Wendy Welcott (Dakota Fanning), a young autistic woman living in a group home in Oakland, has written a 427-page Star Trek script, which she plans to enter in a Paramount screenwriting contest with a $100,000 prize. After she misses the mail-in date, she runs away from the group home and travels to Los Angeles to deliver the script herself.
Please Stand By contains examples of:
- Alliterative Name: Wendy Welcott.
- As Himself: Wendy's four housemates are all played by autistic actors with the same names as their characters.
- Bathroom Breakout: Wendy escapes from the hospital by going into a bathroom, opening the window, and then hiding under the sink so the nurse will think she jumped. Once the bathroom is unguarded, she escapes through a door.
- Canine Companion: The group home's dog, Pete, follows Wendy for several blocks after she leaves. She decides to carry him to L.A. in her bag.
- Closet Geek: A cop played by Patton Oswalt speaks Klingon to Wendy to get her to turn herself in. When his partner asks him what language he was speaking, he tries to avoid the question and tells her to forget about it.
- Disappeared Dad: Wendy's mother raised her and her sister all by herself.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: Pete growls at a couple right before they rob Wendy.
- Gender-Blender Name: Wendy's support worker Scottie (Toni Collette).
- Single Tear: Wendy's older sister Audrey (Alice Eve) sheds one while watching home videos of herself and Wendy, and later when Wendy reminds her that their mother is dead.
- Soul-Sucking Retail Job: Wendy works at Cinnabon. Her job involves some baking, which she likes, but her main duty is standing at the door with a tray of samples, saying "Welcome to Cinnabon. Would you like a cinnabon?" to everyone who walks by.
- Time Travel: Wendy's script has Spock traveling back and forth through time to save the Federation.
- Waking Non Sequitur: When Wendy wakes up in the hospital after a bus crash, her first words are "Welcome to Cinnabon. Would you like a cinnabon?"