Sunday, August 27, 2006

New Site!

Well, I'm on my way folks. After trying to contend with managing FOUR separate blogs for all of my work, I have happened upon the opportunity to consolidate them into one website. Thanks to a great deal of assistance from my friend Provoked, I now have a new site that I'm testing out in hopes of making the presentation of my work look more professional and less "Blogspot-ish", as I continue my attempts to locate gainful employment as a free-lance journalist.

Thus, I'd appreciate it greatly if you'd take some time to visit (and maybe even change your blogrolls) Dryvetyme Onlyne in the next few days (and in the subsequent weeks and months and years. And thanks for all of your visits to my blogs here over the past 18 or so months, because, as soon as Dryvetyme Onlyne is fully functional, my four Blogspot sites will become extinct.



Monday, November 28, 2005

The King and the Boy

Well, this isn't part of the screenplay (obviously), but it's a story that I just wrote for my kids at school, commemorating the journey through the Advent season. What do you all think?

Once upon a time, there was a King who ruled over a large Kingdom. He was a king who ruled with mercy, justice, and compassion. All of his subjects loved him because they knew that he loved all of them. The King took care to make sure that all of the people in his kingdom were taken care of – the poor, the needy, the hurting. If someone needed help, this king would help and would want to help that person or family.

One day, though, a story drifted into the kingdom about a boy, a boy who was trapped on a far off mountain, trapped in a dark cave, unable to be set free from being captured. The King was saddened when he heard this, for this was the kind of person the king most wanted to help, those who were unable to help themselves. The winter was quickly approaching, the darkness was falling, and the young boy would surely starve trapped in that cave. Moreover, his wife, the Queen, was unable to bear children, so that this wonderful couple, which loved all people, had no family of their own to care for and love.

Thus, the king set out from his kingdom to save this boy from the cave that was his prison. He carried with him provisions for a journey and provisions to feed the boy and last for the two of them on their return journey. The King knew that it would be a tough, arduous trip, filled with perils and trials of many kinds.

Soon after leaving the boundaries of his kingdom, the King entered a land filled with boulders, rocks, stones, and crystalline mountains with sheer, slippery sides and steep cliffs. The horse he was riding was quickly injured, as the rocks & shells covering the ground cut up his feet. The horse’s feet were injured so badly that the king had to leave the horse behind and travel the rest of the way on foot, greatly slowing his journey. The king slipped, stumbled, scraped his knees, twisted his ankles, and barely made it out of the Land of Stone. Upon exiting, he cried into the sky, “I am coming! I have not forgotten my mission!”

The king looked up into the sky, realizing how dark and cold the sky was becoming. He hoped that he would be able to complete his journey much more swiftly. But from a land of cold stone and hard shell, the king walked into a deep, leafy green jungle, where the bushes and the undergrowth covered up the paths. But more than that, it seemed like the branches of the trees would move back and forth, getting into his way, not allowing him to move forward and make any progress on his journey. He had entered an Enchanted Forest, capable of trapping the king within its confines forever.

However, the King was struck by an idea – he climbed a tree and saw the mountaintop where the cave and the boy were. Thus, whenever the King felt he was getting lost, he would climb a tree, find the mountain he was trying to reach, and make his way through the Enchanted Forest. He had broken its spell upon him and, upon dragging his way out of the branches that sought to trap him, he cried out, “I am coming! I have not forgotten my mission.”

The air was getting colder and the skies were getting darker as the King began to climb the mountainside. He knew that he would have to fight through the cold, the wind, and the elements in order to get to the cave and the boy. What he did not anticipate was that he was beset with wild animals, the kinds that he had never faced in his kingdom. The king had to battle the cold as well as the wild goats, wild boars, wild mountain lions, and wild bears that attacked him and sought to chase him away from the mountain and the boy he wanted to save.

However, even though he became hurt, the King fought off the wild animals and braced himself against the cold, knowing that if he didn’t save the boy, no one would. At great personal risk, the King made his way up the mountainside, forcing himself onto a plateau, where he saw a cave in the distance. He cried out, “I am coming! I have not forgotten my mission!”

Upon entering the cave, a young boy met the King, and the King knew that this was the boy that he had come to rescue.

The king declared, “Here I am. I am so sorry that it has taken me so long to reach you.”

“I heard you each time you cried out,” responded the boy. “It was your self-sacrifice that broke the enchantment that has trapped me here in this cave since my birth. Everyone else who has tried to free me has failed because they only wanted the personal glory. You saved me because you wanted to save me and bring a child to your wife, not because you wanted anything for yourself.”

“How do you know all of this?” inquired the King.

“Whomever trapped me in here placed a mirror in front of me, so that I could see everyone who was coming to try to save me. Whomever it was hoped that, by seeing everyone fail, I would lose all hope and stay trapped in here forever, as punishment to my now-deceased evil father. But each time that you called out to me, reminding me (and yourself) that you were coming to save me, the mirror cracked just a bit, until your last cry, here on the plateau of this mountain. You saved me and we can now go to your wife. You will be my father and your wife my mother. Thank you for saving me.”

The King and the boy were then magically transported back to the doors of the King’s castle where the Queen had been anticipating their return. Thus, as the cold winter set in about them, the boy was safe, the Queen had her child, and the King had his loving family around him. The Love the King had for others had won and freed the boy from his cave.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Scene 6

[The scene opens to a mostly darkened room. In the center of the shot, we see a TV playing the movie Dirty Dancing. Our movie's scene begins with DD's scene where Baby approaches the staff quarters helping the staff guy bring in watermelons. The room, however, is filled with 5 guys, all sitting on chairs & recliners gathered into the living room to watch. That's right -- 5 guys & no women at all. They watch the movie in rapt attention, no one saying anything. We watch the movie with them for approximately 5 minutes. That's right -- 5 minutes & no talking from the guys watching, fixated on the movie. Until...]

Leo: [speaking loudly over the dance scene music] HEY MOM!! WE'RE ALL OUT OF DRINKS IN HERE!! COULD YOU BRING US MORE?!?!

Leo's Mom: Yes dear! We'll be in there soon!

[We watch the movie with the 5 guys for about a minute more when Mom walks in, accompanied by a girl in her mid-teens. Both ladies come in bearing drinks & snack food that they pass around to the 5 guys, all 7 people silent, as the movie plays on.]

[As the ladies leave the room] Leo: Thanks Mom! Thanks Sis!

[The other 4 guys respond, not quite as a chorus, but close] Guys: Thanks Leo's Mom! Thanks Leo's Sister!

[We continue watching the movie for about a minute or so more before the scene ends abruptly.]

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Others

In case you might possibly maybe be interested, here are the other two blogs where I post my material. Then again, you might never actually read what I write at all. And while I might be disappointed that you're not perusing my writing, I do realize that it's your choice not to do so. But seriously now, READ!!!

Dryvetyme -- This is my general blog, filled with essays, poetry, links, friends, ramblings, questions, queries, and whatever else I'd like to present to the world (or at least the small world of people who frequent my site).

Genesis Now -- This is the blog that I recently began that chronicles my meanderings through the book of Genesis, a book that I've begun dissecting, studying, and reassembling for use & lessons by the church for whom I work and that I attend. I really enjoy doing the work and have been receiving good feedback on the work from others. Let me know what you think (unless you're going to be mean and tacky with your criticism, since that wouldn't me nice at all).


Monday, October 31, 2005

Scene 5

[Simon exits the door of the mall, walking to his car, as "The Ocean" from Mae fades into the background. He walks out across a large mall parking lot, the air full of squeaking brakes, screeching kids, giddy teen girls, and random outdoor crowd noise. He makes his way to his parked Prius and lets himself in the car. He lets out a deep breath and pushes the Start Button. "Love Will Tear Us Apart" by Joy Division slowly leaks its way out of his car stereo.]

Simon: [Obviously speaking to himself] I really don't know why I let myself get so worked up about things like that. It's her life, her heart, and her own business. Is it really my place to tell her what to do? Maybe. Maybe not. Such is the problem with friendship -- you're never quite sure when to say anything, why you should be interfering in your friend's decisions, and what you should actually say.

{Simon puts the car in reverse, backs out of his spot, throws the car into drive, and makes his way out of the parking lot. He brakes to let traffic pass and then turns right.]

Simon: There are two levels of friends, in my opinion, and I'm not counting acquaintances. There are the friends you spend lots of time with and like spending that time with, but when push comes to shove, you don't look to them for advice. It's not because they don't have good things to say, but you both don't resonate on the deepest levels. And that's OK. You still like being with them.

[Simon flips on his left blinker, brings the car to a stop at a stop sign, and then turns left. He takes a quick right and hops onto the freeway access road.]

Simon: Granted, there are many of these Level 1 friends who become Level 2 friends, mostly because you spend so much quality time together that you can't help but draw them close to you emotionally and relationally. And then there are those Level 1 friends that just stay there. They're great people, but that's about it. Good people....

[Simon looks left, slaps on his left blinker, and merges smoothly into south-bound traffic, pulling into Lane 3 of 5. "Thirty-three" from the Smashing Pumpkins begins playing.]

Simon: Thus, I can't decide what kind of friend I am in Tessa's life. Am I enough of a friend to talk to her seriously about this asshole of a boyfriend she's staying with? Granted, I shouldn't call him an asshole to her face, but the sentiment is still the same. She's wasting her time and her heart on a guy who runs around on her. I can't believe she keeps forgiving him all the time! (mumbles in frustration)

[Cell phone rings, barely audibly, since the stereo is so loud. Simon picks up the phone and presses a button to answer it.]

Simon: Hey there Jackie.


Simon: WHAT??? What are you talking about?

[Loud muffles from Jackie's end of the phone]

Simon: You're kidding me. Is that what Leo's doing tonight? Why would he even TELL you those plans? I feel embarassed for all men everywhere. But I do appreciate knowing though -- he'll get an earful of flak from me. Talk to you later dear.

{Muffles from Jackie and Simon hangs up the phone]

Simon: And to top it off, guys like Tessa's boyfriend make things harder for guys like me. Or even for guys like Leo! How are we to compete with guys who keep women so tantalized and intrigued? Maybe I shouldn't even be worrying about competing.... I shouldn't worry, but easier said than done most of the time....

[Cell phone rings again, same scenario as last time]

Simon: Hey there Leo. How are you?

{Noise on Leo's end]

Simon: Glad to hear you're doing well, but I'll have to pass on that invitation. I do appreciate it though. Talk to you later.

{Simon presses a button to end the call]

Simon: You see there! A great-looking guy, intelligent, funny, personable -- cut down in the prime of his dating life. Dateless on a Firday night. Granted, I'm dateless tonight as well, but you won't catch ME at home watching movies. I'll go OUT to watch movies. Just a bit better....

{Drives silently for a minute or so, as "Two O'Clock Your Time" from Ace Troubleshooter plays. Simon hums along a bit.]

Simon: It seems that guys perpetually have difficulty figuring out how to talk to women. Oh, I'm not naive enough to think we'll ever understand or figure out women. That's not happening ANY time soon. But what makes things so hard when it comes to just talking to them. And I know that I'm not broaching any new conversational material here. It's just still such a reality that guys deal with often. But I'm gonna shut up now. I'm going to tire myself out babbling on like this.

[Simon falls into silence again, as "I Want the One I Can't Have" by The Smiths begins to croon over the stereo.]

Simon: Ahhhh.... Morrissey....

[Silence again as Simon looks over his right shoulder and rearview mirror, pulling into the far right lane and off the freeway. He pulls up to a stoplight and moves into the right hand turn lane. He turns onto a mildly-lit side street, stays in the right--hand lane for 4 blocks & 2 stoplights that he catches green. A sign reading "Southern's" comes into view as Simon pulls into the parking lot for the restaurant. He parks swiftly, turns off his Prius, opens his door, gets out, and closes/locks the car doors.]

Simon: [walking towards the door] Now, the food this place fixes isn't really good for you: too much grease and great quantities of fried foods. But I love the ambience and my friends love hanging out here. So here I am, yet again.

[Simon opens the door, revealing Audra, Jackie, Tina, and Jon waiting for him inside]

Simon: Good evening all.

All four friends at once: SIMON!!

[The server walks up to the waiting group and seats them amidst a sea of moderately loud restaurant patrons. Simon greets and shakes hands with many members of the waitstaff as the group takes their seat, accompanied by the music of "Torches Together" by mewithoutYou.]

[Scene fades out as they're seated.]

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Scene 4

[The camera follows Simon walking through a concourse of people in a typical mall-type setting, 45 seconds to a minute of doing so. Someone hails Simon from across the mall, calling him out loudly. Simon is visibly snapped out of his self-imposed walking reverie and crosses through a crowd of people to greet the voice who called him. He approaches a well-dressed, yet goth-styled pixie of a girl.]

Tessa: SIMON! [Gives Simon a big hug that he returns with a kiss on the top of the head]

Simon: How are you tonight Tessa?

Tessa: I’m OK. Just OK.

Simon: You’re usually just OK. Why can’t I ever see you doing great?

Tessa: I’m not really sure. Maybe my life is just OK. It’s never been great. Why is that?

Simon: I’m not sure about that either. OK then. Enough of that. I’d rather not get down right now. I can bring myself down easily enough on my own. What have you been up to Tess?

Tessa: Work… [She stops in mid-sentence as Tessa and Simon see a middle-aged woman, 40-45, walking down the mall. She is clad in cowboy boots; a beige, fringed cowboy-style, miniskirt; denim halter-top; and cowboy hat. Tessa and Simon both openly gape as this brazen display of trendy apparel gone horribly wrong and horribly old. They both stare as she walks down the mall, thinking everything is OK.]

Tessa: Uhhh… Please, please, please Simon do not let me ever walk out in public looking like that when I’m her age.

Simon: Yes ma’am. I’m not sure I’d ever let you look like that now much less you in 20 years. Fair enough?

Tessa: Thanks. Where were we? Oh yeah. Work & School. What else is there in my life?

Simon: You tell me. Why do you NOT find more to do that just work and school?

Tessa: [getting slightly perturbed] I don’t know Simon. What’s up with the 20 Questions about my life? I haven’t seen you in 2 or 3 months and you’re grilling me about the status of my life.

Simon: Sorry my dear. It just comes out when I’m around you. You are a wonderful girl who’s always too down on herself. I don’t like seeing you like that. You’re always so much prettier when you’re happy.

Tessa: [expression softening a bit] Thanks Simon. You always say the nicest thing. Why are you so single anyway?

Simon: That, my dear, is the eternal question in my life these days. I don’t even know how to begin answering that question. Maybe…

[Tessa’s cell phone begins ringing, playing “Drop It Like It’s Hot” and she looks at her phone]

Tessa: Oh! It’s my boyfriend Jesse!

Simon: You’re still with him?

Tessa: Yeah. I know. I should have left him so long ago, but I can’t leave him.

Simon: But he treats you like shit!

Tessa: No, he doesn’t!

Simon: Tessa. You’ve never been happy with him.

Tessa: Yeah, I know. You’re right, as usual. [Phone stops ringing and standard missed phone call beep sounds from her phone.]

Tessa: ACK! I’ve gotta call him now. I hope he won’t be mad. I’ll talk to you later Simon. [She gives him a hug and waves as she walks away.]

Simon: Bye Tessa… [Weakly waves, but knows that she doesn’t see the wave as she starts talking on the phone 15 feet away and moving.]

Simon: [Talking to himself] I guess it’s time to get going again… [Simon walks to his right, towards the doors of the mall, as “The Ocean” by Mae plays, rising in volume the closer Simon gets to the doors and exits.]

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Scene 3, Part 3

At last....

After a 2-month hiatus that was NEVER supposed to happen, I have finally completed Scene 3, Part 3. Thanks to you all for your patience. I left my old job to begin a great new one, but with that new job has come a fairly large learning curve. I'm all for moving up and progressing, but it's been a whirlwind month of teacher training, observation, orientation, and the like. Day 2 of the 2005-2006 school year concluded today and, due to the fact that I had a wonderful day today, I felt compelled and stimulated to get back to my creating/writing. I hope that you like what you read here. It's a rather long piece, but fairly crucial to the development of the mood and temperment of the film. As usual, please feel free to comment. Peace.

Scene 3, Part 3

[The camera moves slowly about the room, not really focusing upon anything, but making sure that nothing is really blurred. The camera should appear to be someone’s eyes, a pair of eyes that are trying to take in all of the surroundings in an effort to try and stay detached, yet involved. Snatches of conversation drift in and out of range of the camera’s view/range as you hear someone begin to sing “Happy Birthday” rather distinctly. The ambient noises quiet and the crowd moves in one direction to where the singing is coming from and the camera follows.]

Jackie: Happy Birthday dear Tina, happy birthday to you!

Tina: Thanks everyone. Thanks a lot. [She blows out the candles on the cake, candles arranged with a grouping at the top in a rather random fashion.] Hey Audra! What kind of cake is this?

Audra: That’s a really good question. I don’t know what kind it is since I didn’t make your cake. Bethany made it for you. She would be here to celebrate except that she’s asleep right now. She was up late studying for Finals last night, so she needed to get to bed early. Besides, I didn’t really think that you would want to eat burned cake batter on your birthday. Enough about me. Why don’t you just start cutting out pieces and we can all figure out what we’re eating tonight.

[Camera enters the room and you see an arm reach out to give Tina the knife to cut. The camera then takes a seat by Tina. As she slices the cake, she takes pieces and puts them on small plates. The arm returns and starts handing out the cake to people in the room.]

Jackie: Hey Tina. What did you wish for when you blew the candles out? Anything special you want to share with us? Hmmmm….

Tina: Oh, nothing really. At least, I might tell you later. I have this silly habit of wishing for the moon sometimes. Is that so wrong?

Jackie: Not really. Just as long as you didn’t wish for a boyfriend again.

[Tina noticeably blushes]

Jackie: Not again. What did you and I talk about this past Sunday morning? Didn’t we promise each other that we’re not going to worry about our lack of boy problems? Isn’t it good these days to NOT have that kind of drama in our lives?

Tina: Jackie!! Be quiet!

Jackie: Oh yeah. Sorry everybody….

[Tina blushes even more than before and the crowd disperses as the cake is being handed out. Eventually, only Audra, Tina, Jackie, Leo, and the camera are left at the table. The camera will remain in its place viewing the conversation, only allowing for slight panning back and forth, recreating the impression of being an active, yet silent participant in the conversation. The viewing is human-active, not camera-passive.]

Jackie: Wow. The room emptied out quickly. What’s that all about? Anyway, what’s up with those candles?

Tina: What are you talking about?

Jackie: Those candles look like they’re actually something, like they’re supposed to represent something.

Leo: What are you talking about Jackie? I don’t see anything there except for a half-pan of cake that I’m going to eat when the rest of you people are through with your tiny slices.

Jackie: Thanks for that input Leo. Always about you. Always about the food.

Leo: Yeah? So what? At least the food won’t go to waste with me eating it!

Jackie: True, but you’ll go to waste eating all of that food all of the time. Sometimes I think that you’re going to meet your future wife by asking her if she’s going to eat the leftovers on her plate.

Leo: Hey! I don’t ask random strangers for their food!

Audra: Uh, Leo? What about last weekend at Southern’s? You literally threw yourself at the food that girl left on her plate.

Leo: Hey! She hadn’t even touched her fries or her chicken sandwich. You saw me – I cut off the part where she had taken a bite or two and ate the rest. What’s so wrong with not wasting like that?

[The inhabitants of the table look at him, jaws agape, hoping that he’ll come to realize the idiocy of his comments. He doesn’t.]

Leo: What are you people looking at? I’m not the gross slob you make me out to be.

Jackie: You’re right Leo. We do love you, but your eating habits and sanitary practices leave much to be desired. Do you really have questions as to why you’re still single?

Leo: Not any more. I know that the right girl is out there and will love me for who I am.

Tina [under her breath, but not quite]: Like there’s really a girl out there who will put up with your lack of regular bathing…

Audra: Anyway, let’s leave all that alone. Rest assured Leo – we all do love you, but maybe we just think that you could do well with a nice look into your dating status and why you remain so single.

Jackie: Ooo! Ooo! I’d love to volunteer for THAT assignment!

Audra: Uh, Jackie. I wasn’t asking for volunteers. You were much too quick there. Leo knows that he is a wonderful guy – he just might need to re-examine a few things in his life. Isn’t that right, Leo?

Leo: NO! What are you talking about? I’m perfectly content in who I am and whomever I’m going to find is going to be happy with me.

Jackie: Well, then I’m sure she will just be ecstatic about you eating off stranger’s plates in public. I know that I want MY future husband to be such a health-conscious and socially aware guy.

Leo: What is this? Make fun of Leo night? How did I get the privilege of having my life dissected by my friends?

Tina: Uh, Leo, it’s like, fairly easy to do. Don’t you tease me constantly about me having to having my hair, clothes, and make-up perfect before I go anywhere, even to go running?

Leo: Yeah. And your point is? I’m the funny guy of the group – I make the jokes and get people to laugh. I’m the guy who does NOT get made fun of. It’s a nice, easy arrangement.

Jackie: Awwww… Leo… Do you need a hug? Because if you do, I’m sure that the girl whose food you ate after she left would LOVE to give you one.

[The whole table erupts in laughter, with Leo’s face loosening up as he laughs probably the loudest.]

Jackie: Here’s what you may NOT have known Leo – that girl thought you were really cute.

Leo: How do you know that? Do you women have some sort of sixth sense about those things?

Jackie: Yes, Leo. We do. We really do. First, I saw her look at you several times while you weren’t looking. Men and boys typically miss those kinds of subtle looks, mostly because you have NO CLUE how to look at women without being caught. You’re kinda lame like that. And second, she asked me about you in the bathroom.

Leo: What? When did she do that? I’m so confused…
Jackie: It’s OK, Leo. Anyway, about 2 minutes after s he and her friends left their table, I went to the bathroom and she followed me in. At first, I was a bit creeped out by that, but she just wanted to ask me a few questions about you. She seemed rather interested.

Leo: I can’t win with women. Why didn’t she just ask me those questions? Why can’t women approach men when they’re interested?

Jackie: Well, Leo. You’ve just stumbled upon one of the humanity’s most age-old mysteries. You see, most men SAY that they want women to be assertive, but women who come on too strong usually intimidate them. A) Women who come on too strongly as seen as strong-willed, bitchy, and/or slutty (and men don’t really want to date a woman like that for anything long-terms) or B) Men fell emasculated by women who say what they want, do what they want, and don’t care what men think about them.

Leo: Hey! That’s not true. Oh wait, it is…

Audra: See, Leo. You wouldn’t have wanted her to approach you and say, “Hey. You’re cute. What’s your number? I’d like to call you sometime.” Would you have?

Leo: Uh, no. Not really. But is it a contradiction to say that I would still have liked to know she was interested in me?

Audra: No. It’s not a contradiction, per se. Just all part of the paradox that is the male-female dynamic. We’re not asking you to understand this tonight. It’s impossible for you.

Jackie: All that we’re really wanting you to learn tonight, Leo is this: You’re a bit too old to be grabbing food off people’s plates. You did that when you were 16 and girls thought you were cute and rebellious. When you do that at 26, girls see you as an immature 16-year-old who refuses to grow up.

Leo: Dang it….

Tina: Hey! Where did everyone go? It’s just us now!

Audra: They’ve obviously left us, but it's not like this has never happened before at these dinners. What time is it anyway?

Tina: It’s a bit after midnight! I’ve gotta get going. I was late this morning for work and I don’t want to be late again. Work calls early – 930AM for me.

Leo: Early? That’s early? I have to be at work at 8AM!

Jackie: There you go again Leo. Aren’t you a bit too old to be competing with your friends about how early you start your job in the morning?

Leo: Dang it… Hey, you were right! Those candles DO look like something – like it’s a cat’s head or something.

Tina: ACK! Bethany told me that she was going to give me a pet for my birthday. We ate my kitty cat!

Jackie: It’s Ok Tina. You’re still my Kitty, even if we did eat your cat for dessert tonight.

[Long pause]

Jackie: Is it just me or are we all weirded out now that we just ate a metaphorical cat for dessert tonight?

[Everyone nods their heads in assent]

Leo: I think I’m going home ladies and gentleman. It has been a wonderful evening, once again. Thanks for the advice, even if you teased me about the whole thing anyway.

Jackie: Anytime Leo. If you ever need to be mocked and ridiculed for all of your quirky behavior, just let me know. I’m more than happy to oblige you on that.

Leo: Thanks Jackie.

[Everyone takes turns hugging each other amidst a mish-mash of “I love you”, “See you later” and similar comments that friends typically make to each other. The camera follows Leo & Tina out of the front door, down the sidewalk, and down the driveway. Upon arriving at the street, Leo turns left, Tina walks forward to a dark Toyota Camry, and the camera turns to the right, approaching a Toyota Prius.]

Tina: Good night Leo.

Leo: Good night Tina and good night to you Simon.

Tina: Yeah, good night honey.

Simon [from the camera’s perspective]: Good night you two. See you on Sunday Tina.

[The camera gets in the car, pushes the ignition button, and the car starts up with the stereo playing “First of the Gang” by Morrissey]

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Scene 3, Part 2

[The camera move slowly through the room, at approximate pace of a person walking. Small groups of people (2, 3, and 4 at a time) are seen talking, laughing, smiling, eating, drinking, just hanging out. Some conversations are louder than others, as the case is with a large group of people divided into smaller groups, yet still a communal experience. The camera focuses upon one particularly loud conversation occurring right outside of the kitchen area.]

Don: You've got to be kidding me. You actually fit through that door? I don't believe you. I'm not saying that you're big or anything, but that's a small, stinking door!

Jackie: Why would I joke about something like that? Why would I pretend that my whole side is bruised up from cramming myself through that small door because the phone was ringing and I was locked out of my house? Isn't the whole scenario a bit too far-fetched to have been made up?

Paul: Well, I don't know what to think. You're telling me that when you walked outside in your pajamas to get your laptop out of your car, you accidentally closed the door behind you. Then, when you opened the gate to get to your car and see if there was an extra key to the house in there, your dog ran past you and into the woods. Then, as you pondered on how to get back into the house, your mind leapt upon the idea of getting in through the doggy door. THEN, as you started inching your way through the door, your cell phone, which you do lots of business for your job on, started ringing.

Don [picking up on the story]: THEN, as you fling yourself through the doggy door, scraping up your right side, you get to the phone to find out that the number on the caller ID belongs to the guy you have a crush on who your boss happens to be best friends with AND is writing a book with. Do you really expect us to believe that all of this happened to you?

[As he finishes his sentence, another girl joins the group, but she's not quite sure of what's going on.]

Jackie [laughing all the way through their rendition]: Yes! All of this happened to me! [She slightly lifts up the bottom of her t-shirt to reveal a rather purple bruise] Do you really think I wanted to give this to myself just to back up my made-up story? I don't think so gentlemen....

Haley [with a serious, yet perplexed look on her face]: Hey Jackie, why are you all purple right there? Did someone hit you or something?

Jackie [trying not to smile as Haley asks her the inane question] : No, Haley. Why would you think that I would have been hit?

Haley: I don't know Jackie. Why else would someone be purple and bruised right there?

Jackie [now trying to suppress a laugh as Don and Paul slink away from where this conversation is going]: Did you hear my story about what happened the other night?

Haley: No. I just heard you three talking loudly and wanted to know what was going on. I was bored with Randy & Mark's talk about guitars. They tend to talk over my head with stuff.

Jackie: Well, that's because lots of people tend to.... Never mind. How have you been Haley?

Haley [not really aware that Jackie has just changed subjects]: I've been doing well. School keeps me busy and so does work. But, I don't really work much, just enough to pay for new clothes, shoes, & stuff.

Jackie [sarcastically]: It must be a hard life you lead, with those 12 hours of school, your Mustang, your 12 hours of work, and all that other stuff you do.

Haley [oblivious to the sarcasm]: I know! I keep myself so busy with my dates, my classes, and my salsa dancing practices that I don't know how I get it all done. It's like I told my friend Jenny the other day....

[Jackie leans down onto the counter, with her chin in her hand, knowing that she's in for a long talk, unless she gets saved somehow by someone. Haley's voice fades away as the camera begins scanning the gathering again.]

Scene 3, Part 1

[The camera is set up at the end of a long dark road, with a sizeable house to the left of it. 3 cars are in the tree-lined street as light aproach in the distance. A car pulls up to the house, stops, & parks. There is shuffling inside the car that can't quite be seen because it's dark.]

[Switching camera angles to where the house is on the right-hand side, the car door opens and Simon exits. Since it's rather dark in the street, you see him shadowed as he starts talking and walking. The camera views him from his right side.]

Simon: Wednesdays at work seem to always go by fairly quickly, mostly because I'm always looking ahead to what will be going on after work. Some people feel that time drags by really slowly when they're anticipating some event -- the whole "a watched pot never boils" kinda thing. However, while I've had those slow days on occasion, invariably, my Wednesdays always seem to zip by and it's a wonderful thing. It truly is.

[As Simon finishes this sentence, he enters decent light stops. We find him standing in the middle of the driveway of the sizeable house, with 4 cars filling all available driveway space. The camera angle views him from the left as he then turns left to face the camera, musing aloud.]

Simon: You see, I have this great group of friends that I meet with every week at this time. What do we do, you might ask. We eat. We talk. We listen. We laugh. We play cards. We listen to music. We watch TV. We hang out. We don't do anything specific. We just spend time together -- no agenda, no plans, no real organization of any kind. We're just there and it's such a great experience, living life together like this.

[The camera angle switches to follow Simon from behind as he begins to walk on a sidewalk. The sidewalk makes a right turn and the camera follows. He stops at the large, double wooden doors to the house and turns to face the camera.]

Simon: What makes these people so great? It's nothing too particular, really. Some people I don't talk to regularly & some people I talk to constantly. There are some people I see only this one time a week & some people I see at many other times in the week. And then there are the people I have no clue what they're doing here and some people that I wish I would have known all of my life because of the impact they've had on my life. This house is full of all kinds of people, and I don't know what I'd do without them.

[Simon opens the left hand door and, as the camera begins to follow him, you hear a slight door chime as the door closes behind him.]

Friday, July 15, 2005


Dang, I'm a slacker....

I have these thoughts, ideas, scenes, conversations running through my head, but I never seem to find a way to actually write them down as often as I need to do so. My friend, So I Go, seems to achieve production (and such deep production it is) on such a regular basis. The problem is that I feel ashamed next to him, as opposed to getting mobilized and motivated. He's given me good feedback on my material (which should be a sign of some sort), but I find too many other ways to occupy my time at night. I guess I should set up some sort of deadline for myself on a regular basis. I hate looking & feeling like a lard-ass....

Friday, June 24, 2005

Bits and bits of Scene 3

Hey there folks. Simon here....

Scene 3 is in the works, as it takes place at a regularly occurring dinner scene in my life. It will be introducing yet another dynamic in my life -- the friends and free time alluded to at the end of Scene 1. Be ready and be anticipating....

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Scene 2

Like Augustine -- Scene 2

[Camera follows Simon's car from the street as it pulls into a driveway, turns left, and parks. As he parks, the camera pans 180 degrees to the right, focusing on a storefront, topped with a sign reading "The Shepherd's Shoppe" and then continues the circle to find Simon exiting his car. The camera zooms in on him as he begins walking through the parking lot, keeping him on the left of the screen as the rest of the screen focuses on the busyness of the street behind him and the emptiness of the parking lot around him. It's about 5 PM on a autumn day, so the darkness has begun to creep into the sky.]

Simon: [not looking into the camera, but wistfully gazing in the open sky as he mumbles to himself and strolls around the parking lot] I'm not even sure why I'm here right now. I don't want to be here, but I just feel kinda stuck here. Where's here? This store, where I've worked for 6 years now. Why else would I feel stuck here? I guess that would be why I feel stuck, but I also realize that I'm the one who keeps me stuck here. Of course, if I knew a way out, I would think that I'd have taken that way out by now. But I haven't and that's my problem. I still feel connected to this place for positive reasons, very positive ones. Here's the issue at hand though -- I think that most days, the negatives outweigh the positives in terms of number and severity of the issues at hand, but I'm still here. What few positives I can grasp onto keep me in a place that I don't quite like too much. Why am I here? Seriously....

[Simon looks at his watch, notices the time, and walks briskly through the doors of the store.]

Simon: Inside this place, this job of mine, you see a rather attractive establishment. The owner of this store did a great job with the design and layout and spared no expense. It feels like a bookstore in many respects and I like that. However, this place is filled with every card & knick-knacky gift item on a stand or shelf than one would think possible. Crosses, angels, pictures, plaques, frames, figurines -- LOTS of them. Lots and lots of them, many of them the same kinds of gifts you'd find in "non-Christian" gift stores, except that these have random, out-of-context pieces of Scripture plastered onto them, instantly making them safe for Christians to buy. It's a racket, complete with the outrageous mark-ups. And I know that it's like this in the "non-Christian" retail/gift market, but that still doesn't make it right, just because everyone else is doing it.

[The camera walks through the store's displays and display areas from left to right as Simon talks. Let his conversation give and idea to the direction the camera should take as it shows what's inside the store. When he finishes with the gift talk, find Simon as he strolls through the back half of the store.]

Simon: In the other half of the store, you see rows of books, Bibles, music, t-shirts. I mean, look at this stuff! [Picks up a book of the shelf -- Joel Osteen's "Your Best Life Now!" and put into the camera] This place is crammed full of all kinds of stuff that you would think shouldn't sell because of its cheesiness, but you'd be wrong, really wrong. Why do I work here? I just don't know sometimes.

[Simon opens the door to the back room and walks in, the door closing behind him. The camera stays focused on the door, as you hear Simon's muffled voice talk to someone in the back room for a bit. After 15-20 seconds of lite conversation with the voice, Simon exits again, his shirt displaying a name tag that reads: (Top line) The Shepherd's Shoppe, (Middle line) Simon, (Bottom line) Ask me if you need help! Simon walks to the middle of the store where he stops abrubtly, still not facing the camera.]

Simon: I started working here about 6 years ago when I was in college. The job made sense: I like books, Bibles, and music, and this store sold them. All of those gifts intimidated me and they still do. The store has always felt split into 2 pieces -- the gift side and the everything else side. This store has 2 kinds of customers: those who buy mostly gifts and those who buy mostly everything else. The percentages of sales are evidence of that dichotomy, mostly because the owners and managers have set the store up that way. I mean, look at the layout of this place -- you're bombarded by gifts the instant that you walk in. You have to walk through the [fingers rise up with air quotes] "Gauntlet of Tackiness" to get to anything else, and even then, you don't always have the deepest material on these other shelves. [Picks up Rick Warren's "Purpose-Driven Life" of the shelf to his right and finally looks into the camera] Of course, there are days when I tell myself that I should leave, walk out the door, refuse to sell this junk anymore, and go sell insurance of something else that people actually need, even though THAT business is a racket as well.

Simon: I mean....

[Simon shuts up quickly as you hear the click of a door handle from the back of the store, followed by the disjointed clicking of a couple pair of high heels. You see 2 women exit the back, both dressed in attractive clothing, carrying purses and bags, obviously exiting for the day. One is older than the other and commands the hushed conversation that they're having.]

Simon: [Raising his left hand] Have a good night ladies. I'll see you tomorrow.

[The older lady presents a fake smile to Simon as the younger one says good night and gives a bit more real smile, but not by much as they walk through the gifts and out the front door.]

Simon: Now, please don't misunderstand all of these rants of mine. I do think that if I really didn't like what I do, I would have left this job. But you see, I like people -- I like talking to them, helping them, sharing with them, listening to them, and being with them. I'm a people person -- ask any of my friends, co-workers, and regular customers here. They come here because they like me, both as a retail employee who helps them select what products to buy and as a person. I don't say that because I think that I'm something special, but because I think that's what keeps me here -- I don't want to lose track of the community of people that I've built up around me. To get another job means that I'd have to start all over again, not that meeting new friends would be hard for me, but I like the connections that I've made here.

[The door swooshes open as a skinny, dark-haired guy walks in quietly, looking about for someone. Simon looks to his left at the door, his face visibly brightening as he sees who it is.]

Simon: Ethan! I'm over here, talking to myself again. What brings you in tonight?

[Ethan walks over, familiar with the store's layout, sneering at things as he passes displays]

Ethan: Hey Simon. I was bored at home and I knew you'd be bored here at work, so I decided to join you. Misery loves company.

Simon: True. And we've both spent our fair share of miserably slow nights here before.

Ethan: Right you are. Of course, I got out of here and you're still here, which I don't understand at all. You're the one with the college degree and management experience and I barely finished high school.

Simon: We've been over this before, yet you always bring it up. I guess I appreciate you challenging me continually to get out of here, but I always get self-conscious defending myself.

Ethan: It's Ok. I'll get off your back. Is there anyone here?

Simon: You know this is Tuesday night. You know that there's rarely anyone here. You know that it's so slow that I'm the only person working most week nights these days.

Ethan: Yet another reason you should leave. Business is slow here, so they don't pay you what you're worth, yet you stay.

Simon: Yeah, yeah, yeah.... Get off the soapbox Ethan. I've already been beating myself up the past couple of days talking about this stuff to you and Jackie. I stay here because of the community. I stay here because I feel a connection to the people that shop here.

Ethan: You keep saying that and I do believe you, but don't you think that you could build a better community somewhere else? Don't you think that you could build a healthier community of customers, friends, and acquaintances at a place that YOU started? You're great with people and have great ideas for building your own space. Why don't you do it?

Simon: Honestly, it's fear. I fear failure. I fear economic insecurity. I fear more than I should.

Ethan: Simon, you're already economically insecure. You live paycheck to paycheck, barely making ends meet, and you stay at a place that you don't really enjoy, simply for the few good customers that like you and come here only for you. Do you know what that means? It means that if you leave and make your own place, they'll follow you there. And on top of that, you'll bring in all of your other friends and acquaintances that don't want to shop here because of the cheesiness of most of this stuff.

Simon: I've thought about that too. I think, "What would a place look like that I would want to shop at?" What would this store keep in stock? What would it sell? Would it be a place that's run like a retail store or like a place where you just want to spend time, just with some books, music, art, and coffee for sale if you're interested? Would it stress buying things or being together?

Ethan: It would be like you, no matter if you sold anything, or just provided a space where people could go and be real with each other, without a fear of feeling weird. You'd create a place where people could belong, where they could find other people like themselves, where they could be open and honest without feeling like they're going to be persecuted for thinking differently than the mainstream, the status quo.

Simon: I love this. We're having a conversation about opening a new store totally opposite from where I currently work while I'm currently at work. Hemingway would be proud of us right about now, or would that be Kafka....

Ethan: I don't know Simon. You know that I haven't read those guys. You know that you totally lose me when you start talking about that kind of stuff. Just listen to me. Get out of here before your soul drains out of you. You've gotta get out.

[The door swooshes open again, revealing two older ladies, complete with red hats and purple shirts. Simon walks a bit away from Ethan to greet the customers.]

Simon: Good evening ladies. Thank you for coming in this evening. Could I possibly help you with anything tonight?

Lady #1: Hello there honey. No, we're just looking around for some cards and maybe something for our pastor. It's October you know -- Pastor Appreciation Month.

Simon: Oh yes ma'am. There's a good selection of cards here on your right specifically for this month. I also have a few displays here in the front with some possibly gift ideas. Let me know if you need any help.

[Ethan walks up towards Simon.]

Ethan: Hey, I'm gonna go now. It's been great talking to you. Think about what I've said. I'm just looking out for you. Have a great night.

Simon: Thanks for coming in Ethan. I appreciate all that you said because I know that you're just looking out for me. I'll see you Sunday, if not before. Maybe we should get together this Friday night if you're free.

Ethan: Oh, I'm usually the free one. It's you who always has something come up; you with all of your friends and stuff.

Simon: Hey, I always invite you along. It's you who's the recluse.

Ethan: True. And you're always trying to get me to go out in larger groups. You'll succeed one day Simon. Oh well, have a good night. Call me Friday.

Simon: Ok, buddy. I'll do that. See ya later.

[Ethan walks out the door as Simon walks behind the register. He leans across the counter, gazing blankly at the far wall. In the foreground, you hear and see the two shoppers cooing over the merchandise.]

Lady #1: Doris, isn't this just the cutest frame here? I can see Pastor loving this, especially if we put a picture of the choir or the sunday school staff in it. What do you think?

Doris: Bring it over here so I can see it Betty. I'm over here looking through these cards. Which scripture would be best for Pastor's card -- Joshua 24:15 or I Timothy 3:16?

Betty: Oh, I don't know. Just pick the one you like best. You know that the only people that will read it will be the Gift Committee that has to approve the card and his wife to see if there's a gift certificate inside.

Doris: Hmmmm.... You're probably right Betty.

Simon: Sigh....

[The scene ends as Simon reaches under the register for a book, opens it, and begins reading]

Preamble to Scene 2

Here's the long-awaited Scene 2. It's a week later than promised, but it still got here. Some of the material may appear a bit heavy-handed or over the top in my presentation of my work environment and the products I sell, but oh well.... It is rather how I feel about much of it. Granted, satires can be either subtle or blatant in their mocking, so I think I'll be a bit of both, depending upon the scene.

As usual, any comments are appreciated, especially if they're constructive and help me refine this screenplay. And again, thanks for reading.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Scene 1

Like Augustine

[Pan around the inside of a coffeeshop, standing in the central point of the shop. Focus on random customers who don't know/pay attention to the fact that they're being "watched" by the camera. The coffeeshop is about half full, so go to each customer (whether alone or in a group) individually. If there is a group of people (whether 2 or more people), stay with a group until everyone in that group gets their face time. Finally, go to the person sitting in the middle of the shop. This is to provide the impression that this person sitting there is trying to find solitude in the midst of a bustling crowd, a futile attempt at best.]

[Sitting down in a chair, with a coffee cup, bottle of water, pen, pad of paper, and messenger bag on the table in front. Scribbling furiously on the pad, until just as the camera gets there, Simon looks up, vaguely, yet the purposefully into the camera to his left.]

Simon: I read a lot, too much sometimes I think. There are times when all the plots run together, all the points mesh into one, all of the characters resemble each other. Then, when I shake my head, they all fall back to where they were in my head -- fractured and unconnected to their greater whole. I'm not sure which is worse -- a mush of memories from everything I've read or a smorgasboard of too many divergent snippets of text, quotes, characters, and purposes knocking about in my head with some sort of literary Brownian Motion.

[Change angles to his right and Simon's vision follows]

Simon: I think that it was Steinbeck, in his travel memoir Travels with Charley, who said that the oppressive heat of the Southern US is stifling to creativity, to the point that good art & good authors are scarce commodities throughout the South. He even went as far as to say that William Faulkner was probably the greatest writer from the South, and even he was influenced by the climate in which he lived. Now, while I would add Flannery O'Connor to that list of his, I would agree with him in intent and substance. We are influenced by the locality of our origins and subsequent raising.

[Simon leans head back, not looking into the camera]

Simon: Granted, that's not really anything new or ground-breaking. Any undergraduate sociology or psychology student should be able to make that assumption, unless they haven't been reading their textbooks, which is another problem all together.

[Simon looks back into the camera centered in front of him]

Simon: The problem arises when people forget their pasts, or worse, try to say that they weren't influenced by their upbringing, that they're totally new people with totally new circumstances. And that's a very large load of crap, mixed with a healthy side dish of denial, for good measure. You can always leave where you used to be in the physical, but you can't quite try hard enough that you'll leave behind the emotional and psychological baggage of your upbringing. I would know. I've tried.

[Simon stands up, grabs his coffee cup and heads up to the counter where two baristas are cleaning blenders.]

Simon: Hey there Matt. Hey there Regina. Could I get a refill of my coffee if you're not too busy?

[Matt turns to face him as Regina keeps cleaning.]

Matt: Sure Simon. I'm just glad that you're not yet another person ordering yet another Venti Frap. I think our blenders have overheated here.

Simon: You know I don't drink that crap Matt.

Matt: I know. I just know that I can complain to you and you don't care.

Simon: Good point. I don't care when you complain. You don't care when I complain. We're even.

{Matt takes the coffee cup, refills it, and sets it in front of Simon.]

Simon: What do I owe you?

Matt: Nothing. As usual. When do any of us make you pay for your refills?

Simon: Yet another good point. Thanks as usual. [Heads back to his table]

Matt: You're welcome Simon. [Turns back to the sink of dirty dishes as Regina splashes him with water. Water splashes in the background as Simon sits down. He looks into the camera on the right.]

Simon: Good literature gives us examples of how our surrounding affect our work, our craft, how we approach practicing, performing, creating anything artistic. Look at work by Doestoevsky & Tolstoy. You can almost see the seconds click by on the clock as the pages turn slowly, one by one. I had a History professor who once said that Russian writers could take 800 pages to describe Tuesday. I would agree with that assessment, mostly because I think that over-attention to detail and literary minuteia can be both fascinating and mind-numbing at the same time. Seriously mind-numbing.

[Shift gaze to the center]

Simon: Contrast that with Hemingway. He could spend 30 pages on 30 minutes of a conversation and then leap over months at a time to the next pertinent scene in his galloping story line. Hemingway spent great detail on the immediate point being made in the conversation between the characters and then move forward great expanses of time to take part in the next conversation deemed to be of any importance. The reader has to play catch-up with the characters because so much time had passed in between scenes. Hemingway's books lived as Hemingway did -- from place to place, conversation to conversation, person to person, event of major consequence to the next event of major consequence.

[Gaze goes back to the right]

Simon: We are products of our environment, whether it's the cultural or climatic environment we're referring to in this scenario. But can we rise up against that? Are we able to break out of the molds into which we're born? Out of the rigid, conformist normality into which our schools, churches, political institutions, and Madison Avenue have socialized us? [voice rises a bit] But do we have to be this way? Is this how rebellions and social change are begun? Are the grassroots of rebellion found at the intentional distaste found in the mouths of the oppressed collective? [voice rises even more]

[Gaze flashes to the left]

Simon: Why are we forced to be followers? Are we compelled into continual rebellion, a cultural war of attrition against being "normal" [fingers do air quotes] or do we have to break out and create a new culture where we can feel at home, more comfortable, more able to freely create and live? [voice rises even more, as people begin to stare uncomfortably at Simon] Why do we...

[Jackie walks up and lightly slaps Simon on the back of the head. She walks right past him and sits in the chair across from him. Camera shift to being perpindicular from them, at Simon's left.]

Jackie: Can't you ever talk to yourself without getting so worked up? I already know how much you hate Wal-Mart.

[Simon looks silly, humbled, and sheepish at her arrival]

Jackie: You know that I feel much like you do, but I don't yell to myself outloud in public, looking all silly. [She continually smiles a playful smile at him while talking]

Simon: Well, it looks like you caught me again. Why is it that you catch me and no one else? [Simon begins to smile]

Jackie: It's probably because, if anyone else caught you yelling to yourself, they'd seriously question your sanity. I mean, it's one thing to mumble to yourself, and quite another thing to talk and yell to yourself like you think that someone's watching you or something. And the scary thing is that you don't really notice yourself doing it. Or is that the funny thing? [Smiles even bigger as she teases Simon]

[Camera angle shifts to being perpindicular to them, at Simon's right]

Simon: OK, alright, enough. You've made your point, yet again. But you know how I get so wrapped up in this. Once I get going, it's hard for me to stop. I sometimes think I was supposed to be an activist, but I got stuck in neutral somewhere in terms of actually doing something with my life.

Jackie: OK, alright, enough. Stop putting yourself down, yet again. You can't get so down on yourself right as we're about to go out for the evening. You're no fun when you're morose about your job. We know you don't like it and we've told you plenty of times that you've gotta get out of there before you go crazy, crazier than you are usually. Let's get going. The others should be pulling up outside.

[Jackie gets up to leave and briskly walks through the door. Simon packs his pen and pad of paper into his bag and chugs down his coffee. He walks up to the counter to return the cup]

Simon: Have a great night you two.

Matt: Have fun tonight Simon.

Regina: See ya Si.

[As he turns to walk out, Simon begins talking again]

Simon: Paraphrasing Adlai Stevenson, "A healthy society is one where it is safe and OK to be in disagreement." I'm not looking for a panacea or a Utopia. No activist that I know is looking for that either.

[Walks through the doors into the sunshine outside. Pauses to look for his friends in their car]

Simon: I'm looking for and working toward a vibrant society where dissent and acceptance are both expected and realized as necessary and appropriate. Why is that deemed naive? What makes this so hard to achieve? But my real question is -- Why is forced, fake homogenity more acceptable than balanced heterogenity? Of course, Don Miller says is best when he said, "Oh, I think that socialism is great -- sharing equally and working for the common good of all humans everywhere. There's only one problem with that -- all humans everywhere."

[Turns from the camera, opens the car door, gets in the car, and the car speeds away.]