Brian Belefant

When Brian Belefant was seven, his best friend Steve got him one of those cardboard rocket kits for his birthday. Brian followed the directions meticulously and when the rocket was completely assembled, he invited all of his friends and family to the baseball field at the elementary school to witness its maiden voyage.

He set up the launch pad at second base, where it would be far enough away from trees to insure the spectators had an unobstructed view. He started the count down at 50 and when he got down to ten he lit the fuse. The timing was almost perfect. He only had to speed up a little between three and two and two and one to get it so that lit part of the fuse made contact with the rocket engine at zero.

Nothing happened.

The fuse wasn’t burning anymore. You could tell because the hissing of the flame had stopped. The rocket just sat there on the launch pad.

Brian couldn’t wait any longer. He went over to the rocket to see what the problem was.

Just as he got within 10 feet, the rocket exploded, showering the infield with cardboard shrapnel and making Brian lose about half of the hearing in his left ear. When the smoke cleared, Brian surveyed the damage. The rocket was gone. The biggest piece left was a charred piece of cardboard tubing about the size of Brian’s seven-year-old thumb.

At that moment, one thing became unequivocally clear. Brian was never, ever going to be a rocket scientist.

So he became a writer.

Since that day, Brian has written thousands of ads and commercials, half a dozen screenplays (which won prizes in screenwriting competitions), one non-fiction book about dating and real estate, bunches of short stories, and a novel.

He hasn’t launched a single rocket.

Please visit www.belefant.com to see a comprehensive collection of the stuff he’s written and the awards he’s won.

Screenplay Type
Film Script
One by one, residents of an island populated by psychics and mediums have gone missing. The mainland police chief suspects murder. It can’t be, though. If they were dead, surely the island’s clairvoyant residents would have heard from them.
Nobody Dies Until The Very End (And Even Then It's Okay)
Logline
One by one, residents of an island populated by psychics and mediums have gone missing. The mainland police chief suspects murder. It can’t be, though. If they were dead, surely the island’s clairvoyant residents would have heard from them.
My Submission

EXT. MASSACHUSETS CORRECTIONAL FACILITY - DAWN

High walls festooned with razor wire. It's autumn. Trees glow yellow against a bleak, gray sky.

INT. CELL BLOCK - DAWN

A dismal row of cells. The substantial door at the end of the cell block swings open, revealing THE WARDEN. He walks down the block, passing inmates who read, sleep, exercise. He reaches cell 302, stops.

INT. CELL 302 - DAWN.

A figure sits on the lower bunk, waiting. ROCK.

WARDEN

Well, Rock, seems the parole board has seen fit to release you back into society.

Rock rises. He towers above the warden, one mean-looking sonofabitch. The warden opens the cell door. Rock steps through. But as he does, his foot catches in the cell door and he flails ungracefully.

The warden stifles a smile. Rock recovers. His glare gets more intense. He straightens his state-issued clothes, stares down the warden.

He turns, stops. Turns back, remembering something. An old, yellowing article, neatly torn out of a newspaper and taped carefully to the wall.

Rock reads the headline, flashes a malicious smile.

INSERT SHOT - THE ARTICLE.

The headline reads "Psychic Finds Boy Lost in Woods.”

INT. CELL 302

Rock rips the article off the wall, but only half comes off.

He grabs the half still taped to the wall, crams it into his pocket. He steps into the walkway.

INT. CELL BLOCK - DAWN.

The Warden leads Rock down the cell block toward the security door. As they pass, inmates CLUCK, PECK, AND COCKLE-DOODLE DOO like manic chickens. Rock walks straight ahead, the very image of determination.

WARDEN

I gotta hand it to you, Rock. I been here 37 years and I never seen so much goddamn good behavior as the shit you pulled.

They reach the door. The warden unlocks it.

WARDEN

All I can say is, you gotta have one hell of a good reason.

Rock squints at a distant thought, smiles wistfully.

ROCK

Bucky.

WARDEN

Bucky? Who the hell's Bucky?

ROCK

He was my friend.

The Warden tries to make sense of the comment. Rock passes through the door in front of him.

EXT. ROCK'S HOUSE - DAY.

A lower middle class house in a lower middle class street. A rusted AMC Pacer is parked on blocks in the driveway.

A taxi pulls up and Rock gets out, dressed in the street clothes of his arrest. He powers to the front door while the taxi waits.

INT. ROCK'S LIVING ROOM - DAY.

Vinyl carpet runners cross the living room and climb the stairs. From the kitchen, a WOMAN'S SACCHARINE VOICE sweetly

sings (OS) the THEME TO AN OLD TV SHOW.

A lump of a man has become one with his recliner, stares into the television, watching a rerun. ROCK'S FATHER.

The front door blasts open. Rock's father doesn't move. The singing, however, stops. Rock stands framed in the doorway, like a poster for Rambo XIV, Attack On Suburbia.

ROCK'S MOTHER appears at the kitchen doorway, surprised to see her son. She approaches, drying a plate.

ROCK'S MOTHER

Oh, hello, Dear. I thought the parole board said Wednesday.

As she leans out to kiss him, he shoves her out of the way, heads for the stairs. The plate flies out of her hands, smashes into the wall near Rock's father, who doesn't budge.

ROCK'S MOTHER

(just as sweetly)

You remember your father, don't you?

INT. STAIRWAY - DAY.

Rock powers up the stairs, two at a time. His mother calls out to him sweetly.

ROCK'S MOTHER (OS)

I kept your room just the way you left it.

Rock blasts the door open so hard that it swings all the way open, ricochets off the wall, and slams back into his face.

He blasts the door open again, but this time not as hard.

INT. ROCK'S ROOM - DAY.

A pig sty. Clothes scattered all over the place. Beer cans litter the floor. An aquarium left to dry gathers dust. Rock steps in, slams the door, wipes the innards of a car stereo off a chair, and stands it next to the wall. He’s on a mission.

He steps precariously onto the chair, reaches up for the air heating vent by the ceiling. He stands on his tippie toes, uses his fingers to undo the screws holding the vent in, occasionally teetering. His concentration is intense.

When he gets the face plate off, he tosses it aside, feels around in the hole for something.

He finds it, pulls it out, smiles. It's a pair of men's underwear. Just then, he loses his balance, crashes to the floor. He holds the underwear aloft like a lifeguard keeping a kitten from getting wet. Mission accomplished.

Lying on the floor, Rock tosses the underwear up onto the bed, then rises, grabs the bag he dropped by the door.

He dumps the contents onto the floor, gets up, turns to gather up the underwear on the bed. A look of terror comes over his face. Because of what he sees:

The underwear is somewhere in a pile of clothes –– mostly underwear –– on the bed.

INT. ROCK'S LIVING ROOM - DAY

Rock's mother removes an empty from next to his father. She turns when she hears ROCK COMING DOWN THE STAIRS (OS).

Rock heads straight for the door, but his mother tries to head him off.

ROCK'S MOTHER

Are you going to be back in time for dinner, Dear?

Rock shoves her aside. The beer can bounces off his father's head, clatters to the floor. She calls after him as he flings open the front door, heads for the waiting taxi:

ROCK'S MOTHER (CONT’D)

We're having chicken.

(as soon as the words escape her lips)

Oops!

Her hand goes to her mouth –– major faux pas. But it's too late. Rock is gone.

EXT. TONY'S HOUSE - DAY.

Early morning. Florida. The sun shines intensely on a middle class house in a 40-year-old subdivision. A PAPERBOY on a bike tosses a newspaper onto the roof.

INT. TONY'S LIVING ROOM - DAY

A living room. Hard to tell how long the present occupant has lived here. Entirely devoid of personality, except for a few pictures.

Most are of a kid growing up –– his first steps, fishing with his dad, mugging to the camera. The oldest the kid appears is around eight.

It's early, but it's already hot. Two fans blow toward the bedroom. The curtains, however, are shut tight against the bright sun outside. From the bathroom comes the sound of a SHOWER being turned off (OS).

The bathroom door opens and a man enters wearing a bathrobe. TONY PENSO. 50s and good-looking, but there's something missing. His eyes have no spark, as if he's living by rote.

Tony stands in front of a fan, opens the robe for the air to circulate around his body. He's miserable in the heat.

He reties his robe, opens the front door. He's immediately blinded by the glaring sunlight. Birds sing. Puffy clouds decorate the blue sky.

TONY

Another fucking miserable day…

EXT. TONY'S HOUSE - DAY.

Tony moves onto the porch, squinting until his eyes can adjust to the bright sunlight.

He looks around. No newspaper. He wanders into the yard. No paper there, either. He looks back at the roof. Aha.

EXT. ROOF OF TONY’S HOUSE - DAY

Several dozen newspapers in various states of decay litter the roof. The newest one is almost in the rain gutter, just above the trellis.

Tony hesitates. He has a terrible fear of heights.

He turns away in defeat, then has a second thought. He comes back, stares at the challenge.

Tony closes his eyes, then opens them. A determined look comes over his face. This time he's going to do it. He reaches out for the trellis, tests its sturdiness.

So far, so good.

He climbs slowly, careful not to look down. First a step. Then a hand hold slightly further up. Sweat pours off of him.

When he finally gets to the top, he reaches up, nervously grabs onto the rain gutter with one hand. He pauses to let his heartbeat slow. This is a major accomplishment.

He reaches out his other hand, grabs the rain gutter with it.

Another triumph.

As he pulls himself slowly up, the rain gutter detaches itself from the roof. Tony hangs on, legs flailing. He’s swung out over the yard. He's scared –– really scared ––  even though his feet are only two feet above the ground.

An OLD MAN toodles slowly by on a geriatric tricycle, calls out to him.

OLD MAN

Morning, Captain Penso.

Tony cranes his head to see who called to him.

TONY

Uh, Mr. Geeber…?

OLD MAN

Special delivery this morning?

TONY

Uh, yeah. Could you––?

OLD MAN (chortling)

Have a nice day, Captain.

The old man toodles off. Tony looks down, panics.

TONY

Mr. Geeber! Mr. Geeber!

The old man doesn't hear, continues on.

EXT. MIRAMAR AIRPORT RUNWAY - DAY.

One word: HELL.

From another angle, the word becomes HELLO. It's in a cartoon bubble on a sign proclaiming "Mayor Claude Little says ‘Hello and welcome to Miramar’.” Next to the words is a smiling picture of the MAYOR.

A puddle-jumper airplane lands on the single runway, taxis up close to the one gate of the tiny terminal building.

PA VOICE (OS)

Mayor Claude Little Airport announces the arrival of Florida Airways flight three, now arriving at gate 142-A.

A pair of AIRPORT WORKERS lazily wheel a set of stairs up to the plane. One of the workers climbs the stairs, opens the door.

Rock steps out.

AIRPORT WORKER

Welcome to Miramar. Hope you have a pleasant––

ROCK

Shut the fuck up.

Rock starts down the stairs, trips. He recovers ungracefully, continues.

EXT. TONY'S HOUSE - DAY.

Tony exits, his jacket slung over his shoulder. His sweat- soaked undershirt shows through his shirt. He wears a shoulder holster packed with a .38.

He glares at the broken rain gutter, walks across the lawn. The paper is still on his roof.

EXT. FRONT OF MIRAMAR AIRPORT - DAY.

The front of the tiny terminal building. A few people move about, but it's too hot to call what they do “bustling.”

A single CABBIE lounges in the front seat of his cab. Rock exits the terminal, walks up to the cab, gets in.

CABBIE

Where to, Mister?

ROCK

Brujo’s Key.

CABBIE

Ooh, hey. I'm sorry. I don't go to Brujo's Key. That place gives me the––

Rock pushes a pistol against the cabbie's skull, cocks it.

CABBIE

On the other hand, it's healthy to confront your fears, right?

The cabbie cranks the engine, pulls away.

INT. BUS - DAY.

Tony sits on the moving bus, cranes his neck to read the paper of the passenger in front of him. Unaware, the passenger constantly moves, not giving him a good look at anything.

Tony gets more and more obvious about sneaking a look until he's halfway out of his seat. It's then that the WOMAN across the aisle from him taps him on the shoulder.

WOMAN

Excuse me.

Tony sinks back into his seat, busted.

TONY

Yes?

WOMAN

Aren't you our new police captain?

TONY

Well, I'm not exactly new…

WOMAN

Things move so slow around here, you'll be new for another five years at least. How do you like it here so far?

TONY

Like you said, things move pretty slow around here.

The bus comes to a stop at an intersection. To the right is

the Intracoastal Waterway, the water way that separates the mainland from a string of barrier islands. A ferry –– really a tiny barge converted to carrying three cars and a dozen pedestrians –– approaches a tiny landing.

The only person on board is LUKE –– the ferry's captain. His skin is leathery from constant exposure to the elements. A half-dozen or so PEDESTRIANS and a car wait to board.

Tony watches Luke lift the gate and permit the pedestrians to board, directing them casually where to stand.

The woman notices Tony looking at the ferry.

WOMAN

Been to Brujo's Key yet?

TONY

No. I don't believe in that stuff.

WOMAN

Oh, you don't need to believe in it. It's really a hoot.

TONY

Maybe when it gets cooler.

WOMAN

You really are new. This is about as cool as it gets.

Directly across from the bus at the intersection, a cab pulls to a stop. The cab that Rock's in. It signals a left turn into the ferry landing.

The light turns green and Rock and Tony pass within a couple of feet of each other as their respective drivers turn left. Neither one notices the other.

EXT. CITY HALL - DAY.

A modest building with a shiny new police helicopter on the lawn. The bus stops in front and Tony steps off, sweating profusely. He wipes his face and neck repeatedly with a handkerchief.

As Tony slouches toward the entrance, four men exit the building –– the MAYOR, JOHNNY, and TWO REAL ESTATE DEVELOPERS –– and head for the helicopter. Johnny wears dark sunglasses and holds his hand to his ear like a secret service guy.

The mayor sees Tony, heads straight for him. It's the last thing Tony needs first thing in the morning.

MAYOR

Ah, Captain Penso!

TONY

Hello, Mayor.

As the mayor and Tony talk, Johnny makes a show of scanning the perimeter for threats to the mayor's security.

MAYOR

I'm so glad I ran into you. I was just telling these fine gentlemen I wanted to see you.

The mayor wants something and Tony knows it.

TONY

What is it, Mayor?

MAYOR

What is it?

He looks at Johnny for help.

JOHNNY

Suspicion, sir.

MAYOR

Ah. What makes you think I want something, Captain? You know, as mayor of this fine city––

TONY

Mayor, please. I haven't had my coffee yet.

MAYOR

Well, ahem. As long as I've run into you, I'd like to talk about the dedication ceremony for the new bridge.

TONY

Of course.

MAYOR

What do you mean, of course? I just want to make sure we have adequate security.

TONY

I assure you, Mayor, it'll be more than adequate.

Tony turns to head into the building. The mayor is titillated by the thought, puffs his chest out proudly.

MAYOR

Really?

TONY

(calling over his shoulder)
Really. I just haven't decided whether all the extra men I've called up ought to be in dress uniforms or SWAT gear.

MAYOR

SWAT gear… Ooh, that's very good.

Tony walks away. The mayor claps Johnny on the shoulder, glad to have made the correct impression in front of the real estate developers.

JOHNNY

Sir?

MAYOR

What is it, Johnny?

JOHNNY

He was being sarcastic.

MAYOR

Oh.

The mayor lets out a nervous laugh.

MAYOR

I knew that, of course.

JOHNNY

Of course, Sir.

The mayor leads Johnny and the developers toward the helicopter as Tony enters the building.

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