids (and a slew of farm animals) back then on this book, and they all lived, so I say it justifies my magnet theory, kind of.
I just wanted to share my latest set from my show at The Stand on April 30th! I’m still working on most of these jokes, and I ended up doing a lot of crowd work, but a work in progress is sometimes more entertaining than the final product. Let’s pray for my sake that that’s not true.
I shared this with my parents this past Saturday night and my Dad tried to charge my Mom a $10 cover to enter his upstairs office to watch the set on his AppleTV. It ended and at the same time we both said, “Well, that was alright.”
My next show is a character show at the Experiment Comedy Gallery on May 21st in Williamsburg. Follow the link here for TICKETS!!!
My next full length stand-up show is June 10th at Broadway Comedy Club. Ticket details to be released shortly.
Hope you enjoy my latest set and please feel free to share and comment! Hope you enjoy!
Trump now, in theory, has a 50% chance of becoming the next president of the United States of America. Let that sink in. What started as a laughable prank has now become an almost inescapable nightmare, except you won’t be able to wake yourself up from this one.
At first, when Kasich finally bowed out, emphasize “finally,” and I realized that this was really happening, I was so mad. I was furious and it made me second guess our constitutional right to vote. But that’s what stuck with me. He’s in the position he’s in because a huge majority of people actually want him to be president. But how? How can you still want that? No matter what you believe in, you as an individual overcame insurmountable odds of ignorance. An exceptional amount of rational thought, some opinion, some cold hard fact, was presented to you day in and day out, and you still, somehow, SOMEHOW, still found an excuse to vote for him. So, now, I’d like to present to you a little peak of what I imagine must be the mind of a Trump supporter to help explain this catastrophe to the rest of us:
On “Speaking His Mind”:
Boy, I do like how he “speaks his mind” and “tells it how it is.” I mean, sure, sometimes it sounds like his mind must be made up of a cluster of evil deeds, loosely held together with botox and McDonald’s pink chicken paste, but I get like that too when I’m trying to figure out which race I like the least. It gets confusing keeping all this hatred in line, ya know? And who cares if it sounds like he can’t string a complete thought together. That doesn’t matter when you have all the best words like he does! He’s got great words, like “stupid,” and “good.” What more do you really need? And he’s so good at answering questions, that he gives you answers to questions you didn’t even know you asked him! Sure, I would like to know the details of even one of his political plans for when he’s president. But, whatever, I’m sure he’s just waiting and thinking of the best way to explain them with the best words he has.
On Being Compared to Hitler:
God, he’s such a strong man. I mean, the way he commands his audiences at rallies to beat the protestors silent. It’s so great, regardless if his “bully tactics” are being compared to Nazi Germany and the early phases of Hitler’s fascist regime. So what if his rallies and the “if they don’t like what I’m saying, hit them until they agree” agenda are being compared to a man considered to be the most evil in human history, a man, who along with his followers, murdered 11 million people. Who cares if at some point, Trump had members of a rally hold their arms out like Nazis and take a pledge to him and a man yelled “go back to Auschwitz” at protestors in Cleveland? I mean, come on! It’s Cleveland. The guy probably didn’t know what “Auschwitz” meant. And I’m sure the people holding their arms out like that were just stretching. I mean, we can all be a bunch of little Nazis if we haven’t had our Snickers bars in time, am I right? A little fascism every now and again never hurt no one.
On His Good, Christian Values:
Now say what you will about the GOP, but the main reason I vote Republican is to uphold the good values instilled on me and learned in my Lord on High’s Holy Bible. And god damn it, I know Trump will stand up and protect my good, Christian morals that this country is working so hard to take from me. Everyone knows that somewhere in Leviticus it says, “Thou shall not sell cake to the gays,” and I have the right to stand by that as a Christian. Okay, so Pope Francis said that Donald Trump couldn’t believe what he believes and be a Christian. But what are his credentials, even? I mean, I’ve never met him. And Trump was right to argue back with him and call him a “disgrace.” Who cares if the Pope is the single most influential person on the entire planet and the beacon of the core values of Christianity. He’s not even American!
On Immigration and the Wall:
Come on. Trump’s idea for a wall has got to be the smartest idea in American history since the invention of the toaster oven. It’s gonna give us jobs, it’s gonna make us money and Mexico is gonna pay for it. And it doesn’t matter if he explains how he’s gonna make it happen, I’m just blindly trusting that it’s gonna happen. And most of all, it’s gonna keep us safe from terrorists because everyone knows the only way in and out of this country legally or illegally is through the Southern border. Like my great-great-grandpappy for example. He came all the way here from Ireland, dropped his bags off in New York and went fishing in the Gulf and hopped a fence in Mexico and came up. The old drop and fish tactics are even used today. I don’t care if both Mexico and the US Government have said it’s not going to fucking happen. He said it out loud on television, and since no has ever lied on television, then he must be sure it’s gonna happen.
On Protecting the Country from Terrorism:
He said we were going to kill the wives and children of terrorists? Yeah, okay, he lost me on this one. I mean, I may be a racist, misogynist asshole, but genocide? I’m just gonna pretend like I didn’t hear that one.
On Women’s Right:
Listen. I know that there’s been years and years of documented accounts of Trump being a misogynist. But like I told my wife, he just means all the other women, honey. He doesn’t mean the wives/girlfriends/mothers of his supporters. Just, you know, other women. And even if he did mean all the women, that’s still only half of the human race. That’s only like, 50%. That’s not even passing. Trust me, I know. That was my average grade through middle school before I dropped out. Now if women made up, say, 90% of the population, then yeah, we’d have a very serious problem. But until then, I don’t see anything wrong with all this misogyny.
I will say, you are embarrassingly impressive. No matter who told you not to vote for him, whether that be Fox News, Mitt Romney, The Pope, or George W., you still convinced yourself that this was the best decision. That this was the most logical reasoning you could possibly muster up, and no matter who was offended, who’s civil rights were trampled on or how many of your own beliefs would be negated by choosing Trump, you still did it because admitting to yourself that you were wrong would be way worse than admitting that everyone else was right. So congrats, you’ve just showed the world that we may be the idiots that they’ve all been saying we are this entire time. Now excuse me, some of us need to go clean up your mess.
HEY GUYS! So I was recently booked on You Will Never Believe, a character show at the Experiment Comedy Gallery in Brooklyn (where else).
The show is on Saturday May 21st at 7:30 PM!!! Tickets are only $8. Click the link below to get presale tickets and save yourself two bucks! They’ll increase to $10 at the door.
This will be the first character show I’ve ever performed on, but I’m really excited. Below is the last time I did any character acting. I had to do a project in college on Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder) and played every character in the interview! I hope everyone can make it and let me know if you have any questions!
I suppose I should be flattered that my son (aka Son #1) wants me to blog on his blog (I skipped the “know your lingo” part of the tutorial). But I’m pretty sure he’s just looking for free stand-up material. That’s what mothers are for, so I’ll bite.
So, to begin. I have no idea what to write about. The image of Emily Litella keeps popping into my head. “What’s all this I hear about violins on television?” But really, what does one write about on a blog? I seriously live a very boring, typical I-have-a-degree-in-English-that-I-never-used housewife life. For instance, this morning began with me throwing frozen French toast sticks in the oven for the kids (who are old enough to make their own damn French toast sticks) so I could hop in the shower and shave my legs before running to the Orthopedist AGAIN about my bad knee. Then I picked up my daughter’s prom dress from the seamstress. On the way home I stopped at the nursery for plants for the window boxes. Came home and realized I didn’t have potting soil. Drove back to the nursery. Came home to five cats lined up shoulder to shoulder giving me the death stare because their bowls were empty. Drove to the store for cat food. Came home and realized I had never put the laundry in. Did three loads of laundry. Drove to the other side of town to get the garage door opener out of my daughter’s car that is in the shop from a hit-and-run ($3,300 in repairs and a big FU to the guy that hit her). Picked up Son #3 and his friend from school. Came home and put dinner in the oven. Then went back to said school to work on a butterfly garden. The plants for the window boxes are still sitting outside under the window boxes with the potting soil, and now it’s raining. And dark. Well, Jane, it just goes to show you, it’s always something. Channeling Gilda again, sorry.
But let’s look on the bright side. Son #2’s friend works at the car rental place, so I get to drive around in a big ass Secret Service SUV until the other car is fixed. The cats all love me again. Maddie looks beautiful in her dress. And the rain is watering my flowers and the butterfly garden.
So there, Will. My first blog is blogged. You’re welcome.