At some point a few years ago I had a burst of inspiration to make a short film the New York Bicycle Film Fest. As it turns out, making a film (even a short, 15 minute one) is a bit more difficult than writing one. You need a crew comprised of technicians and actors to make your story come alive, and a competent director to shepherd the process along. If these people aren't getting paid, like, at all for their time and energy, however, things like scheduling conflicts, declining enthusiasm in the project and plugging your own money into a project that most likely will not yield a profit become more and more prominent.
Ah, so it goes.
Anyway, here is the script I had written a couple of years ago now. I was going for a bit of whimsy with this one, which I hope come through. As you can read, it would have been a simple script to shoot logistically, and a bit of a fun challenge technically (how do you get a bicycle to stand on all twos for an extended amount of seconds, anyway?)
This then is my script filled with minimal dialog and whimsical scenarios, about a man being stalked into submission by a vintage bicycle. Will it ever get made? Who knows? I mean I hope it will, eventually. Until that time, consider the story below a short film for your imagination.
EXT. STREET - MORNING
Open to a street during rush hour traffic. Row upon row of cars trapped, not moving. The people inside these cars look absolutely miserable, yet completely used to it.
Focus in on one sad sack: a MAN in an ugly short sleeve dress shirt and even uglier tie. The Man sits in his car, bored, head-back listening to the gibberish on the radio.
The Man scans the scene outside his car. There is no movement.
He sees a pretty woman in the car next to him. She does a double take, realizing the Man is looking at her. The Man smiles awkwardly. She turns away, coldly.
Slightly embarrassed, the Man turns back and sighs. He peers ahead in a fruitless attempt to see if the traffic is moving.
The Man looks over to his right and sees a late model 10-SPEED BICYCLE leaning against a chain link fence. He glances at it once, and turns again to get a better look. Slowly, the 10-speed's handlebars turn to “look” at him.
The Man, eyes wide, quickly turns back to faces front, clutching the steering wheel of his car. His eyes relate his thoughts: "Did that really just happen?"
He looks over again at The Bicycle. Curiously, it is now gone. The Man looks around to find it, but sees nothing.
An SUV from behind him honks angrily. The Man looks forward and sees that there is space enough for him to move forward five feet, only to stop again behind the car in front of him.
As he sits there, the Man looks perplexed by the strange event that just occurred.
EXT. MAN’S HOUSE - EVENING
The Man pulls his car into the driveway of his modest suburban home. He gets out of the car with a briefcase in one hand and a blazer in the other. He is so tired that he doesn't seem to mind his blazer dragging on the ground.
INT. MAN’S HOUSE - NIGHT
The Man is sitting in his living room, watching TV and eating a TV dinner, which is sitting atop a folding tray.
Then the phone on the table next to him starts to ring and he answers it.
He hears a faint ambient noise on the other end.
Still nothing. Then, the sound of The Bicycle’s geared clicking.
Hello? Who is this!?!
The gear clicking gets faster and faster. He hangs up the phone and looks at it, puzzled, perplexed.
Then doorbell rings and the man cautiously get up to answer it.
When he opens the door, however, no one is there. Just wet bicycle tire marks on the walkway, stopping immediately in front of the Man’s door.
He hears a distant sound of a bicycle's ratcheting away and peers out into the darkness to look for it, but sees nothing. The Man closes the door and locks it.
The Man is now in his pajamas, brushing his teeth in his bathroom. He appears slightly agitated.
The Man checks the locks on his door, and then turns out his living room lights. He walks down the hall to his bedroom, where he turns down the covers, gets in bed and turns out the light.
As he lies there, he looks towards the window and watches the trees outside sway gently in the subtle breeze. The Man begins to doze off when he hears the bicycle's ominous clicking outside his window.
The clicking sound stops. Then The Man hears the sound of the front doorknob jiggling. He clutches his covers.
(FOLEY) The locks unlock, and then the front door opens slowly, the hinges creaking. The Man's is scared, confused. Then he hears the clicking of The Bicycle in the hallway and sees a long cast shadow of The Bicycle's handlebars on the hallway wall.
The Man pulls his covers up to his eyes and starts shaking. The clicking gets closer, but slower - measured. Then it stops.
There's a long silence. The Man sits up, slowly, peering down the hallway, yet sees nothing.
He leans back, and as he does, reveals The Bicycle “standing” right next to him! The Man screams-out in terror like a little girl and bolts from his bedroom.
EXT. SUBURBAN STREET - NIGHT
The Man runs down the street, still screaming like a little girl. The Bicycle follows; ghost riding after The Man at a leisurely pace.
The Man is now running out of steam. His breathing is labored, and he slows his pace until finally collapsing on the ground in the middle of the street. Tears stream from his eyes.
The Bicycle stops several feet away from him.
(Clutching his chest)
What do you want?
The Bicycle just “stands” there.
What do you want from me?
What do you…?
The man stops and looks at The Bicycle, realizing it’s not doing him any immediate harm.
Still confused, The Man staggers to his feet and looks at the Bicycle. He inches forward to get a better look. The bicycle still just sits there.
The Man inches forward, cautiously. He reaches his hand out, like someone feeling-out the intentions of a stray dog.
As he reaches out, The Bicycle's handlebars move into frame, sliding under The Man's outstretched hand as if accepting a pet.
The Man lets out a nervous laugh in relief.
The Bicycle moves closer to The Man, and The Man gets a better look at The Bicycle. He glides his hand over the handlebars and smiles. Perhaps this bicycle reminds him of one he used to own when he was younger, more in shape and happier.
The Man awkwardly swings a leg over The Bicycle to get a feel for it. He’s unsteady, but smiling nonetheless.
Then The Bicycle gently moves forward. The man lets out a couple of “Whoa”’s as if this was his first time riding a horse.
EXT. VARIOUS OUTDOOR LOCATIONS (MONTAGE) - NIGHT
The Man begins to get the feel and rhythm of The Bicycle, easing his bare feet onto the pedals. Soon The Bicycle and The Man are working together.
As the pair rides down the street, The Man experiences sights and sounds he’s never noticed before.
Two middle-aged men smoke marijuana from a bong out on the well-manicured lawn of one of their suburban homes. They smile and wave at The Man.
A couple kisses passionately in front of a shop selling wedding dresses. They stop kissing, smile and wave at The Man.
Two angry men, wielding switchblades, circle each other in an alley. They stop circling, smile and wave at The Man.
An elderly woman consoles a young crying girl as both sit on a bus bench. They look up, smile and wave at The Man.
A drunk man stumbles out of a bar and passes-out on the sidewalk. He lifts his head, smiles and waves at The Man. Then passes out again.
The Woman from the traffic jam earlier, now in a form-fitting red dress and matching heels, is out walking her small dog. As she stands up from picking up her dog’s poop, she smiles and waves at The Man with the same hand that also holds the now full poop bag.
All the while, The Man is smiling. He has discovered something that makes him extremely happy: riding this bicycle!
The Man and The Bicycle ride off into the night.
EXT. STREET - MORNING
The Man and The Bicycle ride past the stopped, rush hour cars with ease, splitting the lane. The Man looks great: healthy, happy and dressed in a nice, slim-fitting modern suit.
The Dismissive Woman from the first scene glances at The Man and The Bicycle as they ride by and out of shot. The Woman looks slightly envious of The Man and his bicycle.
The Woman lets out a deep sigh and sits back in her seat. Then something catches the corner of her eye.
She looks over to her right to see a VINTAGE BICYCLE leaning against a fence. The Woman looks over at the bicycle inquisitively. The bicycle's handlebars turn to look at her.
CUT TO BLACK