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Aug 29

i’m listening to a gentleman play “Piano Man” on an acoustic guitar.

story is NOT everything.


Mar 01

the producer? the writer? the director?

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Feb 26

2020 Vision

since there are way too many things to say about this film to fit into the five-and-a-half minute runtime, i thought a written commentary would be better. the following goes through the entire sunday morning film scene by scene and gives some insight into each aspect of the story being told and the production itself.

it’s extremely comprehensive, and you may not want to read it all at one sitting. i’ve divided it up according to the timer on the Vimeo video, in case there’s a specific shot you’re wondering about. if you have any other questions, feel free to contact me or ask in the comments below.

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Mar 23

this is an open letter to Kayla, the 11-year-old who wrote Time to Pass, a short film i produced and directed. it is currently not available for online viewing.

dear Kayla,

it’s been over a year since we first watched the final version of Time to Pass, the short film you wrote which I produced and directed. today, I showed that film to my aunt’s fifth grade class, and I wanted to share with you their experience.

overall they liked it, and they really like the fact that someone who was only 11 years old (their age) had written the film. I think that encouraged them to pursue creative things.

but there was one little moment during my presentation today that made an impact, and I wanted to share it with you.

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Mar 19


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Mar 08

my 2nd year directing class under the instruction of Janos Kovacsi was a life-changing experience. Janos gave a lot of wonderful instruction, a lot of which i have shared with my students over the years, and now hope to share here with my readers.

one of the best tools i learned from my time at NCSA was the director’s worksheet. in this post, i’ll explain the worksheet, give you an example, and links to some downloads.

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Mar 05

here’s an interpretive exercise for directors: pick a song, poem, hymn, or psalm (preferably at random… open a book, eyes closed, and point your finger, e.g.). craft a story that demonstrates visually and audibly the essence of the original work.

story and screenplay © parabolos 2012
please do not reproduce or produce derivative works without permission. thanks.





“KATE’S SONG”

FADE IN:

EXT. DOWNTOWN – NIGHT

KATE (mid-20s) hustles on her way. She is dressed simply, but sharply, and dark, in contrast to her brightly lit nighttime surroundings.

Other PEOPLE bustle about on this early winter evening. Some beggars hassle passers-by. Kate ignores them, lost in her thoughts, going over some sheet music.

EDDIE (50ish), a street musician, slowly strums his guitar, but no one seems to listen, least of all Kate.

INT. ELEVATOR – LATER

Kate looks over her music. She glances up at a few of the other girls in the elevator car with her. They are also dressed well and made up, going over music themselves.

Kate catches herself being distracted and turns her attention back to her sheet music.

INT. WAITING ROOM – LATER

Kate is now just pretending to look at the music.She glances occasionally at the other girls, but mainly stares across the top of the page at the floor.

A door opens.

PEON (O.S.)

Kate Abrams?

Kate snaps out of her daze and plasters on a smile, rising.

INT. SMALL THEATER – LATER

Kate sings. Her eyes closed, she calls the music up from her memory.

A few gray heads in the front row listen and write notes. One interrupts her.

GRAY HEAD

Thank you.

Kate, a bit stunned, stops and looks at him.

GRAY HEAD (CONT’D)

Very nice. Thank you for coming.

Kate forces a smile and does a slight bow before exiting the stage. As she exits, she looks to the gray heads one more time. They busy themselves turning pages, making notes, and checking their PDAs.

INT. ELEVATOR – LATER

Kate rides down alone. She stares at the floor, her music rolled up in her hands.

EXT. DOWNTOWN – LATER

Kate walks home. It is late, and the streets are mostly empty, save a beggar or two.

INT. KATE’S BATHROOM – LATER

Having changed clothes, Kate cries, looking into the mirror.

INT. KATE’S TINY APARTMENT – THE NEXT DAY

SERIES OF SHOTS: Kate practicing her music and getting increasingly frustrated.

INT. KATE’S TINY APARTMENT – LATER THAT NIGHT

Kate sitting in front of her one window, staring out of it, in a trance. The television plays mindlessly in the background. A microwave dinner sits on the table in front of her, half-eaten.

EXT.DOWNTOWN – COFFEE SHOP – LATER

Kate exits a coffee shop with a high-dollar drink to go. She is dressed warmly, but comfortably. She strolls slowly, burdened.

Faintly, the sound of SINGING.

She looks up, listens. Follows it.

EXT. CHURCH – MOMENTS LATER

The open doors of the church cast a warm light onto the cold street. Kate steps into the light and hears the choir practicing. She steps in.

INT.CHURCH – CONTINUOUS

She walks about a third of the way down the aisle and sits in an empty pew. The pews are almost entirely empty, except for a few parents down near the front. The choir sings “Nearer My God to Thee.”

Kate’s face starts to ease as she listens. She sips her drink and begins to relax.

A feeling… someone behind her. She turns and looks.

There sits Eddie, his eyes closed, swaying back and forth singing along quietly.

Kate turns back around, contemplates, then watches the choir.

INT. KATE’S BATHROOM – THE NEXT DAY

Kate puts on her make-up. She is dressed nicely again.

EXT.DOWNTOWN – LATER

Kate walks down the street going over her sheet music. She passes Eddie who pays no attention to her as he strums his guitar.

Kate stops and watches him. A STRANGER drops some coins in Eddie’s hat. Eddie’s face lights up for a moment as he smiles at the passer-by, but then drops as the man walks away, not listening. Eddie turns his attention to his fretboard once again.

Kate looks at her sheet music, then to Eddie. She rolls up her music and puts it in her purse and goes and sits next to him. Eddie looks at her confused. Kate smiles awkwardly.

KATE

You know “Nearer My God to Thee”?

Eddie just stares at her for a second. Kate’s smile fades to “oh crap, what am I doing?” Eddie breaks his stare and begins strumming, and then singing.

EDDIE

Nearer, My God, to thee… Nearer to thee…

Kate joins him, smiling.

Soon, passers-by pause to listen. Eddie pays attention only to his guitar. Kate only watches him as she smiles, swaying back and forth to their singing.

When the song is over, a smatter of applause calls their attention to the small crowd that has gathered. Kate, genuinely surprised, smiles at Eddie. He grins slightly back.

People drop money into Eddie’s hat. Dollar bills even. They look at the money. They stare at each other for a moment.

EDDIE (CONT’D)

Just a closer walk with thee?

Kate beams.

KATE

Yes!

Eddie starts playing. Kate touches his arm as she begins singing with him. He playfully nudges her off. Kate laughs and continues singing.

FADE OUT.

 

from Psalm 95:1,2


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