CP13 | Step Outline #2

The feedback from Faisal and my research into how to create tension allowed me to write me second draft of my step outline;

  • During 1969 in a secret radio bunker in an underground brothel in Siagon, two American anit-war protesters are broadcasting a pirate radio show, while an American troop translates Vietnamese information in the corner.
  • The three get startled by the sound of gunfire and bombs which to go off above, a walkie talkie in the room transmits the sound of combat.
  • After waiting in anticipation, the radio bunker’s door swings open and four Vietnamese soldiers rush inside.
  • The translator tries to confront them but gets beaten to the ground as a Vietcong general enters the room.
  • The general questions the identity and purpose of these individuals, but due to the attack from the translator he remains suspicious.
  • Suddenly the translator pulls out a knife and holds it to the VC generals throat, everyone in the bunker engages in a standoff – the presenters beg the translator to put the knife down
  • The fire alarm in the bunker goes off which triggers the soldiers to panic and fire a shot.
  • Out of confusion everyone in the bunker fires their weapons leaving the presenter protagonist alive.
  • The presenter bursts out in a fit of tears and trauma, forced to endure the horrific sights of his friends riddled with bullets, all with the broadcast continue to record.

One of the major changes I made to this second draft is the part of the story when the VC talk to the presenters through walkie talkies. After looking at how much space dialogue takes up in the previous examples of screenplays I looked at, I feel including this part in the story would make it too long. My story is already a quite complex which needs as many pages as possible to explain, so this scene had to be removed; this means that the protagonist has one less obstacle to face over the course of their story, therefore risking the chance of audiences not being fully engaged with it.

The other major change was the incorporation of the smoke alarm which is the event that triggers the standoff. This is a key device in building up tension – it also creates even more confusion on the audio side of the story as a piercing screech will alarm the audience. Another side effect of using the smoke alarm is how the bunker will glow a red light from the alarm, this will amplify the horrific sight at the end of the script.


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