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Opening Scene:

Setting: Johnny’s bed. It is roughly 2:00AM.

Length: 2 minutes

The camera will take a bird’s eye view shot of Johnny lying on his bed. As the camera gets closer his head moves slowly from left to right to signal some type of distress. At this moment, there will be a flash of a blood stained rope accompanied by snickering. The camera will capture the beads of sweat that begin to perspire on his face. Again, his head moves from side to side. The flash reappears, but this time it is a few seconds longer. The scene will switch from Johnny’s sweating face and the flashes of his nightmare. Each flash will become longer, revealing what he is actually dreaming of. The first flash was of a rope, the second flash is the extension of the same rope, and the third flash is a quick view of a person’s head. The fourth flash is an extended version of his nightmare. In this fourth flash an African-American man is hanging from a tree with the same rope that was shown in the beginning of the scene.

The camera shows an eye level wide shot of his body and then slowly zooms out, showing a crowd of people laughing. In the center of the frame, there is a small pale faced brown-eyed boy looking directly at the corpse. The camera zooms in on his face revealing his watering eyes. He takes a deep breath and looks at his father standing at his left side. The boy looks down in dismay, but quickly lifts his head up. The laughter fades, while a heart beat can be heard. The boy’s heartbeat increases as he looked back up to the corpse. The dead man’s eyes seemed to look directly at him. From this point, there are three flashes of the man’s eyes that alternate with Johnny sleeping in his bed. The camera gets closer to Johnny’s face, there is round of sweat around his pillow. The scene is now on the face of the corpse. After this frame, thunder is heard in the background. This sound wakes up Johnny gasping for oxygen.

END SCENE

Pivotal Scene:

Setting: Johnny’s house. It is approximately 6:00PM

Length: 5 minutes

This scene begins with Johnny inviting Georgia, for the first time, to his mansion. Johnny directs Georgia to the living room where they sit and have small talk. Johnny is wearing a business suit and Georgia is wear a blue printed dress. The lighting is mildly bright.

Johnny: That was a nice walk in the park. (Wide shot of both Johnny and Georgia)

Georgia: The sun was extremely high today. I’m surprised that not many people were out there.

Johnny: Yeah, I guess God wanted us to have the sky all to ourselves.

Georgia: I su’pose you right, Mr. Temple. This mighty fine house you got.

Johnny: It might be mighty fine, but it’s showl is lonely. (Looks around the house) I thought escapin’ my parents’ house, some of those horrible memories I have will go away. I guess life not like that.

Georgia: Naw, it’s not Mr. Temple. (laughs softly) May I use your restroom, Mr. Temple?

Johnny: You sure can, it’s down the hall pass the front door on the left. (He gives hand motions as he states the directions to the restroom.)

Richard and a few of his friends are walking up to the door. They are all wearing jeans and different colored shirts. The camera closes in on Richard as he turns the door knob. As the door opens he runs into Georgia.

Richard: Why is it a nigger woman in my brother’s house? Tell me nigger, (his voice gets louder) why you here? Came to steal something?

Johnny hears the commotion and flies into the scene.

Johnny: Richey, (he said in a smooth voice) what you doing here so early?

Richard: We came to have drink. And guess what I found lurking in ya house, a nigger.

Johnny hesitates. At this moment in the story, he does not feel confident telling his brother that he is in love with a black woman.

Johnny: Well, she’s the new maid. (Johnny’s heart dropped and his mouth went dry.) He felt Georgia’s angry glare on his face.  

The camera gives a reaction shot and close up on Georgia’s slightly watering eyes.

Richard: Oh? Okay. He looks towards Georgia. Get me a beer.

Georgia sarcastically chuckles and walks towards the door. Before she could get two feet, Richard grabs her arm and holds her back.

Richard: The kitchen is that way nigger (pointing in the opposite direction).

Georgia: Get ya hands off me, Sir. (She said this with such a stern look.)

Richard slaps Georgia. Johnny is unable to hold himself back. He grabs his brother and back hands him. Starts to repeatedly hit his younger brother. The three friends backed away. They seem scared of Johnny in this randomly violet state.

Richard: What the hell are you doing? Johnny it’s me, Richey.

Johnny bursts  into tears.

Johnny: I’m sorry. He sobs. He faces Georgia’s direction.

Richard is stunned.

Johnny: to Richard, Tell your boys get out of my house.

Richard: I can’t believe you a nigger lover.

Richard walks to the bottom of the stairs with his friends. He wipes his bloody face.

Richard: Daddy  ain’t gone be too pleased about this, and he  gone slit that nigger’s throat.

Johnny: Daddy just gone disown me. Ain’t nobody slitting nobody’s throat.

END SCENE

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Final Project

EVENING: Edgar is born again

Through the black of the screen, small white letters begin to appear: August 13, 1900.

As the screen begins to lighten, lighting cracks, and breaks the silence.  The picture shows a large aerial view of massive terrain, as the camera sweeps over the land, slowly, then picking up speed.  As the camera slows down, a small town begins to come into view. The camera pans the streets, as a rat darts from one dark corner to another, bumps into a trash can, loudly, before it scatters into the gutter.  The camera continues showing one run down house, then another, only a muddy road separating them.  Finally it stops at the front of a small, rundown shack.  The silence is broken by a loud, prepubescent scream.

Inside the house a pale, thin boy is seized in pain, his body twisting awkwardly on top of the wooden table in the middle of the humble room.  Holding the boy’s hand, an older woman, salt and pepper hair, held his hand and whispered in his ear.

MOMMA: Calm yo self, boy.  God ain’t gonna set no pain on you, as you cain’t take.  Another cramp seized his body.

MOMMA: Them chariots gonna be worth all this if they get you tonight.

The old woman’s voice is soft and quiet in that small space, as tears rolled down her pale cheeks.  Crouching in the corner, a young boy clutches a bible, scared.

The pain seized Edgar again and his body contorted; his arms flailing behind him, his head thrown back.  His fingers were knotted in peculiar shapes and he stares down at them, unable to move. The camera follows his gaze, fixed for a few seconds on the boy’s awkward fingers.

BROTHER: The devil.  (The older boy, David, whispered from the corner.)

MOMMA: Shush up, boy.  Now go on over there and get me something to put under his head.  Go on now.

Edgar’s brother watched for another moment, and as Edgar screamed again, he jumped and ran into the other room.   When he came back he only clutched the bible.

MOMMA: Give me that thing.  (She took the bible from David, and placed it under Edgar’s head.)

MOMMA: This here will give you comfort in your time of trouble.

Outside, thick drops of rain hit camera, highlighting the crude windowpane in the shack.  David went to the window, rubbed the condensation off, and stared out into the night, the camera lighting the boy’s scared eyes.  The wind hit the old wooden shack hard, the rattling noise breaking the silence in the room.  Suddenly, the door flew open, air and dead leaving sweeping into the room.  Edgar’s Momma ran to the door, trying to close it, as the rain rushed inside.

Edgar screamed and blood began running from the boy’s mouth, ears and eyes.  In the back, Edgar’s brother screamed and ran out of the room and his mother just stared at him.  Suddenly, in the corner of the small humble room, a shadow began to take form and spread seemingly without a source.  Edgar watched through bloody eyes.

Lighting struck somewhere outside, which was followed by a loud boom.  Edgar looked down; he saw a shadow move across the floor.  It was small and almost unnoticeable at first, but as he watched, and the camera slowly focused, it grew bigger, climbing the wall to within a foot from the ceiling.  It stood there, still, unmoving, as if watching.  His mother did not seem to notice the shadow.

The book beneath his head grew harder with each moment, and the boy struggled against the weight.  Edgar wiggled his body until his head was no longer on the book, but beside it.  He touched it, closing his eyes to finally allow the inevitable to come, as if accepting his fate.  In the distance somewhere, he heard his mother gasp.  He touched his face, the blood on his hand was bright red compared to dark, depressive room.

Just at that moment a great wind pounded on the house, blowing open the doors, as they rocked back and forth on their hinges, the house began to shake and rattle as if it were coming apart at the seams.  At the same time, almost simultaneously, the dark thing in the corner dodged at Edgar, and before he could even move, it had seized him, grabbing a hold of him..

The camera switches to show the view from Edgar’s eyes.  The sound is completely absent and the boy sees a concession of visions flash before his eyes. Ancient temples, blood, death, plague… Suddenly a bright light blinded him.  It seeped from his pores and into his humble room, in the small shack that he shared with his family. After what seemed like a life time, he opened his eyes.  He awoke with his mother and brother staring at him.  His mother’s eyes were red and stained with tears.

EDGAR: Woman why are you crying?

The old woman looked at him strangely.  Thunder booms in the distance.

MOMMA: Rabboni?

EDGAR: I have seen the Lord.

His mother sighed, began to cry. She held the bible that had been lying next to the boy’s head.

MOMMA: That was the answer that our dear lord gave to his momma, Mary, in this very book…. It means teacher.  My boy, you are meant to lead others.

MORNING: Twins in Church

The screen goes black, small white letters appear: Hopkinsville, Kentucky July, 1910

Light, playful music of children softly plays.  In a small humble room, a group of people sit and listen to a sermon.  The preacher screams loudly and as the music fades, his is the only voice heard.  The camera slowly focuses on two little girls sitting on the pews.  One girls is very light skinned and her complexion is a contrast to her sister whose skin is very dark.  The dark skinned girl has on a very light yellow dress, and the light skinned one has on a darker blue one.  The camera picks up this contrast of complexions and colors and room and sounds fade in the distance.  The room and everything around them is dark and dull in contrast.

The darker skinned girl swings her legs back and forth, kicking the back of the rickety bench. Beside her, her daddy gives her a look, and so the girl stops and sits back, defeated.

A few rows back a woman shouts “Amen” and begins wiggling in her seat.  As the minister talks the women falls to the floor, shouting crazed hallelujahs to the Lord.  Leona and Iona giggle covering their mouths, staring at their father, so they won’t get in trouble.  Beside her, a man waves a brightly colored fan with a picture of a pretty white angel on the back, over the old woman.

The girl’s oldest brother, Jacob, covers Leona’s mouth with his hand to keep her from making too much noise. Mr. Jefferies bit off a great, big hunk of his tobacco, walled up in a big old ball, chewed on it a bit and got up and spit in the tub in the back of the church.  He winks at the girls on his way back to his seat.

When the preacher is finished, everyone gets up and shakes hands in fellowship.  Leona stands up, looking bored.  By the time she makes her way outside, Iona is already there laughing at her.

A young girl wobbles out, taking each of the stairs one at a time.  Her feet were as big as sausages and her belly is bigger than her head.  She strolls by the girls, smiling at each of them and walks off into the trees and disappears.  Iona looks at Leona and then back at her parents, and before her sister could stop her, she dashes off into the woods after the girl.  Leona follows, her bright skin flushing red in the heat.  The camera runs behind the girls, the lens brushing against the tree branches, and over tree stumps.  As they run, the same lighthearted son begin to play again.

Suddenly it becomes obviously darker inside the tree line than it had been outside, and the music stops.  The sun hardly peeks through the bushy treetops at all, and in the camera light, it looks almost as if it has turned to night instantly.  Somewhere in the distance, the girl cries.  The noise distorted in the woods and the shadows begins to take on a sinister feel, as the light grows even darker.

Iona turns to her sister and the girl’s face is concerned.  Leona, smiled, but it’s forced and the camera zooms in on the girl’s imperfect teeth.  Leona then reaches out to her sister, tries to stop her twin.

The pregnant girl sits on a fallen tree trunk, her hand perched on top of her massive stomach.  Tears stained her face, falling to her humble dress in fat drops, staining that too.  She tries to smile when she sees the twins, but it’s strained.  Iona looks at her sister, nods and says, “Janice.”  Iona made her way to the pregnant girl.

IONA: Are you all right?

PREGNANT GIRL: Yeah.

Suddenly Iona reaches out and touches her, quickly, too fast for the camera to see, so it moves in slow motion. A tiny shock is sent through the girl.  Janice jumps and looks into the Iona’s eyes.

PREGNANT GIRL: How old are you and your sister now?  Nine?  (Iona nods.)  I thought so.  I remember when you was born.  They say you two was special, ya know. ( She paused for a long time.  So long she looked like she’d fallen asleep with her eyes opened.)  It hurts…real bad. (Janice touched her stomach and puts hand between her legs.)  It ain’t time though.  I got me two months to go.  It’s somethin’ else.  Something’s wrong.  I can feel it.

IONA: I know.  I feel it too.

As the camera watches, Iona’s eyes flair up like a light, twinkling.  Janice’s face begins slowly become calmer and more tranquil. The two, Iona and Janice, stare at each other as Leona watches.  Finally Janice closed her eyes.

IONA: Suffering never last as long as it feels sometimes.  And heaven comes after, momma said.  So it’s worth it, I guess.

The pregnant girl smiles, nods. She sits there for a moment longer, then stands up and wipes her dress clean.  When she walkes away, she is just a little lighter on her feet, her back just a bit straighter.

LEONA: The baby’s dyin’.

IONA: You sure?  (Leona nods.)

IONA:  What’s wrong with it?

LEONA: It was bad.

Suddenly the camera flashes to what the girl saw in her vision.  Dramatic music booms as the insides of the girl’s belly come into focus.  Amniotic fluid swirls as the fetus appears on screen and slimy crawling, wiggling worms smothered the life from the unborn baby.

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Sonny

Plot

Sonny follows the day of a young Atlanta courier on August 17th, 1915- the day after Leo Frank was taken from his Milledgeville Prison bed in the night and lynched in Marietta, accused of murdering 13-year-old Mary Phagan in 1913. Our eponymous hero is not made immediately aware of this. However, when a mysterious package is entrusted to him by his employer to be taken to Mrs. Frank, Sonny is unwittingly made a player in the aftermath of Frank’s death.

Before Sonny can deliver that package, though, we must follow his daily routine, as he delivers packages and letters. It is through his exchanges with his customers that Frank has been lynched. Though he was warned not to, he opens the mysterious package and discovers a note and a wedding band, along with the words, ‘The wedding ring of Leo Frank, taken from his hand on the Night of August the 16th, 1915 by the Knights of Mary Phagan’. Soon after, Sonny discovers that the Knights of Mary Phagan are very upset that their trophy has been taken from them, and will try to get it back through any means possible.

After dodging various trolleys and undesirable who have traced the ring to him, Sonny finally makes it to Mrs. Frank’s house on Washington Street, near the state capitol building. He is exhausted, but finally hands his mysterious package over.

Characters:

Sonny- Sonny is our main character, the audience’s eyes and ears through his day. He is 12 years old, tall for his age, black hair, medium complexion and skinny. His hollow eyes indicate hunger and that he’s seen more than a 12-year-old should have. His formal schooling ended the year before, when he took his job, but he knows how to read comprehensively, a skill that is rare for a low-income kid like him. On the whole, we don’t learn much about him, apart from the fact that he hates lynchings (his father took him to one once, and he had to leave because he was sobbing) and he will do his job, no matter what obstacles lay before him.

Mr. Robeson- Sonny’s boss. He is middle aged, mustachioed, gruff to many and kind to a precious few, including Sonny.

Though it is not explicitly said, it is implied that Mr. Robeson was either present at or immediately after Leo Frank’s death. It is not clear how he obtained the ring and hand-written note, although the KMP do track the ring to him. It is evident, however, that the lynching of Leo Frank so disgusted him that he went to great lengths for his dying wish to be honored.

(I don’t anticipate any other characters to feature as prominently or be as fleshed out as these two. Besides, this is pretty much a one-man show.)

Cinematography & Lighting

I have a vision of Atlanta as a town that looks new on the outside but is black on the inside: exteriors of white, clean sandstone on new buildings, and when we get to the less savory parts of town, grungy rotting structures. Much of the action takes place on the road, so we will be seeing a lot of the city, a lot of exterior shots. In terms of lens, I would like certain parts of the city to have an extra gritty feel, while during a possible dream-esque sequence (Sonny sees a pretty customer that he likes), I’d like to used the ‘smeared-on vaseline’ look.

In terms of lighting, my conception of Atlanta (at first) is suffused with sunlight. August days in Atlanta show no sign of letting up for fall, so it will still be very hot- everyone’s brow will be glistening, and it’s one of those cloudless, obnoxiously hot days. Most of the interiors will be darkened to cut down on the heat, but outside it is almost artificially light. As Sonny gets closer to his destination, however, the general lighting will become darker, to signify both the closing of the day and the plight of the bereaved widow.

Scenery, Sound & Costuming

This film, while taking artistic license with some of the events of the day, will be completely faithful to the pre-WWI look and feel of Atlanta, as a city struggling to magnify its name and break away from its past while still mired in the shadow of the Confederacy. I have wood in mind as an over-arching element of scenery- Sonny’s workplace, which is dark, warm, and full of moulding, or at the houses of Sonny’s customers. The wealthy ones will exhibit fine hardwood floors and elegant carving, while his poorer ones live in rotting wooden structures or crowded apartment buildings.

Costumes will feature a lot of white- whether the starched blouses and collars popular for the day, or the filthy undershirts of indigents, in addition to a palette of browns for wood, blue for the uniform of the couriers and blacks and grays, for the final scene at the Franks’ house.

In terms of sound, I would like the sounds of Atlanta to first take over the viewers’ senses- car horns, the screech of streetcars and Sonny’s bicycle’s breaks, the chatter of people on the trolley, etc. However, once we get closer to the ring’s final destination, I would like a moody, dark but minimal orchestral score to take over, to reflect Sonny’s anxiety as well as the audience. (For an idea of how this should sound, please refer to James Horner’s wonderful soundtrack for ‘A Beautiful Mind’, a sample of which you will find here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9srIGajVjDg)

Important Scenes

  1. The opening scene: Sonny enters Robeson’s office. He is still unaware of Leo Frank’s death. Robeson is about to give him the package before a desk clerk roars into his office. Robeson ushers the man into the hallway before he can ask about the lynching and they talk there, while Sonny only hears ominous snippets of conversation. The clerk asks (in a scene that only the audience can hear) about the events, and through a series of Robeson’s flashbacks it becomes evident that this particular lynching didn’t sit well with him. When Robeson returns, he gives the package to Sonny and tells him to keep it safe.
  2. A scene of exposition: Sonny has given back his courier’s bicycle and is now riding a crowded trolley in the general direction of his final package’s address. Of course, all anyone can talk about is the lynching, the ‘heroes’ who are rumored to have carried it out, and the spectacle of it. We hear several different people’s takes on it. Someone says they will bring their children to see him hanging if he hasn’t been cut down, which prompts one man to ask Sonny if he will go to see the body. Sonny clams up and says no. He doesn’t like hangings. For some reason, the man takes umbrage to that.

Budget and Justification

This film will put butts in seats because, quite frankly, everyone likes to see a) a true story (or at least ‘based on a’ true story) and b) an aspect of a tragic story spun in a positive way. This movie will jerk tears and give viewers meaningful thoughts to ponder. While the acting could go any way- and I’m not saying this is surefire Oscar material- the Academy has always loved movies with a theme of injustice (Sophie’s Choice, Gentleman’s Agreement).

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Overview:

As the Lawrence family makes their move from Mobile to the small town of Opelika, Alabama, they do not know what to expect. The film will focus on the individual conflicts each member of the family faces, and how they change or remain the same throughout their time in Opelika.

Characters:

David Lawrence (43):  the father of the family, very meek and timid, unaccustomed to the boisterous lifestyle of the men in Opelika. Although David is smart, he is oftentimes a pushover and fails to stand up for himself. His submissive nature will be his source of conflict throughout the film.

Margaret “Maggie” Lawrence (45): the mother, very bold and unwilling to compromise. She often causes verbal arguments because of her opinionated nature.

Jacob Lawrence (17): the son, he is unhappy about his move to a small town because he considers everyone there “hicks.” As a senior at the local high school, he immediately, makes an enemy of B. Clay. Their relationship will be very volatile throughout the film, and on the day of their graduation Jacob fights B. Clay because of B.’s racist remarks.

Ava Grace Lawrence (15): the daughter. Ava questions the religious view s of her friends after attending a service at a Baptist Church with a very theatrical preacher. Her questioning leads her to uncertainty about her own religious views. Ava’s crisis of faith will be her conflict throughout the film.

B. Clay (18/19): Jacob’s rival. B. Clay is very loud and antagonistic. At the local high school he is often chastised for being his gun and his kill of the day. B. Clay is very set in his ways, and he openly mocks anything that is at all different from him.

Jay Hollis (47) : David’s only friend in the town. Although Jay is somewhat slow, he is good-natured and the only man on the town who welcomes David.

Specific Scenes:

The opening and closing scenes of this film will mirror one another. They will both begin with a very wide shot from the side of the road, and the camera will remain stationary as the Lawrence’s car drives by. The camera will then slowly zoom in on the family in their car through the front windshield. In both scenes the family will be in the same positions, and wearing the same (or very similar clothes). There will however be small differences between the two. For example, Jacob will have a black eye in the closing scene because of his fight with B. Clay. Throughout these scenes the song “Softly through the Void” by Elf Power will play, initially loudly, but then quietly in the background of the family’s conversation.

Another set of scenes that are very important to the film will be in Jay Hollis’s living room. These two scenes would show the relationship between David and Jay’s hunting friends.  The room itself would be wood paneled, with several different types of animals (rabbits, deer, squirrels, and a bear) stuffed and mounted throughout the room.  The scenes would begin with a series of close ups the stuffed animals and some other objects throughout the room. After introducing the audience to the room, the camera would show remain stationary on one side of the room. The camera itself would be mounted on the head of one of the deer, so that the antlers frame the shot. In the parallel scene, the camera will show the men form the other side of the room, and the camera would be placed in the mouth of the bear, so that the shot would be framed by the bear’s arms and teeth. In the first scene, Jay’s friends will mock David, and David will fail to stand up for himself.  In the second scene when Jay’s friends begin to attack David, he will defend himself, showing his growth.

Cinematography:

The look of the film will be influenced by Wes Anderson’s films, making use of very vivid colors as well as Anderson’s tendency to parallel events in his films. There will also be several wide shots that move through an entire room, or down a street, reminiscent of Kubrick’s camera work in The Shining. When introducing the audience to a new setting, the camera will have close ups of objects. In order to emphasize what is taking place or who is the central focus of the scene, the camera would begin with a wide shot and slowly begin to zoom in on whomever is the focal point of the scene.

Music:

Most scenes in the film will begin and end by focusing on music, and throughout several scenes music will be more muted, but still present.  John Murphy, creator of the 28 Days Later soundtrack, would create the vast majority of mood music and background music, but some popular songs from musicians like Johnny Cash would also be used. In the opening and closing scenes the song “Softly though the Void” by Elf Power would be featured.

Setting/ Cost:

The film will be shot on location in Opelika, Alabama. The estimated budget is relatively small (somewhere from $5 to $8 million).

Importance/ Significance of Film:

Although many historical films are set in the South, very few filmmakers try to capture the tensions and situations in the modern South. Several aspects of Southern society will be examined that audiences may not be aware of. In order to create a more believable film, unknown actors will be used and the film will be shot on location.

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Mt. Brilliant

HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE – Mt. Brilliant illustrates the struggle of a slave during the year of 1828. The film I have created is an illustration of Abram, an innocent slave, who is a loyal worker; however, when a white man murders his owner, he escapes to Ohio in response to fear. This film is a fearful portrayal of the existence of a slave during the early nineteenth century that argues strongly against the inhuman treatment that slaves frequently faced. In 1828, according to the Northwest Ordinance and Missouri Compromise, Ohio and Indiana are “free states”.

FILM TECHNIQUES –Through the use of music, sound, lighting, and camera angles, the audience will sense a closeness or intimacy with the protagonist, Abram. The sounds of the film are very simplistic in order to portray a reality rather than a dramatic feature film. Also, there are no produced songs in the film. The light is mainly sunlight during the daytime scenes. Many of the fearful scenes are at night, which adds a sense of uncertainty for the audience. The camera angles during these night scenes often use closer camera angles, whereas the brighter scenes allow for larger angles.

This film is a high-budget film because of the various scenes during the approximate one hour and thirty minute time.

TIME DIVISION – The first thirty minutes consists of events prior to the murder. The next twenty minutes is of Abram and Jackson’s journey to Ohio. The following forty minutes is of their life in Ohio/ the resolution.

OVERVIEW – This film is a feature film that is meant to portray a slave’s fear of being innocently killed for the murder of his owner and the slave’s hope of escaping to freedom in the northern states, which in Abram’s situation is Ohio.

SETTING – 1828

  1. Beargrass Track
  2. Mt. Brilliant Farm – Louisville, Kentucky
  3. “Underground Railroad” – throughout Kentucky/Ohio
  4. Tabitha’s Residence of Ohio

CHARACTERS

  1. Abram – protagonist, Mr. Harris’s slave
  2. Jackson – Abram’s friend, Mr. Harris’s slave
  3. Mr. Harris – Abram and Jackson’s owner
  4. Annabelle Harris – Mr. Harris’s daughter
  5. Monroe – Abram’s elder brother
  6. Slave catchers – White Men
  7. Tabitha – Resides in Ohio

OPENING SCENE – mid-afternoon, sun is shining, and faded noise of the horses/ spectators.

FADE-IN: Wide view of racetrack. We see a portion of the bleachers and grass filled with spectators, all caucasian, next to the track in left side of shot. We see a portion of the racetrack with horses spread out and dust surrounding them as they gallop in the ring in the right side of shot.

CLOSE-UP:

I. The view turns to the track. The noise of the horses’ hooves increases as they race around the track (see photo):

CLOSE-UP:

I. The camera then zooms to the face of a rider, age 36. He is dressed in a red jockey uniform. The camera follows him, approximately ten seconds, as he continues to ride and eventually wins the race.

II. The camera turns to the bleachers, focusing on a group of twenty people standing close together, many of which are congratulating a middle-aged man. The spectators appear intoxicated and are very loud. The women have on elegant dresses and large hats. The men wear suits and bow ties.

III. The camera returns back to the view of the rider who has now slowed his horse to a steady trot and pumps his fist in the air while looking into the crowd.

PLOT SUMMARY – SELECTED SCENES

  1. In the opening scene that was just described, we meet the main character, ABRAM. He is a slave who is also a jockey for his owner’s horses.

The sound in this scene is of the men and women yelling which competes with the sound of the horses’ hooves. The light is natural sunlight. No dialogue in this scene.

  1. Abram, Mr. Harris, and Annabelle returning to their plantation home by walking. Abram leads the horse while holding onto his lead rope. Annabelle walks next to Abram and her father on the opposite side of the horse.

The sun has begun to set therefore the amount of light is decreased. Abram and Mr. Harris discuss the race. The audience can see the respect that Mr. Harris and Abram display for one another between their supportive dialogues. Mr. Harris is still in his suit. Annabelle has on a fancy dress. Abram is wearing a simple white shirt, brown pants, and boots.

(Photo illustrates the appearance of the front of the Harris’ home):

  1. Inside the living room of the Harris’ home, Abram and Annabelle are at the desk. Abram narrates a letter to his brother for Annabelle to write. Mr. Harris then puts Annabelle to bed.

The light of this scene is dim throughout the room. There is the noise of Mr. Harris cleaning dishes in the kitchen and dialogue. Annabelle is dressed in a nightgown. Mr. Harris is dressed casually as is Abram.

  1. The next morning, Abram walks Swale, the winning horse, to a pasture where he rides in the simply structured ring. Abram hears gunshots while riding and immediately dismounts Swale and leads him to the closest area of trees. They wait here for a few moments, and Abram runs inside the house after retuning Swale to the stables.

The sound of Swale’s hooves are heard in this scene. There is also the sound of gunshots and the loud breathing of both Swale and Abram. The light is normal sunlight.

CLIMACTIC SCENE

  1. During the climactic scene, Abram returns to the house and quietly sneaks throughout the eerily silent rooms. Jackson and Abram find one another, but not until Abram sees his owner and the owner’s daughter lying on the floor of the kitchen because they have been murdered. Jackson explains to Abram that they must escape before others come. Jackson also tells Abram that he saw a white man kill Mr. Harris but the man did not see Jackson. They begin to gather things throughout the house in preparation for their escape.

THE JOURNEY

  1. Abram and Jackson escape from their residence in Kentucky and hope to find Abram’s brother’s home in Ohio for safety.

During their journey, they have high suspicion of white men following them. In order to intensify this sense of fear, one of the scenes is in the night. The camera angles are close to their faces and the light is scarce because it’s made to appear as if moonlight is the only light source. The noises are composed of their feet hitting the leaves and ground, heavy breathing, a small number of gunshots, and dogs barking in the distance.

SUMMARY

  1. The events following the murder lead up to the second climactic scene. After Abram and Jackson escape Kentucky, the men search for the town in which Abram is told his brother resides. They ask people on the road and eventually find the home. A young white woman answers the door and invites them inside. While they are eating dinner, Abram learns that his brother was taken one night and sold to a man by the name of Monroe Walters from Mississippi. Tabitha invites Abram and Jackson to stay in her home. Tabitha and Abram begin to build a strong friendship. One night after dinner, Tabitha goes out to the barn to give the animals the extra food. Jackson offers to help her carry it. While Abram is in the kitchen cleaning the dishes, he hears loud screams coming from the barn. He immediately runs out to the barn and finds Tabitha on the ground and Jackson standing above her. Abram holds Tabitha who claims that she tripped and fell. Abram, Tabitha, and Jackson return to the home. When Tabitha and Abram lay in bed, Abram finds bruises on Tabitha’s body, but she dismisses them. The next day, Tabitha goes into town and returns with white men of the town. Tabitha explains to Abram that she is sorry but she had seen signs for their reward if found, and she had to turn them in. She didn’t want to be killed if they were discovered living in her home and Jackson had beaten her multiple times.

CLOSING SCENE

  1. Abram becomes very angry and shoots Jackson. Abram then breaks down and the white men force a rope around his neck. Tabitha becomes upset by the events and pleads them not to hang him, but she is unable to stop them.

In the closing scene, the characters are in the front yard of Tabitha’s house during natural daylight hours. The emotion on Tabitha’s face is highly recognizable because of the close camera angles. There is little sound except for the dialogue of the men, which is very racial, and the tears of Tabitha. The end shot is below Abram as he is being lynched.

 

 

 

Note: I cannot figure out how to set the time correctly for this post. Right now it is 2:28, but the blog says it’s 7:28??

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Overview:

A Way Out is a film set in Newark, New Jersey in 1974 where the lives of African-Americans are still hard even after the Civil Rights movement. The main character of the film Delilah Jenkins is a high school senior who is applying to college and having a great deal of problems with the admissions process. Delilah’s high school, Malcolm X. Shabazz High School, is filled with racist teachers and students who don’t care about the future of their students or in the students’ case, their own. While Delilah works hard to maintain the high grades that she gets, she watches her friends have intimate relations with their to get good grades, fight, and drop out of school. Therefore, she tries to maintain her determination to get into college.

At home, Delilah is forced to become the parent of her four younger siblings since her mother is never home because of her drug addiction and her father was shot and killed in a gang fight. Delilah and her family live in the most infamous projects in the city known for its gang problems. Every time Delilah walks out of her building she is a approached by one of her or her father’s friends asking her to join the gang and make her father proud. So now, Delilah is confronted with the decision to either follow her dreams or live in her dad’s shadow. Therefore, Delilah writes in her journal every night and writes letters to her boyfriend to try and release some of the stress and get some encouragement.

After some time however, Delilah comes to the conclusion that she is unable to deal with her siblings, school, and life itself all alone and calls her grandmother from Alabama to come help her with the kids. When her grandmother gets there she helps Delilah with kids and takes away that burden but then tell Delilah that she is not good enough to go to college and that she needs to work on her household skills in order to find a husband. This added opposition makes the stress and pressure more than she can bear, so she decides to drop out of school.

Along with this decision, Delilah also decides to walk in her father’s footsteps and join the gang. On the night of her initiation, Delilah is forced to do a drive by in the neighborhood of the leader of the opposing gang. While doing so, Delilah is shot and killed.

When her funeral is held, her mother decides to clean herself up and end her drug while her grandmother sits and consoles the children. When the family gets home, they discover that Delilah had gotten accepted into Syracuse University.

 

 

Characters:

Delilah Jenkins: 17-year-old high school senior who is an A/B student applying to college. However, getting such good grades is hard for Delilah because not only do her teachers not care but the students don’t as well. She is forced to deal with racism in school and the opposition from her family and friends to go to college. At home in the “projects”, Delilah is the both a mother and father to her four younger siblings. While dealing with the stress of taking care of her siblings and applying to college, Delilah is being pressured to continue her father’s legacy by joining the gang known as the bloods by gang members and friends. Therefore Delilah is confused as to which path she should take: college or gang.

The actress I am considering to play this role is Keke Palmer.

Linda Jenkins: 36-year-old mother of Delilah who is cocaine addict. Linda has been struggling with her drug addiction since Delilah’s father Daniel Jenkins died because she couldn’t handle taking care of their children and the bills alone. However, Linda promises her Delilah that she is “trying to get on feet,” but she is not taking any steps toward rehab.

The actress I am considering to play this role is Jennifer Lewis.

Bernice Watts: grandmother of Delilah Jenkins who is from Selma, Alabama. Bernice has lived in the south all of her life and was born and raised to believe that African-Americans were nothing more than mere workers. Most importantly, in her opinion, African-American women were only meant to tend to the household and family and all other aspirations are ridiculous and unrealistic.

The actor I am considering to play this role is Sicily Tyson.

William Perry: Delilah’s 19-year-old boyfriend who is a freshman at Syracuse University. William wants Delilah to leave home and go to college at Syracuse with him because he knows the stress that she is under. William tries to keep in contact with Delilah through letters but is busy at school. He is her inspiration and encourager, and he worries about Delilah all of the time.

The actor I am considering to play this role is Nate Parker.

Daniel Jenkins: Delilah’s deceased father who had been a member of the “Bloods.” Growing up without a father, Daniel ran away from home at a young age and found a family within his gang. However, Daniel had been a great father and husband, but he had been killed in a gunfight when Delilah was fourteen.

 

Major Scenes in Film:

Funeral Scene: This scene will be shot at the Fairmont Cemetery. The camera will capture a wide view from a high angle or a bird’s eye view, with Delilah’s casket in the middle preparing to be buried and her family and friends gathered all around the casket. There will be no sound other than the pastor reading a scripture as the body is lowered. The camera will zoom in on the casket as each person places a flower on top of it. Once everyone is finished, the camera will follow the casket as it lowers. Once the casket reaches to the bottom the shot will fade to black.

 

Closing Scene: The camera will capture Delilah’s siblings, mother, and grandmother enter the apartment starting with a medium view and slowly zooming in to catch each person’s expression. By the time Delilah’s grandmother enters the house the camera will have a close-up of her and will follow her as she reaches down to grab the mail on the floor. As she stands back up the camera will zoom in on the grandmother’s hands and the letters as she looks at each one. When she gets to the last letter she will drop all of the others in shock. The camera will zoom in on Delilah’s name and address and then zoom out and point up and the grandmother’s expression. The camera will capture a medium view of the letter and focus first on the Syracuse university emblem. As the grandmother reads the letter the camera will “be her eyes” and slowly go over each word. When the camera reaches the word “accepted,” it will zoom in at a medium pace and fade to black.

 

Music:

I am still deciding on the exact tracks I will want to be in the film but most I will like the music to build up the tension in the film just as Delilah’s stress is building. So the music in the beginning scenes will be a lot slower in rhythm but with a defined beat and as the film progress the music will become more and more upbeat. Finally, the film will end in silence.

 

Camera Angles:

I plan to use a variety of camera angles including medium view, close-up, long shots, and pans.

 

Length and Expected Cost of Film

This film will be a feature length film that will be about 2 hours and 30 minutes long. The film will be shot on location in Newark, New Jersey and therefore a budget of about 145 million will be needed. This amount will cover the camera usage, props, sound, payment of actor, clothing, and make up artists and anything else that should arise.

 

Purpose of this Film:

This film is going to touch the hearts of everyone who watches it because it will not only capture the struggle that high school students face but the pressures put upon them. Adults, especially parents and grandparents, will be able to relate because they will see how much of an affect the play within the lives of their children. This film will not only show that there were still problems to be dealt with even after the Civil Rights Movement but how hard it is when not the only are the people on the outside against you but the people inside as well. This film should be a lesson to all by encouraging everyone who sees it never to give up and to work hard and reach your goal even if one must do it alone.

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Legion Outline

1.Outline

2.Title Page

3.Folktale

A)Story of “the people who could fly”

4.Overview

A)Why should this movie be made?

B)History of African American folktale

C)Themes

5. Music

A)Development throughout proposal

B)Soundtrack Listing

6. Brief Character Analysis

A)Physical Description

B)Role in the movie

C)Pictures

7. Setting

A)Description of Agnes

B)Visuals

8. Opening sequence of movie

A)Visuals

9.Creature Scene

A) Visuals

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