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I CAN SPELL ANYTHING BETTER THAN YOU

Written by

Gianna Jackson

Based on,"Spelling Free," by Gianna Jackson

Contactgiannajackson@gmail.com

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INT. AUDITORIUM - NIGHT

JOURDAN,(8 yrs old), clad in a purple dress and black dress shoes, carries a NAME TAG on a string in her hand. She pushes through a CROWD in the front of the auditorium.

The beads in her pony tail RATTLE as she approaches a set of narrow steps on the side of the stage and takes them two steps at a time.

INT. AUDITORIUM - BACKSTAGE - NIGHT

PRINCIPAL HAWK, 40s, clad in a navy blue pantsuit and round, red-framed glasses walks in between two small lines, a GIRLS’ line and a BOYS’ line, of 7 and 8 year olds.

PRINCIPAL HAWK For those of you who participated in the spelling bee last year, you remember the rules, don’t you?

Principal Hawk stops mid-step and notices Jourdan slip in through the curtains.

Jourdan slips the name tag around her neck and Principal Hawk nods as Jourdan steps into the girls’ line.

PRINCIPAL HAWK (CONT’D) The order is girl, boy, girl, boy.

She points back and forth between the two lines as she speaks. Two BOYS in the middle of the boys’ shove each other.

PRINCIPAL HAWK (CONT’D)

Hey!

Principal Hawk glares at them over the edges of her glasses. The two boys stop. In front of Jourdan, CECE,(8 yrs old)turns and smiles at Jourdan. Jourdan smiles back.

PRINCIPAL HAWK (CONT’D) For those of you who are here for the first time, welcome.

She smiles, turns and walks toward the center of the stage. From either end of the stage, the curtains open to reveal a podium and a microphone in the open spotlight.

HANNAH,(8 yrs old), clad in a peach-colored dress and a bow in her hair, bumps into Jourdan.

2.

HANNAH (surprised) Oh. Hello, Jourdan.

Cece turns to face Hannah. Jourdan does not.

JOURDAN Hey, Hannah.

Hannah crosses her arms.

HANNAH You weren’t here when I went to the bathroom. I thought you weren’t gonna come.

JOURDAN Why wouldn’t I?

HANNAH Oh you know, because of last year.

Jourdan turns.

JOURDAN

I made it to the final round.

HANNAH Yeah, but you didn’t win.

JOURDAN You didn’t win either, not really.

 

HANNAH

I

did too.

 

JOURDAN

Did not.

ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL KIM, 40s, clad in a grey, three-piece suit, enters the backstage area and spots Jourdan and Hannah scowl at each other. They speak in unison.

HANNAH

JOURDAN (CONT'D) Did not.

Did too.

Assistant Principal Kim gives them a stern look. The girls’ line moves forward.

JOURDAN (CONT’D) You only won by default.

TWO GIRLS behind Hannah move to stand on either side of her.

3.

HANNAH What’s that suppose to mean?

Jourdan smiles.

JOURDAN You don’t know? Thought you knew everything.

Hannah glances at the girls next to her and adjusts her bow.

HANNAH I think you’re just jealous of me for winning.

JOURDAN This time I will win the spelling bee because I can spell anything better than you, Hannah.

HANNAH Ha! You’re nothing but a sore loser, Jourdan.

The two girls next to Hannah smile.

GIRL#1

Once a loser, always a loser.

GIRL#2

Yeah.

JOURDAN I’m not a loser! I’m a better speller than all three of you combined.

Jourdan crosses her arms, turns and stares at the stage. Cece sticks her tongue out at Hannah.

HANNAH Bet she gets stage fright and can’t even make it past the first round.

Jourdan ignores her. Next in line, Cece turns to face the stage. In the boys’ line, BILLY(8 yrs old), in dark jeans and a navy blue button-down, looks over at Hannah.

BILLY (nervous) What’s that?

Hannah swishes her hair over her shoulder and smiles.

4.

HANNAH

It’s when you freeze up in front of

a crowd because everyone is

watching you. My brother says that it happens when you’re afraid of messing up.

Hannah looks at the back of Jourdan’s head.

HANNAH (CONT’D) And that it always happens to people who have messed up in front of a crowd before.

Jourdan looks down at the name tag around her neck.

PRINCIPAL HAWK (O.S.) Our next contestant is Cece.

Cece glances back as she walks onto the stage. Jourdan turns.

JOURDAN

I don’t believe you. I think you’re making this all up.

Hannah swishes her hair back.

HANNAH Fine, don’t believe me.

Jourdan frowns.

PRINCIPAL HAWK (O.S.) Our next speller’s name is Jourdan.

Jourdan walks out onto:

INT. AUDITORIUM - STAGE -NIGHT

Jourdan looks down at her feet as she walks to the microphone. The sound of her dress shoes echo in the silence.

CLICK, CLOCK, CLICK, CLOCK, CLICK, CLOCK.

Jourdan fidgets with the name tag, looks up, and shields her eyes from the spotlight.

An audience member COUGHS.

PRINCIPAL HAWK Jourdan, your word is immortality.

5.

Jourdan drops her hand and looks down at the floor. She fidgets with the edges of the name tag.

Um

JOURDAN

A chair SQUEAKS. Principal Hawk looks at Jourdan.

PRINCIPAL HAWK Jourdan? Your word is immortality.

Jourdan steps back from the microphone and looks at Principal Hawk. She parts her lips to speak but stops. Her attention on Hannah’s giggles off stage.

Jourdan takes a deep breath and steps up to the microphone. She fidgets with the corner of her name tag once more.

JOURDAN

Immortality

Jourdan lifts her head and looks out at the audience.

JOURDAN (CONT’D) I-M-M-O-R-T-A-L-I-T-Y. Immortality.

Principal Hawk adjusts her glasses. Jourdan holds her breath.

PRINCIPAL HAWK That is correct.

The audience APPLAUDS. Jourdan smiles.

Yes.

JOURDAN

Jourdan hops up and down towards the steps to the backstage waiting area and the beads in her pony tail RATTLE.

PRINCIPAL HAWK Next contestant’s name is Hannah.

Jourdan turns and watches Hannah approach the microphone. Hannah swishes her hair back and adjusts her bow.

PRINCIPAL HAWK (CONT’D) Hannah, your word is worthwhile.

Hannah clears her throat.

HANNAH W-O-R-T-H-W-I-L-E. Worthwhile.

Principal Hawk adjusts her glasses.

6.

PRINCIPAL HAWK I’m sorry, Hannah, but that is incorrect.

Hannah stammers, looks at Principal Hawk, then at the audience. She opens her mouth to speak, and spots Jourdan off stage. Hannah stomps off of the stage.

Jourdan smiles and turns.

INT. AUDITORIUM - BACKSTAGE - NIGHT

Jourdan skips her way towards a chair next to Cece.

JOURDAN Did you see?

Cece nods and smiles. Jourdan sits and notices large poster boards aligned against a wall.

JOURDAN (CONT’D) What are those?

Cece turns.

CECE Oh, those are the fifth graders’ projects for the Science fair tomorrow.

JOURDAN Science fair, huh?

Assistant Principal Kim enters.

ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL KIM Everyone stand up. We are about to begin the next round.

JOURDAN (boastful) Pretty good at Science, you know.

Jourdan and Cece stand and step into the girls’ line.

FADE OUT: