Friends of a Friend
By Brian Schirmer
Note: Each page will be based on a nine-panel grid unless otherwise noted. Of course, Mark, if you see a better way to make it work, have at it.
1/ A street of shops and cafes, like San Francisco’s Upper Filmore or West Portal. Long shot of Celine
walking up the sidewalk towards us, her arm raised in a stiff wave. Skirt and boots peek out from under her black overcoat.
2/ Reverse angle on Ricky, waiting in front of the wine bar, whose sign is turned to Closed. He’s pulled
one hand from its leather jacket pocket to return a more casual – almost clandestine – wave.
3/ A two-shot of them standing in front of the wine bar.
CELINE: Sorry I’m late. Have you been waiting long?
RICKY: No, no. Maybe five minutes. It’s actually-- It’s closed Sundays.
4/ From inside the closed wine bar, Celine shades her eyes as she presses against the window, looking within. Ricky stands behind her, subtly checking her out.
CELINE: No. Really? I can’t believe it. That sucks.
5/ We’re looking over Ricky’s shoulder at a medium shot of Celine, now turned back and facing Ricky, the Closed sign in the window behind her.
CELINE: Is there any other place around here that you know?
6/ Two-shot. Ricky gestures across the street and Celine looks on.
RICKY: There’s that dive bar across the street. I’ve never been inside, but I’ve always been curious.
7/ This panel is half the width of the page. Reverse angle: Their POV of the bar across the street. It’s rather nondescript – a wood door with a “No One Under 21” sign, and a small window with a neon beer sign.
CELINE (OP): Well, okay. You think they have Guiness?
8/ This panel is the other half of the width. Interior of the dive bar. It’s the mid-afternoon on a Sunday,
so there are three or four regulars seated at the bar proper. Away from the other patrons, Ricky and Celine stand at the bar, each a bit uncomfortable. A pint of Guiness rests before them, while behind the bar the bartender pours a second from the tap.
1/ An over the shoulder shot of Celine, now seated at a small table in the back of the bar. She has her beer in hand. Behind her: a dart board, a restroom labeled “Women”, and a neon sign for Pabst Blue Ribbon.
CELINE: We start rehearsals next week, which is just crazy. I’ve been working so much I haven’t even
looked at the script.
RICKY (OP): What is it you do again?
2/ Now, an over the shoulder of Ricky, with the bar and patrons behind him. His beer rests on the table before him.
CELINE (OP): I’m a marketing consultant. Local wineries mostly, which definitely has some perks.
3/ Two-shot of them sitting across from each other. They share an uncomfortable silence. 4/ Same framing as panel 3, but now Celine has a wry smile.
CELINE: So, Ricky, what did Paul say to you?
RICKY: He just told me he had a friend – he didn’t say who – and that this friend had just gotten out of a
relationship and she was looking for something with no strings.
5/ Wide shot of the bar. They share a laugh – the kind reserved for two people engaged in an awkward situation who also realize its absurdity.
CELINE: “No strings”? Is that what he said?
RICKY: Actually, I think he used the term “Booty Call”.
6/ Another two-shot of them across from each other. Ricky leans forward, elbows on the table, apprehensive.
RICKY: So, Celine, how do we actually… plan this?
CELINE: Are you kidding? I thought you’d done this before.
7/ Over the shoulder of Celine. She’s very matter-of-fact, like she’s ordering from a menu.
CELINE: Okay. Well, let’s just say we’ll do it the one time.
RICKY (OP): And let’s just keep it light and jovial.
8/ Another two shot of them sitting across from each other. Ricky’s lifting his beer.
CELINE: My place or yours?
RICKY: Whatever’s more comfortable for you.
CELINE: Let’s do mine then.
9/ Over the shoulder of Ricky, about to drink.
CELINE (OP): How about Tuesday night?
RICKY: Tuesday works.
1/ A coffee table. Two bottles of wine – one empty, the other half way there.
CELINE (OP): Thirteen years.
RICKY (OP): Wow.
2/ The couch – big, puffy, leathery. Celine and Ricky sit on either end, having a good time but still keeping that extra seat cushion between them. Celine’s cat lies in a curled ball near Ricky’s feet. Nice
art on the walls, not reproductions of Starry Night or anything. Real paintings by talented artists no
one’s ever heard of.
CELINE: My husband and I bought it right after we were married. I’m glad I’m the one who got to keep it.
I love this house.
3/ Medium shot of Ricky, wineglass in hand.
RICKY: It’s really nice. I doubt I could ever afford a place in this town.
4/ Medium shot of Celine, swirling the wine in her own glass.
CELINE: I know. I mean, if I didn’t already have this place, I’d be back to renting for sure.
5/ Full shot of the two of them on the sofa. He’s looking at the wineglass in his hand. She’s pushing
herself up from the couch. More quiet discomfort.
6/ Reverse angle. Celine now stands in front of the entertainment center, her arms spread wide with
drunken courage. The hallway to the rest of the house is behind her to the right. CELINE: Here’s what I think we should do.
CELINE: We should just go in the bedroom and get naked.
7/ Over the shoulder of Celine, still standing before the TV, stereo, etc. She’s still just as excited.
CELINE: But first, I need to go to the bathroom.
8/ Same angle as panel 7. Celine has turned away and walks up the hall towards the bedroom and bath. 9/ Full shot of Ricky, still seated on the couch. He watches her go, her cat now rubbing up against his leg. PAGE FOUR
1/ Close up of books on a pair of shelves. A variety of titles – Plays of Shakespeare, some Stephen King,
2/ Wider angle. It’s Celine’s bedroom. Clean and modest. The bed is made. Ricky stands at the foot of
the bed, his head cocked to one side as he checks out the books on the small bookcase against the wall. He’s not naked.
3/ Reverse angle. Celine stands in the open doorway, her hands gesturing her confusion. She’s likewise fully clothed. Ricky is in the foreground, turned to see her.
CELINE: You’re not naked!
4/ Medium shot. Ricky stands close to Celine, holding her gently by her shoulders, moving in for a kiss. RICKY: I thought we’d try it a different way.
5/ A tight shot on their midsections as he pulls up her top. We might see the lower part of her breasts. 6/ Moments later. A wider shot from the other side of the neatly made bed. Ricky has his back to us. His shirt is gone. Her nude figure partially obstructed by Ricky’s body, Celine tilts her head back to kiss
him while she undoes his pants.
7/ This panel is half the width of the page. A bird’s eye view of the two of them on the bed, him atop
her. They’re at an angle, not exactly respecting the head and foot of the bed. They only slightly disrupt
the sheets on the neatly made bed.
8/ This panel is the other half of the page. Another high angle, perhaps the same as Panel 7, but if you want to change it up – go for it. Now, Celine is on top. They’re at a different angle, with the sheets now
1/ Medium shot. Ricky and Celine lay together, sweaty in the afterglow, staring at the ceiling. They each wear smiles of surprise.
RICKY: Okay. That was good.
CELINE: Hell yeah, it was.
2/ An angle on a somewhat wary Ricky, his arms still about Celine.
RICKY: You want me to stay?
3/ Shift the angle to Celine, still held by Ricky. She’s apprehensive.
CELINE: You know, sleeping over is a very special thing to me, so….
4/ A medium shot of the two of them, not unlike Panel 1, only now they are both lost in their own heads, perhaps overly analytical.
RICKY: That’s okay. No worries.
5/ Celine coils herself up in sheets on the bed while Ricky stands near the foot of the bed, shirtless, zipping his fly.
6/ Wrapped in a silken bathrobe, Celine stands in the open front doorway to her house, bidding farewell to Ricky. He’s now fully dressed with his leather jacket and looking over his shoulder at her as he leaves. CELINE: I’m up for this again if you are. Text me.
7/ Wide shot of Celine’s street. Residential, house-upon-house. Street parking with every spot gone.
It’s late. No cars on the road. Hands in his jacket pockets, Ricky trudges up the sidewalk towards his car. 8/ Reverse angle medium shot of Ricky, walking towards us with a slight smile. In the background, we see the receding row of houses. One of them – Celine’s – has a silhouetted figure standing in the bay
9/ Same angle as Panel 7, only it’s a couple minutes later, and Ricky’s car is pulling out of its curbside
parking spot. Headlights on.