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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

The Night Before

  1. FADE IN.


  2. Act 1


  3. INT. DINING ROOM - 20:00 (THE NIGHT BEFORE)


  4. Working on a laptop, Peter joins his WIFE and the family PET to Skype with their CHILDREN.


  5. PETER (V.O.): What an occasion! Our children are all available!


  6. As his wife talks and the pet moves, Peter continues to hit the keyboard.


  7. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I've made things moving by circulating a draft decision in Chinese, but I still have a submission to perfect.


  8. WIFE: You stand in. I've to teach the maid how to cook.


  9. SEQUENCE OF PETER'S STANDING IN


  10. A. Directing at elder daughter, Peter says he envies her day trip to Enoshima.


  11. B. Turing to son, Peter shares a case on Vertigo and asks if he has studied the illness already.


  12. C. Suggest to the younger daughter, Peter tells NFTs are to art as streaming is to CDs/DVDs.


  13. END SEQUENCE


  14. Act 2


  15. INT. DINING ROOM - CONTINUOUS


  16. Peter's wife rejoins the gathering.


  17. WIFE (To screen): Working together doesn't mean a team, as co-workers may have different work attitudes.


  18. Remarks from screen.


  19. WIFE (To screen): As there's no response to your quarantine-free request, you can't fly home during term break.


  20. Sighs from screen.


  21. WIFE (To screen): Did you say you called an ambulance for a roommate who had swallowed 50 pills?


  22. Siren sounds from screen.


  23. PETER & WIFE: Check the emergency! We'll stop now. Goodbye.


  24. PETER (V.O.): It's surreal to see and hear our children from Japan, Australia and UK at real time here in Hong Kong.


  25. INT. SITTING ROOM - 22:00 (THE NIGHT BEFORE)


  26. Peter's wife relates a message to Peter.


  27. WIFE: Ha, our younger daughter's roommate causes lots of smoke while cooking, triggering sirens.


  28. PETER: Good to know.


  29. WIFE: At least her residence's facilities are working.


  30. PETER: Please help me with the word processing.


  31. They begin gluing to laptops.


  32. PETER (V.O.): That was like how she had helped me in the early 1990s before we got married.

  33. Pausing.


  34. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): To me, Chinese and English word processing are harder than law.


  35. Finishing, Peter passes his wife a USB.


  36. PETER: Could you save the file in Word and pdf formats in this?

  37. Peter's wife does that swiftly.


  38. INT. SITTING ROOM - 08:45


  39. As he is about to leave home with his wife, Peter reads a What's App message.


  40. PETER: There's still a typo that must be corrected? That's easy but converting a file to pdf format may be hard.


  41. Putting down his bag, Peter looks frustrated as her wife leaves.


  42. INT. STUDY - 14: 30


  43. Peter is watching TV.


  44. PETER (V.O.): In emergency, I learn fast. Converting a file in pdf format isn't hard. But is it possible to sign in a pdf document?


  45. Peter researches with his smartphone.


  46. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Oh, it isn't hard too.


  47. Then, Peter hears someone making a speech on TV.


  48. SEQUENCE OF PETER'S OBSERVATION


  49. A. In a live conference on screen, the UK's Primer Minister was speaking eloquently, referring to loose sheets of paper before him


  50. B. On the backdrop, we see the slogan: Seize the Moment.


  51. C. Then, there's dead air; and we see the PM trying to find he right sheet of paper to refer to.

  52. D. Later, we hear him speaking in an inarticulate fashion.


  53. END SEQUENCE


  54. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): It's like Hong Kong's stock market today - after a short rise, it begins to fall sharp.


  55. Act 3


  56. INT. DINING ROOM - 22:00


  57. Peter and his wife are having dinner.


  58. PETER: It's today today that Australia has changed its travel restrictions policy, and you've already got air ticket and quarantine hotel for our son!


  59. WIFE: This is the best thing that I've done today.


  60. PETER: We're preparing to see him a year from now the night before.


  61. They smile.


  62. PETER (V.O.): Apart from hiccups, the best things also happen unexpectedly.


  63. Peter plays with the pet, happily.


  64. FADE OUT


  65. THE END















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