For the first one, I picked a simple "jump" exercise, where Ferstenfeld came in with a simple objective ("Give an employee a promotion"), and it was his scene partner's job to find creative ways to not give that to him. I ended up with this:
INT. OFFICE - DAY MIKE sits at his desk. SAMANTHA sits opposite from him. Beat. SAMANTHA So... MIKE Don't worry -- it's good news. SAMANTHA Whew. MIKE The Johnson and Johnson account? You've got it. SAMANTHA I'm sorry -- the... MIKE That's right. The grande enchilada. You'll manage your own team, interface with our clients, and hey -- it goes well? SAMANTHA Yeah? MIKE Corner office. Boom. SAMANTHA I thought Frank was up for this one -- MIKE Frank's out. Let's say his mouth made some promises his ass couldn't lay on the line. SAMANTHA What? Frank, carrying a box, pokes his head in. FRANK Boss, I've gathered up my things, and -- Mike shouts to the open air. MIKE Security, take this loser out of my building! Frank tiptoes back out. SAMANTHA We've lost Frank, too? MIKE Look -- I'm an honest guy, and my currency is pure golden truth. We're cutting things down to the bone. SAMANTHA I'm not gonna take an account just because we don't have personnel. MIKE Great, we'll -- wait, what? John, carrying a box, pokes his head in. JOHN Bye, guys. I'll see myself out. MIKE Take your penny-ante lamprey-sucker ass out of my building! JOHN Right. John exits. SAMANTHA Yeah. You want me to run a major corporate advertising account without our best copywriter and without our best artist. Not happening. MIKE Yeah, you say that now. Did I mention... additional benefits? Samantha gets up to leave. SAMANTHA I'm going. MIKE What? Where? Where would you go? SAMANTHA Wherever Frank and John are headed? That's where I'm going, Mike. Good-bye. She exits. MIKE Corner office is all mine, I guess. BLACKOUT.
Yes, I wrote it in screenplay format, because five minutes is not enough time to figure out the default theater-script settings on Celtx.
Next up, I wrote a piece based on a "slideshow", which in this context, means a sequence of five tableaux that imply a story. This one was a western, so I rolled with that:
INT. SALOON - DAY Classic western saloon. Three cowboys -- THE SHERRIFF, BLACK JAKE, and TIMID RANDY sit at the table playing cards. In the background, a piano tinkles. SHERIFF Raise you five. TIMID RANDY F-f-f-fold! BLACK JAKE Call. Four aces. SHERIFF Eh. Not likely. BLACK JAKE That's the cards, Sheriff. You don't never rule the laws of chance. SHERIFF Hmmm. TIMID RANDY G-g-guys -- it's just five bucks! Ain't nothing to get -- CLARISSA sways in, wearing a bright red dress. She drapes herself over Black Jake. CLARISSA Boys. I reckon there ain't no problem here. She casts an eye towards the sheriff. CLARISSA And if there is, well, I reckon there's nothing you or any of your pimply-faced little deputies can do about it, right? The sheriff is silent, but gets angrier and angrier. TIMID RANDY C-c-c-come on! Clarissa raises a finger at the sheriff. CLARISSA Guessin' you're... "powerless" in more ways than one, right, sheriff? She lets the finger go flaccid. The sheriff leaps out of his chair. SHERIFF Black Jake, you's breaking the law! BLACK JAKE What law? The sheriff draws his gun. SHERIFF Reckon I'll think of somethin'. Long beat. BLACK JAKE You ain't got to do this, sheriff. SHERIFF Need you reachin' some sky, Jake. The piano stops. In a flash, Black Jake draws and fires. The Sheriff slumps over the table. TIMID RANDY Oh my g-g-g-god. G-g-g-g-god! Timid Randy gathers up the chips and scampers away. Black Jake gets up and nudges the sheriff's body to the floor. BLACK JAKE Let's go. BLACKOUT.
Finally, we had another "jump" set in a women's prison. This was the only time I wrote something that was not a scene:
Day 20 They want my beans. All I'm trying to do is get my stint done, thirty days, thirty nights, back out into the world. I'm trying to keep my head down. I'm trying to stay out of trouble. I'm a nice person. Things should be alright. Right? Celia wanted the top bunk. I gave her the top bunk. The Ruths wanted the sunny spot in the exercise yard. I got out of their way. But now? Today, Loretta came along. Sat by me. Smiled. Smiled, the whole time, with that smile that doesn't quite reach her eyes. And she asked for my beans. I mean, come on. I guess... I guess it wasn't about the beans. Y'know, she doesn't even like beans. But Loretta... Loretta likes control. She knocks something out of your hands, just to do it. She even has the guards doing things for her -- she cajoles, she bribes... she runs the place. And here I am, just doing my thirty days, keeping my nose clean. And the scary thing is, somebody like Loretta sees that, and she knows... she knows that I'm out of her control. She knows I'm in my own mind, thinking about... about Thomas Mann, about 19th-century Venice, about the Éroica symphony. She knows I'm somewhere she can't get to. Can't control. So now she's after my beans. Just one good thing. One thing that she knows makes me happy. And she's taking that. Anyway, there we were in the exercise yard. There she was, smiling, and friendly, and still... still cold. Still unyielding. And every time I said no, she was so friendly, so smiling, and so... "no". And the whole time, it just scraped away the friendliness. And then she was threatening me. Heavily implied threats, but a threat nonetheless. Over beans. "You know 'hangry'?" she asked. "It's when you get so hungry that it makes you angry." And she laughed. But it was like the goddamn Joker. And still, there was no way I was going to yield. Every time, I smiled, and shrugged, as innocuous as ever, but I didn't give up my beans. Not now. Not after I've given up everything else, every little thing I love. Dammit, I'm holding onto this. If somebody cuts me, somebody cuts me. But tomorrow, at the mess hall, I am eating my goddamn beans. God himself won't stop me.
None of it was the strongest stuff I've ever written (hey, five-minute time limit, I gots an excuse). We were told to submit one of them as a writing sample at the end of the audition. I went with the third one, as it looks like our production might include a fair number of monologs, or at least some lengthy speeches that drill down into one character's point of view.