Swank's! by Ed Bookman | Script Revolution




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After accepting a challenge from his counselor, the sex addicted owner of an adult theater must forgive his mother and find love while battling a self-righteous cop and a pair of vicious criminals.

Denver, 1997: A bodega is robbed at gunpoint by two men in ski masks, leaving a young clerk dead on the floor.

That same night, Gavin Murphy (28) listens to Larry, his sex addict counselor, address the group. After Larry challenges Gavin to share his feelings to no avail, he issues a challenge: Meet a person of substance. Gavin scoffs, but takes him up on his offer. After waking up with one of the female sex addicts the next morning, he commutes to his place of business- Swank's.

A rundown 35 millimeter adult theater, Swank's is a throwback to a time when porn wasn't a mere mouse-click away. Gavin's head projectionist, Rufus, is a swinging middle aged black man who quotes philosophy and chases prostitutes. He and Gavin chat before opening the theater for business.

Gavin decides the best way to meet a person of substance is via the personals. After finding an ad in the paper from a woman who desires to meet a "Realist," he leaves her a clumsy voice message.

Later, Gavin and Rufus sit in the booth of a saloon. Gavin laments his inability to find love and mentions his desire to connect with the mother he's never met. Rufus, having worked at the theater since Gavin's father opened it thirty years prior, tells Gavin what little he knows about the woman- She lived in San Diego and was unfit to be a mother.

The next morning, Gavin stops at a convenience store near Swank's. There's an ambulance in the parking lot. Gail, a cute clerk who works there, informs Gavin the store was robbed by two men wearing masks and they killed the overnight clerk. Despite her grief, she propositions Gavin.

Winslow, a self-righteous cop with a disdain for sleaze, arrives at Swank's a short time later with four officers. He tells Gavin they're going to have a look around. Gavin insults them while surreptitiously pushing a button located under the front counter. This button activates a red warning light in the theater. His banter with the cops gives his patrons time to zip up before the police enter.

The cops catch a random pervert, Dave, with his pants down. Winslow stays behind as the officers escort him out of the theater. Alone in the auditorium, Winslow walks to the projection booth and informs Rufus that he's working on a plan that will shut down Swank's for good. While being led out of the lobby in handcuffs, Dave issues a generic threat to Gavin. Winslow later issues a ticket to Gavin for running a brothel.

Gavin attends another meeting and tells Larry about his upcoming date with the woman from the personal pages. Larry is skeptical which prompts Gavin to inform the group that he's a changed man. He wakes up the next morning with Gail, the convenience store clerk at his side.

After arriving at work, Gavin catches Rufus in the booth with a prostitute, Yolanda. Gavin chases her off and admonishes Rufus for bringing a hooker to Swank's while the cops are sniffing around.

Gavin goes to a fancy restaurant to meet his blind date, Stacey. She turns out to be incredibly attractive and they hit it off immediately. He offers to take her to Swank's after it closes for the night. Once there, they meet Mike (the night clerk) and British (the limey projectionist). The men leave and Gavin takes Stacey upstairs to show her the projectors. He also shows her the sawed-off shotgun Rufus keeps around for protection.

Stacey asks Gavin if they can watch a movie "Out there... In the theater." He obliges and things quickly become heated. Before they give in to their desires, Gavin puts a stop to it. Having never been shunned by a man before, Stacey is baffled. He explains his situation with sex addiction. A later montage explores Gavin and Stacey's plutonic relationship.

Gavin receives a phone call from a woman claiming to be his mother. Her name is Linda and she plans on coming to Denver soon. He decides to give her a chance and invites her to stay at his place. Once she's settled in, he takes a trip to see Mort, his lawyer, about the brothel ticket. Later that night, Gavin, Stacey, Rufus and Linda go out to dinner where embarrassing photos are passed around. After returning home, Linda tells Gavin she's a former porn actress.

The next day, Gavin has Rufus gather all the films with Linda in them. Winslow arrives a short time later with a cease and desist order from the courts. Figuring life as he knows it is over, Gavin immediately goes out and buys a wedding ring before proposing to Stacey. At the same time, Linda takes a cab to the theater to speak to Rufus. She tells him she's dying and only reached out to Gavin for selfish reasons.

Two weeks go by and Gavin has been unable to reach Linda. Rufus sees Gavin's pain and tells him her secret. Gavin immediately gets drunk and beds a bar hussy. Stacey catches them together and leaves him. Now alone, Gavin attends one last meeting. He tells the group that love is overrated.

He returns to the theater and burns Linda's films in the alley. He later finds Mike overdosed in a bathroom and calls 911. Winslow pops in at closing time. He boasts that having an overdosed junkie taken out of the theater isn't going to help Gavin's upcoming court case. Before Gavin can run him off, the ski mask killers burst into the lobby. One of them recognizes Winslow. He removes his mask and reveals his identity: It's Dave, the pervert who got arrested earlier.

Gavin pushes the button for the red warning lamp repeatedly. Rufus notices the flashing light and creeps downstairs with the sawed-off shotgun. Just as Dave is about to execute Winslow, Rufus leaps into the room and fires, killing the second robber. Dave shoots and gravely wounds Rufus. Winslow kills Dave with his concealed service revolver a moment later.

Stacey arrives at the hospital and forgives Gavin. Rufus has survived the shooting, but just barely.

One year later, Gavin and Stacey hand their baby to a sitter before leaving. They arrive at Swank's and are stunned by its transformation. The rundown building has been remodeled and sterilized. In the projection booth, Gavin reveals that he's glad to have sold it to Rufus, but he still misses the old place. Rufus tells him an old tale about being satisfied with what you have and the three of them return to the party.

All Accolades & Coverage: 

Recently sold!

Recent review from a random festival judge at the one of the biggest screenwriting competitions out there:

"This story above all, had a lot of heart and amazing character development. The main location seems to be a character in itself, even transitioning and changing towards the end. The creative was well executed and carefully thought out.

Something intriguing about the lineage of the script was how we start off with a horrible robbery, and it doesn't seem to connect to the rest of the story... and eventually, it's sort of forgotten about; until the very end where we come full circle in a fantastic way. It all ties together and allows the reader to put pieces of the puzzle together which is extremely satisfying.

The dialogue was another strong component - each character had a very unique voice which is something that can be hard to do. Their physicality and quirks were easily recognized and imagined without any type of detailed description, simply because each of them were fully realized.

Locations stood out a lot, and as mentioned above the main location was a character in itself but the others began to feel like home as well because they kept coming back. We had only a few major locations and this allowed for the world to feel close, as if we were living there ourselves.

The relationship between Stacey and Gavin was great. It was a raw and true love that bled off the page through their conversation and the way they were described together. It just made sense and allows the reader to really root for a happy ending.

Our protagonist, Gavin, who has a slew of issues is someone who grows right before our eyes and someone that any given person could connect with in some way. He was authentic, original and impossibly funny at times.

Well done."

Submitted: November 26, 2018
Last Updated: September 10, 2019

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Ed Bookman's picture

The Writer: Ed Bookman

I probably could have been successful in any number of careers. I had a knack for engineering as a kid and was pretty good at math too, but as often happens, my life took a different path. I decided to focus on narcotics right after high school. While drug addiction didn't pay well, it did leave me with a plethora of stories and an abundance of lessons learned from life on the bottom. Those memories helped shape my writing and sharpen my wit. Once I figured out there was no future in my chosen field, I began to yearn for something more. All that was needed was a little motivation and a way out. My personal inciting incident couldn't have come a better time. After bouncing around the porn... Go to bio

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