HEART OF CLOUDS – Adaptation SCREENPLAY – 5

Heart of Clouds

(for Walter Halsey Davis, of SB Writers Conference, my teacher)

by Adrienne D. Wilson – adapting her novel Heart of Clouds for film.

INT. TEENIE APT BATHROOM. SILVERY LIGHT

Teenie while pie is baking and filling the apt. with scent, goes to the bathroom mirror, thinking of the boy who left her the abalone shell. She recalls the other teen girls at school, talking about pretty, and putting on make-up.

TEENIE

(asking mirror)

What is pretty? Is it like that abalone shell and all the colors that he left for me?

Devlin is the first boy she has ever thought about, on this cusp of her 14th year.

She goes to her bedroom, after trying on a bit of lipgloss, and wondering. Sitting crosslegged on her bed, she takes out her notebook again and draws a picture of the pie, while waiting.

She writes a note to leave at the driftwood hut, as if Devlin is an imaginary friend.

Close in on her hand and handwriting:

boy of the dunes

boy who was running like a wild horse

boy who wears plaid shirts and flannel

boy who I wish was my friend

what can I do to make you see me like I’m pretty?

CHRISTINA

Teenie what are you doing in there

TEENIE

Just writing Mom, I’m waiting for the pie to cool

CHRISTINA

It looks nice honey

TEENIE

Mom, I told Mr. Honeygarten I would take him some

CHRISTINA

That’s nice of you Teenie

TEENIE

He’s a really nice man

CHRISTINA

I know he is honey

TEENIE

Can you help me cut him a piece

CHRISTINA

Come on, let’s cut a piece of that beautiful pie and taste it

Teenie runs to her mother’s side and hugs her tightly

TEENIE

I love you Mom, I really do

CHRISTINA

(tenderly smoothing back her daughter’s hair)

I know you do

TEENIE

I just want you to feel better Mommy

Teenie and her mother taste the pie, then wrap a piece in waxed paper for Mr. Honeygarten.

EXT. HONEYGARTEN HOUSE. GOLDEN SATURATED LIGHT. DAY.

Teenie rides her bike through the village to his house. Melloman greets her at the fence, tail wagging and barking around, sniffing her hands carrying the pie.

TEENIE

(laughing)

Mello, it’s not for you but maybe you can taste some

Mr. Honeygarten waves at her from a second floor window with old fashioned lace

curtains.

HONEYGARTEN

(calling down to her)

Teenie dear whatever do you have in that basket

TEENIE

(smiling up at him)

The pie! You knew I’d be bringing it

HONEYGARTEN

Well, I was hoping so my dear. It isn’t often that I get to have such a wonderful piece of pie, now is it? come in and let’s have a seat in the parlor.

Mr. Honeygarten goes to his special china cabinet and takes out a beautiful tea set with old fashioned flowers and gilded rims. The silver had different fairies carved on the handles, a gift from his grandmother when he had been a boy.

HONEYGARTEN

Oh what a lovely piece of pie that is my dear. I’ll just put the kettle on for tea, dear and you serve the pie why don’t you?

Teenie carefully arranges the tea set, and slices the pie.

*this pin from my “pleinairella” storyboard space on Pinterest for Mr. Honeygarten style. Formal, Victorian, a gentleman, the tea set. I have props for the teaspoons.

Teenie and Mr. Honeygarten settle in comfort to have pie and tea.

TEENIE

Mr. Honeygarten?

HONEYGARTEN

Yes, my dear

TEENIE

Am I pretty?

HONEYGARTEN

Why Teenie whatever makes you ask that?

TEENIE

Am I?

HONEYGARTEN

Why of course you are my dear

TEENIE

Are you sure?

HONEYGARTEN

Why, Teenie I do believe what I can see with my own two eyes, dear

TEENIE

(sigh of relief)

Oh good

HONEYGARTEN

(kind eyes, smiling, close in)

Why on earth would you ask such a question?

TEENIE

Well, I just wasn’t sure whether I was or not

HONEYGARTEN

Well you are dear, and prettiness is something women grow into. It takes a very long time, by the way. I suppose you are just at the beginning of that rather long journey, yourself.

Mr. Honeygarten and Teenie sit sipping the tea. Silence, as they taste the pie.

HONEYGARTEN

Is there a boy, my dear? Is there a boy involved in all of this asking about prettiness?

TEENIE

(utterly blushing)

There is

HONEYGARTEN

You know my dear, when I was a boy, there was a certain girl I thought was the most beautiful girl in the world. Her name was Claire.

*the character Claire is based on the looks in the image above. It is from very old Hollywood, Mary Pickford.

*to page 39 in my novel, the chapter is Secret Smile

Heart of Clouds screenplay

one of the props, for this chapter – Devlin finds a shell for Teenie

Heart of Clouds

ABALONE

EXT. BEACH. DRIFTWOOD HUT. AFTERNOON

Devlin Underwood is seen combing the beach looking for a shell. He finds the perfect abalone wedged in the rocks to leave for Teenie, hoping she will come back. He scoops a tiny hollow in the sand, and places her origami bird inside, as if it is swimming in a sea of beauty.

DEVLIN

(whispers softly)

Maybe she’ll be back.

EXT. VILLAGE. AFTERNOON (Fall light, golden)

Teenie is seen walking home through the village, back to the dismal apartment. She passes ripening apples, the turning leaves of sycamores, passes Mr. Honeygarden’s old Victorian house and sees all the ripening apples hanging like jewels from the trees. She wants to cheer her mother up, by making a pie.

INT. APARTMENT KITCHEN. TEENIES.

Teenie enters through a rickety kitchen door.

TEENIE

Mom remember that pie I made one time?

Christina Alexander answers wanly from her tired perch in the living room, soaked in blue grey light. She hasn’t moved all day.

CHRISTINA

I do.

TEENIE

Can I make another one someday?

CHRISTINA

Sure, honey.

TEENIE

Mr. Honeygarten’s garden has lots of apples, Mom. Maybe I could help him pick some.

CHRISTINA

Okay, but you be careful if you go up on the ladder.

Mr. Honeygarten is a very old man that lives at the end of a lane in a Victorian surrounded by ancient apple trees he planted. Tumbling roses line his picket fence. Teenie knows him as a friend in passing, as he always gives her little bunches of flowers from his tangled garden. His has a formality that dates from the early 1900’s, style is antiques from that period. He is a father figure, filling in for her absentee father. *Importance of character is here.

an apple I shot in Summerland, tree is gone now unforch, but idea of how that would look

TEENIE

I could ask him, Mom, tomorrow

CHRISTINA

All right

TEENIE

We could share the pie with him

CHRISTINA

No, Teenie, I don’t feel like having him over

TEENIE

(sighs, audibly in frustration, voice trails off)

But…

INT. DEVLIN’S GRANPARENTS HOUSE. KITCHEN (glossy warm beautiful light, golden)

Devlin’s grandmother is bustling about the warm kitchen fixing Dev’s favorite dinner. The kitchen is large, very old fashioned in a Craftsman type atmosphere, full of pots and pans and pottery vessels. Think stained glass warmth in the design, houseplants. Devlin’s grandparents are 1971 era grandparents, not hippies, just the warmth of the era. Stricken with grief over the loss of their daughter in law, and for their son and his child, they are determined to help the boy in this time of great loss. Making his favorite meal, barbecued chicken and baked beans with cornbread and a big salad. His grandmother has made a giant chocolate cake. The salad greens are from Devlin’s grandfather’s garden. Naturalism and simplicity.

*Importance of characters Grandma and Grandpa Jess is here

props I have for the kitchen, Grandpa and Grandma Jess pottery objects made by Grandma Jess

JESS

What did you do today, son?

DEVLIN

Worked on the hut.

JESS

How’s it coming along?

DEVLIN

Almost done.

JESS

Your dad called.

DEVLIN

He did?

JESS

He wondered how you were getting along.

DEVLIN

Tell him I’m fine, Grandpa.

JESS

Are you Devlin?

DEVLIN

I miss mom a lot.

JESS

I know you do, son.

JESS pulls an old ukulele out from a pine hutch and begins to strum it.  He hands it to Devlin.

JESS

I found this old thing out in the garage. It was mine when I was a boy.

DEVLIN

You played that?

JESS

(his eyes are twinkling and smiling)

I think that’s how I won your grandmother’s heart. That, or my old harmonica.

DEVLIN’S GRANDMOTHER

(peals of rich laughter float from her)

I really don’t think you need to give that boy any ideas, Jess.

JESS hands DEVLIN an old HOHNER harmonica, as he smiles at his wife.  DEVLIN blows into it, but it just squeaks a little.

DEVLIN’S GRANDMOTHER

(smiles warmly at her grandson)

Practice makes perfect, Devlin. Practice makes perfect, and we all know that. The two of you ought to have supper now.

The old oval pine dining table groans with the largesse of the dinner, and we see the centerpiece made of pumpkins and russet fall leaves, as they move to light the candles, Devlin smiles.

DEVLIN’S GRANDMOTHER

(smiling)

No reason every day can’t be a celebration, Devlin

INT. BATHROOM. TEENIE’S APARTMENT (cool grey light)

Teenie washes face and brushes teeth before the mirror, looks at herself, on the cusp of fourteen wondering if she is pretty. She tries different hairstyles, getting ready to ask Mr. Honeygarten for the apples. Her mother comes by the opened door, and sees Teenie applying a little tube of lip gloss.

CHRISTINA

Don’t be vain, Teenie. Pretty is as pretty does.

Teenie’s face falls, from smile to sadness. Her mother had given her the lipgloss not long before. Other girls at school discuss prettiness at bathroom mirrors. She had wanted to be like them. We see her choosing what to wear, baggy faded jeans and a sweater from her closet. Her mother returns to her perch on the couch in from of the TV.

TEENIE

Bye Mom. I’ll be back with the apples, and then we can do the pie.

Teenie rides a bike through the village, a rusty fat tire girl’s bike with a basket. She is heading back to the beach and the sea hut. She parks it and walks down to a brilliant morning full of fresh seaweed. A seal bobs and drifts in the waves barking at her, the driftwood hut in the distance. Teenie falls to her knees in the sand at the sight of her origami bird inside the abalone shell, wondering who might have done that. Devlin is standing watching her high on a dune, and she sees him, the wind ruffling his sandy curls. She calls out to him, but he bolts. Teenie holds the shell to the sunlight, like a brilliant jewel.

TEENIE

(whispering to herself)

He must have done this. he must have left this here for me.

HEART OF CLOUDS – Screenplay

I loved the sound, and the images of the wildflowers, in this.

This is the cover I designed from one of my images of the sea, at Summerland.

It’s a children’s book I wrote in 2009, at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference when I was studying under Walter Halsey Davis. I spent the years 2005 to 2019 with him and sadly he has passed. The film is for him. It was a book to film, as Walter told me it could be done that way. So, all the internals for the characters are in the novel, itself. That is available here: https://www.scribd.com/book/267783895/Heart-of-Clouds.

I’m using my WordPress blog, because I can edit easily here, and since I believe in Fine Actors and their craft, and improvisation, we can add or change lines, as needed with great ease. So, the format may not be perfect. It would also be easy for actors to come to the blog with comments. I wrote the film to be shot on a dime, on location here in Summerland and Carpinteria, as the setting for the film, as a young teen story in the era that is 1971. Those areas have not changed much, with time, and many location shots are easily had. So, here goes, and wish me luck. I will go chapter by chapter.

HEART OF CLOUDS

by Adrienne Wilson

for Walter Halsey Davis

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye”

—————— Antoine de Saint-Exupery

EXT. BEACH. MORNING (Sunny, Clear, Fall light)

Sweeping oceanic theme in the sound, piano music, from above, we pan down a long beach, from overhead. A young girl, running, as if away from home. Teenie Alexander is on the cusp of fourteen, she wants to escape from home, plans on running away. Her father has gone away to look for work, she is crying, slowly approaches a massive driftwood hut on the beach and curls up inside it, with her journal, and pen, gifts from her father.

INT. NIGHT. TEENIE’S ROOM (flashback)

Teenie’s father Jax is going to leave in the morning, south to leave for work, he is middle aged, her parents have been fighting since they have both been fired. In low light, we see father and daughter, emotional, tears.

TEENIE

Daddy, don’t go.

JAX

Honey, you know I don’t want to, but I have to. We need the money.

TEENIE

(hugging him tightly, as he brushes back her hair, dries her tears with his shirt)

JAX

I got you something honey.

TEENIE

(corners of a smile begin)

JAX

(pulls from the pocket of his jacket a beautiful paper journal and pen for her)

Teenie you have a heart made of clouds, you know that?

TEENIE

I do?

JAX

(gruffly, holding back tears)

Never forget that, okay?

Never lose that little twinkle in your eye.

TEENIE

(in awe at the beauty of the journal he picked for her, and the special pen)

Thank you, Daddy.

JAX

(exiting her room)

Sleep tight, now.

INT. MORNING. GREY APARTMENT (Blue sad, faded light, grey tones)

Christina Alexander middle aged, sits on a couch surrounded by pill bottles doctors have prescribed to treat her for depression. She is so stoned on the pills that all she can do is huddle wrapped in blankets and watching TV while the news drones on and on about climate change. Scenes play out of a tidal wave over and over and over. She doesn’t even know that Teenie has left the apartment. Her eyes are faded with grief. We close in on the blankness of her face, removed from life, removed from the world. Their house has been sold and the money is gone. She hasn’t heard from Jax in months.

EXT. BEACH. DRIFTWOOD HUT

Teenie curls herself into a ball in the hut, wrapping her sweater around her, pulls her journal and pen from her sweater pocket, to try and write. She is sad, thinking of her father’s absence. It’s been months since she has heard from him. She looks out to sea, and marvels at whoever built the hut. Its strength.

TEENIE

(whispers)

Maybe I could just live here, forever. Maybe whoever built it wouldn’t mind.

She runs the sand over and over like an hourglass through her palm.

(says loudly, to the sea)

I miss you, Dad.

Teenie scans the beach for signs of life, and watches as pelicans appear, in a line over the waves. In the midst of her sad feelings, suddenly on the horizon out over the islands a large cloud appears in the shape of a heart, as if by magic.

TEENIE

(sighs)

I love you, Dad

I love my Dad, I love my Dad,

She says, thinking he must have sent it. Close in on her face with a few salty tears, she watches the cloud and draws it before it dissipates, in the journal her father gave her. A boy has been watching the whole time from behind a dune, as it is Devlin Underwood who has been building it on the beach for himself as a fort. He’s on the cusp of fifteen.

Devlin watches her draw in the journal and then tear a page from it, a heart of clouds. Like a guardian he watches her from afar. He understands sadness, as his mother has passed away recently. He watches Teenie cry too. Devlin wonders if she is sad for the same reason he is. He watches her fold a tiny Origami bird and then she tucks it in the rafters of the hut, the note to her father. He watches as she climbs from the hut and walks the beach back to the village. When she is out of sight behind a fold in the cliffs, he climbs into the hut and sees the tiny bird in the rafters.

DEVLIN

(says softly)

I should leave something here for her.

MONTAGE images of Devlin and his father with books, on the shore, building things.

(can be shown with photographs, stills of the actors) as a flashback. Devlin misses his father, he had to drop him off with his grandparents in the village after his mother passed and now he has had to adjust to a new life in a new town, 1000 miles from where he grew up.

We see Devlin combing the beach to look for a shell to leave the girl he saw crying.

(says softly, as he climbs the rocks, close in on his face)

Maybe she could be a friend.

Heart of Clouds – adaptation – novel to screenplay Grandpa Jess

HEART OF CLOUDS

novel copyright 2009 Adrienne D. Wilson all rights reserved

Screenplay copyright 2020 WordPress by Adrienne D. Wilson all rights reserved

INT. GRANDPA AND GRANDMA JESS KITCHEN. EARLY EVENING, GOLDEN LIGHT

The kitchen, in the old brown shingled Craftsman exudes a glow. The warmth and beauty of GRANDPA JESS (70’s) and GRANDMA JESS (70’s) beams like light rays. They are an old fashioned California couple who grew up together and married early, in the 1960’s. The kitchen walls are hung with old cast iron pans and copper cooking pots, there is whimsy, and homey charm, houseplants. Dinnertime, and Grandma is cooking, Devlin’s favorite meal, in simple style. Though they are both worried for the boy, they don’t show it. He is enfolded in their loving arms. They are his father’s parents.

GRANDPA JESS

(lounging on a comfy overstuffed sofa, inhaling the scents of the dinner, as his wife cooks, he watches her, smiling eyes)

What did you do today son?

DEVLIN

Worked on the hut

GRANDPA JESS

How’s it coming along?

DEVLIN

Almost done

GRANDPA JESS

Your father called, he wondered how you were getting along

DEVLIN

Tell him I’m fine

GRANDPA JESS

Are you Devlin?

Devlin busies himself helping his grandmother set the table, and tasting the baked beans and cornbread.

DEVLIN

I miss my mom

GRANDPA JESS

I know you do, son

Grandpa Jess reaches behind the sofa and pulls out an old ukulele he had hidden, starts to strum, then hands it to Devlin

DEVLIN

You played this?

GRANDPA JESS

(eyes twinkling)

I think that’s how I won your grandmother’s heart. That or my old harmonica.

GRANDMA JESS

(rich sounds of her warm laughter fill the room)

I really don’t think you need to give that boy any ideas, Jess

DEVLIN

(practices playing both instruments, smiles)

GRANDMA JESS

(pulls out a special cake made just for Devlin)

Practice makes perfect, and we all know that – the two of you ought to come have supper now.

DEVLIN

Sighs, smiling as he looks at the cake

GRANDMA JESS

No reason every day can’t be a celebration, Devlin

Heart of Clouds – my book to screenplay adaptation

Hi, I think I got a phone call yesterday, but the message was garbled saying they sent me an email. I get so many emails I would not know where to look? Omg. It is fine for you to leave a contact by leaving a comment on my blog if you want. That way I can find you. So I have been following the press on this: https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/opinion/article/3101740/disneys-mulan-tells-women-if-they-know-their-place-they-can-have

My character TEENIE in Heart of Clouds – this is a twinned hero journey, of Boy and Girl – you will see how she emerges as strong, and so does he. One of the things I wrote about was climate change, in terms of the ice melting. That is what THE WAVE is. So, the children such as Greta all over the world need to see HOPE. They absorb from the adults around them. The feelings and so forth. So on we go. I may put that page thing to take a donation, just not sure how. I am posting the images that are the actual pages in my book as I do the rewrite. So, I show the mother as antagonist. She was my hardest character to write, but, we will soon see her. Like all people, we face things in life, not just in childhood, but all our lives, as we look back across our lives we can see how we coped, this gives us empathy for others.

Your feedback as comments right here in my blog means everything to me. That you also would understand these characters, and the themes.

The first two scenes are here: https://adriennedwilson.com/2020/09/14/adaptation-novel-to-screenplay-my-heart-of-clouds/

CHAPTER ONE – DRIFTWOOD (establishing)

HEART OF CLOUDS

Copyright WordPress September 2020 by Adrienne Wilson, all rights reserved.

SCENE THREE – INT. MORNING. LIVING ROOM – TEENIE’S HOUSE

In gray light, grey and drab, the living room is quiet. Teenie’s mother CHRISTINA is sitting wrapped in grey light, drab old comforters watching TV. The news drones on about the melting Icecaps at the North and South poles, we close in on the footage. Close up to her mothers face, expressionless, somber. Her father is gone. They do not speak. Teenie silently lets herself out. On the side table by the couch are pill bottles, for depression. A sense of complete hopelessness.

SCENE FOUREXT. MORNING. DRIFTWOOD HUT – BEACH

Teenie approaches the Driftwood structure as if it is a marvel. No one is on the beach. She throws herself inside it, finding it has been grace. Close-up on her face, as she watches the sea, then tears.

TEENIE

(sadly watching the sea, whispers)

Maybe I could just live here forever. Maybe whoever built it wouldn’t mind.

Teenie watches the sea and a line of brown pelicans appear. She reaches for the book and pen her father gave her, and begins to draw. Suddenly a heart appears in the sky as a cloud.

TEENIE

(drawing a cloud, shaped like a heart in her book, tears the page out and folds it into an Origami bird, tucks it in the rafters of the driftwood hut)

I love you, Dad

EXT. MORNING BEACH. CLIFFS. DRIFTWOOD HUT

High on a cliff stands a boy 14. DEVLIN UNDERWOOD. He has been watching a girl cry, in the driftwood hut he has been building, close in on his face, puzzling why she is there. He watches as she tucks something in the rafters of his structure, watches as she exits down the beach. Devlin makes for his seahut, to see what she has done. He finds her note and puzzles at the bird shape but doesn’t open it. We see him climbing in and out of tidepools on the hunt to leave something of the sea for her. An abalone shell.