• Devon J. Shih

"Under Sunbeams" (A Silent Screenplay from 2018)



EXT. FENCE-FIELD - UNDER TREE - DAY

LS: DAMLA, a quiet high schooler, is sitting alone in the shade of a lone tree. Many students are walking by, but she continues to read.

MLS: As a few students cross the screen, chatting, we cut closer to DAMLA - now with RAWLINS, a small boy in a hoodie, sitting next to her and overlooking her shoulder.

MC of DAMLA and RAWLINS’s faces. RAWLINS is grinning.

RAWLINS (rolling his eyes)

Wow. What a predictable plot twist...

DAMLA (still reading)

You know I don’t like it when you read over my shoulder.

RAWLINS (laughing)

I didn’t think you’d notice!

CU of DAMLA smirking. Then, she flinches, turning her head to the classrooms.

LS: The bell rang, so DAMLA promptly packs her things and gets up to go. RAWLINS is nowhere to be seen as she leaves, almost like he was never there.

EXT. FENCE-FIELD - DAY

LS: DAMLA walking down stairs while reading. Her pencil case falls out of her arms and lands on the ground.

CU of the pencil case on the ground, and a hand (LUNA’s) picking it up.

M: LUNA, a friendly classmate, as she inspects the pencil case. She frowns, looking around to identify who it belongs to.

LS: We see their backs. LUNA taps DAMLA’s shoulder twice before DAMLA reacts and turns around. LUNA hands her the pencil case, and DAMLA receives it. DAMLA blinks, unsure of what to do, but LUNA looks at her watch and hastily waves goodbye, leaving with a smile.

MC of DAMLA holding her pencil case and stares off behind the camera.

EXT. FENCE-FIELD - LARGE TREE - DAY

M: We see DAMLA carrying her things and walking across the screen (to left).

CU of where the shade meets the sunlight. We see DAMLA’s feet cross into the shade.

M: Camera maintains distance from DAMLA’s face as she walks, clutching her books. Her expression is abysmal. Suddenly, RAWLINS shows up and falls into stride beside her.

RAWLINS

What’s with the look?

DAMLA (bitterly)

All of my partners just mess around! (She freezes.)

Then, suddenly, DAMLA hides behind a tree.

MC: We see the tree with DAMLA pressed against it. RAWLINS leisurely (enters frame from left) follows her to the tree.

RAWLINS (perplexed)

What’s wrong?

As DAMLA peeks around the tree, the tripod tilts right, letting us see LUNA happily walking toward us. DAMLA flinches, going back to hide. Tripod tilts back.

RAWLINS

(He stares at LUNA.) Who’s that?

DAMLA (nervously)

Don’t look! She’s...she’s...

CU of LUNA’s face. LUNA raises an eyebrow.

MC: We see the same angle with RAWLINS and DAMLA again.

DAMLA (CONT’D)

I don't know her, okay?

Tripod tilts right just enough that RAWLINS is cut out. LUNA peeks from around the back of the tree, grinning as she catches DAMLA whispering in the opposite direction (left).

LUNA

Hey. Who are you talking to?

Title card: “Who are you talking to?”

DAMLA (startled)

Wha - what?

Tripod tilts back revealing that RAWLINS is no longer there.

LUNA

Hi. Sorry about that - I didn’t mean to scare you or anything. You’re...Damla, aren’t you? (She smiles and holds out her hand.) I’m Luna.

Title card: “Hi. Sorry about that - I didn’t mean to scare you or anything. You’re...Damla, aren’t you? I’m Luna.”

DAMLA (avoiding eye-contact)

Um - I, uh, need to go - sorry.

DAMLA rushes off screen (to the left), and LUNA tries reaching out in an attempt to comfort her. It is too late, and DAMLA is gone, so LUNA dejectedly turns to go in the opposite direction (the right of screen).

Camera lingers.

EXT. FENCE-FIELD - UNDER TREE - DAY

LS: DAMLA is sitting in the same spot under the tree again. She is trying to read, but cannot focus. Eventually, she ends up setting her book aside.

EXT. FENCE-FIELD - OTHER SIDE OF TREE - SAME TIME

LS: We see the other side of the tree, with LUNA struggling on her homework. She lets out a noise of frustration and rests her head in her hands.

INTERCUT - DAMLA/LUNA UNDER TREE

We see DAMLA sitting again. She flinches, bringing her hands close together. Slowly, DAMLA gets up to look around the tree.

We see LUNA sitting again, but this time with DAMLA crouched and peeking from behind the other side of the tree. DAMLA inches closer to LUNA, studying the worksheet she was working on.

CU of DAMLA’s expression. It changes from hesitation to determination.

We see LUNA sitting again from its previous position. DAMLA comes up from behind and taps LUNA’s shoulder lightly. LUNA jumps, facing DAMLA and blinking twice before speaking.

M: We see LUNA and DAMLA as they converse.

LUNA (smiling)

Oh! It’s you!

DAMLA

(She gingerly points to the worksheet.) Um...are you having trouble with that?

LUNA (embarrassed)

I sure am...

DAMLA

My class is doing the same worksheet; I...might be able to help.

LUNA

Really? That would be great. Thank you so much!

DAMLA gestures behind her, and LUNA nods twice, so DAMLA quickly goes to get her things and comes back. The two girls start discussing the worksheet.

Although camera angle and shot remains, to show the passage of time, we see them dressed in different clothes and doing different activities each time it cuts.

One of them discussing over other papers, eating lunch together, high-fiving cheerfully, lying on their backs and scrolling on their phones sluggishly, and - finally - playing and spraying water at each other with water guns.

Still with camera at the same place, we see the two girls laughing as DAMLA continues to spray LUNA as she chases LUNA away from camera.

CU of DAMLA’s shoes as she is running. Then, she stops as she nears the edge of the shade.

The camera rises up, past her clothes, until we see her face. With the CU of DAMLA’s face, RAWLINS’s face can be seen behind her.

LA: MLS: DAMLA turns around and we see her and RAWLINS facing each other in the shade.

RAWLINS

It’s been a while.

Title card: “It’s been a while.”

We see Damla pull her hands behind her and anxiously turn her foot on its toes.

DAMLA (grin diminishing)

It has! School is not such a bore anymore...

RAWLINS

I’m glad for you.

DAMLA’s grin broadens.

Suddenly DAMLA whips her head around in response to LUNA’s calling off screen.

DAMLA (shouting)

Um, one second!

RAWLINS (smiling sadly)

Oh, I wouldn’t want to keep you. (He gestures in the direction of LUNA.) Go ahead and have fun!

DAMLA (smiling hopefully)

Thank you. Um...see you later?

Title card: “See you later?”

RAWLINS’s smile lingers, but he gives a light nod.

CU of DAMLA’s shoes as she tentatively turns around.

EXT. FENCE-FIELD - FIELD - DAY

XLS: EL: DAMLA rushes off into the sunbeams (beyond the screen to the left), laughing as she’s calling out to LUNA.

RAWLINS is nowhere to be seen.

Camera lingers on the empty scene.

FADE TO BLACK


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