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Monthly Archive for November, 2012

MOVIES YOU WILL SEE/The Journey of Natty Gann/Part 6

THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN
by
Jeanne Rosenberg

EXT TRAIN TRACKS DAY

Natty wanders alone along the railroad tracks, walking the rail, the puppy bouncing along behind her, The city skyline rising in the distance.

EXT St. RITZ DAY

Natty approaches the MAILMAN outside the st. Ritz, a glimmer of hope sparkling in her eye. He looks through the handful of letters he carries and shakes his head no.

Natty nods and manages a thin smile, trying to hide her disappointment behind a shrug.

EXT ROOFTOP DUSK

Natty perches on the edge of the roof, her feet dangling over the side, her eyes staring vacantly down at the world below.

INT SALLY’S APT. NIGHT

Sally weaves through her room wearing a feather boa around her neck and worn out bedroom slippers on her feet. There are old pictures from her chorus girl days hanging all over the walls.

She SINGS mournfully along with the RADIO…Ten Cents A Dance…I’m In The Mood For Love…doing her own imitation of a sultry, sexy, torch singer.

She catches sight of herself in the mirror, purses her lips in a pout, and blows herself a kiss.

A CREAKING NOISE on the stairs outside pulls her rudely from her fantasies.

She crosses through the room, obviously annoyed.

INT ST. RITZ LOBBY NIGHT

Sally glides across the lobby and takes up a position at the bottom of the stairs, glaring up at Natty, arms folded across her chest.

        SALLY
Where do you think you’re going?

        NATTY
Out.

        SALLY
At this hour?

        NATTY
Just for a walk.

        SALLY
Like hell. Upstairs. That’s
where you’re going Miss Smarty
Pants. Maybe he let you run
wild but not me. Understand?
It’s different with me.

Sally starts up the stairs toward Natty, pointing her thick finger toward the top.

        SALLY
Go on. Get moving.

        NATTY
You’re not the boss of me.

        SALLY
Bullcrackers! Now move it.

Sally starts menacingly upward and Natty quickly retreats, scurrying up the stairs. Sally watches her go then shuffles triumphantly back to her room.

EXT MAXWELL STREET/LEFTY’S CART DAY

A long-faced, despondent Natty sits on an overturned bucket next to Lefty, inside his crate. The puppy laps milk from a saucer on the ground between them.

        NATTY
You ever ride the rails, Lefty?

        LEFTY
What are you thinking about,
girl?

        NATTY
Nothing.

        LEFTY
Good. ’cause it’s hell out
there. I’ve seen fellas get
their legs chopped off under the
wheels. Just like that. And
Lord help you if you’re wearing
a pair of shoes some tough guy
takes a fancy to.

Lefty shoots her a probing glance, hoping hers scared some sense into her.

LEFTY
Now quit feeling so damn sorry
for yourself.

EXT FRANKIE’S STREET LATE DAY

A still despondent Natty turns down a dilapidated, semi-residential street, and walks down the block, lost in self pity. An angry CROWD gathering ahead grabs her attention and pulls her thoughts from herself.

She sees a Police Van parked next to the curb.

The crowd BOOS and HISSES as POLICE lead a WOMAN in a baggy, faded housedress out of a building. The woman is followed by her 5 CHILDREN. The youngest girl, a toddler, is carried by the oldest boy.

Natty sucks in her breath as she sees this boy.

        NATTY
Frankie!…

Frankie looks at Natty but turns away quickly, embarrassed.

Frankie’s mother watches tight-lipped as WORKMEN carry her family’s belongings down to the street and pile them roughly in a heap.

Frankie’s DAD follows the rest of the family out of the building. He can’t lift his eyes. He seems a broken, shriveled man.

The crowd grows angrier.

Someone throws a rock. It strikes a policeman. He retaliates with his nightstick.

More rocks sail through the air. And more nightsticks lash out.

The MOUNTED POLICE move in.

There’s a loud CLATTER as someone spills a load of marbles onto the street.

The police horses WHINNY and SCREAM as their hooves slide on marbles. They lose their balance and CRASH to the pavement.

Natty picks up a rock and takes aim at a policeman, caught up in the frenzied energy of this ugly, violent mob.

INT SALLY’S APT. DUSK

Sally sits at her kitchen table turning the pages of one of her many scrapbooks, gaudy jewels draped around her neck and overdone makeup slapped on her face.

She looks up from her old pictures, a doubtful frown replacing the sentimental smile on her face. She drains the glass of whiskey sitting on the table.

        SALLY
…What if he’s never going to
send for her? What if he’s
going to leave her here?…

She takes another swig of whiskey, straight from the bottle this time. Then she shakes her head and returns to her photos and her memories.

LOUD KNOCKS at the door make her jump with a start. She SHOUTS through the closed door.

        SALLY
I’m coming, I’m coming. Hold
your horses.

She quickly hides the whiskey bottle in the bread box then crosses to the door and pulls it abruptly open.

        SALLY
Yeah!?

Sally stares into the faces of 2 stern POLICEMEN who hold a sullen faced Natty sandwiched roughly between them.

        COP
You responsible for this kid,
lady? Because if you are, the
Judge’ll want to see you in the
morning.

        SALLY
Jesus H. Christ…

Sally rolls her eyes to the ceiling.

END PART 6

Part 7 Monday, 12/03/12

A script analysis of her favorite childhood novel – written as a USC class assignment – led Jeanne Rosenberg to her first Hollywood writing assignment on The Black Stallion. Switching from documentary filmmaker to narrative screenwriter, Jeanne studied her craft while working as a script supervisor on numerous films before completing her first original screenplay, The Journey of Natty Gann. She has been writing as well as producing and directing ever since. In addition, Jeanne has taught graduate screenwriting at USC and National University.

MOVIES YOU WILL SEE/ The Journey of Natty Gann/Part 5

THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN
by
Jeanne Rosenberg

INT ST. RITZ LOBBY LATE DAY

Sol seems apprehensive and worried as he talks with Sally at the reception desk. He keeps one eye on the door, hoping for Natty. There’s a battered suitcase at his feet.

        SOL
It won’t be so hard Sally. You
just make sure she’s eating
right. Getting to bed on time.
She’s a good kid. Practically
takes care of herself.

Sally doesn’t seem convinced.

        SOL
I’ll pay for your trouble. Soon
as I get the money. Then I’ll
send a ticket, and you can put
her on the train, and. . .

        SALLY
It’ll be extra for taking her
down to the station. And if
you’re not paying for the room
in advance, it’s 9 bucks. Not 7.

        SOL
Okay Sally. It’s a deal.
Whatever you say.

He checks the clock on the desk. He’ll have to hurry if he’s going to make the bus. He starts for the door then hesitates and turns back.

        SOL
Hey, Sally…Thanks. You’re a
life saver.

        SALLY
Yeah, sure. A real Joan of
Arc.Now go on…Get going
if you’re going.

Sol continues across the lobby to the front door and Sally stares after him, shaking her head, muttering to herself , shrugging her shoulders.

EXT ST. RITZ DUSK

Sol stops just outside the front door and looks up and down the street, still hoping to see Natty.

The regulars on the stoop, the hollow faced men, watch him with a flicker of curiosity, wondering about the suitcase in his hand.

They watch as the hope leaves his eyes. He lowers his head and moves down the stoop, walking away from the St. Ritz with a heavy heart.

EXT STREET NEAR ST. RITZ EVENING

Natty leaps off the back of the streetcar and jogs toward the St. Ritz, the puppy riding comfortably inside her jacket.

INT ST. RITZ EVENING

Natty peers into the St. Ritz lobby from just outside the front door, checks to be sure the coast is clear, then hurries inside and rushes past the reception desk.

She makes it to the stairs before the puppy YIPS.

        NATTY
Shhhhh !

She bolts up the stairs but Sally’s voice catches her in mid-flight. It booms out at her.

        SALLY
Hey Kid! Come here!

Natty turns slowly. She pushes the puppy deep into her jacket and walks to Sally with trepidation.

        SALLY
I got something for you.

Natty breathes a sigh of relief. Sally didn’t hear the puppy after all.

Sally pulls an envelope from Natty’s mail box slot.

        SALLY
Sol give it to me before he
left.

        NATTY
Left?!

        SALLY
That’s right, left. You got wax
in your ears?

Sally hands Natty the letter. Natty clutches it  and turns away. She starts slowly up the stairs.

The puppy YIPS one more time.

        SALLY
What was that?

        NATTY
Nothing.

Sally continues to listen hard as Natty quickly makes her get-away up the stairs.

INT ROOM EVENING

Natty closes the door and crosses to the bunk. She pulls the puppy from her jacket and plops him down beside her.

She tears open the envelope an reads the handwritten letter.

        SOL (VO)
Dear Natty. I got a job. A
good one, but I’ve got to take
it now. They’re shipping me out
today. To Washington Slate.
I’m sorry I didn’t get to say
good-bye, but maybe that
would have been harder. Anyway,
it’s going to be okay. And it
won’t be for long. I promise.
I’ll send for you as soon as I
can. You mind Sally. And keep
that left up, champ. Love, Dad.
P.S. This was Becky’s. I think
you should have it.

Natty shakes the envelope and a small, folding picture frame slides into her hand.

She pulls the catch and it pops open. Inside is a picture of Sol and Becky. They stand together, smiling, Becky holding an infant in her arms.

Natty clutches the picture frame. The puppy WHINES and licks her face and the building quivers as an El train passes by outside.

END PART 5

Part 6 Monday, 11/26/12

A script analysis of her favorite childhood novel – written as a USC class assignment – led Jeanne Rosenberg to her first Hollywood writing assignment on The Black Stallion. Switching from documentary filmmaker to narrative screenwriter, Jeanne studied her craft while working as a script supervisor on numerous films before completing her first original screenplay, The Journey of Natty Gann. She has been writing as well as producing and directing ever since. In addition, Jeanne has taught graduate screenwriting at USC and National University.

MOVIES YOU WILL SEE/ The Journey of Natty Gann/Part 4

THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN
by
Jeanne Rosenberg


EXT SLAVE MARKET DAY

The men talk with each other as they wait outside the slave market, hoping for the slim chance of even a day’s work.

An OFFICIAL walks out of the office and stands in the doorway. He surveys the men. There’s a hush in the air, an expectant, nervous quiet.

The official lifts his finger and points to one man in the crowd then another and another.

        OFFIClAL
You, you and you…
Come here.

The 3 lucky men follow the official inside. There’s hope now for these men.

The official turns back before he disappears inside. His eyes lock with Sol’s and his finger points square in Sol’s face.

        OFFICIAL
0h yeah. And you.

Sol follows the others inside.

INT SLAVE MARKET OFFICE DAY

The official hands papers to the first 3 men in the office and they exit through the rear door. The men don’t seem as uplifted as they did when they entered. Sol stares hard at the official without hiding his anger.

        OFFICIAL
Something wrong?

        SOL
You’re paying half what those
guys are worth.

        OFFICIAL
I didn’t hear them complaining.

        SOL
They’re scared.

        OFFICIAL
You’re a trouble maker Gann.

Sol shrugs his shoulders.

        OFFICIAL
But I got something for you.

The official hands Sol a sheet of paper. Sol reads the paper quickly then stares back at the official.

        SOL
This says Washington state
That’s clear across country.

        OFFICIAL
Could be steady work, Gann. A
real break. Bus leaves today.
6 o’clock.

        SOL
But I’ve got a kid. What about
my kid?

        OFFICIAL
That’s not my problem, buddy. I
got one seat on a company bus.
Take it or leave it.

Sol stares at the official, barely seeing him, worry and doubt darting through his eyes as he struggles with this difficult decision.

        OFFICIAL
Well?. . .

Sol strains with the effort of making his choice.

Finally he drops the paper on the official’s desk, shakes his head no and turns for the door.

The official calls after him, a look of surprise on his face.

        OFFICIAL
What are your crazy? If you
walk out of here, You don’t
work. You in a position to do
that, Gann? Huh? Are you?


EXT SLAVE MARKET DAY

Sol exits the office and stands at the top of the stairs, his jaw locked, his teeth clenched. He looks down at the men gathered below in loose knots of 2 or 3.

They wait listlessly, their eyes reflecting their lack of hope, their shoulders stooping from the weight of their troubles.

Sol reaches into his pocket and pulls out his pitiful handful of change. He stares at it, turning it over and over.

He knows the truth. He can’t walk away from this job. There aren’t any options for him. It wouldn’t even do Natty any good if he stayed here, out of work, broke.

He takes a deep breath and drops his eyes to the ground. He pulls his hat from his head, and holding it in his hand, turns back and pushes slowly through the door of the office.

EXT STREETS DAY

Lefty plays softball with some other KIDS behind a big billboard on an empty corner lot. His eyes are glued to the batter.

        SOL
Hey Louis, where’s Natty? You
seen Natty?

Louie answers offhandedly, not even looking at Sol, his eyes still on the game.

        LOUIE
Naw.

Sol grabs Louie by the arm and asks him again, staring hard into his eyes.

        SOL
You sure?

        LOUIE
Yeah I’m sure. I said I was.
Let go. You’re hurting my arm.

Sol lets go of Louie. He hadn’t even realized he’d grabbed the boy, but there’s no time for proper apologies now.

Sol walks on an urgency in his step.

EXT CORNER DRUGSTORE DAY

Sol stops in front of the corner drugstore and questions the KIDS hanging out in front.

They shake their heads in response to his questions. They haven’t seen her. Sol looks up at the ornate clock hanging outside the building. Time’s running out. Anxiously he continues his search.

EXT MAXWELL STREET LATE DAY

Sol paces in front of Lefty’s cart anguish etched painfully across his face as he questions Lefty.

Lefty shrugs helplessly and shakes his head, pointing to the empty place on his wrist where a watch ought to be.

He has no idea what time Natty was there, or where she’s gone.

Sol SLAMS his fist down hard on Lefty’s cart, his jaw muscles
tighten with worry.

EXT STREET LATE DAY

A trolley car RINGS its BELL, picks up speed and RATTLES down the street.

There’s a bulge on its back end, and perched on the bulge, her arms locked around the pole which stretches up to the wires overhead, is Natty.

There’s a smile on her face as she hitches this free ride home, the wind whipping wildly through her hair.

From deep within the folds of her jacket, the puppy pokes his head out, and YAPS excitedly.

END PART 4

Part 5 Monday, 11/19/12

A script analysis of her favorite childhood novel – written as a USC class assignment – led Jeanne Rosenberg to her first Hollywood writing assignment on The Black Stallion. Switching from documentary filmmaker to narrative screenwriter, Jeanne studied her craft while working as a script supervisor on numerous films before completing her first original screenplay, The Journey of Natty Gann. She has been writing as well as producing and directing ever since. In addition, Jeanne has taught graduate screenwriting at USC and National University.

MOVIES YOU WILL SEE/The Journey of Natty Gan/Part 3

THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN
by
Jeanne Rosenberg

Part 3

EXT ST. RITZ MORNING

Natty catches Sol just outside the St. Ritz and they walk down the stoop together.

        NATTY
She’s disgusting.

Sol shrugs his shoulders philosophically.

        SOL
No worse than some.

They nod their heads at the MEN sitting on the stoop. The men nod back at them and stare with vacant, hopeless eyes from empty unshaven faces…faces that reflect the times…the Great Depression.

EXT MADISON STREET MORNING

Sol and Natty walk down Madison Street with its dilapidated tenant houses and pawn shops and saloons.

They pass a soup kitchen with a long line of TATTERED PEOPLE waiting too patiently for their only meal of the day. Natty sniffs hungrily. But Sol shakes his head.

They don’t need it…yet.

EXT ANOTHER STREET MORNING

Natty and Sol turn down another street which has also seen better days.

There’s a pile of tattered household goods piled next to the curb ahead. And an evicted FAMILY, a MOTHER and DAUGHTER sitting pathetically next to their belongings.

A dark cloud seems to cross Sol’s face as they approach this forlorn pair.

Natty stares at them wide-eyed then turns straight ahead and kicks a can in the street.

        NATTY
It’s not fair, damn it.

        SOL
I know.

        NATTY
What’ll they do?


Sol shrugs. There’s a hurt look in his eye. A hurt that comes from seeing his daughter having to face these things.

        SOL
Get by.

Sol looks at Natty who stares back at him.

        SOL
At least they’re together.

Natty nods. She understands, sort of…

EXT SLAVE MARKET DAY

Sol ritualistically checks the blackboard at the slave market. There are a few jobs listed in faded letters and a ragged line of MEN waiting hopefully.

        MAN
Same old story.

        SOL
Something’s going to break.
It’s got to.

Sol turns to Natty.

        SOL
Right ?

        NATTY
Right!

Sol turns back to the man.

        SOL
See?

Then again to Natty

        SOL
You want to stay here, try your
luck?

        NATTY
0h sure , Dad.


He winks at her and they smile together.

        SOL
See you tonight. And stay out
of trouble.

        NATTY
Okay.

She waves then takes off running down the street.

Sol watches her proudly as she disappears around a corner, then he joins the other men and pulls a pack of Luckies from his pocket.

The man with the toothpick nods after her.

        MAN
It’s hard with a kid, huh?

        SOL
I’ll tell you mister, it’d be a
lot harder without her.

Sol lights a half smoked butt from the Luckies pack and inhales deeply. The man can barely mask his envy. Sol senses it. He takes one more deep drag then hands the cigarette over.

The man’s face cracks into a surprised, grateful smile and Sol nods.

INT/EXT MOVIE THEATER DAY

A partially obscured CARTOON makes its way across a movie screen while Natty and some FRIENDS hover outside the theater, their heads squeezed through the narrow opening of the rear door sneaking a free look.

Natty sways along with the MUSIC but flinches suddenly, stopping dead still as she hears a NOISE behind her.

        NATTY
Oh shit….

She turns apprehensively, thinking they’ve been caught. But there’s no policeman behind them.

Instead, there’s a skinny, flea bitten PUPPY who lunges at Natty and grabs the cuff of her trousers. He shakes his head back and forth playfully, GROWLING in mock ferociousness.

Natty LAUGHS and shakes her leg free.

        NATTY
Let go, dog. Beat it.

EXT DOWNTOWN DAY

Natty and her friends pass a fancy department store. Natty pauses.

Through the window she sees several SALESLADIES fawning over a WEALTHY WOMAN, trying to sell her clothes. Natty turns away, disgusted, and continues down the street, catching up with her friends.

Behind her trails the puppy, following her every footstep as if tied to her with a leash.

EXT MAXWELL STREET DAY

Natty threads her way through the jumble of pushcarts, SHOPPERS and VEND0RS clogging Maxwell Street. There’s an exciting energy here, a barage of sights and sounds as an ethnic mix of people barter and trade together.

Natty approaches LEFTY KENOSHA, a thin, older man with a tough exterior who sells pots and pans from his cart. He argues with a CUSTOMER, banging on the bottom of the pot in his hand.

        LEFTY
This is quality merchandise.
I can’t get no more…15 cents.
That’s as low as I go.

The customer shakes her head and starts to walk away.

        NATTY
I’1l give 15 for it, mister.

The customer turns back quickly, shoving 15 cents into Lefty’s hand.

        CUSTOMER
Now wait a minute, that’s my
pot, right?

Lefty shrugs at Natty and hands the pot to the woman who struts off feeling very smug.

Then he winks and smiles appreciatively at Natty.

        LEFTY
Nice move, kid.

She crawls under the cart to join him on the inside.

His smile falls quickly as he sees the puppy squirm it’s head out of her jacket.

        LEFTY
Aww no.

Natty pulls the puppy from her jacket and holds him up to a less than enthusiastic Lefty.

        LEFTY
What do I look like? The animal
shelter?

Natty shrugs, feigning innocence.

        NATTY
I’ll keep this one. Dad’ll let
me.

Lefty mumbles to himself, not believing her for a minute.

        LEFTY
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

He shakes his head, trying to resist, but reaches out in spite of himself and scratches the puppy’s ears.

END PART 3

Part 4  Monday, 11/12/12

A script analysis of her favorite childhood novel – written as a USC class assignment – led Jeanne Rosenberg to her first Hollywood writing assignment on The Black Stallion. Switching from documentary filmmaker to narrative screenwriter, Jeanne studied her craft while working as a script supervisor on numerous films before completing her first original screenplay, The Journey of Natty Gann. She has been writing as well as producing and directing ever since. In addition, Jeanne has taught graduate screenwriting at USC and National University.