Door created by Kimi Maeda
INT. NICKELODEON, HELEN HILL MEDIA EDUCATION CENTER -- DAY
MARGARET, OLIVER, CEDRIC, AND LIZ work on the final rendering of an animated short film, a high school project for the Indie Grits Film Festival. They cluster around Margaret, who controls the workstation. Fast food litter everywhere.
(leaning over Margaret’s left shoulder)
Not those images, ‘Mags.’ God. For the infinite time, keep it tight. Please tell me you know what ‘tight’ means.
She suspects his micromanagement derives from over-entitled testosterone rather than true concern about story flow.
(flipping her honey blonde hair)
My name is Margaret and stop being a jerk. The frames fit our concept. They stay.
Cedric puts down his harmonica to glance at the controversial segment. Nope. Getting involved in anything but food would spoil his Jamaican vibe.
Time for a break, children. What’s our grub status?
He scrounges for bags of something, chips, anything. Opens the cooler. Nothing.
Guess we’ll have to raid the concession stand.
Liz leans forward to offer a dare.
Would y’all be interested in some magic popcorn?
Oliver stretches and smirks, a vision in his brick-colored skinny jeans and black tee. He’s also got a nickname for Liz, a slur. Whatever. A possibility if she had enough energy to be anything but slack.
You crack me up, ‘Lez.’ Magic popcorn? Everyone knows the popcorn at The Nick is magical. And sure, I’m up for popcorn. Do you know how to work the machine?”
Liz raises her left eyebrow, the one with the onyx ring, a subtle implication of something sinister.
I find your lack of curiosity, curious, Oliver. You afraid of a little magic?
Oliver walks over and pats her back. Liz stiffens. She does not like being touched and he knows it.
Me. Afraid. No. But, Mags is. Aren’t you, Mags?
Margaret stands and faces Oliver, hands on her hips.
I will not be bullied, Oliver.
(Using a pinched, squeaky voice.)
I will not be bullied, Oliver.
Liz howls and claps her hands at the performance. She’s got them hooked.
Cedric walks toward the door and begins to rap.
Gonna get me some pop-corn
Gonna pla’ da game.
Gonna. Eat. Some. Pop-corn.
Don’ wanna be lame.
Liz snaps her fingers in time to Cedric’s rap and then, at a rapid, aggressive pace, in Margaret’s direction. Liz sneers, bows, and leaves the studio.
Bemused, Oliver shrugs then proceeds out the door. Doesn’t want to risk cred as the dark prince.
Margaret stalls, remembering her parents’ lectures about peer pressure. How can she be true to herself in this situation? Didn’t she ask to be assigned to this group in order to push her limits?
(Margaret learned this term from watching British cinema.) She kicks her book bag and trudges toward the stairs.
INT. NICKELODEON, CONCESSION STAND -- SAME
Margaret arrives in time to observe Liz’s dramatic hocus pocus act, some lame moaning and waving of hands over the popcorn machine. Liz behaves like a Celtic priestess at an altar while the uninitiated gawk on the other side of the concession stand.
You’re kidding, right? People still believe in this sort of nonsense? Why don’t you bring out the Ouija Board?
Cedric, hands in his pockets, charmed. Oliver stares, thinking Mags is right, this sucks. But, he’s all in now.
Margaret continues to object.
We’re going for this? Have y’all lost your minds?
You don’t have to eat it if you don’t want to, Mags.
Okay. Liz’s use of ‘Mags’ makes Margaret angry enough to prove herself. She’s not afraid of anything, especially not of some stupid popcorn.
The machine stops and Liz steps from behind the counter to distribute bags.
Defiant, Margaret eats the first kernel.
Oliver stops mid-bag and stares at the others. Freak. Everyone is shrinking!
Whoa. Liz, what did you put in this stuff?
(Using the diminutive)
Calm down, Ollie. You want to be a film-maker, right? I’m about to turn you into a visionary.
Liz motions toward the red Tiny Doors at the base of the concession stand.
Betcha none of you losers noticed this before.
Cedric allows himself curiosity but doesn’t want to commit.
Can we go inside?
Margaret decides to reclaim her leadership position by being the first one through the door.
Of course we can. Liz didn’t lure us here for no reason. See ya on the flip side!
Now Cedric really wants to see behind the doors.
Outstanding. Oliver. Bro. You comin’?
While Liz appreciates the developing dynamic, she’s not going to let anyone else be in charge of the experience. She’s got to get inside and regain her dominance.
INT. TINY DOOR -- SAME
Claps her hands.
Cool! A miniature movie theater. Kinda like a dollhouse. Look! There’s an eye on the screen. What’s that about?
. . . and hurtles through THE EYE. Cedric joins her, pretending like he’s a super hero.
Oliver freezes. This situation is whack.
No way am I going through The Eye.
What’s the matter, Ollie. ‘Fraid of the whittle eye?
She dashes toward the screen, having determined that speed is essential not only to get through the thing but also to overcome any remaining fear.
Oliver really likes the old Margaret, the one who was intimidated by stuff. She’s almost at The Eye!
Don’t do it! You don’t have to prove anything, Margaret. It could be a trap.
She stops and stares at him. Why would he care? She wavers.
You’ve always told me to take more risks, Oliver. This my chance. Are you coming?
He wants to protect her. Like a brother. Or, a friend. A new sensation.
Okay. If we go together.
She accepts. They back up and then run through The Eye.
INT. THE EYE -- SAME
Margaret and Oliver stumble on Cedric and Liz, on their butts, stunned.
Multi-colored LED lights strobe what feels like the interior of an airless, black box.
This is not what happened before.
(Incredulous. Furious. Dismayed.)
You mean you’ve been here before, you lunatic?
Where are y’all?
The lights stop flashing. Complete darkness.
(Uncomfortable in asserting leadership.)
Be calm, everyone. We’ll figure this out.
But no one can see or hear him. They are on their own.
A howling lament. A primal scream. The sound of waterfall as mist envelops all of them. Something brushes by Liz. She shrieks. Is it the end of the world or the beginning?Overwhelmed, each one sees their own, bizarre vision.
MONTAGE -- MARGARET’S TRANCE
-- Yesterday, when she set up her sister to be blamed.
-- The prom, a neanderthal mating ritual.
-- Her unfinished screenplay. Her fear of critique.
MONTAGE -- OLIVER’S TRANCE
-- Boney hands grab him by the shoulders.
-- “It’s not too late,” a spirit whispers in Oliver’s left ear to his right brain.
-- The aroma of coffee. A ringing phone.
MONTAGE -- CEDRIC’S TRANCE
-- An anime chipmunk chants, “You’re da man. Be a man. You’re da man.”
A chanting chipmunk? Come. On.
-- Massive percussion riff.
This is jamming. Maybe I can do something with it.
MONTAGE -- LIZ’S TRANCE
-- Washington Park, New York City
-- Guy at pretzel cart. “Don’t be a pretzel.” (Twisted.)
-- Right. If she gets out of The Eye.
FADE TO BLACK
Lights shimmer. Wave of nausea. Disorientation.
INT. NICK LOBBY -- SAME
Standing and shaking himself.
Didn’t see that one comin’.
From the floor in front of the concession stand.
VOICE FROM INSIDE THE DOOR (O.S)
Which is what happens when you eat magic popcorn.
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