film directing class

Do the storyboard: from TAXI DRIVER by Paul Schrader

                                                PROPERTY OF:
                                       
"The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief
that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious
phenomenon, is the central and inevitable fact of human
existence."
--Thomas Wolfe,
"God's Lonely Man"

TRAVIS BICKLE, age 26, lean, hard, the consummate loner. On
the surface he appears good-looking, even handsome; he has a
quiet steady look and a disarming smile which flashes from
nowhere, lighting up his whole face. But behind that smile,
around his dark eyes, in his gaunt cheeks, one can see the
ominous stains caused by a life of private fear, emptiness
and loneliness. He seems to have wandered in from a land
where it is always cold, a country where the inhabitants
seldom speak. The head moves, the expression changes, but
the eyes remain ever-fixed, unblinking, piercing empty space.

Travis is now drifting in and out of the New York City night
life, a dark shadow among darker shadows.  Not noticed, no
reason to be noticed, Travis is one with his surroundings.
He wears rider jeans, cowboy boots, a plaid western shirt
and a worn beige Army jacket with a patch reading, "King
Kong Company 1968-70".

He has the smell of sex about him: Sick sex, repressed sex,
lonely sex, but sex nonetheless. He is a raw male force,
driving forward; toward what, one cannot tell. Then one
looks closer and sees the evitable. The clock sprig cannot
be wound continually tighter. As the earth moves toward the
sun, Travis Bickle moves toward violence.

FILM OPENS on EXT. of MANHATTAN CAB GARAGE.  Weather-beaten
sign above driveway reads, "Taxi Enter Here". Yellow cabs
scuttle in and out. It is WINTER, snow is piled on the
curbs, the wind is howling.

INSIDE GARAGE are parked row upon row of multi-colored taxis.
Echoing SOUNDS of cabs idling, cabbies talking. Steamy
breath and exhaust fill the air.

INT. CORRIDOR of cab company offices. Lettering on ajar door
reads:

                       PERSONAL OFFICE

                     Marvis Cab Company
                   Blue and White Cab Co.
                          Acme Taxi
                  Dependable Taxi Services
                       JRB Cab Company
                     Speedo Taxi Service
                                                            2.

SOUND of office busywork: shuffling, typing, arguing.

PERSONAL OFFICE is a cluttered disarray. Sheets with heading
"Marvis, B&W, Acme" and so forth are tacked to crumbling
plaster wall: It is March. Desk is cluttered with forms,
reports and an old upright Royal typewriter.

Dishelved middle-aged New Yorker looks up from the desk. We
CUT IN to ongoing conversation between the middle-aged
PERSONNEL OFFICER and a YOUNG MAN standing in front on his
desk.

The young man is TRAVIS BICKLE. He wears his jeans, boots
and Army jacket. He takes a drag off his unfiltered cigarette.

The PERSONNEL OFFICER is beat and exhausted: he arrives at
work exhausted. TRAVIS is something else again. His intense
steely gaze is enough to jar even the PERSONNEL OFFICER out
of his workaday boredom.

                         PERSONNEL OFFICER (O.S.)
            No trouble with the Hack Bureau?

                         TRAVIS (O.S.)
            No Sir.

                         PERSONNEL OFFICER (O.S.)
            Got your license?

                         TRAVIS (O.S.)
            Yes.

                         PERSONNEL OFFICER
            So why do you want to be a taxi
            driver?

                         TRAVIS
            I can't sleep nights.

                         PERSONNEL OFFICER
            There's porno theatres for that.

                         TRAVIS
            I know. I tried that.

The PERSONNEL OFFICER, though officious, is mildly probing
and curious.  TRAVIS is a cipher, cold and distant. He
speaks as if his mind doesn't know what his mouth is saying.

                         PERSONNEL OFFICER
            So whatja do now?

                                                            3.

                         TRAVIS
            I ride around nights mostly.
            Subways, buses. See things. Figur'd
            I might as well get paid for it.

                         PERSONNEL OFFICER
            We don't need any misfits around
            here, son.

A thin smile cracks almost indiscernibly across TRAVIS' lips.

                         TRAVIS
            You kiddin? Who else would hack
            through South Bronx or Harlem at
            night?

                         PERSONNEL OFFICER
            You want to work uptown nights?

                         TRAVIS
            I'll work anywhere, anytime. I know
            I can't be choosy.

                         PERSONNEL OFFICER
                   (thinks a moment)
            How's your driving record?

                         TRAVIS
            Clean. Real clean.
                   (pause, thin smile)
            As clean as my conscience.

                         PERSONNEL OFFICER
            Listen, son, you gonna get smart,
            you can leave right now.

                         TRAVIS
                   (apologetic)
            Sorry, sir. I didn't mean that.

                         PERSONNEL OFFICER
            Physical? Criminal?

                         TRAVIS
            Also clean.

                         PERSONNEL OFFICER
            Age?

                         PERSONNEL OFFICER
            Twenty-six.

                         PERSONNEL OFFICER
            Education?

                                                            4.

                         TRAVIS
            Some. Here and there.

                         PERSONNEL OFFICER
            Military record?

                         TRAVIS
            Honorable discharge. May 1971.

                         PERSONNEL OFFICER
            You moonlightin?

                         TRAVIS
            No, I want long shifts.

                         PERSONNEL OFFICER
                   (casually, almost to himself)
            We hire a lot of moonlighters here.

                         TRAVIS
            So I hear.

                         PERSONNEL OFFICER
                   (looks up at Travis)
            Hell, we ain't that much fussy
            anyway. There's always opening on
            one fleet or another.
                   (rummages through his
                   drawer, collecting
                   various pink, yellow
                   and white forms)
            Fill out these forms and give them
            to the girl at the desk, and leave
            your phone number. You gotta phone?

                         TRAVIS
            No.

                         PERSONNEL OFFICER
            Well then check back tomorrow.

                         TRAVIS
            Yes, Sir.

                                            CUT TO:

CREDITS

CREDITS appear over scenes from MANHATTAN NIGHTLIFE. The
snow has melted, it is spring.

A rainy, slick, wet miserable night in Manhattan's theatre
district.

                                                            5.
Cabs and umbrellas are congested everywhere; well-dressed
pedestrians are pushing, running, waving down taxis. The
high-class theatre patrons crowding out of the midtown shows
are shocked to find that the same rain that falls on the
poor and common is also falling on them.

The unremitting SOUNDS of HONKING and SHOUTING play against
the dull pitter-patter of rain. The glare of yellow, red and
green lights reflects off the pavements and autos.

"When it rains, the boss of the city is the taxi driver" -
so goes the cabbie's maxim, proven true by this particular
night's activity. Only the taxis seem to rise above the
situation: They glide effortlessly through the rain and
traffic, picking up whom they choose, going where they please.

Further uptown, the crowds are neither so frantic nor so
glittering.  The rain also falls on the street bums and aged
poor. Junkies still stand around on rainy street corners,
hookers still prowl rainy sidewalks. And the taxis service
them too.

All through the CREDITS the exterior sounds are muted, as if
coming from a distant room or storefront around the corner.
The listener is at a safe but privileged distance.

After examining various strata of Manhattan nightlife,
CAMERA begins to CLOSE IN on one particular taxi, and it is
assumed that this taxi is being driven by TRAVIS BICKLE.

END CREDITS

                                            CUT TO:

Travis's yellow taxi pulls in foreground. On left rear door
are lettered the words "Dependable Taxi Service".

We are somewhere on the upper fifties on Fifth Ave. The rain
has not let up.

An ELDERLY WOMAN climbs in the right rear door, crushing her
umbrella.  Travis waits a moment, then pulls away from the
curb with a start.

Later, we see Travis' taxi speeding down the rain-slicked
avenue. The action is periodically accompanied by Travis'
narration. He is reading from a haphazard personal diary.

                         TRAVIS (V.O.)
                   (monotone)
            April 10, 1972. Thank God for the
            rain which has helped wash the
            garbage and trash off the sidewalks.

                                                            6.


TRAVIS' POV of sleazy midtown side street: Bums, hookers,
junkies.

                         TRAVIS (V.O.)
            I'm working a single now, which
            means stretch-shifts, six to six,
            sometimes six to eight in the a.m.,
            six days a week.

A MAN IN BUSINESS SUIT hails Travis to the curb.

                         TRAVIS (V.O.)
            It's a hustle, but it keeps me busy.
            I can take in three to three-fifty
            a week, more with skims.

MAN IN BUSINESS SUIT, now seated in back seat, speaks up:

                         MAN IN BUSINESS SUIT
                   (urgent)
            Is Kennedy operating, cabbie? Is it
            grounded?
.... http://www.awesomefilm.com/script/taxidriver.html

2006 vtheatre.net

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