Now we have no money and we have a few dinky cameras, digitals and cell phones.
We have a few beers and we have tea around the dark table of the kitchen
I want something dark and funny.
I want something funny.
Let us start now with a few images and work with that.
Not brainstorming unless the pizza is a reward.
Pizza later. Maybe beer later. Tea around the kitchen table. Beer and pizza later.
Here goes. And I mean it this time. The dark and stormy night approach.
Big letters or small.
Starty small and work our way up.
Okay. Here goes and I do mean it this time.
"So tell me the difference. One is adlib and the other is improv."
"A writer would object to an adlib and would wish silently for a good improv."
"An actor who knows his lines will adlib. The actor who tears his pants will improv."
"Do something or say something. But do it and make it work."
The weather is bleak. The trees have lost all of their leaves and the gates of the school play ground are packed with blown debris. The gutters are flowing with the recent rain and clogs of leaves and wads of newspaper. The sky is grey with clouds and the shadows of low fog softens the edges of grey masonary walls.
The world is grey tending towards black. There is one dim light in a distant window.
The slow line of a morning commute is in the far distance near a flat horizon.
All this is revealed to be a table top scenario in an empty production office.
The hallways are empty except for the movement of cleaning staff and a security guard who is making coffee in a breakroom. The guard's flashlight rocks back and forth on the counter. The sound of a morning music station is more static than song. The news suggests the continuing of the rain into the day. The morning traffic is slow and one lane is stopped by a big rig tilted into the edge of the overpass. The gravely voice of a news announcer growls and defies anyone to call to lift his spirits.
"This is a day to take the day for sleep and maybe kill off the bottom of last night's bottle."
"Never allow anyone to talk you into midnight sea food."
"That dog was so mean.... Come on now finish that line. Promise a few free tickets to some over the hill touring band."
The other janitor comes in and takes some coffee and turns the radio off.
The security guy starts to argue but turns to a smile when the offer of bright pink donuts is made.
"A little bit of sunrise after all."
"Way past midnight neon."
The view out the window shows a bit of eastern horizon. The color is not yet sure but the rain is being wished away.
A teen is brushing his teeth in a too brightly lit morning shower room of a local college dorm.
Heads across campus towards morning shift at the cafeteria.
The cook gives him coffee and a hot and sticky off the grill. The two start packing paper napkin dispensers and filling salt and pepper shakers on metal trays.
Other workers arrive and move chairs into place and set up the lines with ice and metal servers.
"No banging or talking allowed. Desperately need five more minutes of sleep."
is the message scrawled on the morning menu white board.
Student has a play script on top of his books. The wall near the door announces the week's rehearsal schedules at the theater. The past had been X'd out for part of the month. The old play poster has a bit of praise scrawled in one corner.
"Marvelous, The Brightest Night of the Year!!!"""""
Four people are pacing back and forth across an empty stage. There are three men and one older woman. The men are stooped over with the suggestion of age but will occasionally stop and stretch upward to full height. The woman is alert and brisk in her stance and walk. She holds a handful of papers to her side and glances briefly at the top page. The men read from the pages when they recite.
I hate those pink donuts they bring. But I eat them anyway for the first rule of acting is eat what is on the plate for tomorrow there may be no plate.
We always feed the actors. The techies get coffee by the gallon and the guys with the lights are our minor gods. There is nothing if there is no light.
The people recite the same words in turn but each has an original sound to the words. The woman's voice is calm and quiet. The men are in a range of anxious, fearful and angry with each line they look off to the side for affirmation.
The woman has a purse on a chair seat and the men have chairs with folded coats.
Lines are numbered. The men and women are named by a physical characteristic. One may be red head, one may be moustache, one is glasses and the other is curly.
A voice announces the speaker's turns.
1. Twelves and sevens make up the year. The days are heaped in corners of the parking lots.
2. His credit cards are twisted and torn and he is a poorer man for all that. The machines can not begin to take his complaints.
3. The cards are his only key to the life of prosperity and ease.
4. It has been hours since he has heard a car.
5. The street lights are catching the glow of late afternoon sunlight but they are all dead without the needed power.
6. Dependency on technology became a big mistake.
7. We have allowed the world to end with this passing of life based upon remote control by electric power.
8. All the fire in the world does not bring to life these small boxes of life.
9. The vehicles are out fuel.
10. The kitchens are cold stoved and room temperatured refrigerated.
11. Ice makers are flooded with stale water.
12. Dazed humans are mocked by constant howls of wind.
13. They told us that chemistry and physics were constants.
14. They told us that gravity would always be with us.
15. Time would be there after the last clock and hour glass had ceased to be.
16. They talked a great deal about knowing for certain and of things that would always be true but maybe change was not all they thought it would be.
17. Some change came and was very unexpected.
A voice asked each one to repeat Number 17.
The voice calls the name glasses. Glasses looks towards the voice.
The voice says thank you and the man with glasses goes to his coat and carries it out to the end of the trailer and jumps down to the pavement rather than using the loading ramp.
Glasses walks along the empty street.
One day a piece of paper blew across the pavement of a parking lot and someone picked it up and was ready to crumble it before tossing it into a container. The hand that crumbled the paper stopped and the other hand helped the first to smooth the paper. The words on the paper were almost legible. The ink was greyed and only slightly darker than the page.
But the words were there.
18. Life is not so certain after a certain point in the period of change.
Finger traces the surface of the paper.
The paper was embossed with some sort of official seal.
That was the only proof that it was an official document.
Glasses looks up toward a monumental wall of a large building.
His voice says the following:
The now absent government of the other times had left one last message to the remainders of life.
A thought arose in the reader. A feeling of gratitude that they had not left without a last goodbye.
Man gives a hand salute to the overhead sky.
On the distant horizon a craft rose from a hard surface and shimmered for less than a blink of an eye and moved to a point before becoming a point.
Two very tall men in spotted tights walked by with sandwich boards announcing the new age of circus every day with a guaranteed free lunch for all.
A dark colored van is parked next to a green park. The windows are opened a small crack and a dog's nose and eyes are looking out. The park has benches near a group of recycle containers. The ground around the containers and benches is littered with empty coffee containers and wadded newspapers.
A small sign is attached to the van.
"Peace comes with the morning coffee and the daily newspaper."
On an empty street in the canyon of the business area of a city the small pieces of trash swirl briefly.
A gust of wind blew a black top hat down an empty street until it rested like an empty vase.
There was a pause that was timed only by the changin of the light on the sheen. A white bunny hopped out and went to a small crate of carrots near the curb.
Paradise was at hand.
The rabbit sniffed the few carrots that had spilled from the crate and stood on its haunches and wiggled its nose.
Rabbits do not speak but this one seemed to have something on its mind.
Above its head there appeared a thought balloon.
In the middle of the balloon there appeared a smile of a single upturned line.
Around the line appeared a stroke of bright red lipstick.
The thought balloon bust in a shower of confetti.
After everything there will be a cartoon and selected shorts.
The black and white count down appeared on the screen and the frame got caught in the cog of the projector and the image melted.
In the dark there was a grunted curse and over to the right two people stood and dumped large containers of popcorn on the seats in from of them.
There was a boo and a shrill whistle as the house lights came on and the screen was flooded with white light.
An usher came to the seats and said in a very low but distinct voice that everyone was meeting in the conference room on the mezzanine. The voice added with a slight sense of friendly advice that there was time for using the restrooms.
The usher went over and swept the popcorn into a large silent butler.
The aisle of the showing room led to large padded doors with diamond shaped windows at eye level.
On the other side of the doors there was the tiled wall of a subway station with a metallic subway car being filled with commuters and a woman with a seeing eye dog. The dog sat on an empty bench in the car and the woman stood and hung onto the strap. The car doors closed and left the station.
He left the subway station and walked into the sunlight of a side street of San Francisco. The street was wet with either a recent rain or a street cleaning truck that was employed to aid the night shooting of a movie.
He went to a canteen van and ordered coffee. The old man put cream and sugar in the cup without his asking for the additions. The man also wrapped two cake donuts in a square of wax paper and put them in a fold of cardboard.
He went over to the monitor sitting inside the tech van and watched a few minutes of a tech shot of the small green park near the corner. The picture was live and the assistant was talking to someone in the area of the scene. A handful of leaves was being placed over a blue paint mark on the ground near the curb.
A man in a red zipped jacket pushes a series of small buttons on a machine near the truck. He complains that the power panel lights are blinking.
The man goes to the coffee truck and gets a coffee and two donuts. The man serving coffee gives it to him black.
He takes a bite of one donut and asks for one more and says he also wants a regular tea with two sugars.
The night went black and only a few emergency light showed he position of those who were suddenly in the dark.
The book fell to the floor and the two boys were asleep on the bed. One had a pizza box on the bed near his legs and the other had a reading light above his pillows. He was now eating a piece of pizza and the other was leaning down to pick up the book from the floor. He was half on and half off the low bed. The pizza box was now between them and the light began to flicker.
A popcorn machine in a theater lobby was making a fresh batch. The lights were flickering on and off. The view out to the street was showing lights in a store front blinking.
The trees along the side street were filled with water being sprayed from a fire truck. The water was running along the curb.
The back of a trailer truck was open and inside there were two rows of chairs facing each other. Men and women in winter street wear sat with folders of papers in their hands. Some were clutching folded newspapers and others were resting brief cases on their laps. The women had heads wrapped in heavy scarves and the men all wore colored scarves around their necks.
A man with a clipboard walked back and forth in the middle, looking carefully at the appearance of each and making adjustments to the position of the scarves and the folds of the newspapers. Each newspaper was to be carried in the left hand. Other folders were to be left on the seat until after the shoot. He repeated the same instructions into the face of each person. A woman in a dark coat came and gave him a container of coffee but he waved it away. She gave the coffee to one of the seated women. He took the coffee away from the woman and gave it to the assistant in the dark coat.
The sound of a bell rang clear in the silence and a red revolving light flashed on the top of a dark car roof.
A photo copy machine spits out several papers. The flash of its lighted edge is reflected in the large expanse of a dark night window. The window becomes a series of horizontal blue light lines.
Stacks of paper are being stapled and positioned on the edge of a wooden table. The only thing on the table is a slender glass vase with a few red flowers. A hand removes the vase and the papers are dealt around the table in front of the chairs. The one place has a paper coffee cup and a ceramic mug of automatic pencils and markers.
One voice reads with slow cadence and without strong emotion. The words are being spoken with clarity but not feeling.
A hand is making marks on a stack of papers as the words are being read. There are three variations of this editing. The are no scratch outs. There is paragraphing, underlining and question marks. There is the suggestion of an alternate word.
The sun rose over the hill and the trees began to cast shadows on the land.
The chickens ran across the yard and gathered for the scattering by sweeping hands of grain across a dusty yard.
The face of a outdoors woman called to the chickens with sounds of chook, chook, chook.
The man came out onto the porch and checked the reading of the thermometer on the post at the top of a few wooden steps.
The shadow of a vulture moved across the flat fallow field.
A black telephone on a small table rings. The view of the room goes to a window seat where a young girl is reading and making notes in a spiral notebook with an ink pen from another time. The fashion seems to be from the mid twentieth century. A small screen black and white television screen shows an identical soundless picture of the girl reading in a window seat.
The phone continues to ring with a muted next room sound.
The bar is dark with the colors of wood paneling and candle shaped sconces above the booths. The two women are across from each other and the men are at the bar getting them drinks. The women see defects in the make up of the other woman and in their minds they are deciding the best way to bring up the subject without being critical and catty. They smile and one plays with a ring on her right index finger and the other smooths her finger tips over a cigarette case that is to her right.
The one with the ring asks for a cigarette and the other suggests they wait a moment until the men bring the drinks.
The other agrees with the choice but does not speak out loud. She tells the other that they should make plans to go to the school dance recital over the weekend while the men are out playing golf.
A voice calls cut and others come into the scene. The assistant mentions that the lines had been changed. The school event is a play and the men will be going to the boat race at the pier.
A man sits next to the table on a folding stool and tells the women that each line will be a reverse. The camera will be on the one listening. But he wants them to show a feeling of withdrawal from the event.
They do this and then he suggests they do it again with a firmness of the mouth.
The man read the lines. He was kneeling on the floor and his hands smoothed their skirt hems as they waited for hair and makeup adjustments.
One woman swept her hand across the table top and knock the cigarette case onto the floor.
The director called for props to examine the fallen case.
The woman moved his hand from her lap.
A siren is heard weakly in the background. The director calls for fifteen minutes.
The director and a dog are on a porch. The dog gets up and goes to the top of the steps and runs down to meet two people coming up the walk from a picket fence gate. The two people are a tall woman and a young man wearing jeans and a shapeless sweatshirt. The young man is carrying a large stuffed animal that has a bandana around its neck.
"Look who has come to see you."
"My inner animal and the bandana I lost at the ball park"
"Not the one but a duplicate. The original is now framed and on the wall of my room at school."
"I'll get it back someday."
"When I graduate and we are all in France drinking the first wine of the new year."
The woman and the director hug and the young man teases the dog with the stuffed toy.
The woman and the dog are now in the kitchen. The dog is sleeping on a braided rug near the door and the woman is checking the contents of the oven and moving a basket of vegetables to a table near a window. The table is a chopping area and she is cutting vegetables for a large salad.
The boy enters and she gives him a small basket of tomatoes and asks him to wash and slice them.
The director comes to the interior doorway and begins to read from a script.
He reads the list of statements from one to seventeen.
The woman and the boy begin to recite the ages of man from Shakespeare.
The man with the glasses is at the bar and the two women are waiting at the table. He begins to talk to the other man. He recites the seventeen statements but his voice fades and he is seen from a distance and the movie crew are all around him.
A young woman came and stood near the others as they passed pages back and forth. One man noticed her and inquired if she needed anything.
She said that she noticed that they had overlooked number eighteen.
18. Life is not so certain after a certain point in the period of change.
"We are so caught up in the trees we have overlooked the forest."
The people with the sandwich boards are now standing next to a coffee wagon and the people who had been in the back of the truck are standing with their newspapers. The ones with the red scarves are given rolled umbrellas and French berets and string shopping bags with baguettes and various vegetables such as celery stalks and bunches of carrots. Others have oranges and apples in the bags.
The voice speaks over a PA system. "Keep the bags swinging in sync."
The man at the table tells another man that that would be a big mistake. There would be hell to pay in the editing.
He leans across to two men who are wearing peaked caps. One camera concentrate on the string bags. Get a pattern of left and right. Get the color red as a dominant color. The line will be below mid screen. The speed of a slow walk. Do a few copies to make it more abstract. Keep sharp focus.
The man in the ball cap makes notes on a yellow pad using a dark green marker.
"About five swings per pass?"
"You got it."
"Use it later for titles and end titles."
This voice is the young girl who seems to always have a clip board and who hands coffee to people.
"Miss Smith, take off your glasses."
She laughs and whacks him on the shoulder with the board.
A round oak table in a kitchen setting. The chair by the door has a cat on a pillow. The window over the sink has pots if green herbs. The dish rack is filled with clean coffee mugs of bright colors. The stove has two tea kettles on the back burners. The canister on the counter says sugar. The two large mugs have handfuls of teaspoons.
The microwave oven display seems to be constantly doing a count down or displaying the time. There is a young man with a video camera recording the changes of display. He is making notes of times and ranges of diminishing countdowns.
"Time and timing is often a flash of a moment of a clock."
"The kidnapped victim is photographed with a front page of a newspaper."
Perhaps this sounds petty but there are a few words that bother me.
I trust your judgement. You are right it probably is petty but give it to me.
Number eleven. Stagnant water not stale water. The sound and the meanings change and perhaps clearer.
"Yeah. Stale water is like stale bread, dry and sticks to the roof of your mouth.
Water should never stick to the roof of the mouth."
And number twelve. The word howls."
Reads aloud number twelve.
"Funny, would have thought dazed and mocked would get your veto."
"Mark the entire line. We need a few readings for that."
He is now at his table in the kitchen and talking to another person.
"How do we get this far with something that is just not right? And someone makes a slight remark that brings everything into question.
"That will be the case. But in the big picture there will always be small blurbs and scratches that only one or two will notice. The perfect picture will strike someone as too something or other."
"There will always be the period that is upside down."
"But we will look at this several months from now and you will go all gushy and mushy. Watching your baby take big steps."
"I always cry at weddings."
"Only your own."
"Why yeah. But not all of them."
I always get a big jolt when I copy and paste. Suddenly there is too much and I want to say hold on a moment and there it is. Up to my ears in words.