For our Three Page Challenge segment at the Austin Film Festival, we look at three entries submitted by attendees.
You can download the PDFs here, or keep scrolling to read them (handy if you’re on mobile).
NIGHT TRAUMA by Athena Frost
INT. HOUSE – BOY’S ROOM – DAY
All is quiet.
RAIMOND FANON (50s) looks a bit Rastafarian at first glance with his dreads and dark skin, but he carries himself more like a black Dumbledore including small glasses perched delicately on his nose.
He pulls out a small gray puck from his bag and lights it on top of an incense burner. He edges slowly into the room.
What is he doing?
The Mother speaks to AIMEE FANON (mid 20s), a petite, fair skinned black woman. She appears weak. She is not.
He’s trying to find out where it is.
Do we have to be here for this?
I’m sorry, but the boy has to be here to draw it out.
The YOUNG BOY (7ish) clings to the mother’s waist. Aimee puts her hand on the mother’s arm reassuringly.
Don’t worry, I won’t let it past this door.
CONNOR LEIDENFROST (30s) nods to Aimee as he follows Raimond into the room. He’s a handsome, corn-fed Midwesterner, accent and all the backward thought that comes with it.
You should remain outside.
My monster, my fight. Under the bed or in the closet?
Raimond takes a deep breath and mutters words in MEDU. It follows most closely to ancient Egyptian. Only a few words can be heard such as “KEMET” and “ISHAT”.
Raimond amasses some sort of power in the room that everyone can feel. The room quivers in his power. A small rumble begins in the closet. At first it only sounds like a rat might be shuffling in there. Then it becomes DEAFENING. The Young Boy screams.
Go! Leave the house. Now!
She pushes the family away. Turns back to the fight.
Connor! Get outta there!
Something bursts out of the closet. Cheap plywood shatters around the room. Everyone protects their eyes as splinters fly everywhere. Connor, closest to the closet, sees something out of the corner of his eye.
The sound is continuously getting louder. It is in the room somewhere but we can’t see it directly. A flash here. In the corner of the eye there.
Raimond motions for everyone to stop moving. No one can hear anything anymore. He stands calmly in the middle of the room and pushes the incense away from him, talking quietly.
All sound stops.
Connor points to a corner by the closet where the MONSTER stands. Over six feet tall but as thin as a broomstick, it glares at the three of them through shiny black eyes. Tufts of lint hang on to its glistening body. Its skin looks like it’s wet with syrupy tar. It spews out its previous meal of skin and hair and cloth.
It goes for Connor.
It moves quickly, it’s limbs moving like an anthropomorphized bug. On top of Connor, it tries to rip apart Connor’s chest with its knife-like fingertips and sharp teeth. Clothes rip away to body armor.
Cut off its head!
Raimond works, holding back the monster’s powers. Connor struggles to get his arm to the knife on his thigh.
Aimee gets there instead.
She pulls out a knife from the sheath on his thigh that looks like a small scimitar only about a foot long. The blade is red and somehow looks fluid and solid at the same time. It easily cuts off the monster’s head. The body falls on Connor, still twitching like a dying insect.
Raimond sits on the bed, tired. Connor laughs in a nervous but triumphant way. Aimee just shakes her head and glares at Connor.
INT. HOSPITAL – ER INTAKE ROOM – DAY
It’s been a busy day, most of the seats are full. An irritating television shows daytime TV and an ANNOYED NURSE sits behind the intake window. A WOMAN (30s) and her CHILD (9ish) are buzzed into the ER. As they walk in, an ASIAN MAN (20s) pushes past them.
Hey! You can’t go in there!
INT. E.R. – CRITICAL CARE ROOM – CONTINUOUS
DR. FOSTER checks the vitals of an ASIAN ASSHOLE as he squirms in pain on the patient’s bed. Dr. Foster is pushing fifty but as the physical reincarnation of Prince Charming, he still maintains justifiable swagger.
With him, DR. RAPHAELLA “RAPH” GORALCZYK (30s) examines the gun shot wound in the patient’s shoulder with the fervor of someone who is experienced enough to know what they’re doing and green enough to still find it exciting.
THE CONCH REPUBLIC by Elden Rhoads
EXT. OCEAN (KEY WEST) – DAY (JUN )
A commercial fishing boat trolls the waters off Key West. FISHERMEN, leathery skin burned rusty brown by the tropical sun, monitor their thousand pound test fishing lines plunged 300 feet below the sapphire blue waters.
As they wait for a catch, the crew smokes Cuban cigars, drinks Cerveza Cristal and shares stories. (Conversations are a mixture of English and Spanish. It’s common for a question to be posed in one language and answered in another.)
On board, KITTENS sniff the chum bucket. Looking closely at the litter, we see they all have six toes. EDUARDO (late 20s), eyes the brood.
Why all the gatos?
HECTOR (30s) pets one of the kittens.
My daughter’s cat had babies.
Take them to Hemingway’s house. There’s a thousand cats. And every damned one has six toes.
Hector, a very animated story teller, continues.
Coño, I did! The puta went loco, hissing and spitting. She dragged the comemierda kittens back home.
The men laugh as we cut back to MAMA preening her kittens.
In the distance, a SHRIMP BOAT passes by. Its outrigger booms hoisted and its beam trawls stowed. In other words, it’s not looking for shrimp.
The CREWS wave and call to each other.
SHRIMP BOAT CREW
Plenty of square groupers! No shrimp! Too many sharks!
We see fins circling the waves several hundred feet from the boat. The shrimp boat chugs away.
Time for the fishermen to get to work. They fling chum into the water. Sharks swim closer, going into a feeding frenzy.
Hector grabs a kitten and hooks him on the fishing line. Mama hisses as he throws her baby into the water.
The kitten thrashes in terror, attracting more sharks. A – foot MAKO swallows the little fellow whole, getting hooked on the line. Hector fights to haul him in.
One-by-one, the fishermen bait hooks with the kittens. Throw them into the water. Immediately, sharks eat them alive.
From below deck, FELIX (30s) a burly fisherman, drags RAMON SANCHEZ (20s) into the sunlight. Struggling, bound at the wrists, Sanchez has already had the shit beat out of him.
I swear man. You gotta believe me. Please. It wasn’t me.
Felix whacks him across the mouth. Sanchez crashes into the side of the boat and goes down. Lying prone on deck, a yellow pool forms between his legs.
Damn, he pissed himself!
Sanchez begs for his life.
I don’t know who told the cops. All I did was drive the truck to Miami. I didn’t even know what was in it.
Mierda! Manny saw your name on the witness list. You was gonna testify against Artie.
No! Artie’s mi amigo. It was all a mistake. I swear!
Felix kicks Sanchez in the gut.
Please, you gotta believe me. I don’t wanna die.
No me vengas con teques, embori. Emboris mueren.
Felix tosses Sanchez overboard like a little kitten. We hear terrorized screams as sharks tear him to shreds.
Back on deck, the mama cat winds herself through Hector’s legs, purring sweetly. As if she knows where her fate lies.
You want to throw her over too?
You loco in the cabeza? My daughter will kill me if anything happens to her fucking cat.
SUPER DATE: ONE MONTH EARLIER
INT. SQUAD CAR (MIAMI) – DAY (MAY )
CLOSE ON: CARMEN SOTO (early s), a spark plug of a Cuban- American chica. She rides with her partner, CAL LAKEWOOD (40s), old school law and order type. He commands the space with both his seniority and his personality. Carmen looks out the window while he tells war stories.
Finally, after she’s been missing for three days, I get the landlord to open the door and holy mother of fuck, I’m knocked on my ass by the stench. It smelled like someone ate a decomposed rat, shit it out, ate it again, then puked it up.
Carmen looks at him blankly. He’s expecting to gross her out. Instead, she makes a point of taking a bite of her mollette (a Cuban-style Sloppy Joe). Chews, defying his attempt to get to her. He’s both humbled and impressed.
I go into the bedroom and she’s passed out on the bed. She’s got her head in a bucket on the floor. And the bucket is full of vomit.
Let me guess...
CAMERAMAN by Joseph Velazquez
INT. TELEVISION PRODUCTION OFFICE – DAY
A poster for “Crickey, Crocodiles!” hangs on the wall, showing the show’s host, who we will know as JIMMY “COOL” WALLER, 40’s, on open water behind a boat using two CROCODILES as water ski’s, shocked yet delighted to have just noticed the rope he’s holding onto is actually a SNAKE.
Love your last show, love your camera work mate, love it. Love your last name.
JASON RODGER, early 30’s, city kid whose idea of playing outside was skateboarding, sits uncomfortably across from Waller, the human embodiment of a toddler’s ear-to-ear smile of joy. Waller leans in and suggestively pumps his fist.
Rodger. Literally means “to fuck.” Your name’s a verb, mate.
Everyone calls me Jason.
Rodger. Epic mate, epic. Can’t wait to say it everyday when you’re on the compound.
I got the job?
Too-fucking-right you got the job!
Jason is visibly relieved, but becomes hesitant.
But my visa expired.
Consider it sorted.
You, um, you are aware I’ve never done a -uh, -uh-
He scans the office’s framed photos of Waller with animal after animal.
-a nature show before, right?
You’re perfect! I need an action camera man, you need a job.
SPLIT SCREEN – FLASHBACK
5 people in 5 different Australian film sets fire Jason simultaneously.
INT. PRODUCTION OFFICE – DAY
I am a little concerned-, interested in the animals. The snakes, and crocodiles, and like, y’know the deadly animals – what if they try to bite me?
They’ll definitely try to bite you.
Jason waits for Waller to indicate it’s a joke. He doesn’t.
But they only strike out of fear-
RACHEL HAWKINS, late 20’s, silver-spooned new age nature- loving optimist, pokes her head in through the door.
Jason’s smiles suavely at her. Rachel quickly dismisses him.
She strolls in carrying a SNAKE.
Take a look at Mickey’s tongue-
Jason YELLS and jumps onto his chair when he sees it.
What the hell is wrong with you?
Jason tries to back up his chair while squatting on it, but falls over. The CRASH makes Waller stand up and the snake HISS and spring out of Rachel’s arms.
Jason scurries away as the snakes shimmies towards him. He hits the wall and covers himself in the fetal position and shuts his eyes, waiting for the strike.
He slowly opens his eyes. Rachel stands over him holding the snake.
What the hell is wrong with you!?
A snake like that killed my kid.
Rachel and Waller GASP.
Kid- Billygoat. A snake like that killed my goat.
In Los Angeles?
Jason tearfully nods.
He was a movie goat. Hollywood Billy. Oh, poor Billy.
He’s a fuckwit.
No Rachel. He’s the missing ingredient our show has been waiting for.
He extends his hand to Jason to lift him up.
Jason looks up at Waller, proud, Rachel, skeptical, and Mickey, slithering his tongue in and out of his terrifying snake mouth.
Jason extends his own hand up to meet Waller’s.