Campaign of the Month: March 2014
GD Episode 001
A black screen lingers for a moment before a voice over says, “Tonight’s series premeire of Gotham Days is brought to you without commercial interruption by the OsCorp Technologies. Tomorrows Technologies, Today.” After a half second the screen fades in on a small classroom. At the bottom of the screen the words, “December 21st” fade in. The camera pans across the faces of a dozen students while a teacher can be heard talking faintly in the background. Finally, the camera pans to the front of the room, where Amanda Leighton stands in front of a whiteboard with the words “9th Grade Biology” written across the top.
“As you know, Principle Stonehill has decided to offer an extended Winter break. You’ll return to class on January 7th instead of December 31st. The compromise was that every teacher assigns a project to be completed by the start of class on the 7th.
Miss Leighton sighs as the class groans, “I know. I’m not particularly fond of teaching Freshmen Biology but sometimes you have to do things you don’t like. So, for your winter project you’ll all write a Comparative Anatomy paper. You will pick an animal, learn about it’s anatomy and then compare it to the anatomy of a human. Topics to be covered include digestive, excretory, respiratory, circulatory, nervous system, muscular and skeletal systems. This paper will act as your mid-term final for the class, so don’t slack on it.”
The class groans again and Miss Leighton calls on a student, “Yes, Ray?”
“Go ahead, Ray.”
“Do we get to pick the animal?”
“Yes, Ray. Any animal you like.”
Ray’s demeanor grows serious and turns to look at the student next to him. In a deathly serious tone, Ray says “I call dibs on Alpacas.”
The screen fades to black and big bold white letters appear in the center of the screen, “Gotham Days”. A second later the episode title fades below the show title, “Freshmen Year: Part One”.
The show fades in on an exterior shot of the Twelve Mansion and in the lower right corner the following words appear: “December 23rd”. The camera cuts to an interior shot of Trevor’s room where we see Trevor laying on his back, throwing a basketball up and catching it. Over and over and over. Suddenly, Trevor bats the basketball across the room and jumps to his feet. He marches over to his land line phone and picks up the receiver.
“George, we’re going to throw a party.”, Trevor says into the phone.
“Dad’s not around. Plus he left me twelve grand for a Christmas present.”, Trevor replies to an unheard comment.
“The 28th. You always throw a party on Friday.”, Trevor says.
“Yeah, we can make this happen in six days. No problem.”
“What do you mean we only have four days?”
“It’s not my problem if a store is closed. Figure it out, George.”
Trevor hangs up the phone and walks over to his computer. He sits down, logs into Facebook and starts to setup a new Event. As he starts to type the short time frame starts to sink in. To no one in particular he says, “How am I going to pull this off?”…
The show fades in on a shot of Rumi Takahashi sitting in her room slowing and carefully writing her biology paper. In the lower right corner the following words appear: “December 22nd”. The door to her room opens and she immediately stops and turns to face her father.
“What is it that you are working on there?”, Benimaru asks.
“An Anatomical Study of Ocelots in Comparison to Humans for my Biology class.”, She promptly replies.
Benimaru thinks for a moment before replying, “This paper is a waste of our time. I’ve arranged for a tutor to instruct you instead.”
“I beg forgiveness father, but this essay is a large portion of my grade.”, Rumi replies.
Benimaru thinks for another moment before he nods and says, “Very well. You can write your essay after your lessons with the tutor.”
Rumi looks upset for only a brief moment before she replies, “Very well father. What will I be studying?”
Benimaru smiles, “Only the most important subject a young woman can learn. Cooking.”
Tilt: The show cuts to a montage of Rumi’s private cooking lessons. We first see her preparing some traditional Japanese mushroom dish. As she works her instructor is giving her various warnings in Japanese. The translation appears across the bottom of the screen, “Be very careful with mushrooms. The death cap contain over seven toxins.” The montage cuts to a rhubarb dish with the text, “Rhubarb leaves contain high concentrations of oxalate. Also fatal.” followed by potatoes, “Unripe potatoes contain solanine and chaconine.”, tapioca “A natural source of cyanide if not properly cooked.” and peanuts, “Deadly for those allergic.” The final shot of the montage shows Rumi carefully preparing a Fugu dish. Her instructor is speaking in Japanese, “Tetrodotoxin, is 1,200 times more potent than cyanide. Hundreds die each year from it.”
The show fades in on the school gymnasium and in the lower right corner the following words appear: “January 4th”. The camera pans past a long shot of empty bleachers as it moves towards the squeak of sneakers. At the far end of a basketball court a small obstacle course is setup and we see Ray Castlemen running drills. Sweat pours down his face and his white gym shirt is soaked through. He hits the end of the tire run and paces over to a bench with his water. He takes a long pull from the bottle and turns around as he hears a door open.
From a near door, Coach Stevenson walks in and starts heading towards Ray, “Those drills are looking good, Castlemen. I need you in top form this season. Lets see you run that drill again.”
“I got a paper to write, Coach.”, Ray replies.
Coach Stevenson walks over and puts his hand on Ray’s shoulder, “We have a real chance to make it to state this year, son. If the team’s going to have a shot we need you to be at the top of your game. Now, I know I don’t need to ask you what’s more important; The wrestling team going to state this year or some paper?”
Ray thinks hard on Coach’s words before a determined look sets across his face, “Going to state, of course!”
“That’s my boy. Now, lets see another set!”
The show fades in on an exterior shot of ElectroCity and in the lower right corner the following words appear: “December 31st”. The camera cuts inside where we see Alex Cross sitting alone at a table in the far back of the room. He sips his soda and watches people around him talk. From the kitchen a woman dressed like Harley Quinn emerges carrying a tray of food. She makes her way over to Alex and sets the little paper dish down in front of him.
“SuperTots with cheese.”, she says off-handedly before turning to walk away.
“Hello Miss Leighton.”, Alex barely squeaks out.
Amanda Leighton, dressed in her Harley Quinn outfit, doesn’t hear Alex and walks away. Alex slumps down in his chair and softly whispers, “I was wondering what you were doing tonight for New Years…”
Alex sighs and takes a bite out of his SuperTots. Then the table shakes as some sits down across from him. He looks up from his food to see Virgil Black sitting across from him. Alex quickly straightens up and stammers something.
“You know, SuperTots were always Calliope’s favorite.”, Virgil says with a smile.
Alex smiles, “Really? Calliope was so awesome.”
“You don’t know the half of it.”, Virgil says with a wink, “But, it’s not our Calliope that you eye every time you come in here.”
Alex blushes and looks back down at his SuperTots.
“Did I ever tell you about the time I had to take down Joker and Harley Quinn?”, Virgil says.
“Umm… You’ve never talked to me before.”, Alex says.
Virgil blinks and squints carefully at Alex, “No. I’m sure we’ve talked before…”
“Ok, sir. Maybe I don’t remember.”
Virgil squints at Alex again, “No… You would… Maybe we haven’t talked before.”
Just then Amanda Leighton\Harley Quinn stops at their table and refills Alex’s drink. Alex looks up hopefully but when he opens his mouth, nothing comes out. Amanda leaves and Virgil looks carefully at Alex before he speaks again.
“This one time I was out with Nighthawk. We were investigating some break-ins, this was during the Clench out break about fifty years ago. Anyway, we made out way into this fancy house only to find Catwoman red handed. She started to attempt to seduce us and had Nighthawk eating out of her hand. I saw what she was up to so I did the only sensible thing. I counter-seduced Catwoman. Best decision I’ve ever made.”, Virgil says.
“Umm… Ok…”, Alex replies.
“My point is, sometimes a man has to speak up. Talk to Harley there. It’ll be the best choice you’ve ever made.”, Virgil says before he stands up. He shake’s Alex’s hand before he walks away. A look of determination crosses Alex’s face… for only a second.
The show fades in on a small, cramped, dirty, apartment living room and in the lower right corner the following words appear: “December 25th”. The camera pans around the apartment, cluttered by not messy, until it lands on two boys watching television. The old claymation Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas special is playing and when the commercials come on the older boy stands up and asks, “You want anything from the kitchen while I’m up?”
After a long pause, “When is Mom going to be home?”, the younger boy asks.
“She’s working late again. Don’t worry, she promised to be home before Rudolph ends.”, the older brother replies.
Another long pause, “Ok. I miss Dad.”
“I know you do. Want anything?”, the older brother asks.
“No. I’m ok.”
As the older brother turns we finally catch a look at his face. Sam Donovan walks into the kitchen and opens the fridge. He begins to contemplate his Christmas dinner when the phone rings. He looks at the caller id before grabbing the receiver on the second ring.
“Where are you?”, Sam asks.
A pause for a reply.
“Come on, Mom. What about, Nick?”
“You can’t put this on me. You tell to him!”
Another pause then Sam slams down the receiver. He looks over to see Nick standing in the doorway.
“Mom’s not coming home again.”, Nick says matter-of-factly
Sam just shakes his head. Tears well up in Nick’s eyes and Sam moves quickly to hug his younger brother.
“It’s ok, Nicky. We have each other.”
Nick sniffles, “I know Sam… But can…”
“What?”, Sam asks.
“You have to promise not to get mad.”, Nick replies.
“I won’t get mad, Nicky. It’s Christmas. We’ll do whatever you want.”, Sam replies.
“You name it.”
“Take me to see Dad again.”
Sam looks upset for a moment but quickly masks his reaction. He glances at his watch and sees that they have plenty of time before holiday visiting hours end. If they left now, and traffic wasn’t to bad, they could make the last visitation period at Blackgate…
The show fades in on a massive sitting room with dark wood paneled walls and deep brown leather smoking chairs. In the lower right corner the following words appear: “January 1st”. A lone figure sits, sprawled the wrong way across one of the big leather arm chairs with what can only be described as a Tome in her hands. The camera pans around and we watch Aisling Stonehill read for a few seconds. Then, from off camera, we hear a rhythmical mumbling. Aisling closes her book and listens intently. After a moment she stands up and walks to the door. Cracking the door open she steps into the hallway and the mumbling grows slightly louder.
Aisling makes he way through the sprawling Stonehill estate, following the faint voice through the twists and turns. After a moment she finds herself outside of Thomas Stonehill’s study. She cups her ear and puts her head against the door. A second later she looks vaguely disappointed and grabs the door knob gingerly. Slowly, carefully, she twists the handle and barely pushes the door open. From inside, Thomas Stonehill’s voice comes out clear as a bell.
“Tell me what you know!”, He says in an authoritative voice.
There is a pause and they he says, “Damn it! I know that you know! I need to know!”
Another pause. Aisling pushes the door open a touch more, just enough to peek through. The camera pulls in tight and we can see Thomas Stonehill standing by his desk. His back is to the camera but his posture indicates he is holding something in front of him with both hands. He shakes the object and turns slightly. Just enough for the camera to catch a glimpse of an old metal helmet. Aisling quickly pulls the door back closed and goes back to just listening. She knows that if Thomas catches her peeking at him in his study she’ll be grounded for eternity. Still, she has to know why he’s talking to a hat…
The show fades in on an exterior shot of Stein Antiquities. In the lower right corner the following words appear: “December 24th”. Michael sits on a stool and looks totally, completely, and thoroughly bored. His eyes slowly slip closed but he jumps awake as he starts to slide off the stool. A second passes and his eyes begin to close again. Then the bells on the door jingle as it’s violently thrown open. Michael jumps off his stool sending it clattering to the floor.
From outside Anna Balot comes running in. He’s beautiful face a streak of mascara and tears. She runs across the store and throws herself into Micheal’s arms with total abandonment. Michael catches her and holds her for a brief moment before he speaks, “What’s going on, sis?”
Anna says something unintelligible and begins bawling again. Michael pats her on the back and starts saying every soothing, comforting thing his brain can think of. A couple times Anna looks up and stammers a word or two before bursting into tears again. Michael eventually sits her down in the back and goes up to the front door. He flips the lock closed and the sign to “Sorry You Missed Us, We’ll Be Back Shortly.” He then heads back to his sister.
“Anna, I need you to tell me what’s going on.”, Michael says slowly.
“I… I… I know… It’s just… It’s just… just…”, Anna chokes out her words.
“Anna, it’s ok. Just tell me.”, Michael says.
“It’s Spencer!”, Anna blurts and begins sobbing again.
“Spencer?”, Michael almost shouts, “What did he do?!”
Anna points at her backpack and Michael goes over and grabs it for her. He hands Anna her bag and she starts digging around inside. She then pulls out a massive box of chocolates, a four page love letter, and a small stuffed bear holding a heart that says, “I love you, Anna Balot” on it. Michael looks confused and glances back at Anna.
“Wha…?”, Michael says.
“Spencer!”, Anna sobs, “I have to break up with him!”
Michael blinks, “Wha…?”, he says again.
“SPENCER!”, Anna cries, “He’s perfect and I’m holding him back!”
Then Anna breaks down again and begins crying. The gears click into place for Michael and he’s left staring at his sobbing sister. His brain scrambles to think of what to say…
The show fades in on a shot of the Sterling family dinner. In the lower right corner the following words appear: “January 6th”. The Sterlings are eating a large spaghetti dinner, the traditional Sunday meal. Ronald Sterling sits at the head of the table, quietly eating his meal. Next to him is Martha Sterling who takes quick bites in-between feeding baby Sylvester Sterling. Across from his mother sits Spencer Sterling, eating slowly and occasionally glancing at the empty chair next to him. His mother catches his glance and smiles.
“Oh, Spence. We all miss Samantha.”, Martha says.
“It’s just so weird to not have her around.”, Spencer replies.
“I know, but we’ll adjust. Plus she’ll be back to visit I’m sure. You still get breaks in College.”, Martha says warmly.
The family go back to their meal for a moment before Spencer’s father speaks up.
“Bread’s a little dry tonight.”, he says in a flat tone.
Martha stops feeding Sylvester and looks over at Ronald. Sensing something is wrong, Spencer stops eating and looks up at his parents. A long moment passes as Martha simply stares at Ronald. For his part, Ronald keeps eating, not even noticing Martha’s gaze. Then Martha bursts into tears. She pushes her chair back from the table as Slyvester starts crying too. Spencer jumps to his feet as his mother runs out of the dining room and up the stairs. Spencer’s jaw drops open and he looks over to his father. Ronald pulls the napkin out from his shirt collar and drops it on top of his half-eaten food.
“Well. This meal is ruined.”, he says before calmly standing up and walking out the back door and onto the porch. Spencer stares after him for a moment as Slyvester screams. Then reality comes crashing back down around him and he walks over to the other side of the table. Spencer picks up his baby brother and starts trying to calm him down…
Back to Class
The camera fades in on the same biology class we saw in the opening of the show. At the bottom of the screen the words, “January 7th” fade in. The camera pans across the faces of a dozen students, some of the faces we now recognize. In the front row we see Alex Cross, Rumi Takahashi, Ray Castlemen, and a student we haven’t seen yet. Seated in the second row are Aisling M. Stonehill, Trevor Twelve, Anna Balot, and Spencer Sterling. Finally, in the back of the class sit Michael Stein, Sam Donovan, , and and two other students.
The camera pans to the front of the room, where Amanda Leighton stands in front of a whiteboard with the words “9th Grade Biology” written across the top.
“Alright class, turn in your winter break papers. I shouldn’t have to remind you but since you’ve been off for two weeks I will anyway. By mandate of our Principle, all tests are graded on a curve….”