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Stencils

Red Tide

Screenplay

Establishing shot:
Mountain range in the distance.  Snow covers it, the closer foothills, and the field in the foreground.  Some houses are visible, small in the distance, snow covered as well but even through the snow they are clearly different.  Their shape, their roofs and their colors are different than what you might expect.

The main scene:
Camera pulls in and up, panning down to reveal first one and then a second man in the foreground.  The camera angle is such that you can see both men clearly, see that the shorter of the two is standing on pavement. The other is standing on a small step ladder and obviously working on the large bare metal tubular structure in front him.  The camera's point of view is from atop that structure and the frame is only large enough to view both men and nothing else of the structure.  A jeep is parked nearby and the frame includes the back of this vehicle.  That portion is open and cans of paint can be seen within the canvas top.

Both men are wearing oversized flight mechanic coveralls.  Both men are also obviously wearing cold weather gear under those coveralls.  The shorter man, standing on the payment next to the other man standing on the step ladder, is Asian.  His exact age is hard to tell for in his face he looks tired.  Tired beyond his years.  He stands there attentively, helping the other man.  This man is taller and is American.  By the stripes sewn on the sleeves of his coveralls you can see he is a sergeant.  From their movements it is obvious that both men have worked together for some time now such that not many words need be spoken between them to accomplish their tasks.

The American turns slightly and reaches out to the other man who hands him a small piece of stiff paper.  This paper is well smeared with black paint.  The American turns back to his task but soon speaks to his assistant.

American: "Louie, this one's worn out already.  Hand me a fresh one, will ya?"

The Assistant bows slightly, a quick thing that, hardly noticeable, and then turns to the jeep and pulls out another piece of stiff paper from an open box with many other pieces of such paper.  This piece though is unmarked by any paint.

The American holds the paper up to look it over.  The camera angle doesn't show the paper clearly but makes it obvious the American is checking the piece over.  Satisfied, he turns back to his work.  The sound of some small bits of tape being torn off its roll soon follows.  The American leans back and turns to his Assistant and looks for his reaction.  The Assistant nods and then hands the American the airbrush.  Its hiss sounds briefly until the American is satisfied with his work.  He hands the airbrush back to the Assistant.

Cut to close up of the side of the bare metal structure the American was just working on.  Shot angle is very flat so the subject of the work is not entirely visible - just the American gently peeling off the stiff paper he just used.  From the pattern cut into the paper it is now obvious it is a stencil but its subject matter is still not clear.

The American removes the rest of the tape that helped him align the stencil on the metal structure.  He hands this to the Assistant off camera.  Stepping down from the ladder, he folds that up while still looking at the stenciling.  He hands the ladder to the Assistant as well.

American: "OK, Colonel, all set."

Camera pulls out and up again as the Colonel walks into the frame.  The Colonel is a dark haired man in his 30's and even in his cold weather gear he is seen to be precise and professional. His jeep is now visible just within the frame as well.

American: "It's still drying so..."

Colonel: "I know, don't touch it yet.  Thanks Sergeant."

American: "Yes sir.  OK Louie, let's go."

In the background there is the sound of the American and his assistant stowing their gear and driving off in their jeep.

The Colonel walks up to the bare metal structure and looks closely at the American's handiwork.  The camera moves out from the bare metal structure so its view is now aside the Colonel as he reaches up to the stenciling.

Cut to close up of the Colonel's hand as he reaches out to the stenciling.  Camera pans so that the Colonel's hand and the stencil marking is now visible.  The marking is oddly shaped.  The camera pulls back a bit to make the image more clear and it is revealed to be that of a squat looking tree or, more appropriately - a mushroom.  A black mushroom.

The camera pulls further back to now reveal another black mushroom stencil next to the most recent one.  As the camera pulls back even further more and more black mushroom stencils are revealed.  All the stencils are the same except for the very first one.  The difference there is the lettering underneath it which reads: "08/06/45."

Cut to a full frame shot of another Army sergeant, this one a four striper to the painter’s six.  He is carrying a camera and stepping toward the screen.  His winter jacket is open enough at the collar to see his Public Affairs insignia.  The PA sergeant addresses the Colonel:

PA Sergeant:  “Sir, if you’d step to the right and hold your hand up next to it?”

Cut back to a close up of the Colonel’s face.  He looks a bit lost in thought.  Reflecting on other things.  Not the least of which is how many more stencil markings are painted in the row yet how few people are gathered now to note this one and how many more were there for the first one.  This bit of melancholy introspection lasts but a minute before the Colonel squares himself, subtly, to the task.

Colonel:  “I know the drill.  Make it quick, Williams, I’ve got tonight’s op to set up.”

The camera now pulls back further to show the full side of the bare metal structure and the other lettering on it.  Just above that first stencil is the much larger lettering which reads: "Enola Gay."

The PA Sergeant comes into the foreground, his back to the camera, and lines up to take his photos of the Colonel and his latest mission marker, freshly painted.

PA Sergeant:  “Yes sir.  Standard stuff, sir.  Just like the last time.”  The PA Sergeant chatters as he snaps away.

The camera continues to pull back and now that bare metal structure is fully revealed as being an airplane.  A large airplane.  Specifically, it is a Boeing B-29 “Superfortress” four engined bomber. 

PA Sergeant:  “Thank you sir.  I’ll have these ready in a short bit.”  The PA Sergeant begins stowing his camera.

The Colonel then turns and walks back to his jeep.  The camera follows him as he hops into the passenger side seat.  Before his driver turns the jeep away and heads off, the camera frame shows the stenciling on the side of the jeep which reads: "Col. Tibbets."

The camera pulls up and back as the jeep drives away.  This reveals his plane fully and then shows the row after row after row of B-29's at this airbase, in western China, in the late winter of 1946.

Fade out to...

# # #







If you would like to learn more about me – just ask!   Drop me a line and we’ll see what happens.  I can be reached
here at: madoc@madoc.us.

You can also try using Yahoo Messenger as I’ll have that one sometimes while I am at work or at home.

My Yahoo handle is:

madoc62

Until later then,

Madoc

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This page was last updated on: 31 March 2004