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.
Daddy, don’t go.
Honey, you know I don’t want to, but I have to. We need the money.
(hugging him tightly, as he brushes back her hair, dries her tears with his shirt)
I got you something honey.
(corners of a smile begin)
(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?
(gruffly, holding back tears)
Never forget that, okay?
Never lose that little twinkle in your eye.
(in awe at the beauty of the journal he picked for her, and the special pen)
Thank you, Daddy.
(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.
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.
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.
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.