The Ballad of Charlene McFarlene - Screenplay/Timing Notes


---------- SCREENPLAY ----------

[CUT 1] (low shot over a swampy place; hold)

NARRATOR: You are back in the swamp. A clarinet plays.

[CUT 1.x] (shots pan to and from, crickets and swamp sounds grow louder and louder)

Today is the day you are destined to find the skull of Tchaikovsky. Here it lies, and you will reach down into the weedy swuck and pull it up pristine somehow, and smuggle greedily it home, and taking two candles, use one to melt the bottom of the other and stick the second on top of it, and having blown out the first, then set the skull now affixed with the burning candle down finally down on your desk next to your music paper and begin to pen your first symphony.

[CUT 2] (swamp sounds end abruptly, cut to a construction or industrial site)

If you ask people to count their cubes, they will always exagerrate somewhat. But if you ask them to count each others' cubes, they will resent it and refuse. Everyone wants to discover, to count the other cubes on the truck, but those are like fresh cake and not available. So count your own cubes and draw your protective circles around them carefully.

[CUT 3] (cut to pipe scene)

This is what we should all do. This is a story about doing that.

[CUT 4] (cut to douglasdale, begin music TBD something from swan lake)

Charlene McFarlene returned home the night of October 12, 1976, to find her house not yet built. This cul-de-sac in Douglasdale was just a field, then, but then, now, covered in snow. It was in this sense the same but Charlene was not born and had not grown up here. But she visited to gain familiarity with it, so when her family moved in, in 1992, it wasn't very disruptive to her mind. This is the wisdom of children, but as we age we get further from our preborn souls, so we can't have prepared ourselves for what comes, and life gradually wears us down. And so by the time we are adults we can't remember any of it, and our souls begin to dried up lake bed themselves out a blink at a time.

[CUT 5] (cut to river, bridge establishing shot)

The mammals all have this in common, that we feel cold. We fear to cross a river in winter. The day when the river becomes too cold to cross, draws our boundaries of food and shelter for us.

[CUT 6] (view from bridge)

(CHARLENE walks into frame, in some kind of nice clothes not quite suitable for the temperature, no coat and a red purse wit long strp; looking past camera but addressing audience; stares into space for a spell, music stops abruptly and she begins to speak.)

CHARLENE: There was a bridge-troll here, when first I came. But even he in winter slept, to let the creeping things pass. In summer he would capture them to eat, his square teeth separating them from their bodies if they could not pay his toll. No human would he touch, because he knew the police would kill him if he did, but deer, rabbits, squirrels, and waddling ducks, all they paid the price in summer. But in winter-- he slept, a mercy paid for with the fat grown feeding on the mammals of summer's past. And in spring the meltwater running would wake him up, and he was sly like an elf, an elf with square teeth, bony elbows stretching, his clothes in tatters. (a pause; she looks down; cut to her clutching a red purse) I'm sorry to have had to share this with you all.

[CUT 7] (cut to St. Marys; Messaein Livre du Sainte Sacrement begins to play; cut to alternate angle of Church; another one, this time with other church visible; cut closer to other church until it's form becomes apparent, but not that it's a chruch

[CUT 8] cut to grey church from other side boldly showing JESUS IS LORD. Hold for a long time. Gradually pan down, walk to parking lot where a skull sits. Lower pan to skull with burning candle on top. Delay sound of someones footsteps, running, breathing, feet come into frame, someone running in white tennis shoes, runnning up and kicking the skull like a soccer ball, cut to black the moment of the kick but continue sound recording for a long time after, including crew sounds.)

(on black screen, the following text appears)

CHARLENE MCFARLENE was born in 1987 in Lethbridge Alberta. In 1992 her family moved to Forest Lawn in Calgary. In 1997 her family moved again to Temple, then a new community, where she lived with her parents, ROTE and HILDA MCFARLENE until completing a Bachelor's of Science in Applied Mathematics at the University of Calgary in 2009.

(fade to and from black)

[CUT 9] Court records clearly show that Charlene never lived in Douglasdale.

(fade to and from black; 2s pause on black)

To this day, authorities have never offered an adequate explanation for this discrepancy.

(messain ends.)

[CUT 10] (credits)

--------- CUTS LIST ---------

1. swamp - final about 1 min 1.1 low shot over swampy place, grass in foreground - 30s 1.2 alternate angle - 30s 1.3 alternate angle - 30s 1.4 alternate angle - 30s 1.5 alternate angle - 30s 1.6 alternate angle - 30s

2. industrial or construction site - final about 45s 2.1 industrial or construction site - 30s 2.2 alternate angle - 30s 2.3 alternate angle - 30s 2.4 closer in, on truck - 30s 2.5 closer in, bed of truck - 30s

3. pipes scene - final about 30s 3.1 pipes of some kind - 30s 3.2 alt - 30s 3.3 alt - 30s

4. cul de sac - final about 1min 4.1 suburban cul de sac - 30s 4.2 alternate angle - 30s 4.3 alternate angle - 30s 4.4 detail - 30s 4.5 detail - 30s 4.6 detail - 30s 4.7 snow - 30s 4.8 snow - 30s 4.9 snow - 30s

5. bridge external - final about 30s 5.1 bridge establishing - 30s 5.2 alternate angle - 30s 5.3 alternate angle - 30s

6. bridge with charlene - final about 60s 6.1 view from bridge, charlene walks in - 90s 6.2 retake - 90s 6.3 retake - 90s

7. st mary's transition to grey church - final about 30s 7.1 st mary's - 30s 7.2 alternate angle - 30s 7.3 alternate angle - 30s 7.4 alternate angle, grey church in bg - 30s 7.5 closer in on grey church - 30s 7.6 even closer in on grey church - 30s

8. JESUS IS LORD to KICK - final about 90s (including extra audio) 8.1 JESUS IS LORD; pan down slowly, walk to parking lot, on to skull hold, run up and kick - 90s 8.2 retake - 90s 8.3 retake - 90s

9.1 black 9.2 first text 9.3 second text 9.4 third text

10. credits

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