Cebo Campbell

Morning

BLACK

V/O (LEAD) 

I am imagining the morning.

01. EXT. OUTSIDE AMONG GRASS AND TREES

Late Afternoon:  We fade from black into a shot of RENATA (C). [SM] She is laughing and wearing a white dress. Around her, the sun makes a halo of light giving her a nearly angelic quality. She frolics about as though no one can see her. Suddenly, she stops. Her smile still into a serious and fierce expression. Our view pulls back (M) and she stands still staring at us showing a bit of anger, sadness, evil, joy all at once. We continue back (L)

V/O (LEAD) CONT’D

I imagine the sun shining. An imaginary sun, shining in the dark.

A sucking sound grows in volume as our scene cuts to black

CUT/BLACK

02. INT. RENATA’S BEDROOM

We cut hard from black, where it is late night and we are, suddenly, in a quiet bedroom (M). Soft light illuminates the space, and we can see two people asleep in a bed. The room is large and minimal. 

MONTAGE

– Clock (C) Showing the time as 5:16 am

  – (C) Panning shot of the woman in bed. She is the woman from the opening. She sleeps calmly. She is covered minimally by a sheet, but is otherwise naked. Our pan rises to reveal, just over her shoulder, her lover. He is awake and staring at her. He reaches out and moves her hair from her face.

– (C/U) We see Renata’s sleeping face. 

  – We see our LEAD, staring longingly, before shaking his head incredulously and rising. 

– (M) We see our LEAD rise out of bed

– (C/U) We see his bare feet touch the floor. 

– (C/U) We see his bare back. It is muscular and dark, but tense.

– (M) We pan the room and see her underwear, condom wrappers, his underwear, half-empty glasses of red wine.

– (C/U) We see our LEAD glance back at RENATA sleeping

– (C/U) We see RENATA’s rib and the ease with which she breathes

/MONTAGE

(M) Our LEAD stands. We see he is nude, but he searches the floor for his underwear and his jeans. He slides on his underwear, then reaches for his jeans In his jeans he grabs his cell phone. (C phone coming out of pocket) He glances nervously around the room as he draws it out. He walks over to the bed and holds the camera up close to RENATA’s face. He snaps photo of her. He looks at it, waits a moment, then lifts the sheet covering the lower half of her body, and takes another picture. He stares at the photo, holding back a smile. 

CUT:  (S) Our LEAD sits at the edge of the bed and writes a text. We hear the clicking sound and (ANIMATION appearing on screen bottom right. This animation would ) we see a bubble pop up screen rendering his text message.

TEXT ANIMATION (LEAD)

(LEAD sits on the bed texting)

Rico, you have to wake up. You will not believe what I just did.” 

After a moment, without a response. LEAD types another text 

TEXT ANIMATION (LEAD) CONT’D

Renata fucking May!

Almost instantly, we see the typing bubble showing a response is coming

TEXT RESPONSE

WTF?! You can’t be serious?

LEAD attaches the photo of RENATA. He contemplates sending it, but does. The photo pops up on screen.

TEXT RESPONSE

“Stunned Eyes” emojis (5)

TEXT ANIMATION (LEAD) 

I know. I can’t believe it either. We ran into each other last night and…

CUT: (S) our LEAD turns back to sleeping RENATA and smiles, showing his joy. He turns back around

TEXT ANIMATION (LEAD) CONT’D

…she is still as perfect as ever. 

TEXT RESPONSE

No one in the world more perfect than Renata. So…… (pause) How was it?

TEXT ANIMATION (LEAD)

What do you think? She is incredible. 

[FLASHBACK] – INT. BEDROOM (sex scene) (C/U) [SM] – Montage of RENATA body moving gently atop our LEAD. Our LEAD in (C/U) ecstasy. Renata’s back being gripped by passionate hands

TEXT RESPONSE

I have so many questions. I don’t even know where to start. Tell me everything. 

CUT (S): Our lead stands up and looks around her room. He takes note of the painting on the wall. Spends a good deal of time staring at a piece of art that is only a slash on black on a white canvas. Before long he glances back at Renata and then to her bedroom closet. The door is just cracked enough. Our LEAD decides to go inside. Go to black

03. INT. RENATA’S BEDROOM CLOSET

A click illuminates the closet where we find our LEAD. Gently he shuts himself inside the room, then turns to see the space. 

CUT: (S) We see a panning shot of the closet. It is large, with a dresser inside as well as an array of dresses hung in perfect coordination. 

MONTAGE

– (PAN) High heel shoes

– Perfume bottles atop the dresser

– (PAN) Coordinated dresses hung one after the other

– Lingerie hanging at the back of the closet

/MONTAGE

CUT: (C/U) Our LEAD looks over the entire space and closes his eyes taking a deep breath. He steps forward into the light. 

MONTAGE

– Hands gliding over the dresses and their fabrics

– Tries to fit his bare foot into one of her pumps

– Holding the perfume up close to smell it

– His hands sliding open the dresser drawer where we find panties in a perfect row, one after the other

CUT: (M) We draw back from behind our LEAD standing at the dresser. 

CUT: (C/U) We see the panties as the drawer opens wider

/MONTAGE

CUT: (C/U) We see our LEAD staring down at the underwear. He holds back his excitement but scans them all. After a moment, he lefts a pair to his nose. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. He holds the breath before exhaling and opening his eyes. He stars at them a little longer before placing them back down into the dresser. He uses his phone and snaps a photo of the underwear. 

TEXT ANIMATION (LEAD)

(text sends photo)

TEXT RESPONSE

My god! You’ve found a treasure trove. I’d pay you to bring me one!

(pause)

What I don’t understand is how you did it. What the hell did you do to get Renata May to go to bed with you? 

(pause)

I mean, you’re great and all… but, dude, did a fairy godmother suddenly make you handsome?

LEAD

(smiling)

Asshole.

Our LEAD smiles and turns to the back of the room where he see’s something. 

CUT: (DOLLY) We move in on a set of lingerie hanging at the back of the closet. The lingerie is black with swirling patterns. 

[FLASHBACK (imagined)] – INT. CLOSET (C/U) [SM] – We see RENATA wearing the lingerie. We PAN up her frame as she dances around showing all sides of the outfit on her body. 

CUT: (M) Our leads snaps a photo of the lingerie as we cut to black. 

04. INT.  RENATA’S BEDROOM

We see our LEAD sneaking quietly out the closet. He glances up at RENATA

CUT: (C) RENATA continues to sleep comfortably. She has not moved from her previous position

Our LEAD continues into her adjacent bathroom, closing the door behind himself.

CUT – 

05. INT.  RENATA’S BATHROOM

A click illuminates the bathroom the light is bright and we see our LEAD reflected in the mirror. He is staring at himself. He is looking at his own features. 

[FLASHBACK (imagined)] – (C/U) [SM] – We see RENATA staring at herself in the same mirror. 

CUT: (M) Back to our LEAD looking at himself. 

LEAD

(measuring himself)

I’m not ugly. 

(he sniffs him armpits and isn’t repulsed)

[FLASHBACK] – INT. BEDROOM (sex scene) (C/U) [SM] – RENATA  leans back moaning with ecstasy 

LEAD CONT’D

Why in the world would she choose someone like me? 

He turns to look around her bathroom.

CUT: PAN across a white, cold bathroom. Nothing is out of place. It is minimal. 

Our LEAD opens the medicine cabinet to reveal ordinary things in extraordinary order. Contact solution, rubbing alcohol, toothpaste, nail file, all in perfect order, equal in space from one another, from biggest to smallest. He shuts the cabinet. Then lifts the toilet seat and looks around the bowl. He climbs into the shower and stands where she stands. He smells her different soaps and a loofah. He sits down on the toilet and texts:

TEXT ANIMATION (LEAD)

I can’t believe how normal she is. She is just like everybody else. 

TEST RESPONSE

She can’t be. She is probably the most perfect human ever created. Perfection comes with a price. I bet she has gimps in a dungeon somewhere. 

TEXT ANIMATION (LEAD)

What is a gimp?

TEXT RESPONSE

You know… like a little person who is also a sex slave. A Gimp. 

(image comes through of a figure in black being submitted by a dominatrix)

TEXT ANIMATION (LEAD)

The fact that you know that is disturbing. Also, your search history must be the worst shit ever. 

Our LEAD stands and we cut to BLACK

06. INT. RENATA’S STAIRCASE

We PAN down RENATA’S staircase moving to a lower floor. Already, we notice how much darker it is that her room. Along the wall are images framed. Each image is a different place. None of them show Renata. 

TEXT ANIMATION (LEAD)

(over our PAN)

Starting to think she is a figment of our imaginations. 

07. INT. RENATA’S KITCHEN

We move over the kitchen counter. It is very dimly lit, but illuminated enough to see. There is a bowl of avocados and a few bottles of wine. It is a very clean space, with nothing noticeably out of place. 

CUT: (C/U) Our LEAD opens the refrigerator revealing a minimal amount of food. 

CUT: (C/U) Our LEAD opens the cupboard revealing again minimal amount of food. Mostly ingredients. 

[FLASHBACK (imagined)] – (M) [SM] – We see RENATA standing at the kitchen counter. She is in her white dress slicing a huge cut of meat. We she a close up as blood squirts from the block of red beef. 

CUT: (C/U) Our LEAD stands at the kitchen counter. As he phone buzzes and a text pops up on screen

RESPONSE TEXT

She might just be too perfect for our little minds to comprehend. 

LEAD looks at the text and shakes his head knowingly. 

TEXT ANIMATION (LEAD)

Then what does it mean that she chose me?

RESPONSE TEXT

…. suppose it says a lot more about her than it does about you. 

LEAD sits his phone down and walks through her living room. It is a spacious room. There is no television and seems like a place rarely occupied. He looks through her photos (seeing one photo with her in it… maybe graduation),  looks at her books (all classic novels) and her record collection (all classic records)

LEAD

(looking around the room)

There has to be more to you than this. 

CUT: We are walking a dark hallway. It leads to another flight of stairs. The stairs look far more ominous than anything he has seen. He descends and we descend with him

08. INT. RENATA’S ART STUDIO

CONTINUED: We descend into a dark space that is lit by minimal blue light. The essence of the space above is gone and it is apparent that we have found something new. Something different. Our shot continues down into the dim blue space. It is narrow and small. 

LEAD

(looking around taking in the space)

Now we’re talking. 

In the center of the room is a canvas on an easel. The canvas is large and on it is a painting of the sun. He sees paint a mess of paint and paint brushes. It is the least organized space he has seen. There are other canvases on the floor. The LEAD begins to look through them. We see, each painting is a different human body part: arms, legs, breasts, a penis, and so on. Something grabs the attention of our lead:

LEAD

(staring at a painting)

What the fuck…

We see a painting of a decapitated head. The next painting is the same head with the nose and ears removed. Our LEAD nervously sets the paintings down and as he turns, is startled by seeing his own reflection in the mirror. 

[FLASHBACK (imagined)] – (C/U) [SM] – We see RENATA staring at herself in the same mirror. The shadows turn her into something far more sinister. 

Upstairs, on the kitchen counter, the phone buzzes. Our LEAD has forgotten that he left it. We see the text message appear on screen without his knowledge. 

RESPONSE TEXT

What if she is different than what we all thought. Maybe we made her more perfect than she actually is. I mean, how much do you really know about a person?

(pause)

Anyway, be safe, man. When the sun comes up in the morning, I am sure it will all make sense. 

(pause)

But, if you find anything weird. GTFO. Don’t be the black guy in all the movies. 

Our LEAD continues to stare at himself in the mirror. 

LEAD

(whispering as he stares at himself)

Why me? Why did you choose me?

We scan over the LEAD’s body. His hands, his feet, his stomach. We see RENATA’S hand curl around his stomach and grip it, just as we CUT back to LEAD staring at himself. Head imagined RENATA’S hand. He takes a deep breath and shakes off any notion of discomfort. 

MONTAGE

– RENATA dancing in lingerie

– RENATA drinking from a glass of wine in her kitchen  

– RENATA selecting a pair of underwear from her close

– RENATA brushing her teeth

– RENATA sleeping

/ MONTAGE

Just as LEAD is settled his fears and plans to head back upstairs, he hears rustling in the below him. He searches out the sound and finds, at the back of the space, a little door that opens to another space below. The sound of animals and movement, stirring in the depths below. We see LEAD’S reaction as he lifts the trap. The stench causes him to cover his mouth. It is rancid enough to nearly bring him to vomit. He is confused, but also curious. Cautiously, he descends into the depths.

CUT TO:

09. INT. RENATA’S BASEMENT DUNGEON

We see our LEAD descending into the basement. It is very dark and narrow. Almost no light at all. He had to cover his mouth as the smell is so incredibly bad. All around him things are moving. The sound of small animals shifting and whimpering and cages rattling. There is something out of focus in front of him it is lit from above and in the shape of a human body. As LEAD nears the object, the stench grows. As it comes into focus, he sees that is a mannequin. The mannequin is coated in patches of skin (different skin) edged in blood. Our LEAD reaches out and touches the skin and is horrified. Blood is pooled at the base of the mannequin. Our LEAD touches the blood and finds himself face to face withe the mannequin. 

Above, the phone buzzes and a text appears on the screen.

RESPONSE TEXT

Who am I kidding? I am just jealous. There is no woman on earth more perfect than Renata. You’re the man. 

Our LEAD darts out of the space and back up the above floor. 

10. INT. RENATA’S ART STUDIO

Our LEAD glances at himself in the mirror as he rushes back up to the living space. 

11. INT. RENATA’S KITCHEN

Our LEAD rushes through Renata’s kitchen, back up stairs to her bedroom. Morning light is bleeding in. We see that it is nearly morning. 

12. INT. RENATA’S BEDROOM

Our LEAD re-enters RENATA’S bedroom where she is still sleeping comfortably. Morning light has illuminated the bed. He stands over her for a moment. We see a [ FLASHBACK MONTAGE ] of the dark basement and the skin covered mannequin – we see the RENATA’S paintings of the severed head – finally we see her hands gripping LEAD’S back in a passionate embrace. 

We are back with the LEAD at the edge of the bed. A response text appears. 

RESPONSE TEXT

I can’t believe you got Renata. You lucky, lucky dog. Don’t screw it up.

Our LEAD crawls into bed with RENATA. We scan over her again. She is sleeping comfortably. Our LEAD lies on his back and stares at the ceiling, then closes his eyes. [TRANSITION] We fade to black with his closing eyes. In the darkness, we see sunlight in the darkness and fade to 

[FLASHBACK (imagined)] – (C/U) [SM] – We see RENATA outside among the grass as in our first scene. She is laughing and wearing a white dress. Around her the sun makes a halo of light giving her a nearly angelic quality. She frolics about as though no one can see her. Suddenly she stops smiling, and a seriousness stills her expression. We draw back slowly

V/O (LEAD) 

I am imagining the morning. An imaginary the sun, shining in the dark. 

SCENE 

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About

I am an author and a Creative Director.

As a full-time creative (VP of Creative Services at Spherical), I spend most days writing in the nooks and crannies of my available time. I wake up at 5:30am just to get in a few hours putting words on paper. I write on the train. I write on planes. I write waiting in lines. I feel I have to write. The reason is simple: representation.

I often tell the story of Ferris Bueller; a kid who decides to skip school and, on charm alone, steals a car, impersonates a cop, drinks underage, tampers with computers, and at every step exposes his best friends to peril, only to go home and fall asleep with his mother to kiss him into sweet dreams. I asked myself if Ferris were Trayvon Martin, how might that story end? I know the answer. So do you. And this is why representation is so important. I aim to contribute more stories into the world that diversely feature regular (but beautiful) lives made extraordinary. Art, I believe, is the only way to accomplish this. All my creative work is inspired by and aims to add to all the great work in the world.

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