- This is the basic outline for a short film. The thing is, it's the characters and acting who really sells this. Especially since we never see who's one the other end of the line, it would need excellent voice actors who can really carry emotions.
- Perhaps Mark justifies what he's doing because the dad's going to forget anyway. Perhaps Mark just wants to make him happy, temporarily.
The door slams and Mark is left standing, shocked, t-shirt covered in beer. He flops in the couch, exasperated. He puts a hand on his forehead, a bottle of his beer still in the other.
We don't actually see Jake (just the door slamming shut) or anybody else on the other end of the phone. The camera stays in the suite's living room.
Mark (looking up at Kyle): What the fuck was that about?
The camera pans over to Kyle, who like Mark is in his early 20s. He's looking back from his computer, controlled in hand with a headset on. He was in the middle of playing a game with his friends.
Kyle: You pissed him off.
Mark (taking his shirt off and examining it): I didn't piss him off! He's always pissed off!
Kyle (frowning, speaking on the mic with a sigh): I've gotta go...
Kyle puts down the headset and controller and falls into a crouch in front of the table, surveying the damage. The table is covered in broken glass, a destroyed bong surrounded by other destroyed bottles. The mix of bong water and beer has soaked into the grinder of weed, videogame discs, some notebooks, Kyle's calculus homework, and a backpack. Kyle doesn't even know where to begin cleaning the mess up.
Kyle (absentmindedly, starting to pick up chunks of glass): He needs to do something about that temper...
Mark (pissed): We need to get a better suite mate! I'm putting him up for membership review, this is fucking ridiculous. He can move to 2B if he wants to pull this shit.
Kyle shakes his head and pulls the waste bin out from under the table, gingerly picking up bits of glass and dropping them in. He lifts up his soaked math homework with despair, then a soaked backpack, holding it over the trash can to collect drops of the foul liquid.
Kyle is holding Jake's phone.
Kyle (musing): It was under the notebook the whole time...
Mark (snatching it): Give me that!
Mark falls back on the couch, shirtless now. He goes through the phone.
Mark (grumbling): We should pawn this fucking thing...
Kyle (nothing the backpack): Ashley is going to be so pissed when she gets back...
Mark puts the phone on loud speaker. He's ringing someone.
Kyle: Who are you calling?
Mark: The contact says "Dad".
Kyle (confused): Why?
Mark (smirking): Revenge.
The phone is picked up and an elderly man's voice can be heard on the line.
Jake's father (sounding old and feeble): H-Hello?
Mark (doing an exaggerated and unflattering impression): Dad?!
Jake's father: Who...Who is this?
Mark (feigning surprise): Dad? You don't recognize me? It's your son, Jake!
In the next revision we need to go back through this dialogue and make Mark snarkier and more of a dick. But also funnier at the same time. How does he present Jake? A raging homosexual?
Kyle can't help but snicker in the background. Mark's impression is very unflattering.
Jake's father (zoning out): Jake...
Jake's father (cont'd, suddenly excited): Well...Well how have you been?!
We're trying to give the audience the impression that Jake's father is senile and hasn't heard from his son in a long time.
Mark (oblivious): Oh you know...just alienating everyone who ever called me a friend. Still with that Nazi girlfriend of mine...
Mark (cracking himself up, trying not to laugh): Yeah she's pregnant now actually. Bloated even more than before. You'll see for yourself when we visit.
I think it makes more sense for him to bring up visiting in the context of needing money or getting kicked out or something. Regardless, the current dialogue is really bad. We need a better transition to this next part. Maybe at some point the dad mentions being in a nursing home and that's what tips Mark off.
Jake's father (clearly surprised): That's...that's wonderful! W-When are you coming?
Yeah something makes me doubt people who actually have alzheimer's talk like this. What's with the stuttering? We need to look into more realistic dialogue.
Mark (snorting laughter): I'll be there next week. Gonna bring a few friends from my crack den as well.
Jake's father: Oh. A-A-Are you still in Oklahoma?
Mark (pausing, confused, losing the impression a bit): Uh, what? No...dad. No, I'm going to UT...in Texas?
Mark (cont'd, covering up the phone to address Kyle): Hasn't he been here for like three years?
Mark (back to Jake's father, getting nervous, dropping impression entirely): What's up with you old man? You drunk or something?
Jake's father (embarrassed, tripping over his words): Oh...I'm-I'm sorry. It's-It's just been so long.
Jake's father (silence before speaking very deliberately): I-I love you Jake.
Mark (awkwardly): Uh... Thanks?
Jake's father (sounding like he's on the verge of tears): I mean it. I really mean it son. I'm so proud of you.
Mark (licking his lips, dropping the act): He dude I'm sorry but I think I gave you the wrong impression. See this whole conversation is just a joke that's gone too far. Jake's actually---
Jake's father (interrupting, oblivious, clearly sad): I never got a chance to apologize about before.
Mark (hesitating): ...before?
Maybe a better transition would be for Mark to hesitate before saying "Hey man I'm sorry, I'm a total asshole. You see this whole this is just a practical joke that's gone too far--" And then Jake's farther interrupts with "No Jake. /I'm/ the one who's sorry. I'm sorry sorry, I want you to know that. I didn't get a chance to apologize before--"
So this section is where the dialogue breaks down even more. We need to really sell Jake's father's genuine love for his son and regret over what happened, as well as hint that he was sick even before Jake left, all in a paragraph or two. I think the main thing we want to push is that Jake's father doesn't want his son to remember him as a sick old man. And that Jake's father kept pushing up reconciliation with his son because he thought he still had more time, now he realizes he doesn't have much time left. And he doesn't want to wait until he can't remember his son's face.
Jake's father: Our fight. That night you left. I don't blame you, you know. I know I didn't make it easy for you kids after mom died. I was selfish, and I kept thinking, kept putting it off...thought that I'd still have time to make it up.
Jake's father (voice cracking, beginning to cry): But now...I'm not sure how much time is left. I don't want you to remember me as a sick old man. But I don't want to wait until I can't remember what you look like.
Jake's father (pausing for a moment): I miss you Jake.
The room is deathly silent. Mark stands wide-eyed, his mouth slightly agape.
Jake's father: Are you still there?
Mark (trembling, getting his composure): I-I'm here dad. It's okay, I-I forgive you.
We can see Mark's relief as he hears Jake's dad sniff and wipe the tears away.
Jake's father (relieved, excited): S-So when did you say you were coming over?
Mark (trying not to choke up): Just next week dad.
Jake's father: And you're bringing Margret too?
Mark (chuckle, a tear silently rolling down his face): Margret? No dad, it's been Ashley since college. I'll bring her too, you'll see, she's a great girl...
From the phone we can hear a woman in the background.
Woman (in background): Who are you talking to?
Jake's father (excited): Oh, let me put your sister on!
Jake's father (cont'd, in background): It's Jake!
Woman (in background, disappointed): It's not Jake...
Woman (coming up to the phone, politely): Hello? May I ask who's calling?
Mark (deflated): Uh. Nobody. It was the wrong number...
Woman (sighs): I'm very sorry about that. My father has alzheimer's, sometimes he gets confused and makes these calls. He's not even supposed to have access to this phone, he must be having a bad day...
Mark: Oh.. I'm very sorry to hear that.
Woman (tsk, still polite): Yeah... Anyway, have a nice day.
Mark (after she abruptly hangs up): You too...
Mark lowers the phone and turns to Kyle. He looks like he just exited a war zone. But before they can exchange words a college-aged woman throws open the door. Jake's girlfriend steps in, looking pissed off as predicted.
Ashley (staring at the mess): Did he do this?
Mark just nods.
Ashley stomps over and begins grabbing her things from the table, putting them into her soaked backpack.
Ashley (grumbling): He ruined my fucking weed...
Mark (still in shock, holding out the phone): He was looking for this...
Ashley grabs it quickly but does a double-take, staring at Mark.
Ashley: The hell happened to you?
Ashley: You're crying.
Mark puts some fingers to his cheeks and pulls them away. He has been silently weeping. He wipes the tears away quickly.
Mark (embarrassed): It's nothing...
She gives him an odd look before storming off, telling Mark to give "that asshole" (her boyfriend) "her regards". Mark shudders from the door slamming a second time, he sits down as Kyle and him stare at each other in the silence. Kyle asks if he wants to talk about it, but Mark shakes his head. Unsure of what else to do, Kyle puts on his headset and goes back to his game. The camera lingers on Mark as he stares down at the broken glass on the table, lost in his thoughts.
I need to come up with a better ending, but I like the premise, especially since everyone's actions are in response to a character who isn't actually shown.