Author Topic: A Rose for Emily - 1,006 words  (Read 56568 times)

Offline Magdiel

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A Rose for Emily - 1,006 words
« on: November 10, 2014, 01:53:43 PM »
This little (ugh, I don't wanna say "adaptation", 'cause it takes way too many liberties with the plot to be considered that) of William Faulkner's short story "A Rose for Emily" is actually finished (but I obviously can't post the whole thing here), and I'm not planning on revising it further. I just wanted some opinions on it. Well, without further ado...

EXT. GRIERSON RESIDENCE - DUSK - ESTABLISHING

A large, antique house in a quaint neighborhood lies in front of the setting sun.

INT. GRIERSON RESIDENCE - DUSK

The reception is filled with townsfolk, all gathered to give their condolences to MISS EMILY GRIERSON's two cousins: MARTHA and MARY, both pale, short women in their late seventies. They all possess an emotionless visage, as if they were only there out of respect, rather than true empathy. Emily herself, a pale, short, fat woman, lies in a coffin at the center of the cold, dark room, dead of old age. TWO CITIZENS sit at a nearby table.

CITIZEN #1

Boy, the stories Miss Emily's got under her belt.

CITIZEN #2

Yup, crazy stuff. She always struck me as a misunderstood child of sorts, though.

CITIZEN #1

Why's that?

CITIZEN #2

Well, we both know she wasn't exactly "normal", and she's been through some rough stuff.

CITIZEN #1

Okay, she was a bit

(beat)
extraordinary. But being exempt from taxes and left with a heritage of ten thousand dollars? That's not exactly rough. The authorities even went to her house over it.

CITIZEN #2

Hmm... Tell me about that.

EXT. GRIERSON RESIDENCE - DAY

TWO DEPUTIES approach the door to the house. Once they arrive, one of them, DEPUTY CLAYTON, a tall, middle-aged man, knocks three times. After a few seconds, a tall, black butler in his late twenties by the name of TOBE opens the door.

TOBE

How may I help you, gentlemen?

CLAYTON

We need to speak to Miss Emily.

TOBE

Then, please, come inside.

They all enter the house.

INT. GRIERSON RESIDENCE - DAY

The household is quite dark, despite the plentiful sunlight coming through the windows. Tobe shows the two deputies to the reception, where they both take seats. Tobe, however, remains standing. Miss Emily, still a somewhat young adult at this time, enters the room.

EMILY

Gentlemen, what brings you here?

CLAYTON

Miss Emily, I am deputy Clayton, this is my partner. We're here to talk to about--

EMILY

Taxes, is it?

CLAYTON

So you received the notice.

EMILY

Yes, but I'll have you know I have no taxes in Jefferson. Go talk to the authorities, they'll explain.

CLAYTON

With all due respect Miss Emily, we are the authorities. That paper you received was signed by the mayor himself.

EMILY

(enraged)
Oh, is that what he calls himself? You go ask one known as Colonel Sartoris, and he'll tell you exactly why I don't pay taxes!

CLAYTON

Uh, Miss Emily, Colonel Sartoris--

EMILY

Exactly. Now go to him.

CLAYTON

But Miss--

EMILY

Go!

CLAYTON

Miss, the Colonel's dea--

EMILY

Tobe!

TOBE

Yes, Miss?

EMILY

Get these men out of my house.

TOBE

Please follow me, gentlemen.

As they get up from their seats--

CITIZEN #2 (V.O.)

Sent them off?!

INT. GRIERSON RESIDENCE - DUSK

As before.

CITIZEN #2

Just like that?!

CITIZEN #1

Yeah!

TOBE

(with emphasis)
Do not speak ill of the dead.

Both citizens notice Tobe, quite aged now, standing next to them. Tobe then leaves.

CITIZEN #1

Dimwitted nigger.

CITIZEN #2

Anyway, you do know why she didn't pay taxes, right?

CITIZEN #1

Actually, no.

CITIZEN #2

Well...

INT/EXT. GRIERSON RESIDENCE - DAY

Inside the house, an even younger, possibly nineteen-year-old Emily sits in the middle of the reception by her dead father's corpse, sobbing uncontrollably. At the front entrance, a young WOMAN knocks violently on the door. OFFICER JAMESON stands beside her.

WOMAN

(yelling)
We know you're still in there, we know your father's dead! Emily, please, just let us bury him!

EMILY

Leave us alone!

WOMAN

Emily, I brought the police. You have to let us in.

OFFICER JAMESON

Miss Emily, this is Officer Jameson. I have a search warrant. I'm asking you to please open this door.

Emily doesn't respond. She merely continues crying.

OFFICER JAMESON

Now, I'll count to three. If you don't answer, I will be forced to bring this door down. One...

As soon as Emily hears this, she quickly stands up and starts taking deep breaths, trying to compose herself.

OFFICER JAMESON

Two...

Emily wipes the tears off her face with her dress, still breathing heavily, desperately trying to calm down. Then she starts to head towards the door.

OFFICER JAMESON

Thr--

The door opens. Emily stands at the other side of it, giving both the officer and the woman beside him a defiant look. Officer Jameson steps in, picks up the body, and carries it out. Emily remains silent throughout, merely exchanging angry looks with the woman as Emily proceeds to close the door.

INT. GRIERSON RESIDENCE - DUSK

As before.

CITIZEN #1

Wow, that's rough. How old you say she was?

CITIZEN #2

Nineteen, might've been twenty, not too sure.

CITIZEN #1

I mean, I get it, but it's not like she was ruined for life. She did have the kind of money to pay her taxes.

CITIZEN #2

Yeah. Her father wasn't exactly the nicest man to walk the Earth, either. Didn't stop her from loving him, though.

CITIZEN #1

Oh, that reminds me. You heard about the smell?

CITIZEN #2

Actually, no.

INT. JUDGE STEVENS'S CHAMBERS - DAY

JUDGE STEVENS sits at his desk, scrutinizing documents. A young woman in simple attire by the name of ABIGAIL storms into the room.

ABIGAIL

(furious)
Judge, I will not stand for this any longer! Miss Emily's "odor issues" have gone on long enough! You have to do something about it right now!

JUDGE STEVENS

Abigail, please. We've talked about this: I have no more authority over Miss Emily's household hygiene than you do. I cannot simply order her to rid her home of that putrid smell.

ABIGAIL

Her home has become a public disturbance! There has to be something you can do!

JUDGE STEVENS

Public disturbance, you say? You're the only one who has come to complain. Now if you'll excuse me, I have work to do.

Abigail angrily stares at the Judge for a moment, then storms out of the room.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2014, 01:21:23 PM by Magdiel »
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Offline Magdiel

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Re: A Rose for Emily - 1,006 words
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2014, 01:55:50 PM »
Oh... So that's what /pre does... Fixed!
« Last Edit: November 11, 2014, 01:21:56 PM by Magdiel »
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hillwalker3000

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Re: A Rose for Emily - 1,006 words
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2014, 07:07:19 AM »
A few points regarding the screenplay if I may:

Quote
EXT. GRIERSON RESIDENCE - DUSK - ESTABLISHING
A large, antique house in a quaint neighborhood lies in front of the setting sun.

I appreciate that this is a shot to establish the location and time of day but am not sure we need both. Most directors will decide for themselves how to shoot the opening scene. Writers should concentrate more on dialogue since this is what will be the deciding factor whether or not the screenplay is worth filming.

Quote
INT. GRIERSON RESIDENCE - DUSK
The reception is filled with townsfolk, all gathered to give their condolences to MISS EMILY GRIERSON's two cousins: MARTHA and MARY, both pale, short women in their late seventies. They all possess an emotionless visage, as if they were only there out of respect, rather than true empathy. Emily herself, a pale, short, fat woman, lies in a coffin at the center of the cold, dark room, dead of old age. TWO CITIZENS sit at a nearby table.

With this is mind, there's no need for any of this ^^^. How are the cast and cameramen meant to show 'all possess an emotionless visage, as if they were only there out of respect, rather than true empathy'?
It's not your job to describe how characters are meant to look or behave. It's your job to put words in their mouths that will show their feelings and prejudices, etc., etc.

As far as the rest of it goes, the dialogue seemed fine. Not sure how closely you've stuck to Faulkner's own words. The time shifts took some getting used to - you might consider extending some of the scenes and make the changes clearer to avoid it coming across as too jumpy. But overall I enjoyed this.

H3K

Offline Magdiel

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Re: A Rose for Emily - 1,006 words
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2014, 09:23:05 AM »
Thanks for the reply, and sorry for the format screw-up! I realize the opening was a bit unrealistic from a cinematographer's perspective, but at the time I was afraid that if I didn't add those details, I'd stray too far away from the original. Either way, you're right: "show, don't tell". Also, starting off I came up with this idea to establish the time shifts with Emily's appearance, but I guess that didn't go as well as I had hoped. As I said, this is done, and I'll try and cut out the useless clutter from the opening, but as far as the rest goes, I honestly don't know how I could make the time shifts clearer. The moment I posted this, inspiration struck. Now I'm eager to keep working on it.

With that out of the way, anyone interested on me putting the full script on the Gallery?

It's not your job to describe how characters are meant to look or behave. It's your job to put words in their mouths that will show their feelings and prejudices, etc., etc.

Edit: Thinking back, I respectfully disagree. As the old saying goes: "Actions speak louder than words." It is my job to describe how characters behave (within reason, of course. It's not like one could just tell an actor/actress how many times he/she has to blink or anything like that, but I find a few discrete directions are necessary to fully flesh out a character). Think about how silent short films are, to this day, still being made.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2014, 03:52:55 PM by Magdiel »
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Offline Arun Sahadeo

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Re: A Rose for Emily - 1,006 words
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2014, 02:58:07 PM »
I have mixed feelings about this screenplay. Although the premise is nice and simple - it reminds me of the old classic sitcom To The Manor Born, which I am sure Hillwalker will know of - I felt as though it was rushed. For instance, the conversation between Citizen #1 and Citizen #2, IMO, contained far too much exposition so early on - especially with the 'misunderstood child of sorts' line, which I thought gave us far too much information about her character, given that we hardly know her at this point as the audience. I think it would've been best for the two to imply what happened, and then we cut to a scene (perhaps a flashback, who knows?) that supports this implication. Maybe it would be best, even, for these two characters to be named and thus be supporting characters. They could be fairly prominent townsfolk.

I also felt that Tobe was far too compliant with the two deputies that came over and demanded to see Emily. I think that Tobe should've had some backbone, acting defiantly, or at least made some effort to protect his employer.

Like Hillwalker, I got confused with the time shift. Perhaps you should find a way to better differentiate between those two periods in time, so the time shift has more relevance story-wise.

I would recommend reading The Crucible by Arthur Miller, as I think it seems to fit the overall tone of the story so far. Also, look into To The Manor Born, even though it is a sitcom, as it contains the same basic premise as your screenplay.

Other than that, I quite enjoyed the screenplay. Just bear what I've said in mind.

Offline Magdiel

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Re: A Rose for Emily - 1,006 words
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2014, 08:12:31 AM »
I actually thought about that early on, but I'm still struggling to strike a balance between the source material and my own. Sometimes it feels like I've strayed too far from the original story, and I begin to fear that I'm sacrificing too much of it for the sake of the screenplay.

Oh, and I've already read (and thoroughly enjoyed) The Crucible, thank you.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2014, 08:18:04 AM by Magdiel »
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Offline JS05

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Re: A Rose for Emily - 1,006 words
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2015, 10:33:43 AM »
Overall, I was engaged and interested.  One thing I would consider however, is making the flashbacks a little more fluid.  I felt a little tired and disinterested jumping back and forth like that, maybe there is another way you can shift from past to present.  Maybe you can present flashback as one piece and have VO's intertwined?..just a though.  Great work though, thanks for sharing.

Offline Magdiel

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Re: A Rose for Emily - 1,006 words
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2015, 03:00:08 PM »
Thanks for the feedback!
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Offline Magdiel

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Re: A Rose for Emily - 1,006 words
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2015, 04:36:57 PM »
Rewrote the beginning dialogue. Not sure if should stick with or toss.

CITIZEN #1
So, this happened.

CITIZEN #2
Yeah. Hard to believe, too.

CITIZEN #1
I know, I barely ever saw her, but it still feels like something's missing now that she's gone.

Citizen #2 observes his surroundings for a moment.

CITIZEN #2
Wow. And I thought this place looked empty before.

CITIZEN #1
Chocked full of people, still feels desolate. You'd think she'd take care of the place.

CITIZEN #2
C'mon, you know how Emily was. Can ya blame her?

CITIZEN #1
I sure as hell can! Exempt from taxes and left with ten thousand dollars? That woman had some serious cash!

CITIZEN #2
Wait, exempt from taxes?

CITIZEN #1
Oh, you didn't know...
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Offline efk

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Re: A Rose for Emily - 1,006 words
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2015, 07:08:35 PM »
This is wonderful! I really enjoyed reading it and hope you continue on with it.

hillwalker3000

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Re: A Rose for Emily - 1,006 words
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2015, 04:25:54 AM »
I must be missing something. Two citizens saying they can't believe (that she died?) and that the house is empty?? And that's it? The business with the tax is irrelevant as far as I can see. What is the reader/viewer meant to get from this scene? I'm getting nothing.

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Offline Magdiel

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Re: A Rose for Emily - 1,006 words
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2015, 06:26:25 AM »
My amazing ability to go from too much exposition to not enough. :P It was meant to show how accustomed people were to Emily's "barely-ever-see-her-but-she's-still-there" kind of presence, and the description of the house was meant to manifest the severity of Emily's own loneliness. Still, I will admit this:

Quote
CITIZEN #1
Chocked full of people, still feels desolate. You'd think she'd take care of the place.

CITIZEN #2
C'mon, you know how Emily was. Can ya blame her?

CITIZEN #1
I sure as hell can! Exempt from taxes and left with ten thousand dollars? That woman had some serious cash!

CITIZEN #2
Wait, exempt from taxes?

CITIZEN #1
Oh, you didn't know...

Has got to be the worst progression ever. Do-over!
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Offline Magdiel

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Re: A Rose for Emily - 1,006 words
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2015, 05:25:21 PM »
Re-re-rewrote the beginning dialogue (sometimes I feel like I'm wasting your precious time). Also made substantial changes to the rest of the "present-day" scenes, but I still (feel like I'm wasting your precious time).

INT. GRIERSON RESIDENCE - DUSK
The reception is filled with townsfolk, all gathered to give their condolences to MISS EMILY GRIERSON's two cousins: MARTHA, an average height woman in her seventies, and MARY, her decade-younger sister. Emily herself, a very pale woman with iron-gray hair, lies in a coffin at the center of the  poorly-lit room, dead of old age.

TWO CITIZENS sit at a table near a corner, a bit further away from the coffin.

CITIZEN #1
Boy, the stories Miss Emily's got under her belt.

CITIZEN #2
Yup, crazy stuff. Feel kinda bad for her, though.

CITIZEN #1
Why's that?

CITIZEN #2
Well, no one gives her enough credit. With the kinda things she went through, I'm surprised she made it this far.

CITIZEN #1
Oh, c'mon. As if no other person in the world has ever been through hardships. Sure, she hit a few bumps in the road. Doesn't make her a hero.

CITIZEN #2
But it makes her human, just like you and me. Now name one person in this room-- in the world, who actually cares.

CITIZEN #1
You do.

CITIZEN #2
I was kinda hoping you'd say: "I do".

CITIZEN #1
Hey, I'm just being honest.
(beat)
Her cousins care.

CITIZEN #2
Yeah, but that's family.

CITIZEN #1
Makes no difference. Trust me, I would know.

CITIZEN #2
Whatever.

CITIZEN #1
Either way, it's not like she deserved much. Didn't have a clean record, y'know?

CITIZEN #2
What are you talking about?
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hillwalker3000

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Re: A Rose for Emily - 1,006 words
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2015, 09:44:30 AM »
Hmm. It's just idle chit-chat, isn't it? I didn't gain anything from listening to this pair of characters so I wonder why you include them. If they're serving no purpose they don't belong in the scene. Maybe this scene is the wrong place to begin anyway. And if it's meant to be a script you're not supposed to include descriptions of the cast members in quite so much detail. Your job is to put words in their mouths that drive the story forwards or assist in character development.

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Offline Magdiel

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Re: A Rose for Emily - 1,006 words
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2015, 01:59:14 PM »
Maybe this scene is the wrong place to begin anyway.
D'oh! Never would have thought to try a different opening.
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