Soundbite by Barry Staff | Script Revolution

Soundbite

Terrified of dying, a rebellious teen diagnosed as terminally ill feels he can live on as a vampire, but needs to confront the unexpected consequences.

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Page Count: 
85pp

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Synopsis/Details: 

16-year-old JASON EDGE is at loggerheads with his soon-to-be-divorced mother MILANI. He manifests teenagedom's love of the feral and nocturnal - to ward off the moribund adulthood he sees looming. Not realising the significance it will soon hold, he causes laughter as set text Dracula is introduced in class. He creates new life for himself in his attic 'lair', by fusing recordings of local sounds into brilliant mash-up compositions. But shrugged-off signs of ill health turn out to be terminal inoperable cancer, leaving him only months to live.

Estranged father returns to the household and Jason undertakes remedial treatment. But it all proves to be a ruse to make him feel better for awhile. He susses Dracula as the epitome of living death ad infinitum, and goes on to dress all in black, shave off remaining hair after chemo, wear shades, suck on self-inflicted fissures and wander the night, alone now. Milani's recent wane and wasted look has him seeing her as a kindred spirit. As a placebo-like prolonging of her son's life just that little bit longer, she lets him revive from her self-inflicted wounds. It seems to work. The re-found interdependence gives both their lives newborn meaning. But she instills in him that his transfiguration shows vampires are as reliant as anyone else on others to sustain themselves. It imbues a sense of social responsibility in him.

To live on through others, in his final weeks Jason uses his sound-engineering skills in a hoax to bring together two warring, down-at-heel neighbours (soundbites of whom he'd previously used for his music). While it backfires, the fallout brings policeman RAY, previously on Jason's case, calling again. Together, Ray and Milani unearth the ruse. Jason is pleased to see their accord. In his lair, he expires in sunlight. The formerly standoffish Milani invites the two tentatively reconciled neighbours to join her in scattering her son's ashes. Jason will indeed live on - through the new affiliations he's forged.

All Accolades & Coverage: 

OFFICIAL SELECTION ('BEST UNPRODUCED SCRIPT')
Berlin International Art Film Festival
LA Independent Film Channel Festival
New York Independent Cinema Awards
LA Sun Film Festival
Miami Indie Film Awards
Cannes International Cinema Festival
Toronto Film and Script Awards

WINNER ('BEST CONCEPT')
Paperscreenplay Competition

"Loads going for it." Henry Adeane, former NPA exec
"Cool all the way." Cynosure Screenplay Competition
"A real must-read script." Kevin Smith, scriptshop

Submitted: May 2, 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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