ROOM SERVICE short

ROOM SERVICE


FADE IN:

INT. HOTEL - CORRIDOR - NIGHT

Elegant. Clean.

Coming from the elevator - shouting. The doors open. Losing his temper at a cute hispanic MAID,
a well groomed MAN in an impeccable suit storms out, heading straight toward his room.

Afraid, she follows with caution.

MAN
You calling me a liar? ARE YOU CALLING
ME A LIAR!?

Despite the accent, her voice is soft and sweet.

MAID
No. No. Please. The other guests...

He swipes his keycard at the door. It unlocks. And he holds it open for her to see...

MAN
Then what the hell is this?

INT. PENTHOUSE SUITE - CONTINUING

The room is spotless. Pristine. Except for a piece of open luggage, wrinkled clothes sprawled out
around it.

The Maid enters, surprised by the mess.

MAID
No. When I cleaned - this wasn’t like this.

MAN
When did you finish?

MAID
An hour ago.

MAN
Uh-huh...

He studies her. Is she lying?

MAN
And beside you and me, who else has a
key to the room?

MAID
Whatever other guests you’re with.

MAN
My daughter? You saying my daughter’s
a thief!?

Maid hesitates to answer. This angers him even more. He moves in on her. She backs away,
almost trembling.

MAN
Is that what you’re saying?

She doesn't know what to say.

MAN
Maybe in El Salvador you raise your kids
to become thieves. But in Estados Unidos
we’re a little more responsible.

MAID
No that’s not what I...please. I’m sorry.
I’m sure it’s just...

MAN
What? Just what?

MAID
I’m sorry. I don’t know what to say.

He calms down a bit. But moves in closer, looking directly in her eyes.

MAN
Did you take my watches?

She’s confused.

MAID
What?

He keeps on her. Face to face. Direct eye contact. Judging her. Examining her.

Then backs away.

MAN
I don’t care about the clothes. Okay? I
could care less. But the watches. The
three gold watches that I packed in here
as well. And we’re not talking about some
cheap Timex. They make cars that cost
less than these puppies.

MAID
I’m sorry. Honestly. I don’t know...

After a moment, he reaches for the phone.

MAN
Okay. Don’t move.

EXT. CITY STREET - LATER

16 year old HEATHER is on her cell.

HEATHER
...that’s OK. I understand....Alright...I’m
sure you’ll find ‘em...OK...Love you too.

INT. PENTHOUSE SUITE - SAME TIME

MAN
Alright...have fun at the show. Bye, baby.

He hangs up. Looks at the Maid.

MAN
So. I’ll ask you again. Who took my
watches? Cause my daughter sure as hell
didn’t.

CITY STREET - SAME TIME

With a few FRIENDS, Heather turns to a GUY in a hooded sweat shirt. She slips him a gold watch.
He slips her a baggy of pills.

PENTHOUSE SUITE - SAME TIME

Maid just shakes her head. Shrugs. Trying not to panic.

Man laughs. He’s not buying it.

MAN
It’s like this. I sell jewelry. To distributors.
Been doing this for years. And I’ve dealt
with theft before. Actually that’s not true.
My lawyer - has dealt with theft before.
And I come out on top every time.

He prepares to leave.

MAN
So excuse me. I need to speak with your
Manager.

She leaps up-

MAID
No no! Wait. Please.

Stops him.

MAN
What.

MAID
I’m not trying to blame your daughter. I
really mean no disrespect. But. I didn’t do
this. I cleaned your room and that was it.

He laughs. Gives her a funny look. Puts his hands on her shoulders.

MAN
What’s your name, sweetheart?

MAID
Viviana.

MAN
Okay Viviana. Let me tell you about my
one and only child. She’s sweet sixteen.
You understand?

VIVIANA
Yes.

MAN
You remember when you were sweet
sixteen?

VIVIANA
Yes.

MAN
Of course you do. You were young, sweet
and innocent. Right?

VIVIANA
Yes.

MAN
Yes. Right. Well guess what? That’s my
baby. Young. Sweet. And innocent.

Viviana is clearly uncomfortable with all this.

MAN
But you. You’re not sixteen anymore.
You’re older. And as we get older - we
lose that innocence. Don’t we?

VIVIANA
Look. Please...

MAN
No. You listen to me. I have an
exceptional relationship with my daughter.
We’re very close. She understands that
her happiness depends on the success of
my business. So why would she steal?

More shrugging from Viv.

MAN
You want me to make a big deal about this?
It’s your word against mine. You’re just a
maid. A servant. You think Mr. Hughes is
gonna believe you over an esteemed guest
who pumps good money into his hotel
chains?

She’s speechless.

MAN
I know Hughes. We go back. He won’t
be happy to learn that my stay here has
been less than comfortable. Less than
satisfying. Less than what his reputation
promises.

Silence for a moment. She is really stressed now. Completely intimidated. He allows her a
chance to respond.

VIVIANA
All I can tell you is I did not interfere with
your property. I just did my job. I cleaned
your room.

MAN
Uh-hu.

VIVIANA
I cannot afford to lose my job. I have an
eight-year-old son. It’s just me and him.

Her eyes beg him to understand. He doesn’t seem to give in.

Then she moves to the end of the room. Draws the curtains over the windows. Then moves to
the door.

MAN
Where you think you’re going?

She opens the door and peaks outside the

HALLWAY

Empty. Not a soul. She then returns inside the

SUITE

and selects DO NOT DISTURB.

MAN
What are you doing?

She says a little prayer in Spanish, crosses her heart, and kisses the cross around her neck.
After a moment, and a deep breath, she slowly moves closer to him.

And begins unbuttoning her uniform...

VIVIANA
Maybe...we can just...forget about all this.

MAN
Whoaa!

He laughs. Completely thrown off. From his reaction, she pauses for a moment. Almost second-
guessing herself. But then continues.

MAN
Hold on there girl.

He can’t stop smiling. She undoes the two top buttons, revealing sumptuous cleavage, snug in
a white bra.

MAN
Jesus...

VIVIANA
What?

He says nothing. Just shakes his head.

Reluctant and uncomfortable, she continues to unbutton. The stiff, bland uniform slowly gives
way to her soft, tender figure.

MAN
You think I’m gonna let you off the hook
this easily?

She stops. Collects her thoughts.

VIVIANA
Look. Without this job, I can’t feed my kid.
Can’t put clothes on his back. This is seven
hundred dollars a week. Medical with ten
dollar co-pay. I can’t get that anywhere else.
So...

There goes the last button. The uniform drapes like an open robe. Her body pushing through.

But she stops, again. As if unsure she can go through with it. She just stands before him.
Waiting for him to make the next move.

But he doesn’t do anything, yet. Just observes. How inviting. Curves in all the right places.
Perfect skin. Ready for the taking. But at the same time - Sad. Desperate. And pitiful....

She clenches her fists. Tense and nervous.

He can see it. And actually looks at her with genuine sensitivity. Takes a moment for the words
to come out...

MAN
You got a son, huh?

VIVIANA
Yes. Miguel.

She says his name softly - and it kills her. Her eyes water.

MAN
Where’s his dad?

She says nothing. Just shrugs and looks away. Either she doesn’t know. Or is just avoiding the
question.

MAN
Yeah. Heather’s mother left me. Spent
more time in court than at home. Lots a
fun. She got the Mercedes. I got Heather.
Tough job to do all alone.

For the first time, Viviana smiles. There’s a connection. Common ground. She nods in agreement.

MAN
I can handle it. But you. Seven hundred
a week for cleaning up after rich, spoiled
slobs...

She nods.

They keep eye contact for a moment. She doesn’t move. She can’t tell what it is he’s about to do.
He looks uncertain. But smiles at her.

Then he reaches for his wallet. Thumbs through. Peels away a few Hundred’s. Counts ‘em. Not
enough. Takes the rest. Counts again...

MAN
What do you know - fourteen hundred.
Double your paycheck. That’s a brand
new wardrobe and a feast for Miguel.
But as far as HMO's - you're on your
own.

She gives him a puzzled look.

VIVIANA
What...?

He smiles.

MAN
You heard me.

VIVIANA
Oh my god...

She covers her mouth in disbelief.

MAN
Don’t worry. The watches are insured.

Overwhelmed by his sudden turn of generosity, she can’t control the tears. She pulls her
uniform together, about to button it back up.

VIVIANA
I don’t know what to say.

But he reaches out, preventing her with one hand ...

MAN
Well if you’re offering me your body -
least I could do is pay for it.

...and offers the cash with the other.

VIVIANA
Wait a minute! What!?

This knocks the wind out of her.

MAN
Hey. Your idea.

VIVIANA
You can’t be serious?

He smiles like a little boy.

MAN
I don’t know. Am I...?


CUT TO BLACK

END
 
What would like to know?

Do you want my opinion? I liked it right up until the ending. That was a bit abrupt.

Some of the description lines were too inside the characters heads, like reading a novel. Just describe the action, let the audience decide what it means.

Poke
 
I think it's cool apart from the confusion that the room is perfectly neat but u say she cant understand the mess??
i guess it's abrupt coz u just want it to go on :) hehe
I think the description is ok and you can show a small amount of internal conflicts and thoughts, but most of that is kept seperate to the script - scripts are a visual medium so maybe u could show signs of how they feeling or thinking by what they are doing rather than thinking
 
P

peter caduta

Guest
I'm gonna be honest and say it didn't work for me... if that feels like a knife stabbing you in the heart I'm sorry. I could try and rationalise what's not working for me...thin characters, too many words... but that'd just be putting icing on the fact that for some energetic reason I just don't dig it.

Maid stripping for a room guest...well it's kinda derogatory to point that I kinda want to look away and wish it'd just stop...but also it's not really beyond the ordinary... dare I say it's a bit cliche'd. Maybe it should be the daughter, she thinks the maids stolen the watches and her dads gonna kill her... so, desperate to offer something, she strips for the maid (suspecting shes got lesbian tendencies), then dad walks in with executive of local jewelry store...ouch I dunno maybe this is a bit cheesy too but I'm just trying to say that why paint a picture that's been painted 100 times before when you've got the opportunity to paint something unique.

My suggestion here is more farcical and may well ruin what your intention is...perhaps your intention is to make the audience feel uncomfortable as you ram the master servant thing down our throats to the point of dis ease. She's already his maid, then through your story she's reliant upon him for her job, but maybe she's illegal too, and her child is ill, and maybe he doesn't take pity but is a sad git who enjoys the power of this situation and buys the child off her... :?

I guess I'd just wish you all the best and hope you can find whatever angle it is you're looking for on this one. Keep on writing :)
 
P

peter caduta

Guest
Hey Ano,

The thing I find particularly derogatory about the maid stripping, which wasn't in my mind when turning the tables on the situation, is that the maid is "a cute hispanic" who is painted as a desperate mute female character, out of control of her pathetic situation in life, and impoverishedly struggling to keep her 8 year old son fed through cleaning up other peoples crap. In this scene she grovels and begs, already practically his servant she is also emotionally subservient, and has essentially nothing to give to the story save a glimpse of her nekid body... if that isn't a demeaning 2 dimensional female character I don't know what is.

I thought of turning the tables and having him strip for her but thought that somewhat unimaginative and perhaps unrealistic. A 16 year old girl, however, is similarly powerless and yet this is not her life and she does not have an 8 year old kid to support so her descent to stripping, which needn't be shown in gratuitous male fantasy vision, is very much less uncomfortable IMO. It's also alot more stronger from a female perspective because you have one female stripping for another and, well written, this could actually play up the dynamism of the female characters rather than their pathetic pacivity. Of course that's a compleeetely different story from the one GreatWarEagle painted and I only threw it out there just to get the guy thinking. In my mind if you've got a point you want to make it's better to give an example....so I did.

p.s. I've not written with :evil: I've written with :wink:
 
W

Writeum Cowboy

Guest
Sorry, but I have a lot of problems with this script.

There is no real protagonist. The maid doesn't "arc" by the end of the script, unless you count that she is willing to have sex with a stranger because he might be trying to falsely accuse her. NO ONE in this script is likeable. The man is a jerk and has no proof that the maid stole anything from him and a fool about his own daughter; his daughter is a junkie who steals from her father, and the maid sells out her body in order to stay out of jail and or get fired for doing something she didn't do.

The ending is abrupt and leaves the audience with an empty feeling. I am sorry to critique so harshly, but if you make this into a short film, the audience will be lost, and they won't care about any of your characters.

I tried to find an alternative for parts of this script, including a new ending, but this script is a "start over" project.

Sorry to be so tough, but if you are going to put this out there for critique, be ready for bad news.

Try again.

WC
 
I appreciate everyone taking the time to read and post. I welcome the negative comments as much as the positive, constructive or not. This is what makes the internet so usefull - friends and family lie while strangers hold nothing back. Nothing's taken personally - this is a website - we're all pretty much anonymous. I don't know you. You don't know me.

Losing objectivity usually leads to lack of clarity. Which then leads to confusion. That's, for the most part, what I'm looking to see if I did. And apparantly Ano was confused about something:

I think it's cool apart from the confusion that the room is perfectly neat but u say she cant understand the mess??
from the script:
INT. PENTHOUSE SUITE - CONTINUING

The room is spotless. Pristine. Except for a piece of open luggage, wrinkled clothes sprawled out
around it.

The Maid enters, surprised by the mess.

MAID
No. When I cleaned - this wasn’t like this.
...the open luggage, wrinkled clothes sprawled out, being the mess.

Thanks again.
 
P

peter caduta

Guest
I think Ano is fishing for you to correct the script not explain it more. When that script lands on somebodies desk you don't want them to be confused about it or else it's likely to fly binwards... you can be sure that you wont be getting a call asking you to describe what you meant by something. The general rule is 'if in doubt....trash it'. That aint my rule, don't get me wrong, that's just how the industry works...so maybe a tighter slug like this would work better...

INT. PENTHOUSE SUITE - CONTINUING

The room is exceptionally tidy, except for an opened suitcase, contents spilt out. Viviana goes to tidy it, Brent grabs her arm.

Saying that she's "surprised" is not telling us what she's DOING. We want to know not what she feels but what action she's taking which suggests what she's feeling. The director and actor cannot film "suprise" (I mean what's she gonna do put her hand to her mouth and look at the camera with wide eyes?) but they can film her going to tidy it up in a suprised way.

BTW you should introduce your characters by name at the beginning, not MAN and MAID...and then you should refer to them by that name from then on. This should apply for almost all characters, apart from extras.
 
I'm willing to give the actor the benefit of the doubt to come up with their own way to act surprised.
Sure there are plenty of aspiring actor's who need the director and/or writer to hold their hand for them. But the competent ones, the ones who get cast, call back after call back, usually do so by surprising us.

ACTRESS
It just says "she's surprised." What
do you want me to do?

DIRECTOR
Surprise me.

While I do appreciate your re-write of the action, it doesn't work in the context of the scene. And in other cicumstances, I would be and sometimes am more specific in detailing the actions to get a certain point across.

But in this part of this scene, it's enough for me. I'm not sweatin it.

(Well you better if you expect an agent to blah blah blah...)
 
P

peter caduta

Guest
CHEF
Sir your order...it just says 'food'

GUEST
Suprise me.

CHEF
Great in that case you can have this mouldy bun I was saving for just such a situation

GUEST
But I wanted 'Food'!!

CHEF
Yeah and?


By giving an actor an action you are giving them a doorway into the character. By instructing the actor to 'go to pick up the mess' I'm actually saving you from getting into one of those sticky..

DIRECTOR
No not that way

ACTOR
But that was suprised wasn't it?

DIRECTOR
Not the right kind of suprised

ACTOR
What kind of suprised do you want

DIRECTOR
Just a different one


then...


DIRECTOR
No no no that's not suprised

ACTOR
Yes it is isn't it

DIRECTOR
No suprised is like this (mocks suprise) not this (pulls a stupid face)

ACTOR
Are you saying I was crap?

DIRECTOR
Look you stand here...then when I say action step forward make this face and say these lines


Far better to keep friends with your actors and give them little hooks to buy into, hooks which give them a better idea of what your vision is, of what the characters 'character' is, of what action is taking place in the scene and what others are doing around them. Believe it or not this is actually less condescending than giving them nothing and asking the world of them. If you don't believe me try some acting classes or read some books on directing with actors. Don't be disheartened..rewrite rewrite rewrite...that's what we alll do :D
 
Surprised

I think what GREATwarEAGLE was saying is that it's okay to let the actress create that part of the character. We see enough of the character later when she timidly offers herself to the man. We don't need a long explanation of her surprise. EAGLE's saying to trust the actress to live in the character.

But then, on the other hand, the difference between saying she runs to the bed to clean up and she looks surprised is not a huge one. So it isn't like this would bog down the script.

However, giving your actor more freedom is what makes a great director, and what keeps attracting actors to your projects.

Yet, it's only changing two or three words into five or six. Is it that big a deal?

You see what I am getting at? It's not a huge thing, but it is a preference thing.

Poke
 
P

peter caduta

Guest
some fair points poke... I guess we get to a point to agree to disagree.

For me script writing is an art somewhere between novel writing and poetry. Sure you're telling a story, but you're telling it with as few and as deliberated a series of words as you can refine it down to. Whenever I write something I'm always excited to strip it right down to the raw essentials, it's part of the challenge to me...and it's also what I did with someone elses script on here. In my mind there is a world of difference between 'go to america' and 'take a flight to new york'... but I can completely see how others would see it as nit picking. If you think of the script as the road map for the film any point which is left vague or ill thought out represents a potential stumbling block... and vice versa...just because you've got a detailed map of where you're walking doesn't mean you can't look around you, improvise, and enjoy being there. That's my subjective point of view and I'm completely chilled to leave it like that... just talking and explaining and sharing opinions on script writing...not trying to foist a dogma on anyone :D :) :wink:
 
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