15 Hours! – a movie script
--- Prologue ---
Interior Western Geophysical - late afternoon
Ben, Center Manager – sitting behind his desk
‘Ian, John G. needs this line processed as soon as possible. I promised him we’d have a preliminary final in 48 hours.’
Ian – Group Leader – standing in front of desk
‘OK, will do’. he says with a very business face.
but to himself, Ian was saying,
‘are you outta your mind, thanks a lot Boss.’
narrator - voice-over
‘Processing’ a Geophysical “line” varies, anywhere from a few weeks to 6 months.
Ian – talking to himself again, in his head -
‘I HAVE TWO DAYS. !!! WONDERFUL #$@%&# !!! ‘
Ian – walks out the door, his mind wanders off …..
Exterior – a boardwalk, (Ocean City, NJ) a young boy is running
toward a merry-go-round in the background.
Exterior – inside the boy's mind
Exterior – he’s riding the merry-go-round, coming around to grab
at the rings that are in a ‘chute’ extended out at the riders
of the merry-go-round.
Ian – voice-over, inside his head
‘I’ll get me a ring. I hope it’s a brass ring’
‘I want it! I can do this.’
scene fades to black
Exterior the scene changes to Ian’s early years:
'raised in a suburb west of Denver, schooled at North Lakewood Elementary by Miss Beauduin in 3rd and 4th grade.'
Ian takes up the narrative
'Miss Kaiser taught us in 5th and 6th. Both were extremely excellent English teachers. I know I owe them a great deal.'
'Mr. Skaggs taught me to ‘diagram a sentence’ in Junior High – I can still diagram a sentence today.'
'A little ol’ lady – Mrs. Adams – was my Latin teacher for four years in High School
(who does that???). Followed by another year in college and a year of Greek –
at The Colorado College.'
'As a Philosophy major, I read extensively – everything from St. Augustine to the Existentialists - like Sartre and Dostoevsky, the BIBLE and Mein Kampf.
'I probably wrote a few papers.'
scene fades to black
scene fades open to a business complex
Interior Western Geophysical offices –
Ian still the narrator
'I’m in my early 30’s now, a “group leader” of 6 analysts. We process seismic data for
the major oil and gas exploration companies, like Exxon, Arco, & Diamond Shamrock.'
'Several of us really like winter mountaineering.'
'So, two of my buddies, Ned, and Kim, and I, decided to venture up the back side of 14,256-foot Mt. Evans.
'In the middle of the night. And be at the top at sunrise.'
Interior Ian’s office
‘We ready to go tomorrow?’
’10 o’clock, my place, right?’
‘We can do this’
Exterior A snowy hillside with a big snowdrift
Ian still the narrator
'To do this, we had to dig a snow cave in a huge, 100-yard-long snowdrift that was at least 8 foot high and just as deep.'
'It was at 12,016 feet above sea-level, and took a couple of Saturdays,
but … we got it done.'
'At the base of the drift, we tunneled “in” three feet, then “up and toward the back” another three feet.'
'It was here that we dug a four-foot diameter dome “central room”.
'Two “sleeping tubes” were dug along the spine of the snowdrift, outward from this central dome. I’ve got some really cool photographs from inside the cave.'
'After a few hours of ‘sorta-sleep’, we started hiking around midnight.'
'At dawn, on the summit, I photographed the rising sun in the East,
and a full moon setting in the West.
'Two perfectly pointed champagne-glass shaped peaks, covered in snow,
framed the full moon.'
'I wrote an article about the adventure and published it in the
TRUE ADVENTURE section of “The Denver Post”.'
scene fades to black
scene fades open onto a community pool
Ian’s still the narrator, 15 years have gone by,
Exterior western Colorado, Grand Junction.
Ian, thinking to himself
‘Ya know, I think I’ll write a screenplay.’
'But ! … we need a little bit of ‘setup’ here ....'
'I always thought of Grand Junction as a huge, huge salad bowl –
the Bookcliffs to the North,
the Grand Mesa to the East,
and the Colorado Monument to the West, and a bit to the South.'
'In the summer, the sun “drills down” like a drill press into this salad bowl –
in other words, it's hot. And miserable.'
One summer month it made a new record for “number of days over 100 degrees”, “number of days over 90”, and “number of days, no, sorry, that’s nights, over 90 degrees.'
'(I jokingly classify people as either Iguanas or Penguins –
I moved to Alaska a few years later. More on that in a bit.)'
'So … one hot, sunny, summer day, at poolside, I started to write a screenplay.
I Googled up how to format it.
But, ... I needed an idea, a story … and I had none.'
“Alright," I said,
"I’ll adapt one from a story already written. This is just gonna be a few pages ...
practice piece anyway.”
"I can do this!"
a whole summer at poolside later, and 106 pages later, I had written a full-length movie script – adapted from a couple o' chapters (24 pages) from Dostoevsky’s
“Brothers Karamazov” - Rebellion, and The Grand Inquisitor.
“Just a little light entertainment, ya know”.
(For those not familiar with Dostoevsky,
he’s considered one of the great existential writers in history.
Must’ve been all that Philosophy in college got to me, huh?
Or maybe the heat! Maybe both.)
(Note: it has not been made into a movie,... YET!)
THE END (OK, not quite, but almost)
fade to black
– white text on black
'Remember I said I moved to Alaska?'
Exterior aerial zoom-in on Cooper Landing
Interior inside the gift store
Ian - narrator
'Well, there’s a place called Cooper Landing – on the Kenai Peninsula.
It has “world-class” fishing. Salmon. On the Russian River. On the Kenai River.'
'A friend of mine bought a tourist complex there – motel, bar, café, gas pumps.
And a gift store.
She asked me to manage it for her. I said, “Okay. Sure” '
'As I said, this part of Alaska is “world-renowned”. So, I had people from, …
"all over the world" - Estonia, Korea, China, Israel, Sweden, Germany, Kazakhstan, Australia, and more.'
'As each customer left I would say, “thanks for coming”.'
'Some knew very little English. Some knew none at all, but had a friend or relative alongside that did speak English. Sometimes we would use Google Translate to try and carry on a small conversation.'
'I'm still friends with a Belgian fellow on Facebook that came in one day.'
'At some point, the idea dawned on me - it would be nice if I could say something
to them in their native language – make them feel more comfortable.
Even if it was just for a moment. Like I cared about them as more
than just a “passing body”.'
'I can do this.'
'So … as each “world-traveler” came in and shopped and spoke, I asked them,
“how do you say, ‘thanks for coming’ in Swedish / Estonian / Hebrew”, whatever –
I collected 21 different languages altogether. I had them write it down,
and somewhere I still have those notes.'
'What was really a lot of fun, was to ask (If I couldn’t detect) where they were from.
Then I would get out my notes, and say,
“thanks for coming” in their language.'
'You shoulda seen them light up when they realized I was speaking their language,
or at least attempting to.'
'Sometimes I butchered it badly. And instead of ‘lighting up’,
they would look at me like, “what is this guy saying to me?” '
“Danke fur das kommen.” German. I remember that one.
"THANKS FOR COMING"
It was a fun summer.
P.S. while the credits are playing, we see the last scene:
Interior outer office, John G. office, Diamond Shamrock
- on-screen text
“Epilogue - 15 HRS! - Later “
“remember the center manager, Ben, handing Ian the ‘line’ to process”
Interior Ian’s waiting for John G. to show up for work.
Ian thinking to himself
‘I always liked that Marine motto –
“Improvise, Adapt, Overcome”.’
'I did it!'
Zoom in on Ian’s lap, he has “the promised final” in hand.
- 15 hours!!! John G never had anyone else in the Center work on his data again.