OPENING IMAGE – Shot of a rainy cityscape at night; a clock strikes midnight. Joey Amana walks out of the back door of an underground casino, hurriedly and with a stifled expression of panic in his face. He holds a briefcase, and stumbles toward a car on the far side of a parking lot.
(Insert flashback scene of previously in the casino: text on the screen could read “5 Minutes Earlier” or its equivalent. Joey is confidently pulling in all the money he just won in front of some angry mobsters. He says he did not cheat, he just “knows how to play cards.” Voiceover dialogue (Joey narrating to the audience) can say, “I know how to scam at least – my dad showed me all the tricks when I was a kid. It’s how I paid my way through college. I didn’t need these guys knowing that, though.”)
INCITING INCIDENT – Just as he is a few steps away from his car, Joey hears the screeching of tires. He stops dead in his tracks, eyes filled with fear. An SUV rounds the corner dramatically as he tries to get to his car; before he can open it, three Chinese Triads climb out of the car. VO: “Triads - Bao, Jiang and Gan. I should’ve known they’d show up looking for Gan’s moneythe money I just won from him.”
PLOT POINT 3 – Gan rushes Joey and smashes his head on the car. (VO: “I guess he wants it back.”) Bao and Jiang join Gan in kicking Joey while he is on the ground until he is subdued. Gan takes the briefcase from him, leans down, and says, “Remember this” As they walk away, the audience sees Joey frightened, yet relieved that they did not kill him. Joey struggles to his feet, clutching his chest.
PLOT POINT 4 – We see the Triads walking toward their SUV, when Gan suddenly turns around and slowly pulls out a large-caliber handgun. He finishes his sentence “gweilo”. Cut back to Joey, whose face is crestfallen, as he closes his eyes. A gunshot is heard, and we see Joey fall to the ground. A topdown wide shot shows blood oozing from his stomach and chest, pooling around him as the SUV screeches away. Police sirens are heard as the scene fades out.
* gweilo = Chinese racial slur against foreigners
PLOT POINT 5 – Joey’s eyes flutter open (POV shot perhaps) to see the ceiling of the ambulance, two female paramedics working over him. Their voices are muffled, and one rifles through his wallet for identification. Flashes of the gunshot, “gweilo,” and his falling down are repeated. (VO: “Sitting here, with my life hanging on a thread, I understood that Gan wanted the money I’d won back from him. I just didn’t know at the time he’d be such a sore loser.”)
FLASHBACK – several flashbacks here, including childhood poker playing with his uncle, mentioning classmates’ fear of his last name; having dinner with his Italian-American grandmother, who tells him he needs to keep his head down since his family is in dangerous business, etc. (VO: “It was hard being the son of a mobster – I didn’t really get the chance to be a real kid.”)
PLOT POINT 6 – Laying in the rocking ambulance, Joey continues to bleed out. (VO: “From rags to riches to rags, my family had quite the history. And it might die with me.”)