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Monday, August 6, 2007

For Your Consideration: The Top 3 Whiskey Tango Foxtrotters

Well Rouge Wavers, it's the day we've all been waiting for. The top 3 finalists in the Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot Competition. The Wave-inatrix received over two dozen submissions so the judging was tough. I want to thank everybody who participated! Now pay careful attention because here's how we're going to vote: See over to your right? On the sidebar? Click there for the title of the half-page scene you most enjoyed and which most embodied the creative joie d' vivre that the Wave-inatrix holds so very dear. And so, without further adieu, read on, dear Wavers:


Bernadette Rivero

A commercial film crew preps for a shoot inside a three-story tall CAN OF SOUP. Nearby, a heavy-set CLIENT paces nervously.

Not-so-gently fading actress BLANCHE DESMOND - 60’s, whiskeyvoiced - perches on a diving board high above a pool of tomato bisque. Blanche brushes off nervous makeup assistant HONEY as the girl gamely tries to layer pancake makeup onto her weathered face.

Get that spackle off of me. I
couldn’t care less how I look on
camera -- just like I couldn’t give
a shit about this soup if I
squeezed all night.

Honey GASPS, takes a step back and trips off of the diving board. One leg inadvertently HOOKS BLANCHE’S FOOT, pulling the old woman into the opaque bisque with her. A messy liquid tango results as the two women claw at each other. The crew is too stunned to move. Eventually, two bodies float to the surface of the soup -- both of them face-down.

Foxtrot, did you get that on film?

FOXTROT, the director, shakes his head “no.”

The client mops his forehead, breathing a SIGH OF RELIEF.


Jenny Thomas

Yellowed newspaper clippings cover every wall, touting the career of JUNIPER LEWIS. From child star to superstar.

A foxtrot crackles from a record player.

Juniper (70s) sprawls in bed. An oxygen mask secured against her mouth. She takes labored breaths. She pulls the mask aside, applies a deep red lipstick over her thin lips.

The song switches to a tango. A YOUNG MAID wanders in with a cup of tea. She draws open the curtains. Flips on the television.

Juniper reaches under her pillow, pulls out a small whiskey bottle, adds a dash to her tea.

Black and white footage. YOUNG JUNIPER (10) sits at a table with a bowl of soup.

Have you had your soup today?
Campbell’s of course!

Young Juniper backtracks. Skips into frame. Sits at a table. Slurps her soup. Over and over and over again.


The Moviequill

Glossy 8X10s taped to a makeup mirror: publicity stills, vintage black and white movie scenes. The happy and vivacious STARLET in the photos looks to be in her 20s.

A wrinkled face stares back from the makeup mirror. SANDI CARUTHERS, 70, the same actress from the photos now in her waning years. No smile. The twinkle in her eyes long gone. Sandi takes a healthy sip from a whiskey glass, puts it down and picks up a makeup pad. She applies white powder to her face, totally whitening it out.

Vintage latin jazz MUSIC suddenly drifts in from another room. Sandi smiles as she finishes a layer of makeup. She stands and turns away from the mirror.

Sandi is dressed in an oversized fat suit made to look like the letter W. She begins a tango to the beat of the music.

A KNOCK on the door and a PAGE enters carrying a clipboard.

Ten minutes, Sandi.

It’s Miss Caruthers, sonny.

Sorry. Is that a foxtrot? I think
I saw my Grandma do that at the
home once.

Sandi stops and glares at the Page. Wobbles.

You wouldn’t know a foxtrot if it
bit you on your diaper rash...
(begins to foxtrot)
This is a foxtrot!

The Page rolls his eyes, shuffles his feet.

I thought we were going to go over
your lines?

I’m an Alphabettio in a goddamn can
of soup. I don’t have lines.

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Scott Millar said...

I voted for Juniper. My choice is bolstered by the hinted at backstory and the image drawn by Jenny. This is the style I was going for in my own entry. It's a style of writing I prefer. While Souper Trooper and Alphabettios are fine samples, I felt they were more akin to something you might see on SNL or MadTV, you know what I mean? There's nothing wrong with that, of course, as the exercise was simply to write a scene with required elements. I also liked the open ending of Juniper rather than the apparent closed, finished, that's-all-there-is endings of the other two. I really wanted to know more about the life of Juniper Lewis.

I must qualify my review by saying that I am new to screenwriting (creative writing of any kind for that matter). I have not written anything except for this scene. But I felt the need to comment and offer my two cents whether worthy or not. So, although I thought I had a winner this exercise and my subsequent review of the top three has only reinforced the notion that it is all subjective. Perhaps that's more valuable to me right now than being selected.

Thank you Julie and congratulations to the chosen.

Kevan said...

ALPHABETTIOS by The Moviequill, and I'll tell you why..

SUPER TROUPER by Bernadette Rivero is heavy on the use of language, too complex and overly descriptive, relies on prose me thinks. Moreover the use of "tomato bisque" and "opaque bisque" are words that do not juxtaposition well, indeed they clash when read and spoil the flow of the read. "Action verbs", read about them, use them...

By Jenny Thomas is actually a cute story with good use of action descriptions employing good active verbs however the ending seemed a little week to me, no punch. Maybe have the aged actress die as she slurps on a bowl of soup watching her younger nemesis on TV would have lifted this to top spot.

by The Moviequill displays a good comprehension of the screenwriting craft with good descriptions, good use of action verbs within his visual imagery. He also has a handle on good dialogue which contains through lines which relate the requirements of the exercise within the story and characters. The joke not having any lines for an alphabet soup commercial is a gem and a funny punchline for the denouement. Excellent! That's why I voted for Moviequill's... Its called telling a story with style...

Kevan R. Craft

Anonymous said...

What a horse race! The
Wave-inatrix needs to do this more often, just for fun.

Patrick J. Rodio said...

I like #3 by far. 1 & 2 are decent, but I really thought #3 stood out.

Les Becker said...

I agree with #3 - but I'm definitely a Moviequill fan, anyway.