Traffic can be murder…
In “Close Encounters Of The Third Kind“, Richard Dreyfuss’ character Roy Neary is an electric company lineman in rural Indiana. Stopped in his truck at a railroad crossing, he’s lost at a metaphorical crossroads. A man of action, Roy unfolds a map.
Suddenly: a row of mail boxes rattle to his left. His truck loses all power and a giant light engulfs his vehicle from above like a higher power; illuminating Roy’s journey towards truth… and a more mysterious world than he thought he knew.
Ray (yes, one vowel away from Roy) is in no hurry in Pete Barry’s “Jam“. Roy’s merely one of many stuck in his car during a Route 37 traffic mess. Fine, he reasons patiently. Let’s take advantage with some AM radio and a nap. Leaning back, he closes his eyes. But then the radio starts to crackle…
And emits a NOISE. It’s not static; more a rumbling snarl, topped with a whistling teakettle shriek.
Ray grimaces and twists the knob again. Then, beneath the ugly sound, a conversation emerges:
– can’t be late for this meeting!
OFFICE LACKY (V.O.)
Calm down. You’ve still got twenty minutes.
Ray turns up the volume, curious.
He said the next time I missed a meeting, forget it, I’m pink slipped.
OFFICE LACKY (V.O.)
I’ll talk to him. Where are you?
I’m stuck in traffic! There’s a goddamn overturned truck on route 37!
Ray sits up, looks around. Everyone’s on their cell phones. And he can HEAR THEM ALL. His radio is a conduit to the conversations in the other cars!.
At first, it’s all fun and games as Ray listens to a conversation between a young, beautiful woman in the car next to him, describing her panties to a deep-voiced man. But, the mood instantly sobers when he turns the dial.
At 610 he finds a different conversation:
-might be listening, this guy. The signals are bleeding together, we could be compromised.
We’ve got to keep off the radio. Do you have a bead on him?
I’ve got him in crosshairs. He’s listening to 610 on the AM dial.
The funny thing about hearing things unintended for your ears is – you can never un-hear them, no matter how hard you try. And Ray has heard too much.
Soon, he breaks from his car in a sprint, not knowing what he’s escaping from. But you can’t run from the unknown, you can only hope it passes. Like a traffic jam.
As a script, Jam is “jammed packed” with excellent dialogue, paced to perfection. Lined bumper to bumper with fun and intrigue, directors should be revving to hit the gas and drive this script home. Jam’ll be relatively easy to pull off with the right location – and 70 friends with cars.
Budget: Not bad at all; with a little creativity (and access to a road.)
About the reviewer: Zack Zupke is a writer in Los Angeles. He can be contacted via email at zzupke “AT” yahoo
About the writer:Pete Barry is an award-winning screenwriter, playwright, actor, director and musician. His short plays have been published in numerous collections. He’s also a cofounder of the Porch Room, a film and theater production company, website available at http://www.porchroom.com/. Please feel free to reach out to him with script requests at petebarry27 “AT” Hotmail.
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