The Soul of Sound - FINAL DRAFT

Read the final draft here. 

Step 3: Write Your Logline

(Also available as PDF)


As Joseph Dixon’s life comes to an end, he doesn’t want the music to die with him, but will anyone in the town be able to keep his soul alive?


What is the soul of sound? When an old man, who’s devoted his entire life to making music come alive, finds his own final note fading out, he worries of what will happen to the music when he dies, and what will become of his music-loving soul.

Joseph Dixon is the town piano technician (and all purpose instrument fixer). Few people appreciate the importance of his work. But, the well-to-do Doctor William Meyers and his wife, Elizabeth, know the valuable roll he plays in the community.

Elizabeth has a deep respect for the old man, who reminds her of her father. He deeply loved music and taught her piano when she was young. However, Elizabeth left her family when she married and has not seen him in years. In return, Joseph has a fond affection for Elizabeth and reciprocates a paternal quality as best he can, even though he has never been married or had children of his own.

It’s true, some people in the town hardly know of Joseph. He keeps to himself, tucked away in his small workshop. It’s mostly only the well-off families, capable of affording fine instruments, which need to call on his skills. Even at that, few people have taken the time to get to know Joseph, or appreciate how important his work is. He arrives, tinkers away, and says his humble goodbyes. Few, with the exception of the music loving Meyers’, truly see what a difference he makes.

As Joseph’s health fails, Doctor Meyers does all that he can for him, but every note fades out. Joseph’s entire reason to be is music, and he continues to tune pianos until his last dyeing breath. After he tunes the last key on the Meyers’ grand piano, his own final note dies out. But is this the end?

Joseph believes his soul will live on in the music he helped to bring to life. After more than a decade, it seems the town has fallen out of tune with music. Instruments fall out of repair, people lose interest in playing, and no one cares to learn the fine art that Joseph specialized in.

That is, except for one young boy: Henry is the son of William and Elizabeth Meyers, born less than a month after Joseph passed away. 

The young boy loves tinkering on the family’s now poorly tuned piano. He picks up Joseph’s tools that were left behind and teaches himself whatever he can. He has benefitted from his family’s appreciation for music, and has an ear for pitch. It’s not long before he’s taught himself how to tune the piano, using techniques almost identical to that of the late Joseph Dixon. Is it possible that the sound of Joseph’s soul has been reborn in Henry Meyers?

Step 2: Draft the Screenplay

Final Draft: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_D9-Povo7oxZUJreHg4WVgzODA/edit?usp=sharing

Thanks again to everyone for their feedback. I feel the script is quite smooth and clear now, with enough descriptions to really set the mood. I'm sure there are things I could still fix, so feel free to leave comments. 

Draft II: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_D9-Povo7oxRFdXbDFlV3A2VUU/edit?usp=sharing

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback. I've tried to make Joseph's illness a bit more obvious and subtly changed some wording in Joseph and Elizabeth's conversation to give their relationship more of a "father-daughter" feeling. I also added a couple lines here and there to show that the town didn't appreciate Joseph as much as the Meyers did, and make it even more poignant that the young boy at the end decides to pick up the craft. I hope these changes give the story more of an arc and a resolution. Let me know what you think!

Draft I has been completed: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_D9-Povo7oxTGltcXZWeEJxakE/edit?usp=sharing
I'm feeling pretty good with the flow overall. I was very concerned that it might come across like Joseph Dixon is the father of the baby, but I hope the large age gap clears that up. I'm uncertain about the references to the Doctor, is it clear that William, Doctor Meyers and Mister Meyers are the same person? How do I stay true to the characters and their familiarity without being confusing. I'm also not sure how the ending feels... I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Step 1: Select Your Text

I've chosen an excerpt from The Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters. I particularly liked the poem about Joseph Dixon, a man who repared musical instruments. I adore the way we uses his career as a metaphore for his own life and soul, how an instrument can be reborn and has a "soul". I am a huge music fan and this piece really spoke to that power of music that I feel, and I'd like to explore the soul of sound Masters talks about in this poem.

"Is there no Ear round the ear of a man, that it senses / through strings and columns of air the soul of sound?"

"Surely the concord that ruled my spirit is proof / of an Ear that tuned me, able to tune me over / and use me again if I am worthy to use"

Supplemental Material:

While writing, I've been enjoying listening to Evgeni's Waltz by Abel Korzeniowski, although it's sadder than any of the waltzes you'd hear in this short, I think it does encapsulate the mood of Joseph Dixon as his life comes to a close.

Here are a couple of locations with my city that I thought of as I wrote the Soul of Sound:

This is an old, closed down violin maker's shop on the highway. Mr. Gough passed away years ago, but his shop remains, falling apart.

This is the "ballroom" of the Lougheed mansion, seen here being used for a wedding. The Lougheed House was build in 1891 and is preserved as a historical building. In this room, the Lougheeds would have many dances (and wild parties, so the stories go).

I'd also like to acknowledge the use of David's photo from the Perry Belmont Mansion for the project's picture.


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