Backbrain by Barry Staff | Script Revolution


Convinced it's his elusive lover's 'sonic' vengeance causing his beloved London's keynote buildings to vanish, a spaced-out musician turns PI to trace her, thereby having to decide where his true interests lie.



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After intuiting serial betrayals against her and her band, hypersensitive singer-songwriter and seminal force GRACE is incandescent with rage and seems literally to disappear 'into' London. The band's drummer, BEAT, is gutted, secretly carrying a torch for Grace. After failing to find her in any usual haunts, he sees that he must draw on telepathic ways to determine her whereabouts.

His senses working overtime, on drink, drugs and lack of sleep, Beat trawls one of Grace's earrings across a map of the city, hoping it'll indicate 'psychogeographic' coordinates as to her whereabouts. At that very moment TV news reports that St Paul's Cathedral has totally disappeared from its site - with no fatalities incurred, just a glowing white plane where it used to stand. We see Grace in an 11th dimensional space, with a miniaturised St Paul's on her palm. Yet more strung-out, Beat watches coverage of cool London flipping, and the authorities and financial markets in panic. As he continues searching the map for more determinants on Grace's location, more of the capital's iconic buildings disappear.

The addled Beat concludes that it's Grace's doing, that she's summoned the psychic power to take literally music's power to 'move', and is thereby holding the capital and its capital under her sway. Keeping shtum, knowing that no one would believe his absurd idea, and with his treasured home town near total breakdown, Beat enters a metaphysical dimension of the city, finding Grace arranging the miniaturised disappeared buildings into a 'perfect city'. She urges him to stay, work with her on the restructuring. But his love of her irreconcilable with her decimation of his beloved city, he manhandles her back into the real world.

All disappeared buildings re-materialise on their sites. Beat wanders a London functioning again as usual. He sees Angel's bid for 'the money' turning sour. He finds the banged-up Ray rambling that if man were better he'd have no need for music. Severing all ties, Beat breaks into Eve's Thames-side cruiser and heads it for France. On her bed, Grace invokes the mercurial sound that heralded St. Paul's disappearance. Beat thereby finds a miniaturised Eiffel Tower hidden aboard. The Tower in his fist, he turns back.

All Accolades & Coverage: 

Breaking Walls Thriller Screenplay Contest
AWARD WINNER ('Best Unproduced Script')
L.A. Neo Noir Novel, Film, & Script Online Festival

"Too good to languish in a bottom drawer."
David Hughes, script analyst , groovyfokker

Backbrain pitch
Submitted: April 12, 2022
Last Updated: September 15, 2022

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Barry Staff's picture

The Writer: Barry Staff

Barry was born and raised in the UK. His career has been oddball - periods of education (ending on a postgraduate Diploma in Film Studies) intercut with ‘McJobs’ (roof-rack assembler, computer helpdesk, beer bottler, reject furniture salesman, draughtsman, goods inward operative, briefly a bouncer. . .), all the while writing on the side. With the writing paramount these days, he has a portfolio of spec feature and short screenplays, four of the latter having been filmed. Apart from competition successes, he's - SO FAR - had a purchase offer on one feature screenplay, an option on another and a shopping agreement on a third. Go to bio

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