Back in the day… we used to actually own copies of movies. Yes, I just implied how old I am. First of all, I said “back in the day,” which is enough of a revelation. Then, I mentioned owning a copy of a movie. But I digress… These days, everyone knows, you don’t have to buy an actual disc, you can just stream a movie right to your mobile device. I love the convenience of instant streaming, but I miss that little icon located under the “extras” where you could choose to watch the movie while the director, and maybe one of the actors, gave you a play-by-play, behind-the-scenes look at the movie from their experience. It was one of my favorite things to do. In the same vein, I thought it might be fun to occasionally post an excerpt from my book, My Movie Memoir Screenplay Novel, and offer a behind-the-scenes look (otherwise known as Author Insights) at some of my favorite moments. Here’s a simple one to get the ball rolling. There will be more.
MOVIE MEMOIR SCREENPLAY NOVEL?
Author: I know it sounds weird, but yes, this is a Movie Memoir Screenplay Novel. As I was working on a comfortable way to tell my story (as if spilling your guts for all the world to see is ever comfortable), my memoir kept being interrupted by movie scenes. I decided to fold them into the storytelling process. This particular moment was very important to me. I was young and idealistic, and moving to NYC was my biggest adventure. I really felt like I was “arriving,” just as I would in the opening scene of a movie. I was setting the stage for rest of my story. In this “scene,” I realized that even though I had never been there before, from the moment I arrived, NYC felt like home to me.
My Movie Memoir Screenplay Novel, by Betts Keating
Chapter 1 – I Love NYC
The lights in the theater have dimmed. The previews are complete. You just finished eating your fifth or maybe sixth handful of popcorn. You are nicely settled into your chair. A drink in the cup holder next to you. One foot propped up on your seat. Arms wrapped around your leg. Chin resting on your knee. You’re all set. You’re ready to watch a good book… wait a minute, I mean read a good movie… wait a minute, I mean read and watch a story unfold. This is the beginning…
OPEN: EXTERIOR NEW YORK CITY/EARLY AFTERNOON/HUDSON RIVER
MUSIC: something stereotypically New York (jazzy with big horns)
We follow a helicopter shot moving quickly across water at a dizzying speed. The afternoon sun glimmers off the water of the Hudson River.
CONTINUE along the Hudson River until the steel girders at the bottom of a large gray bridge (George Washington Bridge) come into view.
CAMERA MOVES up the steel structure of the bridge all the way to the top of the tall towers holding the suspension cables.
CONTINUE into the sky, staying focused on the bridge, until from above we see four lanes packed full of cars slowly inching across the long expanse.
CAMERA pauses briefly.
CAMERA begins a slow decent toward the cars until finally it focuses on a tiny, yellow moving van working its way slowly across the bridge.
Hold on VAN.
VAN exits bridge and drives south along the Hudson River.
CUT TO: from van’s passenger point of view (POV), CAMERA looks out the window of van. New York in all its glory passes by.
VAN finally stops in front of a New York brownstone on a cross-street on the Upper West Side of New York City.
CUT TO: from street point of view (POV), door of van opens and YOUNG WOMAN tumbles out (only show door).
CLOSE UP: of the young woman’s running shoe-clad foot as it touches down onto a NYC sidewalk. (as big as if she were reaching the summit of a mountain, or landing on the moon)
CAMERA moves up to YOUNG WOMAN’s face. She stretches, sighs, and smiles contentedly. Driver’s side door closes.
YOUNG MAN/HUSBAND circles around from the driver’s side of van to stand next to YOUNG WOMAN.
YOUNG WOMAN grabs his hand.
They stand in comfortable unity as the city noise continues around them.
CAMERA circles couple in close up, city noise and chaos blur behind their faces which are full of excitement and anticipation. After full circle, CAMERA STOPS on YOUNG WOMAN. She looks up to sky, closes her eyes and breathes deep.
©2016 Betts Keating. All rights reserved.
Author: I really did feel like I had landed on the moon, or climbed Mt. Everest, or something similar. There was a feeling of great triumph in this moment. All my life, I had felt like I didn’t quite fit in. The moment I put my foot down on a NYC sidewalk, I knew I had found my place in the world.
©2016 Betts Keating. All rights reserved.
Betts Keating is not entirely new to the world of writing. A long time ago (in college), she majored in Communications, and minored in Journalism, English, and Art. She thought she would one day run her own magazine. Instead, she found herself spending the next 20-plus years building a career in graphic design. She set her writing aside for a while, because dealing with clients was less painful than being edited. This is her first book, and definitely her first movie memoir.
Read more of Betts Keating’s story in her memoir, My Movie Memoir Screenplay Novel, available for purchase at amazon.com.
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