Writing a movie screenplay

I’m always up for trying anything new, especially in writing. So when an assignment came up at university requiring us to write a screenplay, or part of one, i was pretty excited. I’d had an idea for a science fiction novel bouncing around in my head which i realised could work well as a movie. What follows is my attempt at a science fiction movie screenplay. Let me know what you think, should i write the rest? 


On the table there is mouldy food, cereals spilling from overturned box. In background, through kitchen window, black smoke rises over trees. A cityscape is just visible. Move backwards through hallway. We see clothes, books, smashed vases, overturned furniture strewn along hall. A pool of blood, a pale hand in it. The body is not visible. From hallway into living room, everything here is wrecked too. Move to window, out through it.


A city is in destruction in the distance over roof and tree tops. Smoke rising from all of the sky scrapers. Beyond the house, rows of suburbs and forest are aflame, cars overturned, smashed. A strange aircraft moves over skycrapers, it’s not clear, but we can see that it’s nothing from earth.


We can see nothing. A child coughs.


Dad, why d’you think they came?

The sound of a match being struck. A small flame appears. As it gets brighter we see a man’s hand put the match to a lantern. A young boy is revealed in the light, Noah: about six. His face and clothes are grimy, dirt smeared, but he’s smiling up at his Dad. As the lantern brightens Jim is revealed. Forty years old, stubbly beard, hair sticking up. Just as dirty and grimy as his son. He sits down against a wall by Noah. Behind them the wallpaper shows animals and stars. It’s a child’s bedroom.


I dunno son. Nobody’s ever got close enough to one of em to ask. Why d’you think they’re here?


(Thinks about it) Simon used to tell me that aliens steal people’s brains. (At the mention of Simon Jim closes his eyes for a moment, puts his arm around Noah) But that can’t be it, cos yesterday I saw some people following one of em and they were still walking. And I know you still need a brain to walk- Miss Dodd’s told me so-


(Interrupting) When did you see them?



When you were in that store getting the food. I was hiding in that beat up car and one of em walked past with some people following it.


(To himself) They’ve never come into the suburbs before… Did it see you?


Nope. Why would those people just follow it, Dad? Don’t they know they’re bad?


I don’t know, son.


(Now looking around) What happens if the people who live here come back?

Shot of Jim, leaning forward to his bag. Pulls it into the light. It’s dirty, fraying.


I don’t think they’d mind us staying here for one night. (Changes subject) You hungry yet, little man?

Noah nods, still looking around the room. From his POV we see a child’s bed. Sheets are ripped on the floor. A bear with a stain (blood?) on it is tangled in the sheets.

Shot of Jim, he sees Noah staring at the bed and the bear.


(Trying to divert Noah’s attention) Here we go. (He pulls out a can. Light reveals a label: Hot Dogs) How many you want? (He gets out a knife, stabs it in the top and starts opening the can)




(Smiling as he pulls off the lid carefully. He doesn’t want to cut himself- doesn’t want to draw blood) Okay then. (Holds out can) Be careful of the edges.



(Still eating hotdog) What’s for dessert?


(Smiles, pulls another can from his bag) My favourite.

Light reveals a can of peach segments

A muffled bang and metallic clatter. Jim’s head snaps up. Then the sound of a door closing, thudding footsteps; it’s clear they are not human. Strange clicking, hissing sounds follow: insect like.  


(Wide eyed, scared. To his father) Dad-


(Whispers) Quiet, Noah. Quick, get in the wardrobe.




(Takes hold of Noah’s shoulders)Just do it, son.

Noah gets up, dropping his hot dog. As Jim turns lantern off we see Noah climb into the wardrobe. Jim follows. Just as the lantern light fades completely we see Jim close the door.


The clicking sound and thudding footsteps get louder. A blue light flares at the bottom of the bedroom door. We see this through a narrow gap between the wardrobe doors. The sound of Jim and Noah breathing heavily. In the blue light, we see Jim put a finger to his lips. Noah nods.


Camera is on bottom of door where blue light gets brighter. A shadow flickers. Footsteps stop. Clicking sounds don’t. Door handle turns slowly, squeaks.


Jim pushes Noah behind him and deeper into the wardrobe. Through the gap we see the door swing slowly open, blue light floods in.

A thin, strange shadow appears on floorboards in light.

The shadow moves forward, into the bedroom.

We see the alien. Four long, thin arms and a very thin body. The blue light is coming from a strange flashlight the alien is holding. It’s holding it like a gun. We see that it is some kind of weapon.  

The alien is still partially in shadow. It reaches down and picks up Noah’s hot dog, Sniffs it.

Its head snaps up. It looks at the wardrobe. It has huge, black eyes.




Jim pushes Noah even further back.




Alien rises and starts towards wardrobe, flicks a switch on the weapon and it starts to hum.




Jim unsheathes a knife from his belt, holds it out towards the doors. Another banging sound comes from downstairs. Alien turns away from wardrobe.




From over alien’s shoulder, we see flaps of skin over its ears flutter: it’s listening. Sound of footsteps. We see top of stairs. A yellow flashlight beam flicks across walls and floor.




Jim, knife still held out. Through the gap in wardrobe doors the alien suddenly leaps forward, out of the bedroom. Sound of it crashing downstairs.



 There you are (grunts) Son of a-


A gun fires three shots in quick succession. There is the sound of something heavy smashing to the floor. Silence. Then the sound of something climbing up the stairs.

Jim grips his knife tighter, starts to rise.

A flashlight beam cuts into bedroom from outside door.



(In a strong southern accent) You folks okay in there?


Jim pushes doors open, still cautious.




Over Jim’s shoulder, Taylor steps into view in flashlight glare. He’s tall, unshaven. He’s holding a rifle.





Nice to see the son of a bitch didn’t kill you.



(Emerges slowly from wardrobe) Dad?


Noah rushes to Jim. Jim puts an arm around Noah’s shoulders. Noah looks up at Taylor, at his gun, then out through the bedroom door.




Is it…




Dead? No doubt. I’ve been on that one’s ass for three days. (He gestures with his rifle downstairs) It’s been tracking you. Is that kerosene? (He points to the lamp on the floor)



(Looks down at lamp, then quickly back to Taylor’s rifle) Yeh.



(He nods) That’s probably what got it interested in you in the first place. (He notices them both looking at his rifle, puts it aside, holds up his hands) Most people think its only blood that’ll attract em, but kerosene-hell any kind of fuel gets em excited, too.


Taylor walks over to the bed, sits down. He shrugs off his pack and pulls a lantern from it. He turns a dial on the lantern and white light (LED) fills the room.




The name’s Taylor. (He sticks out a hand after wiping a glistening blue stain off it)



(Shakes Taylor’s hand) Jim. And this is my son, Noah.



Nice to meet you, folks. I ain’t seen nothing but those damn aliens for a month. It’s good to finally see they didn’t get us all. Where you folk’s from anyway?    



(Relaxes a little) Boston



(Shocked) Damn. That’s the first place those bastards hit, ain’t it. How in the hell d’you get out alive? 


Jim’s jaw twitches, he looks down, remembering…



















About Sam Whitehouse

Sam spends most of his time in a different world to other people. If it isn’t one he’s created himself, it’s one he’s reading about. In the rare moments when this isn’t the case, Sam can either be found addicted to a sci-fi or crime show, re-watching Marvel movies, finishing up an assignment for his final year of studying Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University, or trying to get the dozens of ideas for stories in his head under some kind of control. Sam has lived in the same small village in Yorkshire, surrounded by countryside on all sides ever since he could remember. His childhood saw him get into plenty of scrapes climbing trees and crossing rivers and generally believing he was Indiana Jones. Sam gives credit to his Grandad for him wanting to be a writer, and his bedtime stories for keeping Sam’s imagination stoked. But credit must also go to Steven Spielberg, J K Rowling and Stephen King, who have provided plenty of inspiration over the years, too. Sam writes what he reads, and that is pretty much anything—save romance. Fantasy, thrillers, or crime: once an idea takes root, he can’t stop until the world, characters, and plot are on paper. A huge Marvel fan, Sam one day hopes to pen a screenplay for one of their movies, or direct one, or do anything at all related to one. Until then, he’ll stick to his own fantasy worlds and wait for Marvel’s phone call.

Posted on 04/21/2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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