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A Little Boy's Courage
Day 1 Int. Scene - Melvin’s room
A close-up, over-the-shoulder shot reveals Melvin (10) sitting at a desk in front of a window, bent over his work, writing some equations and adjusting a model of a robot. He wears round-framed glasses and has messy, short hair. The shot slowly zooms out. The only sound that can be heard is the scratch of a pen and occasional pauses when he stops to think. As he is thinking and about to get back to his work, the view of new neighbors moving in across the street catches his eye. A close-up shot from the other side of the window shows Melvin leaning in until his nose presses against the window. A long shot of the neighbors through Melvin’s eyes, including blinking and his glasses frames, reveal the sight of a pretty, little girl Alicia (9) running around happily as she watches the movers and talks to them. Her lips move soundlessly as she laughs and chatters away. The close-up shot from behind the window shows Melvin slowly moving away from the glass and putting his face in an upright hand.
Day 2 Int. Scene - Melvin’s Room
The same shot of Melvin at his desk. His desk is still flooded with papers, but this time they’re full of doodles of her hair and eyes and mathematical calculations on how her curls bounce. He’s absent-mindedly working on something but keeps looking up and looking out the window. He sees Alicia walking out the door and scrambles to get his backpack. The shot remains still. Shortly after, Melvin reappears running frantically to catch up with her. As soon as he is parallel to her, he starts walking.
Ext. Scene - Street
A medium, straight-on shot of Melvin shows him trying to act natural. He keeps looking out of the corner of his eyes. A side shot shows him moving his head to the side to look at her for a long while. A side shot shows the girl’s profile and she turns to look at him and smiles. Back to the straight-on shot, he immediately whips his head back and looks embarrassed.
A long shot of a bus stop. The girl crosses the street and stands with Melvin at the bus stop. A straight-on, long shot of the two standing side by side. The girl looks around casually and Melvin stands there stiffly, with his arms by his side. The girl looks at him and giggles. She bends her head over to try to catch his eye, but he looks straight on forward. When she looks away, he takes a peek at her out of the corner of his eyes. More kids come to the bus station and some rowdy boys run around playing with a soccer ball. Alicia turns away from Melvin and watches them. After a few minutes, the bus comes and blocks the view of Melvin.
INT. SCENE - BUS
A long shot from the back of the bus shows Melvin getting on the bus and sitting down towards the back, while Alicia sits in the front. One of the boys, Darren (10), who was playing soccer comes up to Melvin.
Hey, that’s my seat.
C-c-can’t you s-sit somewhere e-else?
No, M-M-Melvin. Can’t you m-m-move?
The kids around Melvin and Darren laugh. Melvin immediately looks forward to see if Alicia heard, but her head is faced towards the front of the bus.
INT. SCENE - BUS (AFTERNOON)
A close-up shot of Melvin’s round face holding a thin book on planets. He’s not looking at the book, but rather looking straight ahead in one direction. Switching to an over-the shoulder shot reveals the scene of Alicia giggling at Darren and another boy who are talking loudly and confidently. When Alicia shifts her head a bit towards Melvin, he immediately looks back down at his book. His face turns a bit red as he stares at the pages in front of him. He ventures another quick peek and sets his mouth in a grim line of determination, as if he had just made up his mind on something.
INT. SCENE - MELVIN’S ROOM
Melvin walks in and sets his bag on the ground. He immediately goes to his bookshelf and browses quickly before picking out a worn copy of a science fiction. He sits down at his desk and looks at the page. An over-the shoulder shot shows his finger lingering on the first word on the page. The shot switches to his face again and he wets his mouth again and again. He tries to mouth the first word, “There”.
(shakes his head)
He tries several times before his volume becomes stronger. However, there is still a stutter. He sighs a little and shakes his head. He starts over again. Switches back to the over-the-shoulder shot. Darkens into night and Melvin still hasn’t moved. He’s still reading quietly to himself. Across the street, a light has turned on and Alicia’s silhouette can be seen. Melvin puts his face in both his hands and sighs. He turns back to his book and continues to mouth his words quietly. The scene fades into a later scene. He sits at his desk with a mirror in front of him. He practices saying, “Hi there” over and over again. He also practices different smiles, even attempts a failed wink. After many tries, he think he’s finally mastered it more or less. He looks into the mirror with a set mouth and nods seriously.
DAY 3 INT. SCENE - MELVIN’S ROOM
Melvin is standing behind his desk, watching Alicia’s front door. As she opens it, he runs to the front door and as soon as he’s outside, he walks through his front yard casually. A front, medium shot reveals his determined face faintly mouthing the words, “Hi there”. He looks over and steps off his side of the pavement and onto the street when he suddenly sees her looking at him. He turns his head right back and immediately stops in his steps. He bends down on one knee as if he’s picking something up. A close-up shot shows his panicked face and darting eyes. He pretends to pick something up and put it in his pocket as he stands upright again. His head is lowered and he quickly steps back on his side of the pavement.
INT. SCENE - SCHOOL BUS
The same front, medium shot reveals Melvin looking at the back of the seat in front of him. He looks towards the front of the bus at Alicia smiling at Darren and his friend, who are putting on another act again. Melvin’s face is set in determination again.
INT. SCENE - MELVIN’S ROOM
Melvin comes back home again. This time, he rummages through his closet and meticulously picks out a formal outfit. He puts this on and sits down at his desk and gets out a pen and paper. He writes down a little speech and looks into the mirror as he tries to deliver it without stuttering. After a considerable amount of practice, Melvin has finally been able to say this short speech with just a minimal amount of stuttering. He smiles to himself grimly in the mirror and nods his head a bit.
Day 4 EXT. SCENE - STREETS
Melvin is walking parallel to Alicia again. A front, medium shot shows his flustered face. He suddenly knits his eyebrows together and sets his lips in a grim line. He turns on his heel until he is facing Alicia and then he marches across the street. She’s noticed him coming already and seeing his serious expression, she smiles and giggles a bit. Once Melvin has reached her side, he immediately faces frontwards until they’re standing shoulder-to-shoulder. He does not say a word. They’ve reached the bus stop. After a series of mouth opening and closing, he finally faces her.
(giggles and stutters)
H-h-hi. I t-thought you w-w-were never g-gonna t-talk to me.
Melvin looks at her in awe.
S-s-sorry. I was sh-shy.
He smiles and faces frontwards again. A close-up shot shows his hand reaching towards hers and holding it. Switches to a long shot of the two holding hands. The bus drives in and blocks out all else.