Friday, 3 April 2009

Coming Up: And Kill Them

By kind permission of writer Seamus Hilley, I'm delighted to be able to post the And Kill Them treatment.

TREATMENT

AND KILL THEM by SEAMUS HILLEY

AND KILL THEM is set in the living quarters of an Army training regiment, where rooms are spartan, first names are never used and nineteen is middle-aged. Hundreds of young men have passed through this room but one thing has remained constant: a poster of KELLY, naked, a Poundstretcher vision of glamour. Many have dreamed that she might just step out of the poster and become flesh and blood but nobody has ever seen her before. Then EVANS came along.

He’s scared to admit it but Evans can see her sometimes. Half glimpsed, from the corner of his eye, he watches her walk among them. And she really does. In return, Kelly can see something special in him. If he does well and finishes his training, she knows an IED in Iraq will kill him. She’d tell him if she could but, luckily, Evans is a fuck-up and seems unlikely to stay in the Army for long. When the recruits are at attention outside the room all he has to do is remember his number in the sequence and shout it out. But the words won’t come. It’s as if he can’t throw off who he used to be and become like the others.

This has serious consequences for him. Not just from his training NCO whom we hear, but never see. Authority may be vested in the shouting voices which lurk outside their room but direct retribution will come from those who must suffer for Evan’s failures alongside him; the three recruits who share his room. The Army relies on peer pressure to cull the weaklings from the herd. One of them, CAMPBELL, is determined to drive Evans out. He’s a classic bully, able to sniff out any weakness and prey on it. In the long run he’s doing Evan’s a favour, but CLARKE and KING, the other roommates, are less keen. They are repelled by Campbell’s persecution of Evans and try to stick up for him.

Evans blossoms when these two show him a little friendship. All of them are looking to the Army to supply something lacking in their lives, direction, education or simply the sense of belonging. Kelly is dismayed as she watches him begin to fit in and lose himself in the comforting embrace of service life.

When Evans screws up his number sequence once more Campbell is prevented from hurting him. He goes to bed that night with a sense of the job undone. In his dreams Kelly encourages him to sabotage Evans’ locker for inspection the following day. He does this, the Corporal throws everyone’s kit out the window, and finally Clarke and King begin to turn against Evans. Kelly sees the shadow of death is lifting from round his shoulders.

But like all bullies Campbell goes too far. He and another recruit dangle Evans upside down from a third storey window. This encourages Evans to remember his number but his naked terror brings out the protector in Clarke and King. They realise that Campbell was only a heartbeat away from murder and give him a hiding. They will help and protect Evans for the rest of his training.

Evans no longer sees Kelly. But she watches with mixed emotions as Evans rejoices in the comforts of the first real family he has known and sets out happily on the long road toward Iraq.

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Two more examples of previously successful treatments can be found on the Touchaper Television website.

Thanks again to Seamus. It's really useful to look at these treatments and watch the films. As I mentioned yesterday, the more you do this, the more you get a sense of what the scheme is looking for. Although the stories and tones vary, there are aspects, even just technical details, that come up time and again. It certainly proved very useful as I rewrite my script, and I'm sure it will make my application stronger.

3 comments:

Janice Okoh said...

have they got rid of these programmes on Channel 4 catch up?

Jez Freedman said...

I don't know, have they?? That would be a shame. I've just been recording them as and when they've been on CH4. Look out for a couple more this week I think

Jason Arnopp said...

The current run of Coming Ups is definitely online right now, because I watched a load of them last night. Also, some older stuff like The Spastic King.