THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN
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.
You, you and you…
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.
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.
You’re paying half what those
guys are worth.
I didn’t hear them complaining.
You’re a trouble maker Gann.
Sol shrugs his shoulders.
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.
This says Washington state
That’s clear across country.
Could be steady work, Gann. A
real break. Bus leaves today.
But I’ve got a kid. What about
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.
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.
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.
Hey Louis, where’s Natty? You
Louie answers offhandedly, not even looking at Sol, his eyes still on the game.
Sol grabs Louie by the arm and asks him again, staring hard into his eyes.
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.