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The Root (Second draft)

Step 3 - Logline

A socially awkward small town gardner must contend with the consequences of an old grudge that resurfaces while he is on a date with the woman of his dreams.

Step 2 - Screenplay

Second draft - 7/23/14

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwAlZc79TwK0dFd1dEwybnBNbG8/edit?usp=sharing

Step 1 - Select text

"Samuel Gardner" and "Dow Kritt" (connected poems from Spoon River Anthology)

In these poems, Samuel (a gardner) and Dow (a ditch digger) both talk about how trees need healthy roots to grow, and this becomes a metaphor for their lives. There is an interesting tension and unspecified conflict between these two connected characters. Whle Dow in his poem talks about Samuel and seems bitter towards him, Samuel doesn't talk about Dow at all -- he is simply focused on the beauty of his favorite elm tree.

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First draft - 7/20/14

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwAlZc79TwK0YUwzT0dhOXpLZ28/edit?usp=sharing

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Updated 7/6


Here's the first 2 scenes:

INT. GREENHOUSE – DAY

A man's hands linger attentively over a pallet of flowers. He pulls off dead leaves, examines each one individually, pulls out any that look less than perfect.

EXT. GREENHOUSE – DAY

The owner of the hands, Sam Gardner (35), loads the pallet into a van painted “Gardner's Gardens” on the side. He is handsome, but his disheveled hair and worn out t-shirt and jeans suggest that he has no idea.

After ensuring that the flowers are securely stowed, he stops and looks at the majestic elm tree growing in his yard. With a dreamy expression on his face, he listens to the sound of the wind rustling the leaves.

Nearby, DOW KRITT and another DITCH DIGGER are shoveling out a drainage ditch at the edge of the property.

DITCH DIGGER
What'cha looking at Mr. Gardner?

Dow shoots him a look of warning.

SAM
I was listening to the music.

Dow rolls his eyes, but Ditch Digger is intrigued.

He walks over to the tree and cocks his head to listen.

SAM
It's singing. Can you hear?

DITCH DIGGER
(surprised)
Yes. Yes I can.

DOW
Enough lollygagging. Time to get back to work.

SAM
Sorry, Dow. Great work, by the way. I appreciate it.

Dow grunts. He watches Sam walk to his van.

As Sam's van pulls away, Dow thrusts his shovel in the dirt like he's stabbing an enemy. It hits a rock that butts up against a root.

Dow is stunned by the vibrations and looks up at the tree.

DOW
Sam's always talking about that elm, but this here tree's more my speed. Bet it was planted same time as the other, but it ain't had the same advantages. It's been growing against this rock. It's easy to be beautiful when you've never had to struggle.

DITCH DIGGER
Speaking of beautiful, I bet he's taking those poseys to Katrina at the bookstore.

DOW
Why do you say that?

DITCH DIGGER
He's been helping her with a new flower bed at the front of the shop. I saw them out front talking about plans.

Dow looks at his shovel.

DOW
I bet he's making plans. How did she seem around him? Did she laugh?

DITCH DIGGER
I don't know. They were friendly.

Dow chucks his shovel at Sam's elm, missing it by a wide margin.

DOW

Son of a bitch.

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Updated 6/16

Logline: A socially awkward small town gardner must contend with the consequences of an old grudge that resurfaces while he is on a date with the woman of his dreams.

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I am basing my project on "Samuel Gardner" and "Dow Kritt," two connected poems from Spoon River Anthology. Samuel (a gardner) and Dow (a ditch digger) both talk about how trees need healthy roots to grow, and this becomes a metaphor for their lives. Both started from similar seeds and started growing at the same time, but while Samuel's roots are deep and well-nourished, Dow's were stunted by a rock. Dow talks about Samuel and seems bitter towards him, but Samuel doesn't talk about him at all. He is focused on the beauty of his favorite elm tree.

The screenplay will focus on a pivotal event in both their lives which will send them off growing in different directions. I haven't figured out what that will be yet, but I am leaning towards a mutual love interest.

I would greatly appreciate any comments. Thanks for reading!

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