This week my class focused on screenwriting. It almost made me more nervous than poetry! I love to watch movies, theatre, and television, but I didn't know how I would approach writing for it. I used a poem entitled "Into The Dark" that I wrote during one of our seminars for the basis of the scene. Just so you know, I see this scene as part of a whole movie that I would want to call Life Imitates Art. There are some parts that are outside references-- I have not really decided what they mean either. They are just a part of a movie that is playing in my head! Ugh... That sounded really cliche! That is probably the most important lesson we have learned. DON'T BE CLICHE!
Here it is, and it is long so bear with me! It reads pretty fast...
Life Imitates Art
SETTING: A dark park. STEPHEN has asked GRACIE to meet him there. They meet in their favorite spot- the swings.
GRACIE: [Her poetry voiceover begins. The camera pans over the opposite sides of the park. GRACIE comes from the east while STEPHEN walks from the west.] You try to pull away from me. You do not think I can possibly understand. We have never been the same, but, at this moment, I only want to be by your side. You walk farther and farther into the darkness of fear and hate, yet I will follow you. I will follow you into the dark. You think you are bad for me. You try to be different, but I don’t want you any other way. I do not look at your past; I only want to be part of your present and future.
[The characters meet and embrace. GRACIE moves into kiss STEPHEN, but he pulls away. STEPHEN leads GRACIE to the swings. GRACIE sits. STEPHEN starts pushing the swing.]
STEPHEN: [Looking distracted.] Hey.
GRACIE: Hey. How’s your day been?
GRACIE: [Looks back into STEPHEN’S eyes.] What’s wrong?
STEPHEN: Nothing. [He looks deeply into her eyes. He does not want to do what he knows he thinks he has to do.]
GRACIE: Stephen…[She looks at him again.]
STEPHEN: I’m leaving.
GRACIE: [She looks straight ahead. She doesn’t want to look at STEPHEN. She doesn’t want it to be true.] What do you mean?
STEPHEN: I am going to live with my dad with San Francisco.
GRACIE: I don’t care where you are going. [GRACIE stands.] I want to know why.
STEPHEN: Gracie, [STEPHEN grabs GRACIE’S hand. GRACIE pulls away.] you know why.
GRACIE: [Tears are filling GRACIE’S eyes.] No, I don’t know why. I thought we loved each other.
STEPHEN: [His voice starts to rise.] Gracie, I don’t know what I feel about you.
GRACIE: [GRACIE’S voice also begins to rise.] Then why don’t you stay? Try to figure this thing out?
STEPHEN: Look at what happened last week! I am all wrong for you.
GRACIE: I don’t care about any of that. I can handle it.
STEPHEN: Gracie, you shouldn’t have to!
GRACIE: Then why even start this thing between us?
STEPHEN: [STEPHEN’S voice lowers again. He strokes GRACIE’S cheek.] You are one of the most amazing people I know.
GRACIE: [GRACIE pulls away.] Don’t…
STEPHEN: Shh… let me finish. Something about you just makes me happy. I wanted to have that around me every day.
GRACIE: So you were just using me?
STEPHEN: I tried to be different. I wanted to be as good for you as you are for me. I can’t. I am too screwed up for you. You deserve to have better.
GRACIE: I don’t want better. I just want you!
STEPHEN: Gracie, no you don’t. You don’t understand where I came from!
GRACIE: Yes, I do, and I don’t care.
STEPHEN: [STEPHEN pulls his hand away from GRACIE’S] I do. [STEPHEN pauses with a look of pain filling his eyes.] Good-bye, Gracie.
SETTING: LORRAINE’S room. GRACIE ran to her best friend’s apartment after the encounter with STEPHEN. LORRAINE or LORI tries to comfort GRACIE.
GRACIE: [More of GRACIE’S poetry voiceover. The camera follows GRACIE as she runs from the park to LORI’S apartment.] You do not care. You step into the black hole of regret and sorrow.
LORI: [Answers the frantic knocking at the door.] Gracie, what are you doing? I thought you were meeting Stephen in the park.
GRACIE: [Her eyes are filled with tears. GRACIE’S voice is low.] I think he broke up with me.
LORI: [Shocked.] What do you mean?
GRACIE: He’s leaving. He’s going to San Francisco with his dad.
LORI: [LORI pulls GRACIE into a hug.] Why?
GRACIE: He doesn’t want his messy past to get in the way. He doesn’t want me messed up like him.
LORI: Did you tell him that you don’t think he’s messed up?
GRACIE: What do you think? Of course I did, I don’t care where he came from!
LORI: [LORI grabs each of GRACIE’S hands.] Then all you can do is tell him how you feel…
GRACIE: [GRACIE interrupts LORI.] I have told him how I feel.
LORI: All you can do is tell him again.
SETTING: MITCH and STEPHEN are on the phone. MITCH is in his bedroom. STEPHEN is still in the park.
STEPHEN: [Into the phone.] I did it.
MITCH: How was it?
STEPHEN: It was awful. I hurt her, man.
MITCH: Which is ironic since you did this so you won’t hurt her anymore.
STEPHEN: Shut up.
MITCH: Sorry, man, but I don’t get it.
STEPHEN: What is it that you don’t get?
MITCH: You guys had a great connection. I think she really loves you.
STEPHEN: Yeah and that is why I am doing this. She shouldn’t be subject to my screwed up life. [STEPHEN remembers MITCH’S own recent break- up with KATE.] Why are you judging me anyways? You are not an expert on relationships. Can you tell me again what went wrong with you and Kate?
MITCH: We’ve been through this. Kate and I ran our course.
STEPHEN: If you and Kate can’t make it, where is the hope for the rest of us? You were a fairy tale!
MITCH: Fairy tales aren’t perfect. They aren’t real, but I think you and Gracie might be.
STEPHEN: I can’t change my mind now. I am leaving. I refuse to hurt her anymore…[STEPHEN gets a call on his other line. It is GRACIE.] Gracie’s on the other line. What do I do?
MITCH: See what she has to say. You owe her that much.
STEPHEN: Okay. I’ll talk to you later, man. [Hangs the up the phone with MITCH. Answers GRACIE’S call.] Hello.
GRACIE: [GRACIE is on the phone in her bedroom.] Please don’t hang up. I just need to say something. Actually, I need to say a lot of things. First, I really don’t want you to leave. You make my life exciting and scary and fun. You know that I don’t care where you come from. I only care that you want to be with me now. What happened last week or what might happen next week does not mean a thing to me because, Stephen, I love you.
[STEPHEN has nothing to say. GRACIE only hear silence.]
GRACIE: That’s all. Bye.
SETTING: GRACIE’S apartment. STEPHEN is waiting on the doorstep. He doesn’t know if he is going to knock.]
GRACIE: [More of GRACIE’S poetry voiceover. The camera pans over STEPHEN on the doorstep and GRACIE crying on her bed.] I pull you back out, entwine my fingers in yours, and we run. We run from the past, head first into our limitless future. I look to you, “I love you.”
[There is a knock on the door.]
GRACIE: [STEPHEN is at the door. GRACIE opens the door.]
STEPHEN:[This speech is a little rambled] I am all wrong for you. I am screwed up, and people say that I am bad news. We should not work. If a couple as perfect as Kate and Mitch can screw it up, what says we will work out? I cannot be responsible for messing you up. You are too good…
GRACIE: [GRACIE interrupts STEPHEN. There are tears streaming down her face.] You know I don’t…
STEPHEN: [He interrupts GRACIE.] I am not done. Gracie, I’m terrified, but I love you.
GRACIE: [Shock covers her tear- stained face.] What?
STEPHEN: [A grin covers his face as he pulls GRACIE close.] Grace Marie Parker, I love you, and I am not going anywhere.
GRACIE: [The end of GRACIE’S poetry voiceover. The camera watches as STEPHEN pulls GRACIE off the ground in a tight embrace. They spin in a circle.] You look back with eyes full of fear. Longing. Hope. “I love you, too.”
The poetry that is read during the scene is actually the poem I based the scene off of. I was a fan of this piece and I hope you are all to. I definately have learned a new trick here at Columbia!