Sunday, April 5, 2015

An Unlikely Meeting | Code Name Verity Screenplay (2)


The entire week on Loving the Language of Literacy will be comprised of me sharing a scene and its backstory that I wrote for an Independent Study Project having to do with Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I formatted it as if it were a professional Screenplay (which is a lot harder than I thought it would be) and attempted to translate it for film the best I could. Sadly, the proper margins and spacing didn't transfer over well into Blogger. Warning - There are spoilers for the novel if you haven't read it. 
This is what an average screenplay sheet would look like.
Today's scene takes place the day our two leading ladies Verity and Maddie meet and collaborate under the most unlikely of circumstances. The particular perspective I tried to tell the scene from was  Verity's as she paints the picture of what the radio operator's duties' were and how frantic people can get in times of war.

Cut In.

Int. Chateau de Bordeaux; Verity’s Prison Cell - Day


Wide writing shot progressing to closeup fading into the voiceover, then dissolving into an RDF screen, then Maddie communicating with pilots via headset.


VERITY (O.S.)
When you’re monitoring a RDF screen, you see a green dot for every aircraft moving across the screen. It may be ours, it may be theirs. All we can do is sit back and watch a battle building as the number of dots multiply, coming together, then going out, and every green flash that disappeared was a life finished.


UNNAMED YOUNG MALE PILOT
(scared voice sobbing)
Mayday! Mayday!

Unnamed Young Male Pilot continues his pleas for help in German.


MADDIE
Listen! Listen!


Maddie swallows, then switches her headset onto the Tannoy speaker so everyone could hear, grabbing the telephone.


MADDIE
It’s Assistant Section Officer Broadatt in the Tower. Can I get directly through to Special Duties to identify a radio call headed straight for Maidsend.


UNNAMED RADIO OPERATOR #1

What if it’s a bomber?


UNNAMED RADIO OPERATOR #2

What if it’s still loaded?


UNNAMED RADIO OPERATOR #3

What if it’s a hoax?


Davenport

He’d be calling in English if it was a hoax!


OFFICER IN CHARGE

Anyone speak German?

The radio room is met with silence.


OFFICER IN CHARGE
Christ! Broadatt, stay on the phone. Davenport, run to the wireless station; perhaps one of those girls can help. Get me a German speaker! Now!


Davenport sprints out of the room, the door slamming behind her. Officer in Charge takes the telephone out of Maddie’s hand. Maddie reaches for a pen, poised to take notes.


OFFICER IN CHARGE
Don’t say anything. Don’t let him know who’s listening.


Davenport and immaculate Queenie bang into the room. Maddie looks up.


OFFICER IN CHARGE
Let’s have your headset, Brodatt, and give her the correct protocol.


Maddie swiftly uncurls the headphones and telephone, then passes them to Queenie who adjusts them to fit her head.


MADDIE
What kind of aircraft is he flying?


QUEENIE

(hesitates)
He-111


MADDIE

A Heinkel He-111. Any other Identification?


All other members of the room stand around on the edge of their seats in anticipation of the outcome.


QUEENIE
He didn’t say.


OFFICER IN CHARGE
Just repeat back to him the type of aircraft via open reply by pressing this button and keep it pressed whilst talking, then let go of it so he can reply. Tell him we are Calais-Marck.


Queenie cooly relays the information over to the Unnamed Young German Pilot and he gasps in gratitude for all of Maddie’s and the Officer in Charge’s direction.


QUEENIE
He wants bearings for landing.

Maddie frantically scribbles down directions for Queenie to relay to the Unnamed Young German Pilot so she can translate them to German.


MADDIE
Say his ID first, the yours - Heinkely He-111, this is Calais. Then tell him ‘Cleared straight in, Runway 27,’ and to dump his leftover bombs in the sea if he’s got any so he doesn’t set them off when he lands.


The entire radio room is silently mesmerized by the sharp, precisely spoken, nearly incomprehensible instructions Queenie raps out while Maddie scribbles down directions, and the Unnamed Young German Pilot gasps in reply.


OFFICER IN CHARGE
Here she comes!


All members of the radio room -excluding Maddie & Queenie- run to the window to watch the Heinkel bomber approach the runaway.


MADDIE
When he calls final approach, pass him the wind speed - Eight knots west-south-west, gusting to twelve.


OFFICER IN CHARGE
(directed towards Queenie)
And that the fire service is on its way to meet him.
(directed towards radio room)
Get the engines out there! And an ambulance.


The silhouette of the He-111 comes into view, coughing and whining on a single engine.


DAVENPORT
(from position by window)
Christ! He hasn’t got the undercarriage down. This is going to be one hell of a prang.


All radio room workers run down the stairs and onto the runway. The He-111 neatly pancakes in a shower of grass/turf, coming to a rest in front of the control tower, the engines/ambulance screeching up to meet it. The service teams lift the pilot and its crew out of the plane. Officer in charge puts a hand on Queenie’s shoulder.


OFFICER IN CHARGE
If you don’t mind, we could use your help questioning him.


Cut Out.

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