So I formatted the idea for a story which ran up to eight pages in Movie Magic Screenwriter. Not a bad start. I needed to trim the info. It made me think about HOW much of the senses we use when visualizing. I have a good start, but I’m hoping to use more of the visuals to push the story forward.
I’m still going to use the story structure elements I learned in class, but for now I feel free to use the visions from my imagination.
When viewing the biopic Grey Gardens (2009) I found myself both interested and repulsed. Directed by Michael Sucsy, starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lang as Little Edie and Big Edie respectively. Grey Gardens gives a fictionalized account of the making of documentary eccentric mother and daughter living as recluses and in filth. They also happen to be cousins of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
I felt a high amount of sadness when I watched this film. Sadness for two people whose lives passed them by as they kept to themselves in a decaying, disgusting manor with no utilities or human contact. At one point both women lived in their own filth, along with feral cats, and huge raccoon. Both Big and Little Edie have lives steeped in isolation, emotional pain, and delusions. Watching their story unfold felt obscene and repellent. At the same time I felt compelled to watch and learn more about them and their lives.
Because we see the manor in chaos initially, the flashbacks create an arresting image of a very different world. We see the Grey Gardens estate as a brilliant, well-kept residence complete with servants, a piano, and dignity. Both Big and Little Edie looked fantastic in the past. The clothing looks expensive and stylish. Everything had a particular order. The world looked fresh and exciting. The one constant in the film is the portrait painting of Edith (the mother), which lasts through the years, even as the home falls apart. We do receive a warning about the expenses and extravagance early in these flashbacks.
When the ladies lives take turns for the worse, we see the estate and the women at their lowest. To see both women deteriorate as the men in their lives abandon them of free will and death, the house around them embodies their own mental states. The estate now consists of broken windows, leaking roof, the destroyed piano, no utilities, or running water. We do have a home filled with feral cats, the deep smell of ammonia, and complaints that the home is not fit to live. If the estate truly reflects the mind, then these once vibrant women lost their wills. Broken and left destitute.
What a dark moment to witness the decay of Grey Gardens, as well as the mind of its occupants. So great is the fall that neither woman seems to be aware that their lives are really horrible. The live off of each other in a biting, bitter way that tells me that all they have are each other. No one seems to know or care about their well-being.
Performance wise, Barrymore and Lang give life and sadness to their roles. There’s a high amount of emotion and reaction that both women must give to their characters and each other. A commitment to us. I’m impressed with the range emotions and eccentricities both must master to take on these characters. It scares me how both characters can deliver happy to heartbreaking, then sad moments.
It took Little Edie a long time to find some outlet for her dreams in life. She had to leave the estate behind to do this.
After watching Grey Gardens I felt a roller-coaster of emotions. Visually the clutter, unsanitary and decayed transformation of the estate and psyches disturbed me, but at its core you the film gave us a look at something we normally don’t want to see, but exists in life.
Every now and then I have a dream that I remember. The images come to me in that random dream-like manner. I remember some of them so clear. They can haunt me sometimes. In this situation, I decided to write one of them down and wondered if I could resolve the story.
Of course there is NOT enough in the dream to make a full story, but that’s the charm. I have the seed for an idea. I call it a scene of a seed. It’s quite a vivid scene I assure you. I wrote it out, and expanded parts of it ever so slowly. Now its five pages of script made of a few scenes. It is nowhere near a full story, but that’s where the challenge lies.