Starting to conceptualize screenplay for “Where I Laid Me Down To Sleep” #amwriting

So, late but, starting in on rewrite process for my novel.  The Writers Conference is only a few days away.  Excited, nervous, you know the usual.  Anyway — it’s  a very strong cautionary tale for the Young Adult audience and will make a beautiful film.

So, it’s a love story set in Los Angeles and I was thinking after looking at a bunch of black and white films today that black and white is the way to go.  I wrote the novel in omni third, but I have a very strong poetic piece of text that can be used as a voice over at the end of each chapter — and I really like that device.  Was looking today at how Scorsese used it in Taxi Driver to define a scene, and was looking at the camera panning in his first film too… I loved that.  The way that looked visually.  I also love Wender’s film Wings of Desire.  All that camera and that black and white.  So, this is a sad love story — I want to use music to really be a counterpoint to all the scenes in it.  The era is the early 80’s.

So, opening song — while the credits roll —

I loved that film of Scorsese’s with that close up of Keitel’s  eyes.  In this — so the opener can be their two faces like this — as strangers in a city.  He’s in a car and photographing out the window with an old Leica, and she is on a balcony looking wistfully out over West L.A. at the Barrington Towers –the sun glinting off of them in the morning light.  It’s day — but the night in the song signifies the lonely ant-like quality of the city when you are alone.

So that is kind of this: (the voice of the male narrator is old, and he is telling the tale looking back at the girl he was in love with that didn’t love him — is also an MC in the tale, but we see him in retrospect only)… so he says the below lines…

Love in Los Angeles is something that happens under a dusted moon veiled with the obscurity that only a night in the city can provide.  A million strangers have a first kiss under that moon, every minute.  The city crawls with people lost like ants in a colony streaming upwards toward the light.  City of anonymity.  City of a thousand or a million unlucky star crossings.  It happens every day, that two people’s paths might cross.  You see them everywhere in the shadows if you look.  Leaning against parked cars in old lots, tumbling over each other on blankets spread in parks, their bodies twinned in rapture.  Watch long enough and you might get an understanding of what drives the whole cosmos of being.  That first thrust of a kiss, the two tongues meeting, that longing of the body, empty of the other, and that endless need that lights the night like all the finite celestial bodies that you can’t even see because the haze hangs so low in a sky where even the stars have stopped breathing.

That is for the mood of the piece anyway because noir — whether or not it gets used here.

Maybe we cut night into morning.

So first shots are of the city at night to that song and his eyes over the city — driving lonely and he sees “lovers” kissing and so forth.  Keep seeing his eyes, so cutting back and forth to city, eyes and so forth.  Then we cut to morning and his eyes fade into hers in a kind of montage deal.  Superimposed over hers.  It’s day.  She is 22, her eyes are happy.

She is standing on a balcony brushing her hair, in the morning.  It’s long, her eyes watch the sky.  We see the sun glinting off the Barrington Towers.

Birds flying, she watches them.

We see her eyes, as we saw his, taking in everything.  Camera eyes.

I love the look of Keitel’s eyes in this — that close up focus — and then the montage part of this with the fade across.

The most stunning filmmaker in the world made this as his first film.

Camera moves that are magic.

2 thoughts on “Starting to conceptualize screenplay for “Where I Laid Me Down To Sleep” #amwriting

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