After writing my treatment I have come up with the title ‘The man inside’ for my short film.
Brian-young unshaven male
Isobel- pristine, Similar age
Woman at end of receiver- friendly,helpful
Two male engineers – Comedic , hardworking
A shoplift door opens and a man stumbles out holding his hand to his face. Dazed and out of breath it appears he has been slapped.
A man and woman stand at opposite ends of a lift, both individuals’ attentions captured by their Mobile Phones as they stare and unconsciously tap random sequences of buttons.
The male BRIAN dressed casually, in his early 30’s leans against the wall with a CQ magazine underneath his arm. The woman ISOBEL of a similar age, oblivious to the man in her company stands grounded by several heavy shopping bags.
The doors shut and a Voice within the lift announces this. The atmosphere within the lift is quiet with the occasional notification of a text message being sent or received.
The lift mechanisms loudly pull into gear. Finally BRIAN looks up to his companion. Every ounce of blood suddenly appears to drain from his face. The pair recognizes each other.
Barely able to communicate they look nervously at each other as the room fills with an awkward tension. Nothing appears to be remotely appropriate to say as the pair gazes around the room.
BRIAN tries to speak but upon opening his mouth comes an inaudible dialect. ISOBEL gives him a scowl silently screaming to him to not even think about it.
Nonetheless a squeak comes out of BRIAN as his mouth cautiously cracks into an overtly forced smile. He greets her as if they have never met.
ISOBEL exhales almost painfully looking down at the floor, Eye contact with him being too uncomfortable. She mumbles.
An uneasy atmosphere of almost silence intensifies almost ready to erupt as heavy and frustrated breathing pollutes the lift. With a loud shudder the lift jerks and ISOBEL eagerly prepares to make her swift exit much to the obvious effect of BRIAN’S emotions.
BRIAN holds his hand to stop her but her intentions are nonnegotiable. Thoughtfully she steps up to the door waiting to be let out and resisting the urge to turn around. She waits a while. Brain clears his throat to break the air.
BRIAN again does not know where to look as her impatience becomes more apparent. He prepares for the possibility that she may have to confront him the longer they wait for the lift to move.
BRIAN coughs again, this time certain he wants to talk. ISOBEL clicks on, she really doesn’t have anything to say and her refusal to turn around makes this known, she just wants to get away as she repeatedly presses a flashing button to no avail. The doors still do not open.
ISOBEL surrenders and turns around, it is official, they are trapped together in a jammed lift. BRIAN laughs emotionlessly but ISOBEL is far from seeing it as a funny moment.
Something’s never change. ISOBEL finally speaks in broken sentences. It has been a long time since they last spoke and many things have changed. You’re a Johnson now right? BRIAN questions her bluntly without thinking. ISOBEL shakes her head almost without stopping. Like it is his any of his business anymore.
BRIAN stops ISOBEL from turning around again but she fights it. Facing away from BRIAN she presses the emergency button and a FEMALE VOICE finally fills the lift. On asking if there is anybody else with her, her reply is that there is unfortunately so. The engineer is on his way.
BRIAN opens up with great difficulty. After the divorce he thought that would be it and they would never meet again. ISOBEL wells up. She has been bearing up but it has been hard at times.
They look at each other briefly for a moment still standing at opposite ends of the lift as emotion takes over them both. After a few moments they continue their catch up with BRIAN looking at ISOBEL’S stilettos and ISOBEL at BRIAN’S trainers . BRIAN has become a music producer and ISOBEL now a head teacher. BRIAN still lives in Devon but has come down to meet a friend. The 20 questions lighten the atmosphere
ISOBEL spots a ring hanging from a silver chain around BRIAN’S neck and involuntarily curses under her breathe. BRIAN appears bewildered for a moment still after so long being unable to read her. He shrugs as ISOBEL exhales unable to hide her array of emotions.
She checks her watch to avoid facing him. What’s her problem now? He changes the subject. He hopes the engineer comes soon as he has to go the shop to get some potato waffles. She can’t help but stifle an amused smirk but doesn’t look up.
BRIAN looks down and it clicks. Ahhh. He gently explains to her that the ring was left to him from his father in his will who had recently died. Oh. She apologizes for many reasons. She didn’t know.
BRIAN repeats himself; he is eager to leave to get on with his day. Suddenly ISOBEL takes this badly as she fires him with questions about their relationship that she had obviously been holding for a while.
BRIAN stands rigid and takes the interrogation showing little movement except an occasional blink until tears appear just in the corner of his eyes. He tries to mouth an apology but isn’t sure if he should. ISOBEL is barely listening anyway.
Her list of complaints is endless as she shouts and waves her manicured hands getting slowly almost dangerously closer to his unshaven face. BRIAN simply never managed to match his socks. Her voice echoes loudly in the lift.
BRIAN agrees with a simple nod still struck motionless for a while refusing to retaliate. He asks her a simple question; whether she is still an excessive bubble bath user.
She cracks her feisty front and stops the interrogation as she starts to break down. She confronts him softly this time. It feels like old times with the petty arguments and annoyances taking pointless importance. She remembers now why they broke up.
ISOBEL looks up at an obviously upset BRIAN. He wasn’t expecting anything more than waffles he tells her. ISOBEL picks up her phone and scrolls down to the name ‘Leo’ on her phone but changes her mind. BRIAN looks like he is about to cry as he swallows hard.
They look at it each other again and ISOBEL divulges yet another question, struggling to maintain a reasonable level of eye contact with BRIAN she asks in a mumble if he ever really cared. BRIAN looks back up to ISOBEL now practically shaking and her shopping spilt out on the floor.
TWO ENGINEERS work outside the lift both in fluorescent vests and bright fireman’s-yellow hard hats. They talk briefly about their lunch break and their annoying boss as they take the cover of a fiddly electric panel and crossover several wires with interesting looking tools. The lift buzzes and whirs unhealthily for a while but as the TWO ENGINEERS pack up their tools and depart the doors begin to open.
BRIAN stumbles out the lift dazed and out of breath he holds his cheek as if he has been slapped. The perspective switches to the other side and we see between his fingers and on his neck two bright red lipstick marks.