One Eight Hundred by David Pauwels | Script Revolution

One Eight Hundred

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Page Count: 
6pp

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Logline: 
A desperate man comes across one too many misunderstandings when he phones a series of crisis hotlines in search of a fix for his problems.
Synopsis/Details: 

Drunk and on the run, a desperate CALLER approaches a phone booth in an alleyway at night.
Reading a sticker in the booth advertising helplines for alcohol, gambling, and mental health, he phones each one but can't get the advice he's looking for.
In the end, a final call to a suicide hotline solves all his problems at once.

This short also serves as the opening sequence for a feature of mine.

All Accolades & Coverage: 

Scipt was previously optioned but all rights are now reverted back to the author.

This Script Has Been Reviewed By Shootin' The Shorts

One Eight Hundred
A desperate man comes across one too many misunderstandings when he phones a series of hotlines in search of a fix for his problems.

A drunken mess of a man stumbles down a foreboding dark alley towards a lone phone booth. He fails his first mission in not being able to put his loose change into the machine, but then regards the graffiti and stickers that cover the walls of his new surrounds, and finds a series of numbers to helplines that may or may not give the answer to whatever question it is he seeks.

The choice of helplines include those for drugs and alcohol, gambling and mental health, and our protagonist, the Caller, decides to call each of them for a quick chat.

The Caller picks up the phone and DIALS the first number. He hears the PHONE RINGING in the earpiece. A VOLUNTEER answers.

VOLUNTEER #1
Drug and alcohol hotline.

CALLER
Yeah, hello? I got an alcohol problem.

VOLUNTEER #1
Want to tell me about it?

CALLER
All the liquor stores are closed.

VOLUNTEER #1
It’s late. Are you alright, Sir?

CALLER
Yeah, I’m okay. So how does this work?
Can I pay you guys by credit card?

VOLUNTEER #1
There’s no charge for this service, Sir.

CALLER
You mean it’s free?

VOLUNTEER #1
Yes.

CALLER
Wow. Send me whatever you got, then.

VOLUNTEER #1
Pardon?

CALLER
Anything. Surprise me. I’m at the corner of, uh...
(looks around)
Broad Street and Wellington.

VOLUNTEER #1
This is a telephone help line, Sir.

CALLER
The telephone works fine.
That’s not what I need help with.

VOLUNTEER #1
You need help with your drinking...

CALLER
Yeah. How soon can you bring it?

VOLUNTEER #1
Sir, this isn’t a delivery service.
This is a hotline for people with alcohol problems.

CALLER
Yeah? Well right now, being out of booze after hours is my problem.

The Caller’s misunderstood pestering of each individual helpline is vexing for their volunteers, but in an unforeseen twist, our tragic central character may have met his match on the other end of the telephone, when he pesters the one volunteer group he really shouldn’t have.

From the imagination of author David Pauwels, One Eight Hundred is a wonderful little dark comedy that keeps the reader engaged, and is guaranteed to garner some laughs. With a simple setting and premise, it is also ideal for a film maker who is looking for a short that entertains.

Review by Cam Gray
Submitted: July 5, 2019
Last Updated: July 7, 2019

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This Script Is Loved By

Loraine McBarron's picture
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The Writer: David Pauwels

Dave has written and optioned a number of shorts and features, as well as a novel, Who Iced The Snowman? , published by Cozy Cat Press in 2016. His main genre is comedy, but he also leans towards sci-fi and paranoid/conspiratorial thrillers. He performs standup, plays bass, and cycles 300 km per week. Go to bio

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