Monthly Archive for January, 2013

MOVIES YOU WILL SEE/The Journey of Natty Gann/Part 10

Jeanne Rosenberg


A freight train, hauling several flatcars loaded with cement pipes emerges from a mountain tunnel, high up on the side of a hill, and RUMBLES its way down the tracks which tower over a fantastic white-water stream fed by a cascading waterfall.


Natty rides inside one of the enormous cement pipes strapped with others onto the backs of the flatcars RUMBLING down the tracks. Her legs dangle lazily over the edge, rocking back and forth with the gentle sway of the train.

She watches the spectacular Rocky Mountain scenery and takes a deep breath, filling her lungs with clean, fresh air. She lifts her face to the sun and smiles as it warms her cheeks. She’s never seen the sky so blue or the landscape so fantastic.

She’s awed by the peaceful wonder of it all.

She pulls her wallet from her pocket and takes out the picture of Sol and Amy. She stares at it dreamily.

Suddenly a horrible SCREECHING, GRINDING sound rips through the air.

There’s a violent lurching.

Natty is thrown back into the cement pipe like a ragdoll. The wallet FLIES from her hand.

The train BUCKS and SWAYS and TOPPLES from the tracks.

The flatcar SMASHES to its side and SLIDES across the ground. The cement pipes break from their straps and spill off the flatcar.


Natty pul1s herself from the end of the cement pipe. She can hardly believe what she sees. Train cars are strewn across the ground, mostly lying on their sides.

TRAIN WORKERS pull themselves from the twisted steel. Steam and smoke rise to the sky.

There’s an EXPLOSION down the way. A liquid fuel car erupts in flame.

The workers run in a panic, SHOUTING to one another, warning each other to flee.

        RR WORKERS
She’s gonna blow. Look out.
Run for it.

There’s another EXPLOSI0N, closer this time. Too close. It’s too dangerous to stay. Natty jumps to the ground.

She starts to join the workers in a clearing near the front cars, but stops and sucks in her breath. She sees uniformed RAILROAD GUARDS down there.

They’re rounding up HOBO’S, pushing them roughly down the tracks.

She searches for another way to go. From the corner of her eye she sees The Wolf leap from a twisted boxcar and run for the woods. He disappears into the trees like an escaping fugitive.

She turns back to the clearing. One of the Guards moves down the tracks, heading straight toward her.

She looks again at the spot where The Wolf disappeared, and without any further hesitation, she takes off after him, running blindly, desperately into the woods.


Natty crashes through the underbrush running wildly. It seems like she’s been running for miles.

Finally she slows and stops, panting for breath.

The only sound is her own heart pounding in her chest, her lungs gasping for air.

She looks around her, turning slowly in a circle, trying to get her bearings.

She looks for the way back but she can’t find it. It all looks so much the same…so foreign…and frightening. Even the trees seem menacing, evil.

Where the hell am I?

A twig SNAPS and she jumps in fear.

She tries to calm herself but it’s hard when you know you’re lost and completely alone. She hunkers at the base of a large tree and wraps her arms tight around her knees, curling them to her chest. She rocks herself back and forth, back and forth.

Two yellow eyes peer through the shadows at her. She can feel their presence, but when she turns quickly to look for them, they’re gone.

The dusk turns to dark as night quickly falls.


Natty draws a grid on the ground, the points of the compass, and aligns East with the direction of the rising sun. Satisfied, she sets off at a determined walk to the West.


Natty’s walk is much less determined now. Her feet drag. Her pace is slow.

She sees a berry bush and rushes to it excitedly. She falls to her knees and stuffs the berries into her mouth. Red juice slops over her chin.

Suddenly her contented smile disappears. She coughs and spits The half-eaten berries onto the ground, wiping her tongue on the back of her hand.

She pulls herself to her feet and keeps walking, even slower now.


Natty continues her slow trek west. She climbs a rock and searches the terrain. With a burst of enthusiasm she leaps from the rock and races forward. There’s water ahead.

She flops on her belly at the water’s edge. It’s mossy and brackish and slightly green but she drinks anyway in large gulps.

The water rolls off her chin and slides down her neck.

She notices tracks in the mud…huge paw prints, too large for a dog. She looks up, anxiously, fearfully, every muscle tensed.

The wolf towers over her, staring down from a rock on the far side of the water hole.

Part of a rabbit dangles from his mouth. He glares at her, his eyes locked with hers. He GROWLS.

A shiver runs down Natty’s spine.

The Wolf drops the rabbit on the rock, looks at Natty one more time and quickly disappears into the underbrush.

Cautiously Natty crosses the water hole and approaches the rock.

She looks into the underbrush where The wolf disappeared, but there’s no sign of him.

The bloody, half eaten carcass of a freshly killed rabbit lies on the rocks as if waiting for her.

She clenches her teeth, suppressing her nausea as she looks at it.


Natty sits in front of a small fire, cooking the mauled rabbit carcass like a pig on a spit, her pocket knife beside her on a rock.

She holds a crumpled, empty box of matches in her hand, the same ones she used to light the cigarette with Frankie and Louie. She stares at the matches and remembers. It seems so long ago.

She pulls herself back to the present and pokes at the rabbit. She pulls it from the fire, takes a deep gulp and greedily starts to eat.


Natty walks toward the sinking sun.

Lightning CRACKLES and thunder BOOMS as storm clouds gather overhead.

The temperature drops and Natty pulls her jacket tighter. She walks faster.

There are cliffs ahead with overhanging rocks for protection.

The wind blows and HOWLS. There’s another bolt of lightning followed by another booming CLAP of thunder.

Natty starts to run.

The rain falls in torrential sheets and quickly drenches her. She can barely see through the thick, pounding rain.

She makes it to the cliff’s cave above. She slips on the wet rocks but catches herself and keeps going. Rain soaked blood runs down her hand from her scratched and torn fingertips.


Natty pulls herself inside the cave and collapses on the rock floor, exhausted. She rolls on her back and lets her breath come evenly, cheered by the dryness in here, glad that she made it to shelter.

Then she hears it…that oddly familiar, LOW, GRUMBLING, GROWL. Her whole body tenses. Slowly she turns and searches the dimness of the cave.

She sees him near the far wall…The Wolf. He’s wet and bedraggled but stil1 threatening with his lips curled back in a menacing snarl.

She starts to inch toward the mouth of the cave but she’s too drained to face the raging storm again. She’s too exhausted to care what happens now, even if The Wolf is about to leap on her and tear her to shreds.

She pushes herself against the shadow of the wall and wraps her arms tight around her, tucking her head low her knees.

She tries to remain still, to blend in with the rocks, but her body flinches with waves of shivers and she shakes violently from head to toe.


Part 11 Monday, 1/28/12 (Hopefully, maybe Tuesday 1/29/12!)

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.

Part 9

Jeanne Rosenberg


Natty can hear the crowd well before she reaches it. There are SHOUTS and SCREAMS above the overall DIN, like the noise of an angry crowd at a prizefight.

And mixed with the other noises are bone chilling GROWLS and SNARLS, like the sounds of wild dogs attacking each other in a fight to the death.

Natty stands on her tiptoes then bends to the ground, trying to see over the shoulders or through the legs of the NOISY, THICK CROWD 0F MEN in front of her.

But she can only see snatches, pieces…a dog’s lip curled back in a vicious snarl…a fierce, razor sharp fang…a pair of high, black boots and a long, leather whip that lashes out with a CRACK. Through another set of legs, she sees more pieces…claws ripping into fur…dark, thick blood spilling onto the ground.

Suddenly a fight breaks out in the crowd. The violence quickly erupts and spreads. . .fists SMASH into faces. . . bodies CRASH to the ground. Natty tries frantically to stay out of the way as the crowd surges back and forth.

One of the fighting animals, THE WOLF, breaks free. He leaps to a ledge high overhead and springs through the air, sailing over the crowd.

He lands almost on top of Natty. She GASPS in horror. He’s the most powerful, frightening creature she’s ever seen.

For an instant their eyes lock.

He glares at her with his ferocious, yellow eyes…eyes more wild and angry than anything Natty could imagine.

And then quickly he takes off again.

SNAKE, the evil looking man with the leather whip and the high, black boots, pushes through the crowd and chases after The Wolf. A handful of men follow Snake.

Natty scrambles to her feet and races after them.


Natty runs to the door of the roundhouse and pauses to catch her breath.

On the far side of this empty barn-like structure, Snake and his men have The Wolf cornered.

Snake strikes out with his whip, lashing The Wolf harder and harder, again and again and again. CRACK, CRACK, CRACK. The sound cuts into Natty like a knife.

The Wolf stares back at Snake with defiant, unbeaten eyes and a threatening SNARL. Then suddenly he takes off. He pushes through the men and streaks across the roundhouse.

He rushes to the door and disappears through it, brushing past Natty.

Snake and the others follow with angry SHOUTS. Their path takes them straight toward Natty.

Defiantly, she steps in their way and pulls the door closed, blocking their route, helping The Wolf escape.

She stares up at the evil Snake with a look of satisfaction…of right triumphing over wrong.

For an instant, Snake stares back at her, not moving. Then he lifts his arm in the air and swings it down. It lands with a THWACK against her cheek.

Natty falls to the ground. She tries to get up but can’t. Her body goes limp and her eyes close.


Natty blinks her eyes open. She rubs her hands over her temples. Her head throbs. She sits up slowly. It’s quiet in the Roundhouse now, empty. She drags herself to her feet and walks to the door.


Natty stops at the doorway. There’s no sign now of the crowd in that was here earlier. The quiet seems strange, eerie.

She starts down the yard, toward the train cars waiting on the tracks.


Natty makes her way down the tracks, past the rows of waiting boxcars. The moonlight makes it almost like day, casting strange nightime shadows on the ground.

She stops outside the only car with a partially opened door and moves up to it quietly, cautiously.


Natty pulls herself into the boxcar and moves out of the shaft of moonlight, into the deep shadows of the corner.

She waits for her eyes to grow accustomed to the dark. It seems empty in here – except for her.

Then a quiet sound begins to fill the car. Natty listens fearfully. She feels her heart pounding rapidly.

The quiet sound builds in intensity until Natty finally recognizes it as the LOW, GRUMBLING, GROWL of The Wolf. She swallows hard, frightened.

Suddenly The Wolf LUNGES forward into the light, SNAPPING and SNARLING and baring his vicious fangs.

A startled, unconscious SCREAM escapes from Natty. She throws herself back into the corner and hugs the wall of the boxcar.

The Wolf glares at her. He’s poised like a spring, lips curled back, ready to strike if he has to, and to shred her to pieces with his massive, powerful jaws.

In the moonlight, Natty sees the wound in his shoulder. His matted fur is ripped back and his flesh is exposed. It’s raw, open. Blood oozes and drips down his leg. He must be weak from the loss of so much of it.

Slowly, step by step, her eyes never leaving The Wolf, Natty eases herself toward the door of the boxcar. The Wolf watches her threateningly, but allows her to inch away and slip outside.

The Wolf’s GROWL grows quieter and quieter and he almost disappears as he steps back into the shadows. Only his intense, yellow eyes are illuminated by a strip of moonlight filtering in through a crack in the wall.

Natty’s hand appears at the door of the boxcar, stretched high above her head. It shoves a tin of water and then a chunk of salami across the floor of the car, and then disappears.


Sol stands at an outdoor pay phone at a back country gas station. There’s a large truck with canvass sides waiting at the pumps. It’s raining and Sol pulls up the collar of his jacket but the water still streams down his face. He looks anxiously at the truck and turns back to the phone, impatient but excited.

Come on…Come on…Sally?
Is that you? I can hardly hear
you…Where’s Natty? Did she
get the letter?…What?…I
can’t hear. Talk louder.

Sol is practically shouting into the phone.

The horn BEEPS on the truck. The driver leans out and gestures angrily.

Come on Gann. We’re waiting on you. Move it.

He BEEPS the horn again.

Sol signals the Driver to wait then turns all his attention back to the phone.

She wouldn’t just run away
Sally. What the hell happened?!

Sol’s face grows ashen. His jaw bone grows taut. The muscles stand out on his neck. There’s an obvious fury building inside him.

You’re lucky I’m not there
Sally. Because if I was I’d
tear you into little pieces and
personally feed you to the
river. …They damn well better
find her Sally. If they
don’t…Just make sure they do!

Sol slams the receiver down and stares furiously at the phone. The rain rolls down his face.

The horn BEEPS again and the truck starts to roll slowly out of the gas station.

Sol returns to the present and pulls himself together. He runs for the truck and a helping hand reaches out from the back and pulls him aboard.

Part 10 Monday, 1/21/12

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 8

Jeanne Rosenberg


The freight train out of Chicago RUMBLES down the tracks, past the broad, flat fields of corn and soybeans waving in the breeze.

The yellow beam of the freight’s headlight cuts a streak through the soft glow of the approaching day.


A WHISTLE BLOWS several times.

Natty’s eyes blink open.

She looks around the boxcar. The three tough looking hobos are gone. There’s only Harry at the far end, playing a TUNE on his harmonica. She stares at him, listening to his song.

Finally Harry notices Natty’s stare and he stops playing, abruptly, as if caught in a wrongdoing.

Natty tries to smile at him but his look to her is hard.

That was nice.

Harry’s look softens. He shrugs modestly then bangs the harmonica on his knee and stuffs it deep in his pocket.

Natty looks around the car again, questions in her eyes.

Where’d they go?

Nowhere. Anywhere.

Natty nods, trying to act like she understands.

Where are you going?

Harry shrugs again, as if the question had such little meaning he hadn’t thought of it before.


Me too. My Dad’s out West.


What part?

Uhhh…The middle.

Harry doesn’t express his doubt verbally but it’s all in his eyes. His next, question is more a statement of fact than anything.

You’re running away, huh? On
the lam?

Natty looks anxious. There’s a defensive edge in her voice.

What makes you say that? I
didn’t say that.

You didn’t have to.

Natty folds her arms over her chest and turns away.

You better wise up if you expect
to make it.

I’ll do alright, Mr. Know It

Harry smiles to himself.

The WHISTLE BLOWS. The train begins to slow.

Harry walks to the edge of the boxcar and stares out through the open door. He talks to Natty without looking at her.

Don’t let the Bulls get you.


Railroad cops.

You think I don’t know that?

Natty gets to her feet and walks confidently up to Harry at the open door of the boxcar. She looks down at the fast moving ground below and her confidence falters. Harry senses it.

Bend your knees. Roll with it.

        NATTY (defensively)


Harry jumps. Natty takes a deep, anxious breath and follows. She hits the ground and rolls down the embankment end over end.

She gets to her feet and brushes the dust from her clothes. She turns to Harry with a broad smile, very proud of herself. But he’s not there.

She looks up and down the tracks. She bends to look under the slow moving train. But there’s no trace of him. Harry’s gone.

Natty’s face reflects her disappointment. She looks up and down the tracks wondering what to do now.


Base Camp is an elaborate tent city high in the mountains of Washington State.

It’s crowded with MEN and machinery. Dirt roads crisscross the area and each tent has a sign on it…MESS HALL, MAIL ROOM, etc.

It feels like an army field camp.


Sol sits at a makeshift desk in a small, army-styled tent at Base Camp. There are several cots in here and tables with kerosene lamps.

Sol is deep in thought as he hunkers over a piece of paper, drafting a letter.

He puts down his pen and re-reads the letter, an anxious, troubled look in his eye.

Then he shrugs off his doubts, smiles and stuffs the letter in an envelop addressed to Natty Gann, St. Ritz Hotel, Madison Street, Chicago.


Natty wanders the backside of the Des Moines train station, alone.

She rummages through the garbage behind the Depot Grill and finds the remains of a slightly moldy, half eaten salami.

She looks at it distastefully then closes her eyes and forces herself to take three quick bites, wrinkling her face and holding her nose as she chews. She swallows and shrugs. It’s not so bad once you get used to it.

She stuffs the rest of the salami in her pocket and turns toward the hobo fires just beginning to flicker in the darkening twilight of the rail yard ahead. She notices a CROWD gathering in the shadows of the Roundhouse.

Part 9 Monday, 1/14/12

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 7

Jeanne Rosenberg


Natty BANGS on the door of her room from the inside and YELLS through it as Sally stands on the outside, holding it closed with her fist, pulling against it with her weight.

Sally takes a key from her pocket and jams it into the lock.

You can’t do this Sally. You
can’t. I’11 tell my Dad !

When? When you going to tell
him, huh?


Couldn’t be soon enough for me.

Me either!

Sally locks the door, puts the key back in her pocket and moves away from Natty’s room, walking down the stairs, muttering to herself.

I’m not the kid’s God damned mother.
I mean why the hell should I get stuck? Who needs
this aggravation?


Natty wiggles the locked door handle then listens through the door, the puppy watching her anxiously.


She listens again, even harder, then pulls her ear away from the door, takes a knife from her pocket and jams it into the lock, jiggling it up and down until she hears a click.

She quickly pulls the door open and sneaks into the hall, tiptoeing to the top of the stairs.


Natty crouches in the shadows, watching below as Sally, still muttering to herself, walks to the reception desk, grabs the telephone and dials a number.

Hello? Child Relations Board?
I want to report an abandoned
kid. Yeah, yeah. All alone.
You better send somebody right

Natty scurries quickly back down the hall and disappears inside her room.


A makeshift rope of tied together sheets and blankets flies down from the top window of a brick building and dangles above a narrow alley.

A small figure in a leather jacket and cap, Natty, climbs out the window and scales down the side of the building using the rope.

She leaps from end of the rope to the pavement, 6 feet below, and as soon as her feel touch ground, she takes off at dead run.


Natty hurries into the dark barn and slides through the
shadows, her eyes drinking in the hovering, forbidding shapes of this very spooky place.

She knocks into a push broom which CLATTERS to the floor.

The NOISE disturbs bats in the rafters overhead and they swoop down with FLAPPING wings. Natty GASPS and ducks, covering the top of her head with her arms as the bats swish past.

Natty takes a deep breath and pushes forward. She finally makes it to Lefty’s cart.

She pulls the puppy from her jacket and scratches his ears as she lifts him to the top of the cart. He licks her face.

You stay here.

She turns to go but the puppy leaps from the cart and starts to follow.

Natty picks him up and returns him to the cart. She takes the end of a rope tied to the wheel of the cart and loops it around the puppy’s neck.

She pets his head one last puppy BARKS and pulls on his rope. He wants to follow.

Natty turns back.

I can’t take you. Understand?
You gotta stay with Lefty.

The puppy lies on the ground and rests his head on his front paws. His big, sad, brown eyes watch her as she moves across the barn. He WHINES a soft, mournful tone as she disappears.


Natty hovers in her hiding place of discarded boxes and barrels near the railroad tracks. She feels frightened and alone and very unsure.

It’s not cold but she shivers with anxiety, her eyes darting fearfully back and forth, tracking the darkness around her.

In the distance she hears a faint RUMBLING. She peers from her hiding place. There’s a train coming down the tracks. It’s moving slowly toward her, heading West.

From all around her, H0B0S, lean, tough looking men, emerge from nooks and crannies and get ready for the train.

She studies their techniques as they sprint forward, run beside the train and throw themselves into the open boxcars.

She wants to try it but shers scared. Lefty’s stories ring in her paralyzing her.

Finally she takes a deep gulp and makes a break for it.

She streaks from her hiding place, races for a boxcar and stretches with everything she has. She manages to catch a handle with her fingertips and to pull herself part way into the car.

The train moves faster, picking up speed.

Natty’s legs dangle dangerously over the edge.

The metal wheels grind mercilessly, menacingly on the tracks below. The ground rushes by. The sound of the wheels becomes a terrible ROAR in her ears.

She slips backwards.
She Looks desperately at the hobos inside, reaching out to then.

Three TOUGH, HARD LOOKING MEN stare back at her with uncaring eyes. None of them moves forward to help her.

She slips again, her fingernails clawing frantically across the wooden floor, scraping against the wood. She inches over the edge toward certain death.


A DARK FIGURE reaches down and grabs the falling Natty. In one move, she’s pulled into the boxcar and flung to the far side.

She lands with a BANG against the wall, gasping for breath. She stares up at her savior, HARRY SLADE; a lean, square jawed young man with deep, penetrating, electric blue eyes and a harder-than-nails exterior.

His face breaks into a wry, warm smile .

You can get hurt that way.

She tries to answer, to thank him for saving her life, but she can barely speak. She can’t find her voice.

But you didn’t.

Harry winks at her before moving to the far end of the car and hunkering in the shadows.

Natty stares at him. He’s a curious combination of power and vulnerability. He’s only 16 or 17 but like a young James Dean, already carries the edge of someone who’s spent years on the outside, a loner.

Natty turns to the other hobos. They stare back at her and their looks send a shiver down her spine.

Thought you bought the farm.

Wouldn’t have been much left.

They LAUGH and Natty’s eyes grow wide as saucers. She tries to swallow the lump in her throat.

Harry’s voice calls out from the shadows.

Leave the kid alone.

Shee-it. We was just funning.

Natty turns to Harry. For a moment their eyes lock. Then the train moves away from the lights of the Chicago yard and the car grows dark.

The NOISE from the train pounds in Natty’s ears . Her teeth slam against each other with each jostle of the boxcar. She pulls her jacket tight around her.

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.