THREE IN THE MORNING
SUPER: HOUSTON, TEXAS NOVEMBER 19, 2000
A poster of the Houston skyline fills our frame. Below the poster is a set of turntables and crossfader. We pan around, revealing SCREW, a gaunt faced 29 year old wiping sweat from his forehead sitting in a swivel chair. He stares at the poster with indifference; we don’t know exactly what he’s thinking. SCREW takes a sip from a Styrofoam cup. He’s in his recording studio, bobbing his head to some music.
He goes to the bathroom and splashes water on his face. Everything around him is slowing down. We don’t know what, but something’s wrong.
AERIAL VIEW OF DJ SCREW’S STUDIO ON CULLEN, AMBULANCE AND POLICE VEHICLES BEGIN PULLING UP.
SUPER: SMITHVILLE, TEXAS, EARLY 1980s
YOUNG SCREW is experimenting on his mother’s record player in her trailer.
YOUNG SCREW: “We need two tables, mama.”
YOUNG SCREW watches as his mother sells a bootleg cassette tape to a woman that knocked at their front door.
MAMA: “Boy you better not screw any more of my records up or it’ll be your ass.”
YOUNG SCREW: “We still need two tables, mama.”
MAMA: What you gonna do with two tables, boy?
YOUNG SCREW: That’s how the deejays in New York do it.
MAMA recording a record off the turntable to cassette with YOUNG SCREW watching.
MAMA: “All you gotta do is start the tape, then start the record player and hit record.”
Close up on the record spinning CUT TO cassette tape
YOUNG SCREW: “Why don’t they just buy the record, mama?”
MAMA: “Because they can’t play no record in they car, baby, know what I’m talking about?”
There’s a knock at the door. MAMA goes to the door and greets a young man.
YOUNG MAN: “You got that new Johnnie Taylor yet?”
MAMA: Yeah hold up a minute.
MAMA grabs a bootleg tape of her collection from a shoebox and brings it to the man at the front door. He hands her a $2 bill.
SCREW’S FATHER driving a big rig down the dirt road to MAMA’s trailer.
SCREW’S FATHER parks out front and walks up to the trailer and knocks on the door.
MAMA: “Alright Robert, time to go to Houston with your daddy.”
SCREWS FATHER whispers: “Did you tell him, yet?”
MAMA: “No Bobby. You tell him. He aint got no future out here. ”
INT. SCREW’S DAD’S HOUSE (NIGHT)
SUPER: Houston’s Southside, 1988
SCREW is mixing some West Coast albums on his dual turntables and homemade crossfader.
SCREW’S FATHER calls out: “Hey Robert, I’m going to work, I’ll be back in a couple days.”
SCREW: “Aight pop, be careful. I’ll be around here.”
CLOSEUP – SCREW working the turntables intently, developing his mixing and scratching techniques.
EXT. ALMEDA SKATING RINK ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF HOUSTON
LONG TAKE OF THE PARKING ACTIVITY (GANGSTERS, SLABS, WOMEN, LOUD MUSIC) LEADING INSIDE THE SKATING RINK TO SCREW WORKING ON THE TURNTABLES INSIDE.
SCREW’S style at the time was juggling the beats of two different records, scratching, repeating phrases. He also learned to improvise, and paid close attention to the dancers’ reactions to certain songs, riffs, and rappers.
INT. SCREW’S APARTMENT, 1989
SCREW is mixing in his apartment while some friends from the neighborhood listen. They are drinking and smoking weed. SCREW accidentally hits the turntable’s pitch button, slowing everything down. SCREW begins playing with the slowed down music.
SCREW’S FRIEND: That shit sound dope, my nigga. Check it out, I’ll bring you $10 if you record me a mix tape like that.
SCREW: You like that shit? You crazy my nigga, but I’ma chop it up right now.
The next day, SCREW’S friend comes back with a couple of friends, who also wanted to buy slowed-down tapes.