Streams and Walking Dreams

 

The end of June is approaching, and I’m sort of relaxing with this whole “I don’t have anything new to write” thing going on.  Though that’s not entirely true:  tonight I write my last TV recap, and that will take me most of the night as I go over what I watched last night and fill in the blanks and get some nice pictures.  After that I’m done.

Or am I?

With the new computer I’m discovering the wonders of being able to sit down and load up something from my computer so I can watch it on my television.  As I have an Amazon Prime account I’ve taken to watching Season 1 of The Americans which I’d missed the first time around.  Tonight I’ll restream Orphan Black so I can work up the recap from the episode–and it was a hell of an episode–and I’ll probably do the same thing in the future when I get back to recapping Fear the Walking Dead.

Speaking off  and on with Rachel, the true originator of our blog The Snarking Dead, last night, over the last few weeks, I told her that I might want to tackle another show through July and August just so the blog doesn’t go dark once she finishes with Game of Thrones next week.  She thought that was a good idea, and I told her what show I wanted to recap–

The only thing was, in order to get to that show I needed to get a Netflix account.

I’ve wanted to do that for some time, and finally, last night, I broke down and put it into place.  So when I’m not editing Act One of A For Advanced, I’ll likely be kicked back watching something through my computer–which, given the low number of shows I watch these days, I may start doing next year so I can save myself some money on cable.  Yes, I know there are a few people right now who are probably rolling their eyes going, “Why aren’t you working on the next novel?” and the answer is I need this time to relax and recoup.

Oh, and to catch up on the view of a couple of series I’ve wanted to see since they came out on Netflix:  Jessica Jones and Sense8.  The first because I want to see David Tenant playing an absolute psychotic prick, and the last because I watch to watch that show.  It’s also the one I’m going to recap through July and August, maybe putting out a recap every few days because I’ll keep me busy.  And maybe during that time I’ll actually start laying out the third novel, too.  Until that happens, though, I’ll be relaxing and streaming.

Sort of like this, only without the water and shorts and blond hair.

Sort of like this, only without the water and shorts and blond hair.

Speaking of novels . . .

Well, over a thousand words were edited last night, and it was a good time.  Going back to yesterday’s edit, I walked home from work with a fellow office worker who takes the train back and forth from The Burg to Philly, and who used to live in London.  When I described Annie’s and Kerry’s journey from the Park Place Sherlock Homes to the Baker Street Station and down the Jubilee Line to London Bridge Station, she told me it sounded like I’d actually visited the city at one point.  No, I said:  I just do my research.

These two little parts below first sort of finish up their walking tour.  We see where they go and the steps they take before heading off to lunch:

 

The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

The walking tour next led them through St. James Park and Buckingham Palace. After some picture taking they hailed a cab and proceeded two kilometers to the east to the Lyceum Theater. Kerry didn’t say much about why they were there, beyond a few mentions of having “seen a video” and that being there meant “something to him”, so Annie didn’t ask for details. Upon reaching the location she saw he was in awe of his surroundings, and she figured pressing him for information would spoil any mood they’d developed.

This time Kerry found someone to take their picture in front of the theater. As before Annie stood close to him, and as she’d done on the Westminster Bridge she slide her hand into his. This time Kerry half turned his head and gave her a tiny grin before turning back for the photo. Two were taken and Kerry thanked the woman before showing the pictures to Annie. He snapped three pictures of her, then took one of himself mugging for the camera before allowing Annie to take three nicer pictures of him.

They were both getting hungry, so while at the theater Kerry used his phone to locate various places to eat. Upon finding a nearby restaurant they walked north from the Lyceum towards the Covent Garden station, when their boarded the subway and headed towards their next destination.

 

Above is the first time Kerry sort of gets goofy, which is while he’s snapping pictures of himself, something many eleven year olds do–and more than a few adults, too.  It’s also the first time that Kerry acknowledges that Annie is there sticking her hand in his, though he doesn’t close his fingers around hers.  I debated changing that last night, and decided, no, Kerry wouldn’t do that, not yet, not this early in the game.  Not until he gets to Witching Manor.

Where do they go for lunch?  Kerry tells Erywin and Helena in B For Bewitching:  the Pret a Manger located in Russel Square.  There here’s doing a few things with his computer and talks about his first trip to London before they get to this point:

She saw no need to delve any further in that part of his life. “But here we are, and you were able to see all those things before the weather turned bad.”

He glanced out the window at the Underground station across the street, but only for a moment. He turned back with a slight smile on his face. “We saw them.”

He said we. “Yes, we were together.”

Kerry nodded. “And we got some great pictures. I’ll send them to you as soon as you give me your email address.”

He may have a problem with this— “I don’t have a computer, Kerry.” She looked down for a second. “My mother has one, but I don’t.”

“Really?” His eyebrows were stopped by his brow from climbing too high.

“Yes, really.” He’s probably never meet anyone for real who didn’t have a computer. “I’ve never had need of one. And I think if you were to send them to my mother’s computer . . .” She rubbed her hands together slowly. “That wouldn’t be wise.”

“Okay, yeah: I can see that.” He nibbled on his sandwich. “Maybe I can get them printed out in Amsterdam—or at the school. Then you can take the hard copies home with you.”

Annie held back her chuckle, because she’d never heard anyone refer to pictures as “hard copy” before. But having a picture in hand—yes, they’ll look fine in my book . . . “I’m sure that’s possible. We’ll look into it when we get there.”

This is the point where we first learn that Annie doesn’t have a computer, but she has a book, and what a book!  And could you see Annie’s mother getting pictures of her daughter with the Ginger Hair Boy as they wander around London?  I’m certain they’d have words, even though it’d get through to Annie.

Because right now she’s in the best place in the world.

Coming to a Theater Near You–Again

After a night of interruptions–including a couple of romance scammers who spent well over an hour trying to convince me that I was the one for them–I finally finished the “movie trailer” for B For Bewitching.

This was a real undertaking, let me tell you, for my mind wasn’t actually seeing things as clearly this time around as last.  I should say I did see things clearly, but for some reason I didn’t bring them to life as well as I did the last time I posted one of these–which was only a week and a half short of six months ago–and I know that because I posted it for another writer friend who is in the process of trying to market her first novel, and she’s got the growing pains that come with trying to market yourself.  Of course, because her last name is Noble I like to call her Doctor Donna, because I’m like that.

What’s different this time around?  A couple of things.  First, this time around I left off a lot of the screenplay marks like “EXT. LAKE SHORE — DAY” and “EXT. TRAIN STATION— NIGHT”, because this was taking me a whole lot of time to write, and I was forgetting these things, to be honest.  Yes, I know, I’m bad.  Therefore, this is more like a first draft of a screenplay, with most of the camera set ups loaded inside the descriptions.

The other thing I did was include music, and this is where I really spent most of my time trying to tie scenes in with specific lyrics.  That’s what took the longest time, listening to the songs over and over and figuring out what scenes should go where.  That’s why you’ll see lyrics posted in the areas where the scene descriptions are located:  in a “real” trailer you’d hear the music in voice over (or here, V.O.) as the scenes plays out.  Not only did I include the lyrics, but I’ve also included the songs themselves at the appropriate areas, but there are two songs used, and they definitely show a change in the mood of the trailer.

I should also point out that neither song is played in its entirety;  about half the lyrics are missing from the first song and the whole second verse of the last song is missing.  Because no one is going to sit through like nine to ten minutes of trailer.  Five on the other hand . . .

Either way, you might want to give the songs a listen as you either read through, or before hand.  Just a suggestion.

During the reading you may encounter the phrase “beauty pass”.  This is a term where there’s a tracking shot over something that’s meant to show it off.  In Star Trek:  The Next Generation majestically sailing past the camera now and then was a beauty pass.  It’s also a term used in CGI rendering and for getting your hair and makeup done in New York City, but I’m doing neither of those.

Also, you’ll notice that a few people who are among “the hated” show up in this treatment, and they even have lines!  There’s also a character who you’ll recognize instantly–

Then, for better or worse, there’s the “movie trailer” for the second novel.  Enjoy.

 

The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

FADE IN:

CLOSE UP ON CLOSED EYES:

The log drums intro of Crowded House’s Private Universe begins as the camera pulls back revealing KERRY MALIBEY laying in bed with the covers pulled to his chin. Once his face is in full frame his eyes open, but he seemed unaware where he is.

QUICK CUT:

The music continues as the camera focus across a room. ANNIE KIRILOVA sits up wearing a black cami top, her hair slightly mused, appearing slightly confused while looking at something just off camera.

QUICK CUT:

ANNIE and KERRY are standing together in the bedroom, both in their night clothes moving towards the camera as she waves her hand.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“No time, no place to talk about the weather.”

QUICK CUT:

Camera POV from behind ANNIE and KERRY as they look out an opening door, revealing a sunny yard beyond.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“Promise of love is hard to ignore.”

QUICK CUT:

KERRY and ERYWIN SLADEN walking across a open plaza.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“Who said the chance wasn’t getting any better?”

KERRY
“It sucks. I hate being home.”

QUICK CUT:

ANNIE and KERRY alone on a sofa.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“Labor of love is ours to endure.”

ANNIE
“I hate being thirteen.”

QUICK CUT:

Camera POV making a beauty pass over the SALEM SCHOOL Pentagram and Great Hall.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“Highest branch on the apple tree.”

QUICK CUT:

ANNIE and KERRY siting on the second floor of Cernunnos Coven at night with PENELOPE RIGMAN, ALEXANDRIA CHORNEY, and JAIRO YBARRA.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“It was my favorite place to be.”

QUICK CUT:

ANNIE appearing serious and deadpan with KERRY standing in the background as she’s yelled at by LISA GLISSANDI.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O. IN B.G.)
“I could hear them breaking free.”

LISA
“Don’t you get it? No one cares what you want.”

QUICK CUT:

ANNIE dressed in her night clothes floating out of a multi-colored, iridescent fog.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“But they could not see me.”

QUICK CUT:

ANNIE, PENNY, and ALEX watching red blips inside a holographic bubble.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“I will run for shelter.”

QUICK CUT:

ANNIE and KERRY standing in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“Endless summer lift the curse.”

QUICK CUT:

KERRY lifting ANNIE around her waist as she holds her hands over her head and cheers.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“It feels like nothing matters.”

QUICK CUT:

ANNIE and KERRY dressed in summer clothes standing with bicycles in the middle of a country road on a sunny day.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“In our private universe.”

The instrumental bridge begins to play as we cycle through a number of scenes:

QUICK CUT:

DEANNA ARRAKIS is sitting in a room with ANNIE and KERRY.

DEANNA
“There’s something I’d like to discuss.”

KERRY
“Does it involve tea?”

QUICK CUT:

ISIS MOSSMAN twisting around in mid-air and lightly hands on her feet in front of ANNIE and KERRY while they stand inside the Aerodrome.

ISIS
“Do you want to be a mermaid?”

QUICK CUT:

ANNIE wrapping KERRY in dark ribbons of shadow as she levitates him in front of Sorcery Class.

QUICK CUT:

KERRY on his broom alongside PENNY and ALEX on theirs as they enter The Diamond, a large, enclosed racing structure. All look up at something and break into smile as PENNY leaps off her broom.

QUICK CUT:

A blond KERRY and an aqua-colored hair ANNIE standing in the Pentagram Garden late at night. She kisses him on the nose.

ANNIE
“It’s been such a special night.”

The song picks up as scenes continue:

QUICK CUT:

KERRY is in Queens, New York, standing in the World’s Fair grounds with EMMA NELSON. They are both in their flight gear, and the Unisphere is in the background. He turns to her as she speaks.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O. IN B.G.)
“I will run for shelter.”

EMMA
“What is wrong with you? You’re twelve years old and you talk like you’re married.”

QUICK CUT:

ANNIE and KERRY walking along a lake in the gray misting light rain.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O. IN B.G.)
“Endless summer lift the curse.”

KERRY
“I wait to stand by your side.”

QUICK CUT:

ANNIE and KERRY in their school uniforms standing close together in a large room with several students standing in the background.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O. IN B.G.)
“It feels like nothing matters.”

KERRY
“I’m gonna stand over here and watch you kick this guy’s butt—”

QUICK CUT:

ANNIE smiles at his comment.

QUICK CUT:

ANNIE is floating over KERRY, who is in his night clothes, as is ANNIE. All around them multi-colored mist beings to take shape into recognizable shapes.

ANNIE
“Come to me. Come be with me.”

KERRY
“Annie?”

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O. IN B.G.)
“In our private universe.”

QUICK CUT:

ANNIE and KERRY are sitting in an airport lounge with darkness beyond the windows. He hands a small, gift wrapped package to her.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O. IN B.G.)
“And it’s a pleasure that I have known.”

QUICK CUT:

ANNIE and KERRY are walking down a street wearing jackets on what seems a chilly day.

ANNIE
“I’ve never had people tell me that didn’t want me around.”

KERRY
“You can do two things, then: either change and be what they want—or ignore them and continue being yourself.”

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O. IN B.G.)
“And it’s a treasure that I have gained.”

QUICK CUT:

ANNIE waking up inside a dark aircraft cabin. As the lyric is sung the camera POV shows her face rising up over an armrest.  The music comes to the foreground.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“And it’s a pleasure that I have known.”

QUICK CUT:

As the song moves back into the instrumental with an increased tempo KERRY is squirming in his sleep, mumbling.

KERRY
She’s not your CONCERN.”

QUICK CUT:

ANNIE is speaking with KERRY aboard the same plane.

ANNIE
“What were you dreaming about?”

KERRY
“I was talking to a girl.”

QUICK CUT:

ANNIE meeting with DEANNA lying on their backs, looking at a video. We cut to the video showing a scene from the year before, where ANNIE and KERRY met with DEANNA the first time. This time there are colorful outlines around bodies.

ANNIE (O.S.)
“Why does mine have that bright yellow border?”

DEANNA (O.S.)
“Bright yellow indicates a fear of something—losing control, losing respect—”

QUICK CUT:

ANNIE appearing a bit sad.

ANNIE
“Losing someone you love.”

QUICK CUT:

KERRY sitting up in a hospital bed unable to move as ANNIE feeds him breakfast.

ANNIE
“Were you speaking with that girl again? The one you mentioned the last time?”

KERRY
“Yes, I was.”

ANNIE
“Who is she?”

KERRY
“I don’t know.”

QUICK CUT:

KERRY standing in a stark, gray fog, wearing his pajamas as he looks around.

KERRY
“You’re not Annie.”

A GIRL speaks but is not shown.

GIRL (O.S.)
“No, I’m not.”

KERRY
“Who are you?”

GIRL (O.S.)
“You know who I am”

KERRY
“Why do you want me to know everything about you?”

SMASH CUT:
BLACK SCREEN:

The music stops as the screen goes completely black. There’s a pause before we hear the girl speak.

GIRL (V.O.)
“Because you hold my life in your hands.”

The screen remains black as we hear a high hat strike before the famous eight-note bass intro of Queen’s Under Pressure begins.

FADE IN:

POV from across a large mat with a large circle in the middle. The camera looks over the shoulder of a student as we see ANNIE in her school uniform, her feet bare, standing in an outlined box opposite the camera. The mat is surrounded by students.

QUICK CUT:

CORALINE GALLAGHER is with DENNA in a comfortable looking room. CORALINE is dressed in a sweater and jeans; DEANNA wears a light blue abaya.

CORALINE
“Did you notice the one connecting thread in those dreams?”

DEANNA
“You’re talking about Annie—”

CORALINE
“She could probably be considered a trigging factor.”

DEANNA
“Five times is too often for it to be a coincidence.”

CORALINE
“You think it’s a vision?”

QUICK CUT:

A group of students in heavy winter gear are flying on PAVs through the darkening sky, with a touch of the sun to the right of screen.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“Um ba ba be, Um ba ba be, De day da.”

POV over two students as Cape Ann is scene in the distance.

QUICK CUT:

We are in the headmistress’ office, where MATHILDE LAVENTURE is speaking with CORALINE and DEANNA. Until otherwise noted the song plays in the background.

MATHILDE
“I have to assume the student in question is Kerry Malibey.”

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O. IN B.G.)
“Pressure pushing down on me.”

CORALINE
“Given what happened last night with Kerry, we’d like to have Erywin help us.”

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O. IN B.G.)
“Pressing down on you, no man ask fore.”

MATHILDE
“So have her help you.”

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O. IN B.G.)
“Under pressure.”

DEANNA
“We’re asking for her official assistance.”

QUICK CUT:

ANNIE and KERRY are in light blue coveralls getting into rigging hanging from the ceiling. RAMONA CHAI and HELENA LOVECRAFT are with them, helping the prepare.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O. IN B.G.)
“That brings a building down, splits a family in two.”

RAMONA
“Both signals are over the red line.”

HELENA
“How are you feeling?”

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O. IN B.G.)
“Puts people on streets.”

KERRY
“I’ve been looking forward to this since last night.”

ANNIE
“I can’t wait to start.”

QUICK CUT:

POV CLOSE UP on the face of someone that looks human, but is hairless. It’s gasping for air and appears confused.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O. IN B.G.)
“Um ba ba be, um ba ba be.”

HELENA (O.S.)
“Don’t try to talk, just nod—”

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O. IN B.G.)
“De day da, ee day da—”

QUICK CUT:

POV showing the upper torso of the human-like thing looking towards the camera as HELENA stands next to it, helping.

QUICK CUT:

POV showing another human-like thing looking towards the camera with RAMONA alongside. It smiles back.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O. IN B.G.)
“That’s okay.”

QUICK CUT:

CORALINE and DEANNA are meeting with ERYWIN in a library room, with comfortable sitting chairs, end tables, and subdued lighting.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O. IN B.G.)
“It’s the terror of knowing what the world is about.”

ERYWIN
“Do you believe he’s a danger?”

QUICK CUT:

CORALINE and ANNIE are next to KERRY’S bed in the school’s hospital. CORALINE stands over him as ANNIE sits to his left. He appears almost terrified as he closes his eyes.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O. IN B.G.)
“Watching some good friends screaming—”

KERRY (In a near whisper)
“She’s coming for me.”

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O. IN B.G.)
“Let Me Out.”

QUICK CUT:

Two racers on PAVs collide at the start/finish line; one slams into the ground as the other flies off their broom and towards the camera. At this point the song comes out of the background and plays over the scenes.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“Pressure on people, people on streets.”

QUICK CUT:

DEANNA standing in a ghostly version of the school while dressed in ethereal armor. She throws up a glowing shield as an flickering, orange light bathes her face.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“Turned away from it all like a blind man.”

QUICK CUT:

CORALINE, DEANNA, ERYWIN, and JESSICA KISHNA stand looking incredulously at something off-screen. ERYWIN shouts out something as she throws up her hand.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“Sat on a fence but it don’t work.”

QUICK CUT:

ANNIE in the hospital standing over an unconscious KERRY laying in bed while CORALINE stands at the food of the bed.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“Keep coming up with love, but it’s so slashed and torn.”

QUICK CUT:

The air in front of ANNIE shimmers slightly as she is hit by a fireball that dissipates; she pulls back her right hand and looks down at something as a dark mass forms around her open palm.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“Why—”

QUICK CUT:

Three racers in black with green piping drop down over the top of trees at high speed as they race past the camera’s POV.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“Why—”

As the third “Why” in the song stretches out—

QUICK CUT:

ANNIE being held from behind as she looks on frightened.

QUICK CUT:

KERRY in a room screaming at someone or something.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“Whyyyyyyyyy—”

QUICK CUT:

ANNIE in her night clothes running out of her room into a dark, coven corridor.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“Love, love, love, love, love.”

QUICK CUT:

Overhead POV as the camera follows a racer in their black uniform with green trim traveling over a rocky surface in snow before plunging over the slide of a mountain into a whiteout and vanishing.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“Insanity laughs under pressure we’re breaking.”

QUICK CUT:

POV on KERRY on a busy street as he turns to face the camera.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“Can’t we give ourselves one more chance.”

QUICK CUT:

POV on ANNIE sitting at a table in a restaurant, waving with a slight smile on her face.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“Why can’t we give love that one more chance.”

SMASH CUT:
BLACK SCREEN — RUN TITLES:

Prepare

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“Why can’t we give love give love—”

QUICK CUT:

ANNIE with KERRY on a sofa inside a room as he kisses her.

SMASH CUT:
BLACK SCREEN — RUN TITLES:

To Be

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“Give love give love give love—”

QUICK CUT:

ANNIE in the dark with KERRY, both wearing winter gear, as she seems to float above and to his side. She leans in to kiss him.

SMASH CUT:
BLACK SCREEN — RUN TITLES:

Bewitched

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“Give love give love give love give love.”

QUICK CUT:

POV CLOSE UP on ANNIE with KERRY standing in a court yard and dressed for a cool day. There are tears on his cheeks as she holds his face between her hands.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“Because love’s such an old fashioned word.”

QUICK CUT:

POV CLOSE UP on ANNIE standing in a bedroom dressed in her night clothes as she smiles softly at something beyond the camera.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“And love dares you to care for—”

QUICK CUT:

POV CLOSE UP on A GIRL WITH RED HAIR in the same bedroom and dressed in her night clothe, smiling back at the camera.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“The people on the edge of the night—”

QUICK CUT:

ANNIE and KERRY sitting at an outside table at a cafe with PENNY, ALEX, JAIRO, and KAHOKU SAYASONE. All are smiling and laughing.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“And loves dares you to change our way of—”

QUICK CUT:

POV ANNIE and KERRY, at night, sitting on a bench under a covered walkway. It’s cool outside; he’s in a hoodie and she a sweater. ANNIE stays nestled against KERRY with is arm wrapped around her. They both look happy and content.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“Caring about ourselves; this is our last dance—”

QUICK CUT:

An aqua-haired ANNIE and blond KERRY dancing: he with his arm high over his head as he is yelling out, while ANNIE dancing wildly near him.

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“This is our last dance.”

QUICK CUT:

POV ANNIE and KERRY, both in winter gear out on a gray day. He’s on his broom; she’s flying free. She waves for him to follow, and they head towards the camera. It turns and follows them as they fly out over a gray, churning ocean and quickly dwindle into the distance

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“This is ourselves. Under pressure.”

SMASH CUT:
BLACK SCREEN — RUN TITLES:

The Foundation Chronicles: B For Bewitching

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“Under pressure.”

QUICK CUT:

KERRY sitting in a chair in what appears to be a family room. He speaks over the piano.

KERRY
“Mom, Dad . . .”

LYRICS FROM SONG (V.O.)
“Pressure.”

QUICK CUT:

As the song plays out POV ANNIE standing before a closed privacy curtain.

ANNIE
“You’ve yet to see me angry.”

POV KERRY sitting up in a hospital bed.

KERRY
“Uh, huh. And if you had been angry?”

QUICK CUT:

POV on ANNIE in her school uniform as she floats down from above, a cold loon on her face, a shimmering ice blue sphere in one hand, as purple-yellow ball of energy in the other. She comes to a hover half a meter above the mat—

SMASH CUT:
BLACK SCREEN — RUN TITLES:

Classes Start This Fall

FADE OUT:

 

And there you are;  three days of work that I hope were worth it.  And just think:  there’s another coming.

Maybe even before I age another month and reach my two year anniversary on hormone treatment, which is a month from yesterday.

Maybe even before I age another month and reach my two year anniversary on hormone treatment, which is a month from yesterday.

See you around the magical campus, kids!

The Midnight Window: My Moon and Stars

I’ve reached the last scene of the penultimate chapter, and the end is pretty close at hand.  There are only four scenes remaining, and I may actually remove one of those because it might not be necessary.  I guess when I start writing these scenes this weekend I’ll know of the one I think needs removing goes.

But that’s for later, maybe Friday–no, make that Saturday, because tomorrow night I’m gonna be super busy–but for now I need to start my kids out on what for them is their last night together in North America as B Levels, and the next time they’re back in this longitude they’ll be ready to take over as the C Levels of the Second Floor.

It’s also the last day that this novel visits:  1 June, 2013.  There are no more days after this, either, so you know this is gonna end on a particular note.  But that’s as few thousand words away.  Right now that day is starting–and about as early as you can imagine:

 

The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry sat in the bay window of Room 308, his back pressed against the window frame as he gazed out upon the darkness over Salem Harbor at just a little past midnight on the first day of June. The residents nearly two kilometers across the water were dark, and the only major light source in sight was the small light station a half a kilometer away, located at the end of Derby Wharf.

The rest of the area was as dark as the skies he remembered the first night he spent at Camp Baxter during his first overnight camping flight, thanks to the same magic used to screen out all local light pollution.

 

So we’re back in that bay window at the Sea Sprite Inn, only this time we’re seeing things from Kerry’s perspective rather than Annie’s.  And when the time is stated as a little after midnight, that’s not a joke:  the scene is listed in Scrivener as taking place at ten after midnight.  Like I said, start of the day.

And I even have sort of the view of the area:

All thanks to Google Maps for making this possible.

All thanks to Google Maps for making this possible.

The Sea Sprite Inn would be right in the middle of the frame at the edge of the shore, and the room overlooks the harbor beyond.  The lighthouse is over middle right, half a kilometer from the inn, and the far shore is, as measured, almost two klicks off in the distance.  No word yet if anyone’s going to be eating at Witch’s Brew Cafe in the morning.

 

The evening went almost the same as last year. They walked to the same restaurant they visited last year—the same where Kerry’s birthday dinner was held—and met up with Coraline and her fiancé, though this time Trevor joined them for dinner: he was staying with the other A and B Levels in Boston and would fly with them in the morning. After they returned to the Sea Sprite Annie and Kerry rested for a bit talking and listening to music, then cleaned up and prepared for the night ahead.

Just like last year, neither expected to get much sleep.

Annie shifted around in Kerry’s embrace, getting comfortable against him and the pillows they were resting upon. She rested against him as she also gazed out the window. “No moon tonight.”

“No, it’s waining tonight.” He tightened his arms around her slightly, giving her a long, slow hug. “I checked before we left the school.”

“Hum.” She pointed out the window to star about twenty degrees above the horizon. “The red one there: what is it called?”

“That’s Antares, in Scorpius. It’s one of the largest stars that we can see, too.” He knew what she was doing and pointed to another start in the sky, a little further to the east. “But that one is brighter.”

She lay nearly on her back and stretched her legs. “And what is the name of that star?”

“That’s Altair. It’s also a big start, and spins so fast that it spreads out at the equator.” He played with a few strands of Annie’s chestnut hair. “Either are the brightest stars in the sky, so just like last year we can use them both.”

 

And what is Annie doing?  She’s looking for the brightest star ’cause the moon isn’t up.  It’s a continuation of what they pledged the year before:  when you see the moon, look at it and know I’m looking at it, too.  And if you don’t see the moon, pick the brightest star in the sky.  Any day now Kerry’s probably going to teach Annie to say “My Sun and Stars” in Dothraki when he tells her she’s the “Moon of My Life,” because the kids at Salem don’t need another reason to roll their eyes at these two.

So what are they seeing?  Oh, something like this:

My god: it's full of stars!

My god: it’s full of stars!

This is a screen shot from my newest program, Stellarium, which is open source and free–though you should leave a little donation, as I did–and is a powerful planetarium program that will allow you to track the sky, day or night, from anywhere in the world.  Yesterday, when I should have been writing, I was playing with different sky views, and I actually got an idea of the sort of sunshine Kerry’s going to get when he’s off on The Polar Express in the next book.  Spoiler:  it’s not a lot.

This means I’ll have something else to waste my time on–I mean, use as a tool to help with getting scenes right.  After all, I can now use this to see the local condition as a particular location–like when Kerry has to face his parent at the end of the day, novel time.  So much fun.

So, what becomes of this star gazing?

 

“Good.” She pointed towards Altair. “I like the blue star: it reminds me of coolness, and that which is cool can be warmed through cuddling.” Annie looked up at Kerry and smiled. “Red is anger, and I never want to be angry when thinking of you.”

“Or of a scorpion.” He chuckled before kissing her on the forehead. “Altair is it. Though watch out for the Monster From the Id.”

Annie giggled for several second. “What are you talking about?”

“Nothing—” He gave his head a single shake as he quickly glanced out the window with a slight smug on his face. “I’m just being silly.”

“Better than how you were last year.” She reached up and touched his cheek. “No tears this year; I like that.”

He pressed his hand against hers. “It isn’t because I’m not sad—”

“Then tell me.”

 

That’s where I left off, and when this starts up again, we’ll discover just why Kerry has no tears.  And . . . we’re gonna see something else as well.  Something you would never imagine.

Now, as I leave off, I must delve into a bit of geekness due to something Kerry said above.  While looking at Altair he tells Annie, “Though watch out for the Monsters From the Id.”  In the movie Forbidden Planet Altair was the star around which the planet Altair IV orbited, and that’s where the crew of the United Planets Cruiser, the C-57D, landed, made contact with Doctor Morbius and his daughter Altaira, learned about the Krell–and then had everything go straight to hell on them when their were attacked by the invisible monster later known as The Monster From the Id, which was really nothing more than an energy construct created by Doctor Morbius’ subconscious while he dreams.

In a way, this is a form of Dreamwalking that may just be possible in my world, and if it is, people better look out, because this Monster From the Id vaporized a space ship just to keep it from leaving the planet.  Any witch who could do this would be a force to recon with–

Which, come to think of it, is sort of how Annie looked when she had Emma backed into a corner--

Though, come to think of it, this is sort of how Annie looked when she backed Emma into a corner–

The movie had a budget of $1.9 million, which in 1956 was a hell of a lot of money for any movie, and unheard of for a science fiction movie from the 1950s.  The Monster From the Id was animated by Joshua Meador, who was on loan from Walt Disney Pictures (making this the first time Disney allowed one of their own people to work on another movie), and he actually slipped in a couple of what we would today call “easter eggs” during the attack sequence:  the creature has a small goatee (Doctor Morbius is the only person in the movie with the same feature), and the monster roars much like MGM’s (the studio that made the movie) Leo the Lion does at the start of the movie.

The biggest contribution from the movie was to science fiction itself.  Two of the main props–Robbie the Robot and the model of the C-57D–were used for years in other movies and TV shows.  (Robbie has twenty-five credits to his “name”), Gene Roddenberry was heavily influence by the movie when he created Star Trek (as I’ve pointed out before, the time the C-57D enters orbit around Altair IV is 17:01, which is also the registration number of the Enterprise), and both Babylon 5 and Firefly/Serenity borrowed from the movie.  In fact, a large part of the end of Serenity is related to Forbidden Planet in that the crew finally travels to Miranda and discovered information about the creation of the Reavers in Alliance rescue ship, C57D.   Forbidden Planet is based in part on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and in that play Miranda is the daughter of Prospero, a great sorcerer, so the crew of the Serenity reach Miranda and discover that the Reavers are pretty much the Caliban of their universe.

Joss, like Gene, has the geek gene.

Joss, like Gene before him, has the geek gene.

There you have it:  we start out with my kids stargazing together, and end up with lesson in science fiction history.

Never let it be said I don’t give you anything.

A Day At The Races: Trout Angling

A couple of things about yesterday’s post.  First, as I was reminded by follower and fellow writing James Pailly of the Tomorrow Network News, O.S. should be “Off Screen” and not “On Screen.”  He’s absolutely correct, and in my “screenplay” there should have been only a few O.S. moment.  As he told me, “At least you were consistent,” so I’ll give the play that.  I’ll watch that in the future.

Second, while the screenplay was cleaned up, the interesting question remains:  if there was a movie made of this magnificent pairing of witches in the wilds of Cape Ann, what sort of rating would it get?  That’s an easy one:  it’d get an “R” rating, and that would come about for a couple of reasons.  First and foremost, the Walking Tests/Kill the Zombies scene would likely get nailed for being too bloody, and Deconstructor Death by Head Exploding, Arm Removal, and Exsanguination would probably be a no-no, not to mention the death are coming from an eleven year old boy and twelve year old girl.  Sleeping together, even innocently, would be frowned up, and Annie’s vision–the one where she got out of bed naked and never dressed–would likely need changing.

The biggest reason, though, is the dumbest:  the word “fuck” is said more than twice.  I was told long ago that a PG-13 is given two “fucks” said or seen, and when it hits three, that’s an automatic R.  The Martian used the two-times rule:  Matt’s character said the word twice, and each time after that it wasn’t heard or spelled out, even when it was seen by others.  The Aviator says the word once, thereby keeping its PG-13 rating.

However, in my story, Erywin drops the word at least once, as does Helena–the “We’re that team, remember?” line in the screenplay had the removal of one word, if you get my meaning–and Wednesday says it to Isis during the Day of the Dead attack.

And then there’s Lisa . . .

 

(From The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Lisa jerked out of Erywin’s arms and launched herself at Kerry. She was on him in a second, pummeling him with her fists. “You stupid dick. Rotten bastard.” She punched him in the shoulders and chest while Kerry held his arms up, warding off her blows. “Smug prick, I’m going to get you. I’m going to—let me go.” Helena grabbed Lisa from behind and pulled the struggling girl away from Kerry. “I’ll get you, bitch. I’m gonna make you sorry.” She tried jerking out of Helena’s grasp with little successes. “I’m gonna to mess you up. I’m gonna to hurt You.” Lisa spit at Kerry. “I’m gonna bash in your head with a Fucking POT.”

Helena handed the struggling girl to Erywin. “Get her into the office and give her something.” As Lisa was pulled away, Helena motioned to Kerry. “You can sit down.”

“Thank you.” He headed back to his seat, back towards the proudly smiling Annie, trying his best to ignore the screaming and cursing Lisa—

Something hard stuck him in the back of the head, liquid splashing all over him. He turned and saw Lisa once again out of Erywin’s arms, standing next to the work bench where the various mixtures sat. “Fuckin’ prick.” She picked up another vial and hurdled it towards him to crash against the wall. “I’ll fix you and your fuckin’ slut.” She threw another and struck him in the forehead before he could duck. “Motherfucker.”

 

"Remember when Kerry dominated Lisa in Sorcery class and she lost her shit and was going to hit him with a fucking pot?" "Those were good times, weren't they?"

“Remember when Kerry dominated Lisa in Sorcery class and she lost her shit and was going to hit him with a fucking pot?” “Those were good times, weren’t they?”

Okay, then.  Just that little outburst alone puts me over the limit, and I’d have to keep two of those four F-Bombs in, so . . . fuck it.  R It Is!

But no fucking pots today–it’s race day!  Again!  And let me tell you, almost six hundred words to start the scene isn’t easy when you’re checking your maps and then, right in the middle of writing, you start wondering, “So, what covens to all these fliers come from?”  So I had to sit down and figure that out, and at some point–probably tonight–I’ll start getting crazy and wondering who the hell they are and give them names.

But that’s tonight at the least.  Not now.  Now you get racing!

 

(From The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Slamming his broom hard to the left, Kerry lay down over the control column, pushed forward, and willed as much acceleration as his body could stand. He shot past tenth and ninth places before cutting to the center of the course to pass eighth on the right so closely that he felt the change in air pressure as he cut through the other flier’s burgeoning slipstream.

Seven fliers in front of him, and Lisa was still in the lead heading towards a slight bend to the right that was the set up the short straight going into the Trout chicane. She was getting pressured by both Soroushi, who was right on her tail, and Manco, who was trying hard to get around both girls. Manco was being pressured hard by a flier from Blodeuwedd and the two lone racers from Ceridwen, but the back of the pack was moving forward fast, and it wouldn’t be long before there was a jam-up—

The gates turned from a solid color to flashing, indicating the approach of a turn. Trout was a S chicane and a flyover much like the Green Line’s Reservoir. It turned back to the right, first down and then up over both the local road and Trout Creek, then dropped back into the woods and turned hard to the left for a fast, straight run to the next turn. The front five fliers entered the turn smoothly and gave each other enough space so they didn’t crash into each other.

Kerry cruised past the seventh place Mórrígan as he entered the turn a little harder than necessary, but there wasn’t going to be a problem pulling hard gees through the turn. He completed the turn on the outside and popped up over the road before sliding downward towards the creek. Just like with the first part of the chicane he stuck to the outside and started turning on speed at the apex of the turn. He carried enough momentum through the second part of Trout to zoom past one of the Ceridwen fliers to take over sixth.

Trout was the lowest portion of the course: two hundred and thirty-five meters above sea level. From here it was all uphill, so to speak. It was a nice flat run to the next turn, Crossing, which was deceptively difficult because it was a one hundred five degree turn to the right before starting a fast, one hundred meter climb to a wide, fast one-eight turn that started with a quick flyover.

He checked the course ahead. The top three were still Anna, Soroushi, and Manco being followed by their Blodeuwedd and Ceridwen shadows, but Kerry felt the pressure coming from behind. Emma was only two positions back, and he saw Alex, Penney, Rivânia, and Nadine close behind her. He figured once they were through Crossing those in the back were going to turn up the pressure and make they way to the front before heading into quick wraparound that was Twelve Cut, Barrell Around, and Twin Peaks.

All the top fliers wanted to get around the slower fliers before they began the climb into the mountains and the racing grew serious.

 

There you are.  Heading into the second of a buttload of turns–well, actually third if you were paying attention, and now Kerry’s moving up with racers hot on his six while he’s hot on the sixes of the racers at the bottom of the pack who started at the front barbecue it’s an inverted start–did you get all that?

If you didn’t get it, you soon will, ’cause you’re getting more tomorrow . . .

Coming to a Theater Near You–

Yesterday I mentioned that I was thinking of doing something that was a bit crazy, as in, “I’ve never done this before.”  Maybe there were a few of your who went, “What’s this loony bitch talking about, everything she does is crazy,” but I’m thinking only a few of you actually think that.  Well, maybe more than a few.

Anyway, what did I do yesterday that may seem so crazy?  Well . . . I wrote a screenplay.  Kinda.  Allow me to explain:

As I’ve stated on a few occasions I usually see my stories in cinematic terms.  Towards the end of last week, when I knew the writing of this big race was coming, I began forming these images in my head about how it was going to look, and from those images I would write.

But something else happened as well:  I started imagining my first book once more, and I was wondering, “If this really were a movie, it’d need a trailer.  And if I had a trailer, how would I want it to look?”  ‘Cause these days trailers give away a ton of shit–like, you know, everything.  Half the time you don’t need to see a movie ’cause it’s all there in the trailer.  That means if there were a trailer, I’d want to make sure it was right.  As in not giving away too much while, at the same time, showing you enough to get you interested.

So . . . I wrote the screenplay.

While I’ve never actually written a real screenplay, I’ve read a few.  Also, decades ago, I’d seen a couple of screenplays written by Harlan Ellison–who won awards for four of his screenplays for television–so I had a good idea how they look.  After going into work and getting some shopping done, and even while taking a nap in the middle of the endeavor, I pushed it out:  3,360 words of how a shooting script for the trailer would appear.  Or at least close enough that someone who knows about writing screenplays could look at this and fix it with only a few corrections here and there.

Now, some of the terms.  A Fade In and Out are what movies more or less do.  The images fade in at the beginning and fade out at the end.  A Quick Cut is a transition from one scene to another, while a Smash Cut is a quick shot into another scene for only a second, or a normal process in a Micheal Bay movie.  Dissolve To indicates a slower transition to a scenes, usually as a quick fade in.  In the dialog lines you’ll see “V.O.” and “O.S.”; this means “Voice Over” and “Off Screen,” indicating how the person is speaking.  A voice over is where you hear the person’s voice but they aren’t present in the section of the movie being shown.  EXT. and INT. are Exterior and Interior, where the shot is taking place.  Intercut are one of those things where a group of interrelated scenes are shown in a montage, sometimes with dialog, sometimes without.  It’s use as a way of telling the director these need to be shots without having to tell them that you’re going to cut to these scenes all the time.  Pan Over means that:  the camera is panning.  Angle On, means the focus is on a particular person or thing.  Extreme Closeup is pretty simple as well.

The first time a person’s name appears in the screenplay it’s in all cap letters.  Also, at the beginning, you’ll notice that the conversation between Annie and her mother and father say “In English”.  This is because if this ever were a movie, all the dialog between Annie and her parents, while they are together and alone at home, would be in Bulgarian and subtitled.  For a trailer that would be a bit too confusing.

You’ll notice a couple of things.  One, there are almost no external views of the school.  That’s deliberate.  Two, just about everyone gets seen.  And I do mean everyone.  And lastly:  all the dialog is genuine, though, like with most trailers, it’s been edited slightly.  Some things cut here and there, and a few things may seem out of order, but it’s all right out of the book.  You will also notice that the “W Word” is mentioned one time, and it’s in a particular context.

Given all this, it’s time to sit back and enjoy the show . . .

 

The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced

by Cassidy Frazee

Copyright 2016

FADE IN:

EXT. LAKE SHORE — DAY

A young girl is standing with a tree to her right looking out over a peaceful, still lake with a mountain in the background. She’s dressed for summer and looks comfortable. From the back it’s easy to see her just over shoulder-length chestnut-colored hair.

WOMAN’S VOICE (O.S. IN ENGLISH)
It’s almost ten o’clock.

QUICK CUT:

A woman perhaps in her late twenty or early thirties standing on the deck of house. PAVLINA KIRILOVA waves to the girl.

PAVLINA (IN ENGLISH)
It’s getting close to the time to leave.

QUICK CUT:

The girl turns to her left, facing the person calling to her. This is ANNIE KIRILOVA. She brushes a strand of hair from her face.

ANNIE (IN ENGLISH)
Coming, Mama.

INT. — KITCHEN KIRILOVA HOUSE

There is a tall, well dressed man leaning against a counter. This is VICTOR KIRILOVA. He smiles.

VICTOR (IN ENGLISH)
Did you believe I would miss—

INTERCUT TO ANNIE SMILING

VICTOR (O.S. IN ENGLISH) (CONT’D)
—my only daughter leaving home for the first time?

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. LIVING ROOM — DAY

MR MAYHEW, wearing an impeccable suit, sits in a nice chair speaking with husband and wife, DAVYN and LOUISE MALIBEY.

PAN AROUND DAVYN, LOUISE, MR MAYHEW

DAVYN
They want him to attend this private school in America, house him, feed him, give him an education—

MR MAYHEW
One of the best he could ever have.

DAVYN (O.S.)
And they’ll pay for everything?

MR MAYHEW
Your son is being given a chance at something that is only offered to an extremely small number of people throughout the world every year.

DAVYN
And they’ll pay for everything?

LOUISE
I’ve never heard of this group—

MR MAYHEW
There are many organizations that prefer to work with as little fanfare as possible. They find it’s better that way.

QUICK CUT:

A young boy dressed in black jeans, blue tee shirt, and sneakers stands in the doorway. He has short, red hair, freckles, and wearing rectangular wire-rim glasses which he adjusts. This is KERRY MALIBEY, the object of the conversation.

QUICK CUT:

Kerry sitting in a chair, a pamphlet in his hands.

KERRY
It seems like a pretty interesting place.

DAVYN (O.S.)
Maybe it is time to see something of the world beyond our home . . .

QUICK CUT:

INT. FOYER MALIBEY HOME — DAY

A young black woman wearing an impeachable dress suit is standing with her back to the open front door. MS RUTHERFORD adjusts her large bag on her shoulder.

MS RUTHERFORD
I’m Ms. Rutherford. I’m your escort to London and beyond.

INTERCUT TRAVELING IN CAR

MS RUTHERFORD (O.S.)
We’re meeting the rest of the new European contingent there—

CLOSE UP ON MS RUTHERFORD — IN CAR

MS RUTHERFORD
Are you excited?

KERRY
I’m definitely hoping this is going to be a lot different than here.

SMASH CUT:

BLACK SCREEN

MS RUTHERFORD (V.O.)
You’ll find Salem is like nothing you’ve ever seen.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. VIEW OF LONDON — DAY

PAN OVER CITY FROM AIR

QUICK CUT:

INT. VIEW OF RESTAURANT — DAY

Ms. Rutherford and Kerry talking over breakfast.

KERRY
Where are the others?

MS RUTHERFORD
The others have already eaten and gone on their way.

INTERCUT KERRY IN LONDON

MS RUTHERFORD (V. O.)
You have an assignment today.

Kerry wanders the streets of London, looking at intersections.

MS RUTHERFORD (V. O.)
You—as well as the others—have some prep work to do.

Seen from behind he walks through a book store, his every-present backpack secure behind him.

MS RUTHERFORD (V. O.)
You’ll need to go and order your texts.

Kerry looks over and sees Annie sitting in a chair that is mostly engulfed in shadow. She looks up and sees him.

MS RUTHERFORD (V. O.)
They’re familiar with our more esoteric textbooks.

Annie is now standing, speaking with Kerry.

ANNIE
You must be the boy who missed breakfast.

KERRY
That’s me.

ANNIE
I’m from Pamporovo, Bulgaria.

KERRY
A couple of years ago my family moved to Cardiff—

ANGLE ON — ANNIE

She holds out her hand to shake

ANNIE
I’m sorry; I’ve been so rude. Annie Kirilova.

ANGLE ON — KERRY

She holds out her hand to shake.  Kerry shakes.

KERRY
Kerry Malibey.

ANGLE ON — ANNIE

She begins to look perplexed.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. VIEW OF LOBBY AREA — DAY

Ms. Rutherford and Annie are speaking quietly.

MS RUTHERFORD
I’ve been called into the office; please tell the others they are free to do whatever they’d like—within legal limits, of course. You can even leave the hotel if you want to take in the city.

ANNIE
Why are you giving this to me?

MS RUTHERFORD
Would you rather I give this to one of the Normal children?

QUICK CUT:

INT. VIEW OF RESTAURANT — DAY

Annie and Kerry are sitting at a table. Annie is on Kerry’s left: she’s ALWAYS to his left.

ANNIE
Ms. Rutherford left prepaid debit cards with £200 on them for each of us to use.

PAN FROM — ANNIE TO KERRY

ANNIE
Would you like to do something? Would you like to go somewhere with me, Kerry?

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. LONDON

INTERCUT ANNIE AND KERRY WALKING THROUGH LONDON

Various scenes of Annie and Kerry walking through London, on a boat, walking though parks. Annie is always on Kerry’s left and he carries his backpack. They seem friendly, and there’s at least one time when they have someone take their picture with Kerry’s phone while they stand shoulder-to-shoulder.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. BUSY RESTAURANT IN LONDON

They sit at a table close to a window.

ANGLE ON — KERRY

KERRY
Can I ask you something?

ANNIE
You may.

KERRY
Do you think it’s a little funny that Ms. Rutherford just let us go out on our own without supervision?

ANGLE ON — ANNIE

KERRY (O.S.)
She’s testing us.

DISSOLVE TO:

INTERCUT ANNIE AND KERRY TRAVELING

The are getting on a 747 and taking their seats. As they fly they are reclining and looking at each other. They walk with others through a train station, riding with other passengers. They wait on an empty platform with other children before boarding an empty passenger car.

QUICK CUT:

INT. OF TRAIN CAR — NIGHT

ANNIE
Where do you think we’re headed?

KERRY
I’m not sure.

EXTREME CLOSE UP — KERRY’S COMPUTER SCREEN

KERRY (O.S.)
We’re sort of heading northeast. I don’t think there’s a lot of land left before we run out of places to go.

QUICK CUT:

EXT. TRAIN STATION— NIGHT

INTERCUT ANNIE AND KERRY TRAVELING

They get off the train and on to a bus, traveling in darkness. The bus stops before a set of enormous gates, they open and the bus goes through.

KERRY (V.O.)
End of the line.

QUICK CUT:

INT. BUS — NIGHT

A woman in a light gray business dress stands at the front of the bus and faces the students. She speaks with a French accent. This is Headmistress MATHILDE LAVENTURE.

MATHILDE
Children, once outside please stay close to the bus. I assure you, we’re almost through for the night.

QUICK CUT:

EXT. PARKING LOT — NIGHT

Another woman in a dark business dress stands before the students with a tablet in her hand. She wears stylish red glasses. this is ISIS MOSMON.

ANGLE ON — ISIS

ISIS
My name is Isis Mossman; I’m the Director of Security. On behalf of Headmistress Laventure, the staff, and the instructors, I welcome you girls and boys to your new home-away-from-home.

PAN TO — ANNIE AND KERRY

ISIS (O.S.)
Welcome to Salem.

DISSOLVE TO:

INTERCUT ANNIE AND KERRY AT SCHOOL

Kerry opens the door to his room and finds Annie waiting for him. They walk through the commons, seen from above. They head down the covered walkway towards an open area. Beyond them a garden is visible. There are no buildings visible. They are seen from above entering a large open area. They head into an enormous, nearly empty, dining hall, and sit at a table that has their names on a card.

PAN TO — FRONT OF HALL

A number of long tables tables are set at the front, with a podium behind them. People enter from one of the entrances and take their seats; most of these people are women. Mathilde accedes the podium.

MATHILDE
Good morning, students.

PAN AROUND — MATHILDE AT PODIUM

MATHILDE
I am Mathilde Laventure, Headmistress of the Salem Institute of Greater Education and Learning. I am certain each of you have many questions about what you have seen up to now—and they will be answered soon, I assure you.

DISSOLVE TO:

INTERCUT OF DIFFERENT CLASSES

MATHILDE (V.O.)
By now I’m sure that all of you suspect The Foundation recruiter who spoke with you and your parents wasn’t completely honest about the true mission of this institution.

WEDNESDAY DOUGLAS makes things appear and vanish, and levitates a student in class.

MATHILDE (V.O.)
Salem was founded to offer safe harbor for others like them.

JESSICA KISHNA transforms from her usual dark complexion to blue skin and near-glowing eyes.

MATHILDE (V.O.)
Here we teach the incredible and the impossible. We take reality, strip away the protective veils that have existed for centuries, and expose the real truth.

ERYWIN SLADEN tips over a petrified student who crashes to the floor.

RAMONA CHAI sails backwards through the air before gently floating to the ground.

MATHILDE (V.O.)
You are here because you are not one of the Normal—you are one of us.

CORALINE GALLAGHER sits in front of Kerry, a device in one hand and an orange glow in the palm of the other and speaks before she winks at Kerry.

CORALINE
It’s a kinda magic.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. PATH IN THE WOODS — DAY

ANNIE (O.S.)
Keep an open mind today. Listen to the instructors. Ask questions. Please?

KERRY (O.S.)
Okay. Just for you.

INT. CLASSROOM FILLED WITH PILLOWS — DAY

DEANNA ARRAKIS looks to her left.

DEANNA
Kerry, would you be so kind as to prepare tea?

KERRY
How did you really know we were coming, Professor?

DEANNA
I told you, I saw you both coming.

KERRY
When?

DEANNA
Before breakfast.

EXT. COVERED PAVILION SEATS — DAY

Annie and Kerry watch students fly by on PAVs, high-tech brooms that look like old-time witch’s brooms, but look far more modern.

KERRY
You’re like the instructors. I suspected something last night, but today I knew for sure. That’s what we are, isn’t it?

ANNIE
The Aware? That’s what we’re called, yes. We’re the special, the ones who can see everything that’s invisible to the rest of the world. The ones who are Normal.

KERRY
Like I was.

ANNIE
No. You were never normal, Kerry.

DISSOLVE TO:

INTERCUT OF DIFFERENT CLASSES

Annie and Kerry go through various situations. They learn simple spells in class. They are seen putting large bags inside greenhouse. They are scene snuggling under a blanket in a chair looking up at the stars during Astronomy Class. Annie and Kerry are seen flying over a large building surrounded by woods that looks like a covered sports arena. Beans are seen turning into beetles. Dressed in pajama they walk through a huge hall filled with kids in pajamas, and are seen sitting on a sofa eating snacks, drinking from steaming mugs, and laughing.

QUICK CUT:

INT. ROOM WITH LOTS OF CHAIRS — DAY

All the students are dressed in leather flying gear reminiscent of WW II pilots. Annie and Kerry sit in the front row and to the left of the podium. VICTORIA SALOMON, dressed the same way as her students, stands at the podium.

VICTORIA
Good afternoon, students, and welcome to the first day of flight training.

QUICK CUT:

INT. ROOM WITH LOTS OF STORAGE CABINETS — DAY

Victoria stands with the students around her.

VICTORIA
Here is some of best equipment you’re ever going to find.

Annie stands before a hovering broom with Victoria standing next to her.

VICTORIA
You want to try and be as normal as possible when you fly one of these. If you’re nervous or a little anxious, it’s okay, you can work out of that, but your broom is gonna act a little jittery for a bit until you settle down.

Annie begins to tentatively mount the broom—

QUICK CUT:

INT. ROOM WITH SOFA AND CHAIRS — NIGHT

Deanna sits on one side of a sofa while TREVOR PARKMAN sits opposite her. Annie and Kerry sit on the sofa between them dressed in pajamas with an comforter across their legs and waists.

ANNIE
I take it you have Trovell’s Study of Sight?

TREVOR
Yes, naturally.

ANNIE
And you have Vijoni’s Interpretation of Visions, Awake and in Dreams?

KERRY
You getting ready to start studying up on improving your sight?

ANNIE (SMILING)
No—you are.

QUICK CUT:

EXT. GARDEN PATH — NIGHT

Kerry stands next to Annie and looks around, bemused.

KERRY
This has been one strange week.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. CLASSROOM — DAY

HELENA LOVECRAFT stands at the front of her class, glaring darkly at her students.

CLASS POV — HELENA

HELENA
I’m a damn good sorceress and that’s not just a brag—that comes from over twenty years of working for The Foundation as one on the outside, away from Salem.

PAN TO — HELENA PACING

HELENA
Whereas one can use the other disciplines against another person, sorcery is meant to work against a person, whether directly or indirectly. Sorcery is all about dominating people, controlling them, hurting them—even killing them.

STUDENT (V.O.)
Is there like a main spell used for killing people?

QUICK CUT:

HELENA POV — ANNIE

HELENA (O.S.)
Miss Kirilova. What is the name of the category that defines the sorcery spells used to kill someone?

ANNIE
It’s known as Morte.

HELENA
Have you read any books on the subject?

ANNIE
Yes. I was given a book on the subject for my ninth birthday, actually.

QUICK CUT:

INT. BARE STONE WALLED ROOM

KERRY POV — ANNIE

He watches her create a ball of blue fire about twice the size of a basketball that floats in the air before her.

KERRY (O.S.)
That’s cold fire?

ANNIE
It is perfect, isn’t it?

KERRY
I’d expect nothing less from my Dark Witch.

Annie beams.

QUICK CUT:

INT. HEADMISTRESS’ OFFICE — DAY

MATHILDE
My Mistress of Spells, what is ever the problem?

WEDNESDAY
I think we have a situation that requires our attention.

INTERCUT OF ANNIE AND KERRY PERFORMING MAGIC

MATHILDE (V.O.)
Our Cernunnos A Levels? The ones the instructors are talking about?

Annie performing an invisibility spell and being mostly successful. Kerry levitating a doll and drawing it towards him.

WEDNESDAY (V.O.)
One and the same. Watch.

Kerry transforms a pile of wood from a single log. Annie creates ice floating in the air from a bucket of water.

WEDNESDAY
Everything they did is well beyond their level. There is no way they should have even tried those, much less make them work.

QUICK CUT:

INT. LARGE ENCLOSED AREA — DAY

WEDNESDAY (V.O.)
Oh, I’ve saved the best for last.

EXTREME CLOSE UP — ANNIE’S FACE

Face half-covered in blood and gore, Annie tosses what looks like a sword to the side with her left hand as she walks with determination towards the camera.

QUICK CUT:

PAN TO — KERRY ATTACKING SOMEONE

He takes what looks like a long sword and cuts up and through someone, splattering himself with blood in the process.

QUICK CUT:

INT. HEADMISTRESS’ OFFICE — DAY

WEDNESDAY
This is more than talent.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. HEADMISTRESS’ HOME — NIGHT

Mathilde stands in her living room with Helena, Erywin, and Jessica. On one side of the room stands a man in a dark suit and overcoat. This is MR GABRIEL.

MATHILDE (O.S.)
What answers do you require, Mr. Gabriel?

MR GABRIEL
We’re interested on the progress of some of your students. A Levels.

QUICK CUT:

INT. PRIVATE LAB — NIGHT

Annie creates ribbons out of shadow in front of Kerry.

QUICK CUT:

EXT. PARK — DAY

Kerry produces ball lightning in his hand.

MATHILDE (V.O.)
Do these A Levels have names?

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. DARK CORRIDOR — NIGHT

Helena speaks in a threatening tone to Gabriel.

HELENA
Annie and Kerry may be extraordinary kids, but they are kids.

INTERCUT OF ANNIE AND KERRY TOGETHER

Annie in her night clothes, smiling and singing; Kerry dressed in his flight clothes, standing at the railing of a high building, looking at other buildings some distance away poking up through the trees.

HELENA (V.O.)
Being minors doesn’t matter—

Kerry leads Annie into a dance; Annie walks along side Kerry as they enter a grove of pine trees.

HELENA (V.O.)
You will find a way to get them out in the field, you will find a way to see how they operate.

Annie faints and Kerry rushes to her side; Annie comforts a crouching Kerry who seems to be in pain.

HELENA
When that happens, I want to make certain they don’t come back in body bags.

An enraged Annie stalks across the Rotunda with a dark ball of energy in her hands; Kerry drops pass the camera on his broom, which follows him down towards the dark forest.

QUICK CUT:

INT. HOTEL ROOM — DAY

ERYWIN
You need to bring in a team that—

HELENA
That knows what?

QUICK CUT:

EXT. PARK — DAY

KERRY POV — ANNIE

Annie levitates and smiles down at him.

QUICK CUT:

INT. SCHOOL OFFICE — DAY

Kerry quickly changes the color of his hair from red to blond, then points at his head.

HELENA (V.O.) (YELLING)
We’re that team, remember?

QUICK CUT:

EXT. FIELD — NIGHT

Annie and on the left and Kerry on the right, both create huge balls of fire they each hold before their bodies.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. BEDROOM — NIGHT

Erywin and Helena are sitting up in bed; Erywin cradles Helena in her arms.

ERYWIN
That leaves those two in the other room. Any concerns there?”

HELENA
Only one.

QUICK CUT:

INT. DINING HALL — NIGHT

Kerry is dancing with Annie, holding her tight.

KERRY
I’ll catch you before you fall.

QUICK CUT:

EXT. GARDEN — NIGHT

Annie runs her finger down Kerry’s left arm.

ANNIE
Moyata polovinka.

QUICK CUT:

INT. OVERHEAD WALKWAY — DAY

HELENA (V.O.)
Hoping they can handle what comes after.

PULL BACK — ANNIE AND KERRY CRAFTING MAGIC

Kerry on right of screen, Annie on left, He concentrates, his hands slightly raised, as the air shimmers across the width of the walkway. Annie looks grim and serious as something dark seems to swirl in her right hand.

SMASH CUT:

BLACK SCREEN — RUN TITLE

The Foundation Chronicles: A For Advanced

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. WIDE CORRIDOR — NIGHT

Coraline stands with a visibly upset Annie. She places her finger across the girl’s lips.

CORALINE
Don’t think the worst.

SMASH CUT:

EXT. FIEND — NIGHT

EXTREME CLOSE UP — BODY

A scaly body fills the screen. As it slowly turns a tentacle whips across the screen. There is a low growl (and use an ULTRA LOW FREQUENCY layer in the soundtrack so the audience feels this) as the hint of an eye slides into view . . .

SMASH CUT:

EXT. FIEND — NIGHT

SLOW ZOOM ON KERRY

Dressed in his flight gear he sits on his broom, holding what looks like another PAV. As the camera moves in on his face, he’s frightened and hyperventilating. As soon as the focus is tight on his shoulders and head he switches the PAV to his right hand, screams, and charges towards the camera.

SMASH CUT:

BLACK SCREEN — RUN TITLE

Classes Start 1 September

FADE OUT:

 

And there you are.  Hope you enjoyed this, and hope you have questions.  Believe me, I had a good time putting it together–

Look how satisfied I am after writing this.

You can tell just by how I look here after I finished.

Getting Science All Up In Here

I don’t get out my these days–that’s sort of clear to a lot of people.  And one of the things I don’t get out to do is see movies.  Most of that is due to having sort of a high standard when it comes to seeing a movie, and that’s to be entertained without having too much of my intelligence insulted.  That’s why I’d only seen Mad Max:  Fury Road this year of 2015 and nothing else.  I’m just a cranky bitch when it comes to film.

Yesterday, however, not long after posted on my blog, I headed out to see The Martian, the movie based upon Andy Weir’s 2011 novel of the same name.  One reason I wanted to see the movie was because it was science fiction, and from everything I’d read of the novel, pretty accurate science fiction, with the emphases on science.  I will say now that I have not read the novel, but I’m probably going to pick it up and give it a read just to see the differences between the printed and visual versions.

The interesting thing about the novel is how it came about.  Weir wanted the novel as scientifically accurate as possible, and did a lot of research on the surface of Mars, on botany, astrophysics, space craft design, and orbital mechanics, going so far as to write is own program so he could track the orbits of the ships in his novel.

Which is something only a few crazy people do for, say, a game.

Which is something only a few crazy people–like the one who wrote this a few years ago–kinda sorta do for games.   Crazy.

Weir had been writing since his twenties, and The Martian was his first novel.  He shopped it around, and when none of the publishing houses showed interested, he started publishing the book for free on his website, going thought chapter by chapter.

That's insane.  What sort of nut does that?

That’s insane. What sort of nut does that?

After a while people asked him to put out a Kindle version of the story, and he did, and he sold the book for $.99, the lowest price one can offer for a work on Amazon.  After he sold thirty-five thousand copies in one month, Crown Publishing Group approached him and asked if he’d like a sweet deal for his book.  The deal made him another one hundred thousand dollars and got him a movie, so it sounds like he got what he was looking for.

If you’re asking, “What’s this about?”, it’s about a guy who, through no fault of anyone, gets stranded on Mars and has to find a way to stay alive until he’ rescued.

If nothing else, fall back on a meme that says the same thing through Apature.

If nothing else, fall back on a meme that makes you wonder if Aperture Science runs the space program.

That’s the story in a nutshell, and without going into a lot of detail, it’s what the movies shows.  What I loved was the attention to detail and how everything was so . . . sciencry.  As I indicated I haven’t read the book, but there were things in the movie that because of my knowledge of Mars and space stuff in general, I got right away.  (There was a scene in the movie where the main character was looking at a map, and the minute he realizes something and was hit with a light bulb moment, so was I.  Geeks, I know.)

The movie is magnificent in appearance.  The Mars stand-in was Wadi Rum in Jordan, which has stood in for Mars in a couple of movies, and one of the locations used in Laurence of Arabia.  With the help of a little CGI you feel like you could be there on the Red Planet.  All the tech looks workable and has an authentic feel.  And the spaceship Hermes and the Mars HABs . . . Oi.

Magnificent spaceship porn, yo!

Magnificent spaceship porn, yo!

I can look at the ship above and see stuff that’s supposed to be there on a real spacecraft, and that makes me happy.  There are things I saw happening in the movie that shouldn’t have happened (when you decelerate in space, your engine is supposed to be pointed towards the forward edge of your orbit, thank you), but they were minor and nitpicky.  Even Weir admits that he made the storms on Mars more visually impressive than they would be in real life because, you know, sometimes you have to do that.

The characters are good, though I think NASA in the middle of the 21st Century would be a tad more diverse than shown, and in one major instance, a character was completely whitewashed. The moment I saw the character’s name I thought “Shouldn’t she be Korean?”  This, again, came without reading the novel, and after a little investigation last night I discovered I was correct.  It isn’t impossible to find an actress of the proper ethnicity these days,  so Hollywood, you need to stop that shit right now.

There is one scene in the movie that got a huge laugh out of the audience I was with–and with me as well–and without going into detail:

When you see the scene, you'll get this completely.

When you see the scene, you’ll get this completely.

I came out really happy, not only because I saw what I’d say was a real science fiction movie, but because there was a scene involving engineering that was done while ABBA’s Waterloo played on the soundtrack.  I mean, come on:  that’s something I’d do in my stories, so you know I was smiling like crazy and bouncing in my seat as the scene played out.  And in a moment of disclosure, in a game I was running some twenty years ago, I’d planed to use Waterloo as a song-over during a scene were some people were preparing in invade a planet.

See?  Great minds think alike.  And so do those who know what makes science fun.

Tugging the Post-Apocalyptic Heartstrings

Fridays and Sundays are quickly becoming the “Take the Night Off Writing” days, because that’s what happened yesterday:  damn near no writing at all.  Oh, sure, I tried, I really did, but I made it like two hundred words past where I was the last time, and just skated on by with the work.  Some of this is due to watching movies on those nights, because I need to get my mind on other things once in a while, and I need that.

"What other things?  There's writing, and your characters, and sex, and . . . oh, those things."

“What other things? There’s writing, and your characters, and sex, and . . . oh, those things.”

Though normally I’m thinking about sex for my characters, so don’t judge me.

Yesterday, since I’m all by myself and there’s nothing to do, I went to the movies to see Mad Max:  Fury Road.  This was the first movies I’ve seen in the theaters since seeing Guardians of the Galaxy, which gives you an idea of how often I get out to movies–it’s like one time a year if you’re keeping track.  Now, full disclosure:  I am a big Mad Max fan.  I had the first two movies on bootleg video tapes, which meant the first one was without the dubbed voices (when Mad Max was first shown here in the US all the dialog, even Mel Gibson’s, was dubbed to get rid of the Australian accents).  I’ve even seen the one and only “Lost Version” of Mad Max 2, aka The Road Warrior, presented on NBC, which included a lot of added scenes as well as the infamously changed opening and closing narration, redone by someone with a bad US Southern accent.

I’ve also looked up a few spots where filming has occurred, in the instance that I ever get Down Under I can head for Broken Hill and check out some locations.

Since everything in Austratalia is trying to kill you, I fully expect to find this waiting for me at Mundi Mundi.

Since everything in Australia is trying to kill you, I fully expect to find this waiting for me at Mundi Mundi.  G’day, mate!

So I went to the movie expecting to be entertained.  I also expected to be blown away, ’cause I’m a sucker for fast cars and explosions.

I didn’t expect to almost start crying when the movie ended.

I’ve said, time and again, that your characters are the most important part of the story:  if they are no more than cardboard cutouts, then it’ll show throughout your story.  Now, I had read over the last few weeks how surprised people were at the strong characterization of people in the movies, particularly Charlize Theron’s character, Imperator Furiosa.  (And that’s FuriOsa, not FurioSAR.  Hermione wants you to get it right.)  The people making these statements were correct, but there seemed to be so much more to them . . . there was depth.  There was a lot lying below the surface of most of the characters, and during the course of two hours it all bubbled out.

Tom Hardy’s Max went through a number of changes during the movie, even though he’s given so little to say.  He doesn’t need words; it’s done with looks, with body language, and late, with the tone of his voice.  (And before people start pointing out that Tom’s dialog was cut down to give the focus of the movie over to the women, in Mad Max 2 Mel Gibson has sixteen lines, and two of them are, “I only came for the gasoline.”  Yeah, people living in the Outback after the end of the world usually don’t have much to say.)  The one thing you do get about Tom’s Max is that he is truly mad, and he’s yet to come to grips with his madness.  Like many of us with mental illness we learn to cope, and this Max copes by just staying the hell out in the middle of nowhere and staying away from people, ’cause he might do someone harm otherwise.

At the end of the movie I was almost crying because I’d been sucked into the spectacle.  I found characters that I liked and wanted to know more about, and found their struggle to reach the end worthy and believable.  But then I’ve found this with a lot of action movies made outside the US:  you get sucked into the story, either because the characters are compelling (Hard Boiled and La Femme Nikita instantly come to mind) or you get drawn into action that is both real and over the top (The Raid and The Raid:  Redemption cover this one nicely).  Action movies here, on the other hand, seem to be designed to sell toys, and if you want anything serious, well, you’ve not come to the right place.

Which is why every time I see the latest Baytacular, where gigantic toy robots that you’re going to buy off Amazon later get into a battle that ends up killing millions of people for whom you give zero shits, Act 5, Scene 5, of Macbeth comes to mind:

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

 

If there is one thing I never want to do, it’s create a story that signifies nothing.  And our characters are everything.

Without them, we have nothing upon which to care.