by Corey O’Meara

Short Film

‘Original Material’
Short film script by Corey O’Meara

It is late afternoon. Light streaks in through venetian blinds. The walls are covered with posters of bands and musicians. The floor is covered with piles of CDs and vinyl albums. GREG, a young man in his early 20s, sits motionless on bed, holding a guitar. A pen and paper are at his lap. He stares blankly at the wall, strumming aimlessly. Suddenly he stands, puts guitar back in case and storms out of room.
  Fuck it.

A beat-up hatchback tears through the suburban backstreets.  GREG sits in passenger seat with JOSH at the wheel. JOSH is around the same age as GREG. GREG is nursing his guitar, while guitars, amps and other equipment is piled in the back.
So, what are you saying? You didn’t write anything?
Fuck, Josh. I still live with my parents, I don’t have a girlfriend.
What have I got to write about? I go to uni, I play in a shitty
cover band and stare a blank page all day, trying to write a
fucking song for you guys.

(Adopts patronising tone)
Now Josh, you just need to write about what you’re interests,
your passions.

I don’t feel passionate about anything.

What about ‘the darker side of the human condition’?
‘Man’s struggle for identity in the modern world’? Whatever it
is you art school twats think about. 

GREG remains silent.

You don’t want to play in a ‘shitty cover band’ anymore?
Then just sit down, find some chords and some words, and let
us worry about making it sound good. Just give us any old shit
to start with. But it would be nice if we didn’t come back here
next week and have to do the exact same set again. It’s

JOSH erratically swerves to overtake another car.

We’re having fun playing music aren’t we? And we’re
making money while we’re at it, too.

It’s not about the money, Greg. It’s just....

He sighs and adjusts himself in his seat.

I just think we can go somewhere with this band, you know?
We’ve got the talent to fucking make it. I told you about the
guy that came up to me last week, after we closed with the
Pink Floyd cover. He said that watching me was exactly like
he was watching Dave Gilmour thirty years ago.  

GREG laughs derisively.

No shit, really. But we can’t keep doing covers, or we’ll never
break out. No one wants to be the best cover band in
Melbourne, it’s not enough. That’s while WE need YOU to write
some songs for us.

There is a long, awkward silence as JOSH pulls into the car park and stops the car.

Well, what have you brought in? You want to be an equal
 member of the band? You write a song.

I’m just good with riffs and shit, you know that. You’re the
Anyway, if you’re so emotional all the time, why don’t you just
put your diary to music?

  Fuck off.

Just WRITE SOMETHING. We’re all carrying you at the moment,
Greg, and we’re going to get sick of it eventually.

JOSH gets out of the car, leaving GREG sitting alone, staring blankly.
A quiet bar in the outer suburbs. The band (GREG, JOSH, a BASS PLAYER and a DRUMMER) perform, passionately and confidently, on a small stage at the rear. A BOUNCER lingers at the far left of the room, near the bar. The small crowd appear largely disinterested, except for JAKE, an 18-year-old dressed in full hip-hop gear. He leans against the bar and glances around the room, sizing up the crowd.
The band are playing the end of Pink Floyd’s ‘Money’. GREG strums, looking disinterested, while JAKE plays an over-the-top, reverb-drenched solo. When they  finish their song there is scattered applause from the audience, though most still talk amongst themselves. JAKE claps loudest of all.
Fucking awesome.

He glances around room.

Yeah, give it up from ‘em!

The crowd remain uninterested.

Thank you. This is... um...

He pauses, looking depressed.

This is song called ‘Working Class Man’.

There is a roar from some of the male members of the audience. The band begins the song, with GREG barely attempting to hit the notes. JOSH looks at him in frustration, while inserting short, sharp solos at every opportunity.

The action cuts to the end of the song. While the crowd applaud, JAKE edges his way towards the stage. All the while, he looks back to see whether he is gaining a response from the crowd. It is clear that he isn’t. The band begin tuning for the next song, with GREG facing away from the crowd, towards his amplifier.

Guys. Oi. Mate.
Oi. Guys. Hey.

JAKE bangs his hands on the stage. It is clear that while GREG is yet to hear or notice him, the other members are simply trying to ignore him.

Guys. Hey!

The band stops tuning. The camera pans around the room as the audience members exchange glances, unsure what is going on. Some laugh.

  (Laughs, playing up to the audience)
We’re sort of busy at the moment, mate.

GREG leans down and has a brief, inaudible conversation with JAKE. He nods and smiles, before returning to the microphone.

   (Addressing crowd)
Ah, this is Jake, and he has some rhymes that he wants to
get up and try out on you guys.

JAKE clambers onstage, beaming.

Yeah, thank you.
(To band)
Thanks guys. It’ll only take a minute.

JAKE pulls out a crumpled piece of paper and nervously attempts to recite his rhymes.

Immediately, the DRUMMER ad-libs a hip hop beat, but it is too fast for JAKE to keep up. He stops and nervously glances towards GREG. JOSH and the BASS PLAYER take the piss, striking hip-hop poses and jamming over the beat.
The audience laugh, but after a while the joke starts wearing thing. JAKE is clearly too nervous to continue. The band look restless, and edge back towards front of stage to regain control. The DRUMMER stops playing and JOSH gently nudges JAKE away from the microphone.

(To band)
You just need to slow down a bit. Let me try again.

(To crowd)
Can you all please give a big hand to Vanilla Ice.

The crowd laugh. JAKE is clearly stung.

The band resume their positions on stage. An awkward shuffle follows between JAKE and JOSH.

  (To crowd)
Please, you guys will give me a chance, won’t you?

Piss off!

What did you say?

Get fucked mate.

There is an awkward silence. We see several close-ups: JAKE looking hurt, JOSH grinning, clearly loving the drama; and GREG looking uncomfortable. JOSH begins playing the intro to ‘Jessie’s Girl’ loudly. He repeats the riff over and over, waiting for GREG to start singing.

GREG puts his arm on JAKE’s shoulder and directs him off stage. The crowd cheer as JAKE returns to bar, looking hurt. JOSH grins victoriously, and then nods for GREG to begin singing. GREG stands completely still, staring blankly at JOSH. JOSH shrugs his shoulders, walks to GREG’s microphone and begins singing. 

JAKE stares at his drink as the band play, the audience now singing the words as one.

The band play the final chorus of ‘Run To Paradise’. The audience sing loudly, some putting their arms around each other and waving their drinks in the air. GREG has returned to singing, and pouring his frustration into the song. JAKE is now drinking more heavily. As the band close with an over-the-top ‘rock ending’, GREG slashes at his guitar wildly, milking feedback from his amplifier. The crowd erupt into wild applause.

  (Muttering to himself sarcastically)
Yeah, fuckin’ brilliant.

When the applause finally dies down, he begins slow-clapping, getting progressively louder. His eyes scan the audience – he now has their full attention. He is suddenly emboldened.

  (Loudly, to crowd)
  Come on then, give ‘em a big hand.

JOSH swaggers towards the microphone. 

  (Adopts patronising tone)
Ah, they’re our audience, they’ll clap when we tell them to.

The audience laugh and cheer.

(Growing angry)
You got something you want to say to me? Come
over here and fucking say it, then.

The BOUNCER grabs JAKE and a scuffle ensues. He is dragged out of the Bar as the crowd applaud loudly.


The BOUNCER pushes JAKE through the door. JAKE stumbles awkwardly and turns to face the BOUNCER, pushing himself right into his face.

Don’t fucking touch me. I didn’t do anything.

  (Remaining calm)
Just piss off mate, you’re not coming back in.

This is bullshit.

JAKE shoves the BOUNCER, who pushes back, leaving JAKE sprawled on the ground.


As the band tune their instruments, JAKE’s torrent of abuse can be heard from outside. JOSH grins and laughs to himself, while GREG looks anxiously towards the door.
JOSH has now hit his stride, riding a wave of audience approval.

  This next one is for our new-found friend.

The band launch into ‘American Idiot’, with JOSH singing. They have now fully won over the crowd, but GREG is clearly unhappy. He stabs angrily at his guitar, creating sharp bursts of noise.



The band pack-up their equipment after the gig. The other members avoid making eye contact with the GREG. Finally JOSH breaks the silence.

Well, I reckon WE played a great fucking set tonight.
(He turns to GREG)
You weren’t exactly ‘into it’ though, were you?

Look, it had nothing to do with the music. We only won
over the crowd after you put down that guy. Anyone can
do that. And that’s what they’re going to remember about
tonight, not us .

Another CROWD MEMBER approaches JOSH.

Hey mate, great job with that dickhead from before.

GREG laughs to himself.

I reckon you guys could do with some originals, though.

  Yeah, mate. We’re working on that.

JOSH looks at GREG pointedly. GREG picks up guitar case and walks out alone.


GREG and JOSH pack their guitar cases into the back of JOSH’s car as JAKE walks past. JOSH grins at him.

There’s no hard feelings, hey, mate?

Yeah. Course.

JAKE tries to walk past, but JOSH moves closer. He waves his hands from side to side, mocking JAKE.

Maybe we can do a duet next time, hey? You could
bring your turntables.

(Turns angry)
Look, get fucked. I was only asking a minute of your time.

Well, maybe if you had your own fans, then you wouldn’t
need to crash other people’s gigs. We know our audience,
mate, they’re not into hip-hip. They’re there to see us. 
A smile creeps across JAKE’s face. He laughs.

Mate, they’re not YOUR audience. They’re a bunch of drunk
bogans at a pub. And you know what they like? They like
hearing the same shitty pub rock songs that they hear EVERY
Friday night. It doesn’t matter how you play them. So don’t
act like you’re a big fucking rock star. You may as well be a

JAKE walks off. JOSH is unfazed.

Ha, what a twat.
  You know what? I’m not going to be forced to write songs.
  If a song comes, it comes. If it doesn’t, then that’s just the way
it is.

  Mate, if you want this band to go somewhere, then you’re
  going to write for us, ok? Otherwise we’re just going to have to
  find someone else to do it.

GREG smiles.

  Josh, I just want to enjoy playing music without turning into an

GREG watches JAKE walking away. He picks up his guitar case.

  I’ll pick up the rest of my shit tomorrow, ok?

He walks off quickly to catch up to JAKE, leaving JOSH standing alone.

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