Sunday Morning

Scene:  Sunday Morning.  Interior, Manhattan apartment. Bedroom.

A.  ESSIE, 24,  head, from behind in bed, sleeping,  covered by sheet, close up, large box of generic condoms in foreground out of focus  to right. The words “Latex Condoms” are clearly visible, out of focus, on the box. Elastic strap of face mask visible on the back of Essie’s head.

CARL, 55, voice:  “Essie! Sleeping beauty!  Time to get up!”

Dissolve to same scene and camera position

B.  Essie sleeping on back, head seen in profile wearing black mask over eyes.

Carl:  “Come on, Essie,  her mother’s going to drop her off in fifteen minutes.”

Dissolve to same scene and camera position

C.  Essie sleeping.  Now we see her face, masked, partly hidden by the out of focus box of condoms. The hand of Carl picks up the box of condoms. Now we see all of Essie’s masked face and her thick, black hair.

Carl:  “You’ve got to leave, now.”

Essie, removing her mask.  “Ok. Ok.”

We see Carl from behind, in shorts. No top. His trim figure, slightly sagging in buttocks and upper arms; the prominent wrinkles around the back of his neck and elbows.

Cut to

D.  From inside the top of the bedroom closet.  In the background Essie is hurriedly getting dressed.  In the foreground, the hand and arm of Carl, hiding the box of condoms on the top shelf of the closet. [1]   

E.  Close up of hands and arms of Carl making the bed.  The lower part of Essie is visible as she moves around getting dressed.  Carl turns over the pillows, and when he finds a long, black hair, carefully picks it up with his right hand and moves it between thumb and forefinger of his left hand, holding the hairs there while he continues to search and straighten the bed, using his right, and the remaining fingers of his left, hands.

Essie: “Can I see you on Saturday?”

Carl (exasperated):  “No, I can’t. That day’s for Sis.  But we have a date for Thursday – remember.  She’s going to the movies. Are you ready?”

Essie: “I just have to go to the bathroom.”


Copyright ©, 2018, William J. Spurlin.  All rights reserved.

Sitting on the Toilet

Scene:  Sitting on the Toilet.  Interior. Manhattan apartment, bathroom.

From above. Very slow zoom or (preferably) travel  in.

Essie is writing on a small piece of paper as she sits.  Some of the writing is visible: “…I just wanted you to know that I’m not a whore, that I’m your Dad’s girlfriend…”

She pulls a box of Kleenex from the shelf, lifts up some Kleenexes, inserts the note, and puts the box back.


Copyright ©, 2018, William J. Spurlin.  All rights reserved.


Scene: Goodbyes.  Manhattan apartment. Living room.

Colors are muted, a few pastels but mostly gray and off-white.  Essie is wearing a black raincoat. Her very dark hair hangs about her pale, made-up face.  All these colors are chosen to contrast with the vivid red lipstick Essie puts on.

A. Essie stands by the coffee table.  She is ready to go, in raincoat. She is applying lipstick, looking at herself in a small mirror.   She finishes, looks left and right, lifts a magazine (with black-and-white cover) from the coffee table and hides the lipstick under it.

Carl enters.  As he is significantly taller than Essie we do not see his head.  He opens the front door for her. There are hurried goodbyes. As they talk they draw closer and touch.  There is a quick caress, and a promise to meet on Thursday when Sis is at the movies. Essie leaves.

Cut to

B. Close up of coffee table.  Carl’s hand and arm turns over each object until he finds the lipstick, and pockets it.


Copyright ©, 2018, William J. Spurlin.  All rights reserved.


Scene: Surveillance. Manhattan apartment building, from across the street.

A.  Essie emerges and crosses the street.  She conceals herself behind a pole, mailbox or other object.  She plays with her phone.

Dissolve to same scene and camera position

B.  A taxi or uber pulls up across the street.  The door opens.

Cut to telephoto, same camera position

C.  SIS, 14, blonde, athletic gets out of the taxi and unhurriedly retrieves her key as she enters her home.

Cut to closeup

Essie, in shadows, talking to Siri:  “Edit Note Letter to Sis. (pause) 10:52, Sunday period.  Twenty minutes late period. Did you see me, Sis question mark?” [2]


Copyright ©, 2018, William J. Spurlin.  All rights reserved.

I’m Watching You

Scene: I’m Watching You, Manhattan locations. Montage, interspersed with Sis’s Instagram posts.

Telephoto, a little shaky and grainy

A. Sis and two other girls, in pleated skirt uniforms, are coming out of the front of a school, holding books to their chests and talking inaudibly.  Street noise and:

Essie (Narration):  “I saw you and your friends.   I don’t think you saw me… I had friends, but I was never the prettiest, like you…you look older than your age … older than me.” [3]

So who am I, anyway, Sis?  Let’s just call me … “Kicked-out Chinese-American Slut of the Upper East Side”.  Sounds like a horror movie, huh,Sis? Well it is. A fucking horror.

I am a professional slut, you know,  My profession is real estate – commercial real estate.  Acquisitions, management. I make more money than your dad.  A lot more, actually, not that he knows that. It offends him when I pay for something.  So I just let him pay.”

Instagrams of Sis and her friends.

B.  Sis by herself, still in uniform holding books, further away down the street, harder to see.  She stops and talks inaudibly to a YOUNG MAN, 19 standing, leaning on a car.  They touch each other.

Essie (Narration):  “Who is that boy? Does your dad know about him?  Do you know about me? I know you are not supposed to know about me or be like me, but you are a good student, like me…and you like men, like me. 

That kid is cute.  I would know what to do with him.  Want some tips? Not that you need any.  I don’t see your friends chasing boys – I guess you are more like me than like them.”

Cut to closeup

C.  Sis and the Young Man.  Sis raises her forefinger and taps the boy in the chest as she speaks:  “Thursday, 6:30, my house. Don’t be late.”

Instagrams of Sis and the boy.

D.  Sis on the street, shopping, in jeans, with her MOTHER, 48, frayed but stylishly dressed in post-hippie long skirt.

Essie (Narration): “Your dad tells me your mom is crazy.  And my lawyer says that she probably is crazy, because your dad got custody.  But my lawyer also says that your mother will say that your dad is crazy. So who’s crazy, Sis?  Am I crazy to be doing this?  I am right down the street, Sis. You can see me.

I kind of like your mom, although she is pretty psycho.  The last time she freaked out on your dad, in court, remember, when she went to the hospital? I was hoping so much she would kill herself.

My lawyer told me to stay away from you and her.

E.  Sis and her Mother sitting outside at a table for tea.  They have just had their nails done. They extend their fingers, admiring the manicure. Tea is served.

A YOUNG COUPLE, American man and Asian woman, are seated at a nearby table.

Cut to medium close of Sis and Mother

Sis:  “Why do these good looking guys guys always go with Chinese girls?”

Mom:  “They want subservience.  The woman walks two steps behind and doesn’t ask questions.”

Sis:  “Did Dad dump you for a Chinese girl?”

Mom (stubbing out cigarette):  “Or maybe she wants his money – none of your business – besides, I dumped him, remember?”

The waiter brings the Young Couple the check.  The Young Couple glance at each other and the woman takes out her credit card to pay.

Mother begins compulsively biting her fingers, ruining the manicure.

Sis:  “Mom, did you take your meds this morning?”

Cut to Essie surveilling Mother and Sis, telephoto, a little shaky and grainy

Essie (Narration).  “I saw that, Sis. She ruins everything, doesn’t she?. Can you see me, Sis?  I’m right here, so close. I could just walk up and sit right down with you guys.”  

Instagrams of Sis and her mother.

Closeup, face of

F.   Essie dictating to Siri.

Essie:  “ When am I going to met you, Sis question mark?  Your dad says that if your mom finds out about me she will take him back to Family Court… I am never going to meet you, Sis.  Never. Maybe in eight years, when you are out of college.  And I am out of jail for having stabbed somebody – you, or him, or your mom.”

Cut to Essie, walking, still dictating, from behind

G.  Essie (Narration):. “And I get that, I really do; I talked to my lawyer about it.  Do you know that your dad was in court with your mom for five years? Do you remember your dad’s last girlfriend?  Xiaohong? She was Asian, too. Your dad spent three days in court explaining why he should have a girlfriend. Then he got rid of her…for your benefit, Sis…for the good of the child.  I hope you have benefited, Sis. ”


Instagram (shopped) of Young Carl, Mother and baby Sis together.


H.  Sis and her same two friends, in jeans, passing a drug fiend BUM, 30, on the sidewalk, holding a cardboard sign.  The girls pass him then Sis stops, digs in her bag, gets money, turns back and hands it to the bum.
Essie (Narration):  “You are a really nice kid, Sis.  I would like to be your friend. Can I be your friend? Do you know who I am?  Did you find the things I left for you? Or any of my hair?…. I’m going to do it, Sis. I’m going to meet you soon.


Copyright ©, 2018, William J. Spurlin.  All rights reserved.

Ice Cream Parlor

Scene:  Ice Cream Parlor. Interior..

Sis is next in line to get ice cream.  As she waits, Essie, wearing dark glasses, gets in line behind her.

Essie:  “Hi, Sis.”

Sis (startled, turning around):  “Oh, hi – uh – who are you?”

Essie (pushing dark glasses up on her forehead):  “Don’t you recognize me?”

Sis: “Uh, no.”

Essie:  “I’m surprised – are you sure you don’t recognize me?”

Sis:  “Yeah, I’m sure.  Who are you, anyway?”

Essie: “My name is Esther.  I’m a friend of your mom’s. I thought you would remember me. “

Sis:  “No, I don’t remember you at all.”

Essie:  “Do you want to sit down and have ice cream?”

Young Man is outside the Ice Cream Parlor window, looking in.

Sis.  “No, I really gotta go.  Sorry. I’ll tell my mom I saw you, Esther.”


Copyright ©, 2018, William J. Spurlin.  All rights reserved.

Thursday Night

Scene: Thursday Night.  Same Manhattan apartment.

A. Bathroom.  Sis is applying makeup, perfume and doing her hair, pulling out Kleenex to touch up her makeup.

Sis:  “Dad, can I get money from your wallet?”

Carl (from another room):  “What do you mean? What do you want money for?”

Sis:  “Don’t you remember?  I told you. It’s Thursday.  Hildy and I are going to the movies. I got all my homework done.” [4]

Carl:  “OK, I guess, but just remember, be back at eleven o’clock.  And that doesn’t mean five minutes after eleven, it means eleven.  Are you going to Hildy’s first?”

Sis:  “No, I’m supposed to meet her downtown at the Panoramion.  Can I have money, please?”

Carl:  “All right, all right.”

Sis, pulling out Kleenex, finds the note.  There is a pause while she reads the note. She laughs, crumples and throws away the note and returns to touching up her makeup.

Cut to


B.  Bedroom.  From inside the top of the bedroom closet, as in Sunday Morning.

Sis is pulling twenty dollar bills from her father’s wallet.

Sis (loudly):  “I met this creepy woman when I was getting ice cream.  Or maybe she was a girl.”

Carl (from another room):  “What do you mean, creepy?”

Sis:  “I don’t know – she was just like, weird.  She said she knew my mom, and she wanted to talk to me, but I just left.”

Sissy approaches the closet and reaches up for the box of condoms.  She pulls out one condom, clutches it, hesitates, pulls out another one, and puts the box back.

Carl:  “Did she follow you?”

Sis:  “No, at least I don’t think so.”



Copyright ©, 2018, William J. Spurlin.  All rights reserved.

Waiting for my Man

Scene: Waiting for my Man: Manhattan apartment building, across the street.  Exactly as Surveillance.

Essie is behind the same pole or other object.  Sis emerges from the apartment building and gets into a waiting car driven by the Young Man, which pulls away.  Essie waits a moment and then crosses the street and enters the building.




[1] If this is too difficult to shoot from the top of the closet, the same thing from the other side of the room, Essie in the foreground, pulling on her clothes, Carl behind, hiding the box of condoms and searching for hairs.  However, there is scene using the same camera position at the end, where Sis gets a condom from the box, and it would be most effective both places from the viewpoint of the hidden box.

[2]  Since Essie is dictating using Siri this could be “Edit note Letter to Sis.  10:52, comma, Sunday period. Twenty minutes late period. Did you see me comma, Sis, question mark?”  The Siri-speak is used only when we see Essie closeup dictating to her phone. As the dictation transitions to narration the Siri-speak goes away.

[3] “Edit note letter to Sis. I saw you and your friends period.   I don’t think you saw me dot dot dot… I had friends comma, but I was never the prettiest comma, like you dot dot dot…”

[4] Carl and Sis are playing games here.  Carl remembers very well that Sis is going out.  He has already made a date with Essie. Sis is not going to the movies, but Carl doesn’t question her too closely because he just wants to get her out of the house.




Copyright ©, 2018, William J. Spurlin.  All rights reserved.

Dicey Wang Gets an Interview


DICEY WANG, 24, emerges and hurries into a nearby institutional building.

NARRATOR: “There are seven million stories in the big city, except there are really only two: get a significant other….”


Dicey is being shown to a cubicle by an HR REP.

Narrator: “… and get a job. It is 10:28 AM. Dicey Wang is two minutes early for her first appointment of the day.”

HR Rep (leaning over as Dicey sits in the cube): “Just follow the screen prompts. It’s self-explanatory. First you have to type 55 words a minute with 99% accuracy. Then if you pass that part you have multiple choice questions on 100 images of medieval art. If you get 95 right, you go to the language test. There are 15 European and ancient languages. If you have reading comprehension in three of those you pass, and you get an interview for Assistant Curator of Medieval Art.”

Dicey typing furiously in a cube, then clicking through pictures of medieval art.

Narrator: “Dicey enjoys typing. She loves medieval art. And she flies through the Spanish, French and Latin tests. She is done in fifteen minutes. In the back of her mind, she doesn’t want to be late for her next interview of the day. Although it is not until two o’clock it is all the way across town. “


HR Rep: “Well, you passed! Would you be able to see Dr. Ilyich-Svitych now?”

Dicey: (looking at her watch) “Sure.”


Dicey: “So, in conclusion I think my 3.9 grade point average and my extensive research as an NYU Art History major show that I could be really useful to you and the Medieval Art Deposit, I mean, Department.”


Dr. Ilyich-Svitych: “You know Miss Wang … I have to give you an interview because you passed the test, but … we have applicants with PhDs in Art History who know all fifteen of the European and ancient languages…”



Narrator: “Dicey is on her way to the next interview, the twelfth in the past two months. She is tense. She is reaching a point familiar to all of us: the point at which we cannot stand any more of this. Inside her, the knot of tension is growing: the sickening feeling that a whipped dog must feel when a hairball is coming up. And then into her consciousness bursts something her mother never experienced in her whole life; something new, rich and strange: rebelliousness!”



Ad: Auditions, Tuesday, 4-6 pm

Narrator: “It is Tuesday at 11:56 AM.”


Copyright © 2018 William J. Spurlin, all rights reserved.