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Monthly Archive for April, 2013

MOVIES YOU WILL SEE/Journey of Natty Gann/Part 14

THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN
by
Jeanne Rosenberg

 INT ABANDONED BUILDING DAY

Parker’s camp is in an abandoned building with a missing roof. There are a handful of broken chairs and boxes and crates for furniture.

Natty sits with her hand on The Wolf’s head, and a plate of stew on her lap, eating hungrily.

Parker sits across from Natty with the others spread around him. There are two more teenage boys in the group now, RUSTY and DAVEY. And a teenage girl, ANNIE, who leans suggestively against Parker and glares a sour, jealous glare at Natty.

Natty watches curiously as Parker slips his arm around Annie’s waist and nuzzles the back of her neck. Natty swallows hard and returns to her stew.

Parker smiles his charming, calculating smile.

        PARKER
So you’re looking for your old
man huh?

She nods.

        NATTY
He’s waiting for me.

        LEON
Yeah, sure….And my name’s
Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The others laugh. Natty drops her eyes and allows just the slightest hint of a doubtful shrug.

        FRANCO
I haven’t seen my old man in 3
years. He took off. It killed
him, watching my old lady make 1
potato go 7 ways.

Natty finishes her stew and licks the remains with her finger.

        PARKER
Get her some more, Annie.

        ANNIE
But we don’t…

        PARKER
Get some Annie.

Annie grimaces at Parker then moves to the pot of stew cooking over a fire in what used to be a fireplace.

        DAVEY
Towards the end my old man
couldn’t even look at us.
That’s why he left. I don’t
blame him.

        LEON
Hell, all mine did was beat on
me and my old lady, anyway. I
was glad when he left.

        RUSTY
They all think they’re coming
back. But once they’re gone,
they figure out they’re better
off.

        PARKER
And so’s everybody else.

Natty looks anxiously from one to the other. Their words sink into her like heavy stones.

        PARKER
We don’t need them anymore.

Natty stares at Parker. The doubt is taking over, and with the doubt comes a hard, angry, empty feeling.

Parker recognizes his opportunity and moves in.

        PARKER
We’ve got each other. We’re
like family. The difference is
with us you get to pick your
relatives. And everybody
carries their share.

The Wolf GROWLS as Annie approaches but Natty quiets him and gratefully accepts her second plate of food, gobbling it hungrily as she thinks over Parker’s proposition.

INT/EXT GREYHOUND BUS LATE DAY

Sol’s anxious,unshaven face stares through the window of a Greyhound bus as it winds its way slowly south-east from Washington to Colorado.

He watches raindrops land with a splash at the top of the window and run in small torrents down to the bottom.

And he watches an old Ford pickup as it passes in the opposite direction carrying an “Oakie” FAMILY of 10, all their sad, miserable belongings stuffed into the back and tied onto the top and sides.

EXT RAILROAD SIDING/LOADING DOCK NIGHT

There are 50 head of cattle penned together in a corral along the side of the train tracks. And off to the left, penned by himself, in a stout, reinforced corral, is an enormous BLACK ANGUS BULL.

Natty and The Wolf and the other hobo kids race through a nearby pasture and sneak their way to the loading dock.

They cluster in the shadows of the wooden loading chute and talk in HEAVY WHISPERS, their eyes glued to the big Bull.

        PARKER
That’s him. Ready?

The others nod their heads. Only Natty hesitates.

        NATTY
I don’t know.

        PARKER
What!?

        NATTY
It’s stealing.

       PARKER
Not the way I look at it…
Besides, if you’re with us, you
chip in like everybody else. If
not, get lost.

        LEON
She’s just ye11ow.

        NATTY
Hell if I am.

        PARKER
Then shut up and let’s go.

Natty swallows her apprehensions and follows the others as Parker leads them in an army styled crouch-and-run across the yard.

They fan out. Leon and Franco and Annie move to a truck and stock trailer parked nearby. They release the handbrake and roll it back toward the chute at the end of the Bull’s pen.

END PART 14

Part 15 Monday, (Hopefully, maybe Tuesday!)

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 13

THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN
by
Jeanne Rosenberg

EXT THE MILL DAY

The Mill is a huge lumber mill in the mountains of Washington state.

Barges and large blocks of logs float on the water, and thick, white smoke pours from tall stacks which stand next to long, wide milling rooms.

INT MILL OFFICE DAY


Sol hovers anxiously over a telephone inside one of the offices at The Mill.

His voice is tough and hard, echoing his anger and concern.

There’s NOISE and commotion in the background as WORKERS pass in and out, getting instructions from the B0SS who sports a heavy gut and a stubby cigar.

        SOL
Listen hard Sally. I’m coming
back there to find her myself…
What do you mean sit down? I
don’t have to sit down. Just
tell me what’s going on!

The color drains from Sol’s face as he listens to the other end of the phone conversation. He can feel his knees start to buckle and he sinks slowly into a chair. His voice is barely a whisper as he responds.

He listens again but his eyes are glazed. It seems as if the tone has left his muscles. Without saying good-bye, he slowly hangs the receiver back in its cradle and continues to stare blankly ahead.

        BOSS
What’s the matter Gann?

        SOL
They found my kid’s wallet.
Buried under a train. Colorado.

        BOSS
Aw Jesus…

        SOL
What the hell was she doing in
Colorado ?

Sol seems distant and drained, like a shell of himself.

EXT WOODS DUSK/RAIN

Natty pulls her thin jacket, tighter around her, to fight off the chill and the rain.

She gathers branches full of leaves and a few moldy pieces of cardboard and starts piecing them together, building a shelter near the base of a large tree.

She looks at The Wolf who seems unimpressed.

        NATTY
It’s gonna be great. You’ll see.

She puts the finishing touches on her creation.

        NATTY
Tah dah…

She crawls excitedly inside but the wolf is reluctant to follow.

Natty smiles proudly through the open front flap.

        NATTY
The Ritz.

Suddenly the roof begins to sag and the walls start to sway.

Natty’s eyes widen. The Wolf WHINES. Within moments then entire structure comes CRASHING down.

Natty sits in the middle of the rubble with a crooked grin on her face. She turns to The Wolf and shrugs.

EXT CHUGWATER COLORADO DAY

Natty walks along a road and The Wolf walks close beside her, all his senses on alert. He hesitates as they approach the outskirts of town. He looks longingly at the woods, but Natty presses on and he follows.

They make their way up Main Street and stop in front of a grocery store. Natty stares hungrily at the food displayed inside. Her stomach GRUMBLES.


Three lanky teenagers PARKER, LEON and FRANCO approach from the opposite direction. Parker pokes the other two in the ribs.

They eye The Wolf carefully and watch with detached amusement as Natty approaches a store CLERK.

        NATTY
Hey Mister…I wonder if you
could let me…

The Clerk turns to her with tough, unsympathetic eyes.

        CLERK
No! I’m sick of you kids panhandling. Sick. You hear me?

        NATTY
But I…

        CLERK
No ! Now beat it before I call a cop. Git!

Natty backs away from the store and continues down the street. She hesitates as she reaches the boys ahead.

They’re spread across the narrow, wooden sidewalk…Parker leaning against a building, Leon stretched on a bench, Franco straddling a rail…effectively blocking her path.

Natty wraps her hand in the fur around The Wolf neck and sucks in her breath.

Parker, the obvious leader, smiles. He nods towards the clerk and shakes his head.

        PARKER
Wrong. All wrong.

        NATTY
Huh?…

        PARKER
Your line. The way you hit on him.

        NATTY
You know a better way?

        LEON
You’d be surprised.

Natty looks at his ragtag clothes and sneers.

        NATTY ( sarcastically )
Not by you, Ringworm.

        LEON
Hey you’re asking for it.

Leon gets off the bench and moves forward threateningly. The Wolf is much more threatening as he steps protectively in front of Natty and curls back his lip in an ugly SNARL.

Leon retreats quickly. Parker smiles, trying to change the mood.

        PARKER
Nice dog.

        NATTY
He’s a wolf.

        PARKER
0h yeah? There’s a bounty on
wolves around here. Too bad.

        NATTY
What’re you talking about?

        LEON
They shoot wolves, stupid.

Natty’s eyes widen anxiously. Her grip tightens around The Wolf’s fur.

        NATTY
Don’t call me stupid.

        PARKER
Take it easy, girl. We’re not
the enemy. Maybe we can help.

        NATTY
How?…

        PARKER
The stem’s tough. Especially on
your own.

        NATTY
The stem? What’s that mean?

        LEON
Cripes the girl’s green.

        PARKER
Begging…Working the
street…It’s hard. But we
got other ways. There’s a group
of us tramping together.

Natty stares back, unconvinced.

       PARKER
You hungry?

Natty’s eyes widen and her mouth starts to water. But she tries to act nonchalant. She shrugs.

       NATTY
Maybe.

Parker smiles, amused. He signals her to follow them as they disappear down an alley.
END PART 13

Part 14 Monday, (Hopefully, maybe Tuesday!)

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.