This was a music video script written for Hail The Titans. It never went into production, but I think the story is awesome as well as the song. Here is the song and script so you can listen and follow along with your own vision. Please visit the band’s page and show them some love. This script was the first I had written from a 3 year writing block. I have them to thank for getting me back on my horse. Enjoy! The song is track 2: Natalie Andrea
Open: Fade in B&W Slow intro
Dark room, spot lit in the middle
A ragged, dusty, not old, but weathered Man sits in the middle of the spotlight with two wooden poles on either side of him. Connected at the top of each pole, are chains bolted into the wood trailing down to the Man. He holds the empty shackles with a look of anticipation, waiting patiently for the next unlucky soul to meet their cruel test. He subtly brushes the dust from the shackles as if they were delicate tools. He digs into his pocket and pulls out an old, gold plated pocket watch. At the CU we can see the second hand ticking round and round, but there is no minute or hour hand. There is no concept of time in this prison. All that matters is that it is passing. He smiles. He looks at the chains. Last shot is close up of the man’s eyes.
Fade out quickly
Cut to: distortion intro
Begin with Close up of a new character’s eyes opening wide. This man, who will soon become our Prisoner, sees 3 faceless figures directly in front him, followed closely by a fist. Back shot CU out the back of a van window of a man getting slugged in the face.
Cut to:Interior prison
We see a pitcher of water being poured.
Cut to:Exterior Daylight
3 men proceed beat our prisoner down against the back of a van to the tune of the rock.
Cut to:Interior prison
The man who holds the pocket watch checks the time, and we see the moments ticking.
THE PAUSE: 3 BASS DECLINES
Lights flash in and out with the bass line,
Shot 1. Wes live,
Shot 2. Man losing consciousness/face hitting the window…
Shot 3. Van doors close and drive
FADE TO BLACK QUICKLY
BIG PAUSE BEFORE CRAZY BENDS
Instant CUT TO: Crazy Bends
The prison room: Spotlit
LIGHTS UP MOTHERFUCKER!!!!
Open on our Prisoner from the van wide awake in the prison room, shackled to the two poles and raging against his confines. He is overcome with panic as he sees the chains and the shackles on his wrists. We see him screaming, “WHERE THE FUCK AM I?!” as the camera tracks around him. CU’s of his shackles and chains show a fruitless war between steel and human fingers. He begins to writhe violently on the ground in fear and panic, causing his shackles to whiplash. He brutally subjects his limbs to the torture of his own weight until finally he collapses in a pool of his own tears and saliva. “Why?” he mouths weakly.
Music dies, slow part
Our prisoner lies on the ground in despair. We rack focus through his tears and see his confines. As he gets to his knees, he examines the chains. He feels the cold steel on his skin and knows that he is trapped. He looks to the chains running along the floor as the camera racks the focus in and out to show them in detail.
2 MEASURE OF BASSLINE (no feedback)
In the corner he notices the Man sitting in a small chair. Next to him is a small tray holding nothing but a small glass and a pitcher of water. He takes out his pocket watch and we see a CU of the seconds passing. He gets up and takes the pitcher and glass to our Prisoner and puts the glass to his lips. He nods for him to drink. Our prisoner takes the water gratefully. Our Prisoner looks weakly into the Man’s eyes as if there was answer locked away, but the Prisoner asks nothing and the Man says nothing.
FIRST CYMBAL CRASH
Measure 1 & 2: As our Prisoner sits in despair, we see small, millisecond flash frames of his memories and his life before he was taken prisoner. Mostly flashes of a woman’s face. Our Prisoner also sees a hazy memory of a young manwith his father. But the memories are cloudy, few, and far between.
He looks ahead of him and sees the door to his freedom come into focus, a hand written sign telling him simply to, “WALK.”
He looks to his shackles. And back to the door.
TOM FILLS: *Denial*
1st measure: Our Prisoner is beginning his journey to understand, and so he rises. He takes a small step forward but stops, suddenly overcome with a sense of the familiar. Our prisoner turns his head to see…
2nd Measure: The Woman appears in the prison like a ghost, standing behind him, seductively running her hand along his cheek and jawline. Our Prisoner is overcome by the memory and for a moment, we fall completely into the memory with him.
Cut to: 3rd Measure:Exterior daylight
Memories of our prisoner with The Woman play for us. (ex: Our prisoner and the woman are sitting in a sunlit study drinking coffee surrounded by old books. Everything has an out of focus, slightly distorted, and iris flared feel to it. We show the two standing in front the house he built for them. We show them at a funeral where she grips his shoulder tightly(CU) comforting him with his father’s picture on the casket )these are all beautiful memories for him, and a much needed solace from his entrapment. We fade out.
4th measure: Our Prisoner comes back , and the shackles set into his wrists once again. CU of The Woman’s face as she blows him a kiss and disappears before our eyes. We can see on his face that he is a bit shaken. He shrugs it off and resolves to search his surroundings.
HI HAT FILLS:
Measures 1 & 2: Our Prisoner notices large wooden crates spread about the room. The boxes are easily within his reach so naturally he tries to open it, but to no avail. Our prisoner looks to the man who holds the pocket watch, who returns his stare with only a grim smile. The Man looks down to the watch, then back up. He slides one finger under the lid of the box, and opens it to reveal a jug of water which he uses to refill the pitcher. The water is the only representation of giving life, in a dusty old timeless prison.
The Man looks to our Prisoner and flashes him the familiar grin.
3rd Measure: *Anger*
The two men share a long stare. We can see on his face that our prisoner is growing weary of this game. His frustration with his situation grows stronger. Memories of anger from his former life come to his mind, an argument with the Woman (quick closeups). He antagonizes the Man as if he has been in on some sick joke this whole time. He shows a more dominating or perhaps desperate side of himself.
Suddenly our prisoner begins to furiously question the man who holds the pocketwatch, demanding answers and crying out insults, but the Man will not speak, he only grins and checks his pocket watch. “To hell with him,” our Prisoner thinks as he punches toward him stretching his chains. He punches a time or two more curious about its effect on the pole.
5th Measure (the 1…2’s)He turns and examines the point where his chains are bolted to the wood. Our prisoner pulls the chains and tries to see if the wood would give. Gradually, he tests the strength of the wood eventually giving a driving blow splinters the wood a small amount. The Prisoner understands. Wooden poles can be broken, steel can be bent. He slaps his hand against the wooden pole where one chain is attached. There is only one way out, his only chance is to break free.
Our prisoner looks from his confines to the door. He grips his chains tightly and wraps them around his wrists and forearms slowly. His face determined. He plants his foot, closes his eyes and pleads to The Woman, “Please…”
We see more of the Woman and his adult life through his memories. She is beginning to become clearer in his mind. They embrace themselves in front of the house he built for her.
a bank where he got the loan to get the house. CU of men shaking hands.
We see an CU of letter in a mailbox with the couple and house in the background,.Unknowingly giving him strength, his memories are powerful as they are his only motivation for wanting to be free. The life he has built is his shelter that protects him from the world’s evils, and his own demons. And he will not let that be taken away. Once again, our prisoner braces for the pain as he raises his chain wrapped forearms and we build into the jam.
FLOOR TOM/SNARE BUILD
ROTATING TRACK SHOTS open chorus BIG MONTAGE
Shows passage of time as the man tries again and again to break free. Each pass of the frame goes between the prison and his memories. Each time, the memories become seemingly more distorted but more in focus, and a little bit longer showing more to the story. They are angry in the study room, another letter in the mailbox,shots of him stressed, and at the funeral he looks at the hand on his shoulder with confusion, there is no longer a picture on the casket. Occasionally show the recurring shot of planting the foot, each time with a bigger layer of dust shaping his foot, signifying how many times he has done this. He struggles against the chains over and over. Every so often the Man will look at his watch, and serve our Prisoner the water accordingly.
The montage continues and we see the effects of confinement on our Prisoner, his hair and beard grow long, his body becomes overcome by the sweat, scars, and dirt, he tries over and over again and again only to fail and be fed the water by the man who holds the pocketwatch.
Last run of 2: Our prisoner, once more resolved, plants his foot, and takes to his chains with deadly force. We see blood trickling down his wrists as the shackles cut in. As he struggles we see the wood begin to tear/bend only a little, giving us hope, but no resolution. It could have been the one, but alas he falls to the floor.
We fade out.
Fade in: *Depression*
Long darkness before we fade in on our prisoner, his forehead to the floor. Quick racks in and out show the despair of our prisoner as he wrestles with the idea of succumbing to his fate.
We see the prisoner sitting on a bed looking very sad. He closes his eyes and we see small shots of the Woman again. He smiles a sad grin. We show the mailbox again, the look of the shot seems darker, and there is a lot of mail left in the mailbox. Yet our prisoner at that time, just kept that sad grin.
He looks at his shackles and back to the man who hold the pocket watch. The seconds tick by as our prisoner waits for him to bring him the water, which he does, and our prisoner accepts.
WE see quick cuts of his life and memories and him wrestling with his prison position. He slams his head to the floor, CU;s of a single tear shed for a life he left behind and a life yet to be lived. Intimate CU memories of the woman and shots of the prison transition in and out as our Prisoner, almost defeated begins to resolve once more. Build it.
SNARE BUILDS *Acceptance*
CU’s flash in and out and we can see the look of understanding on our prisoners face. He sees Her in his mind and he knows that he is not being held captive, no…Somehow this prison is one he has designed for himself. Not only can he escape, there was never another option. His life and his memories give him the strength to persevere, but he has to earn it. He wraps the chains around his wrist. He furrows his brow. He plants his foot. Fade shot as the bass drum brings us in.
Our prisoner once more takes to his chains. He struggles harder, grits his teeth, as the chains dig deeper into his wrists, which have become scabbed and scarred throughout his stay. His eyes wide and heart racing, he screams for victory, but the chains do not budge. Yet neither does our prisoner, instead of falling to his knees, for the first time he remains standing, pacing, and undeterred.
Our Prisoner is frustrated, restless, and desperate. He lashes out. He shouts at the man who holds the pocketwatch. Pacing, throwing his arms (as far as is possible) through the air, exclaiming the ludicrousness of his predicament. The man who holds the pocket watch simply watches on, grins, and checks the time. The Man takes our Prisoner a glass of water, but he violently knocks it to the ground, then turns to the water crates.
Our prisoner begins to grab every crate within reach and throw them to the ground. Any reachable part of his environment must be destroyed. If he can’t destroy his confines he’ll destroy everything else. Slow motion shots of water dispersing as he breaks a crate onto one of the poles he is chained to. He screams to the heavens in agony and futility as the water rushes over him.
Our Prisoner is now soaked. His sweat is no longer discernible, the water has washed away the dirt and he is reborn. His long matted hair shakes down to his sides and we see closeups of water dripping down his face. He breathes heavily. He sees the destruction he has wrought, but also sees that he is still confined. The man who holds the pocket watch smiles and checks the time. We don’t know if it is an ominous smile or an encouraging one. Regardless, our prisoner’s eyes look more harrowed and dedicated than ever.
Our Prisoner begins to stand. The hardcore jam in the background seems to give him a strength we have not seen before. His memories flash in and out faster. Shots over his back as the screen flashes in and out. Close ups of his eyes and brow furrowing. He wraps the chains around his wrists. He plants his foot in its familiar imprint, only this time, the cracking brick caves beneath his toes a bit, displaying his determination (and giving him good leverage lol J )
Chorus/build to crazy bends.
The man is struggling harder than ever. We can see the wood beginning to crack. The chains are beginning to stretch. The look on his face more determined than before. He struggles with every fiber of his being. His memories play on the screen for us to see, his motivation. He slips on the second measure as he feels the bolts of steel begin to move. He’s on his knees, and we see him cast his last farewell to his prison. (CU) He clenches his fist dragging the dust underneath his fingers nails and leaving a message for the next poor soul. He launches himself from the floor and rages one last battle cry. Take to the chains…
Quick snare 1,2’s build
The shots fade in and out with the music as our Prisoner continues the flight. Memories flash in and out giving him strength, reminding him of why he lives, why he must escape. The shots and light fade in and out with the background guitar. CU’s of his eyes show a beastly determination as beads of water run down. The bolts begin to give way, the wood is cracking. One last struggle before…
The poles explode sending splinters flying through the air in slow motion. The debris falls around our prisoner, completing his mastery of the prison and illustrating the relief that comes with every struggle. The man who holds the pocket watch drops the glass and pitcher. We see it shatter on the floor in slow motion. Our Prisoner falls to the floor as the debris falls around him.
With the opening note we see the chains hit the floor back in regular speed. The man looks at his hands and realizes he has earned his freedom. He looks to the man who holds the pocket watch, who returns his gaze with a simple smile.
Our prisoner, now free, reaches for the handle of the door he has walked all this way to. A blinding light is cast over him as he steps outside…
The light fades revealing Our Prisoner, now free, dressed in black walking through a sun-lit cemetery toward an unmarked grave. The shadows of willow branches draped across his face, slowly recede into light as he approaches the headstone. (Denial) We see the memories play back, but this time they are extended.(Anger) The sunlight study scene is now a full-fledged fight in their home. (Bargaining). The mailbox is overflowing with bills. The house he built for them brought only stress, debt, and exasperation. and he seen sitting at the bank with his head down, just spaced out, while the banker just rambles on.
(Depression) As he comes upon the grave, he feels the comfort of a small hand squeeze his shoulder, he looks back to the see the Woman’s beautiful face there to greet him. We see a flashback shot of a different hand on the same shoulder. Our Prisoner looks up to see his father’s face. As we realize the funeral we thought was his fathers. Is actually The Woman’s funeral with his father’s arm on his shoulder and her picture on the casket. The Woman appears before him on the grave. They look into each other’s eyes and we can see the pain that always sat behind his eyes melts away. The Woman gives our Free Man, a quirky smile of reassurance as she fades out of frame along with his grief. He puts a rose on the grave and walks away. (Acceptance)