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The Palomar Crescendo

If I haven't yet, I'll be sure to give a read and give feedback to anyone who checks out my script and does the same. Critical feedback is the most important part of this process, and I value it regardless of whether you're new to screenwriting or are a pro.

FIRST DRAFT

Here is my first draft. Still some pretty big changes and edits looking to be made. Critical feedback especially welcome. 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B25cU7F7T8vpYTJFU2FIWEV1QlE/edit?usp=sharing

The working title of my short adaptation is The Palomar Crescendo. The source material I am adapting is from The Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters. I will be adapting the poem of Tom Beatty, a former dealer at an illegal poker room inside an opera house where he dealt cards for thirty years.

Original Text:

I WAS a lawyer like Harmon Whitney Or Kinsey Keene or Garrison Standard, For I tried the rights of property, Although by lamp-light, for thirty years, In that poker room in the opera house. And I say to you that Life's a gambler Head and shoulders above us all. No mayor alive can close the house. And if you lose, you can squeal as you will; You'll not get back your money. He makes the percentage hard to conquer; He stacks the cards to catch your weakness And not to meet your strength. And he gives you seventy years to play: For if you cannot win in seventy You cannot win at all. So, if you lose, get out of the room-- Get out of the room when your time is up. It's mean to sit and fumble the cards And curse your losses, leaden-eyed, Whining to try and try.

LOGLINE: An elderly dealer at an illegal opera house poker room -- attempting to redeem himself to his estranged daughter and grandson --  loses his savings on a large sporst bet to the Russian mob. He decides to take matters into his own hands in a final act of redemption. 

--Since there is not much back story given, this project leaves plenty of room for creativity. I am trying to stay true to the facts that are given in the source text as well as to the overall mood and themes that are present. But I am taking some creative license and engulfing this character in a modern day, high-stakes scenario that should hopefully ring true to readers and provide an interesting take on the source text. 

SYNOPSIS

THEMES:

The poem deals with themes about the nature of life and man's response to it's ambivalence and cruelty. He personifies Life as a great gambler who stacks the cards against your favor and slowly chips away at you until all your chips have vanished. 

This is also a story of redemption through sacrifice. Tom is an anti-hero with redeeming qualities, as a sacrificial hero he gains our compassion and becomes likeable. We also are able to relate to his sadness, regret, and despair on a human level. By being this sacrificial hero, Tom is able to, in a way, win the game that Life has ultimately stacked against him, by helping his daughter and grandson. 

INSPIRATION 

I used to play cards in a small, seedy, poker room in Southern California called the Palomar Room, it had a kind of wild west, modern day urban vibe.  I decided to draw on some inspiration from this experience and some of the characters into this screenplay. The fact that it is in back of an opera house adds a theatrical and musical aspect that I am toying with in the story structure and theme. The crescendo of a song, much like a story arc, rises in loudness as it progresses, until you hit a climax -- and as in opera and theater and most narrative forms, a denouement to give us closure and a sense of finality. 

FIRST DRAFT

Here is my first draft. Still some pretty big changes and edits looking to be made. Critical feedback especially welcome. 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B25cU7F7T8vpYTJFU2FIWEV1QlE/edit?usp=sharing

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