Example of Screenplay Summary: Alien
Alien, written by Dan O'Brien and Ronald Schusetts, is a quintessential and highly successful Chase-Pursuit screenplay. In Sequence 1, the crew of the Nostromo is awaked by 'Mother' to investigate a mysterious signal from a stormy planet. By Sequence 8, after discovering a hoard of alien eggs, one hatches and the newborn attaches to one of the crewman's face. Disasterously, the alien is brought aboard the Nostromo...
Screenplay by Dan O’Bannon and Roland Shusett
"Commercial towing vehicle: ‘The Nostromo’. Crew: seven. Cargo: refinery processing 20,000,000 tons of mineral ore. Course: returning to Earth."
SEQUENCE: ‘Mother’, the computer aboard the cargo ship, Nostromo, wakes the crew after detecting a signal from a life form. The crew must investigate.
Scene 1: The Nostromo glides through space. Aboard, all is quiet. Suddenly, a signal arrives: ‘Nostromo 180924609’. Lights come on aboard the ship. A door opens. The seven crew members awaken in their sleeping pods.
Scene 2: The crew sits at the table and eats: RIPLEY, Captain DALLAS, LAMBERT, BRETT, KANE, ASH and PARKER. Parker and Brett initiate a discussion on their inequitable bonuses. Dallas says they get what they contractually agreed to. Ash tells Dallas that MOTHER is calling. The message is for Dallas’ eyes only.
Scene 3: In an antechamber, Dallas punches in a code, retrieves a key to unlock a door and enters the control room where the ‘Mother’ computer is located. Dallas types: ‘What’s the story Mother?’
Scene 4: The crew tries to figure out their location. Lambert calls on the radio, but there is no answer. The Nostromo continues its journey. Lambert discovers they are not in the right location.
Scene 5: Dallas tells the crew that they are only half way home. Mother intercepted a transmission of unknown origin which triggered her to wake up the crew. Parker argues that it is not in his contract to do this kind of work (Refusal of the Call). Ash says that a clause in their contract necessitates they investigate any transmission indicating: “Intelligent origin.” Otherwise, they forfeit their shares. Dallas says they are going in.
SEQUENCE: Kane seems have recovered from the alien’s attachment to his face.
Scene 33: Aboard the Nostromo, Parker suggests they freeze Kane until they get back home. Brett automatically agrees. Dallas says Kane must go into quarantine. Lambert announces that because of their diversion to the planet, they are now 10 months away from Earth. Ash calls for Dallas to come down to the infirmary to see Kane.
Scene 34: In the infirmary, Kane is awake. Kane drinks water. Kane says he last remembers: “Smothering.” Dallas says they will go to sleep soon.
SEQUENCE: The alien ‘hatches’ from Kane’s chest and disappears. Kane is ‘buried’ in space.
Scene 35: The crew eats. Kane begins to eat. Suddenly, Kane begins to retch. Kane stands and collapses onto the table. Kane convulses. Parker tries to put something between Kane’s teeth. Suddenly, blood spurts from Kane’s chest. Then, a small alien bursts from Kane’s chest. Ash stops Parker from killing the alien with a knife “Don’t touch it!” The alien screeches and then runs across the table. The crew stands completely startled.
Scene 36: Later, on the bridge, the crew watches the screen as Kane’s body is ejected into space.
SEQUENCE: The crew begins their search for the alien; the alien kills Brett.
Scene 37: On the bridge, Brett shows the crew an electrified prod to use as a weapon. Ash has designed a tracking device to detect a moving object, but is only effective at close range. Dallas decides there will be two teams: Ash, Lambert and Dallas; and Ripley, Parker and Brett. Dallas wants them to catch the alien and put it in the airlock. They begin their search...
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