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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Forget-Me-Not – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - posted by KP Mackie

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Forget-Me-Not

“A troubled inner city youth liberates a forgotten community garden, unlocking a magic that reconnects his neighbors with their lost loved ones.”

When you think about it, every story at its heart is drama. By their very nature, they require a dramatic force to keep their audience’s attention: characters struggle – clash against others, providing conflict. Ebb and flow. Back and forth. There’s a rhythm to telling a riveting tale – no matter the supposed “genre.”

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist/author Anna Quindlen once wrote “Every story has already been told.” If so – how do you make YOUR drama unique? One method is to swirl additional genres into the mix. Do it right, and you’ll have a winning recipe on your hands!

And that’s the appeal of Steven Dexheimer’s inner-city story, Forget-Me-Not. On the surface, it’s a drama about troubled 16-year old Michael who lives in the tenements. His four friends aren’t exactly a gang, but peer pressure’s a powerful force on the street. Michael wants to fit in, but he’s got an interest far outside their sphere; he’s been spotted in the neighborhood community garden with Mrs. Friedman, an elderly lady who’s as far away from “ghetto” as one can be (at least outside of Ikea).

When Mrs. Friedman falls ill, paramedics load her into an ambulance. A nosy neighbor recognizes Michael as a frequent visitor to the garden, and starts asking him questions. In front of his friends.

Michael visits Mrs. Friedman in the hospital. She asks him a favor; care for the garden while she’s away. A good kid, Michael does what he can… but falls afoul of his old gang, who take a dim view of Michael’s new “hobby.” As the garden grows, so does the animosity – forcing Michael to choose between new allegiances and old, in a world where very few good things grow….

What makes Forget Me Not a stand-out script? Let’s pluck those petals and count the ways:

Friendship (and a touch of lost romance): Mrs. Friedman’s love for her dear departed “Stanley” (symbolized by the blue flowers she nutures in the garden), and the bond that forms between her and the teen.

Crime: A gritty inner city setting – depicting “thug life” and its very real consequences.

Fantasy: Though “rooted” in reality, something magical happens in the community garden. Affecting far more than the flowers…

Poignantly written, Forget Me Not weaves these themes together seamlessly – creating a fresh story of hope, community and friendship. If you’re a director looking for a story with substance, then F-M-N should be directly in your line of sight. Visually compelling with dramatic impact. You’d better act now – before this one’s off the market…!

About the writer:Steven was a finalist in the coWrite competition, an innovative community-sourced screenplay developed in association with respected production company Benderspink (A History of Violence, The Butterfly Effect). He also took 1st Place honors in the March 2009 MoviePoet short script competition.

Steven is a member of Writer’s Boot Camp, was a finalist in the 2008 The Movie Deal screenplay competition and has twice been a finalist in the NYC Midnight Screenwriting Competition (2007 & 2008). He holds a Bachelors degree in Theater and an Associate degree in Film/Video Production. More of Steven’s work may be found at his website: www.StevenDexheimer.com (email: Steven “AT” 8mdFilms.com)

Pages: 14 pages

Budget: Moderate, but not pricey. And definitely worth the investment. An establishing shot may be enough to set up the inner city neighborhood, hospital, and high school. An actual or imitation hospital room, classroom and bedroom shouldn’t take much of a bite from the budget. Almost an ensemble piece, there are several main characters – all likely coveted roles – plus some extras to act as neighbors. But get yourself a good garden. Because it’s a star of this show, as well.

About the reviewer for Forget-Me-Not:California uber reader/reviewer KP Mackie is working hard on her animated feature. KP’s work is available at moviepoet.com!

READ THE SCRIPT HERE – AND DON’T FORGET TO COMMENT!!

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All screenplays are copyrighted to their respective authors. All rights reserved. The screenplays may not be used without the expressed written permission of the author.

3 Comments so far

1.

James Russell
August 13th, 2014 at 11:34 pm

Have just read ‘forget me not’ and have added a few things that might be worthy of consideration.

I thought the best way was to point out a few things in the script was to atteach next the the paragraphs.

Cheers

James
A troubled inner city youth liberates a forgotten
community garden, unlocking a magic that reconnects his
neighborswith their lost loved ones.
FADE IN:
EXT. COMMUNITY GARDEN – INNER CITY — DAY
Overgrown. Forgotten. A vacant lot. Short-cut from the
tenements below to the brownstones above.
One small section, tilled and weeded. A pale blue forget-menot
grows there.
An ambulance, an old woman on a gurney. A crowd has gathered.
A group of five boys on the path from the tenements. One of
them stops. Watches the work of the paramedics.
MICHAEL is sixteen years old. Dressed like his friends,
colors that say keep the hell away.
A WOMAN moves out of the crowd.
WOMAN
You were her friend, right? Do you
know what happened?
Michael’s buddies crowd closer.
MICHAEL
Hell you talking about? I don’t
know no flower lady.
His friends smirk, satisfied. They move off.
The door to the ambulance slams shut. Michael watches it
drive off.
EXT. GARDEN — NIGHT
Michael stands in front of the forget-me-not. He makes sure
he’s alone.
Reaches down and plucks a petal from the flower. He picked a small bunch of the fmn flowers. You would need tweezers to pick a petal from a fmn. And the small bunch could be those he carried into the hospital
INT. HOSPITAL — NIGHT
Visiting hours are over. The hallway is dark and silent.
Michael creeps from door to door, peeking in.
Footsteps. A NURSE. She sees Michael. He couldn’t look
more out of place here.
NURSE
Excuse me. Can I help you?
2.
Michael turns and heads the other way. Fast.
NURSE
Hey!
A burley SECURITY GUARD gives chase. Catches him.
GUARD
What are you doing kid?
MICHAEL
Nothing. Looking for a friend.
GUARD
What friend?
MICHAEL
I don’t know her name. He should know her name; and she should know his. That would create the closeness that he first denies to his friends. Otherwise he is denying to his friends, and the neighbour, a relationship that doesn’t exist. But you make it sound like he is denying a closer relationship. ‘the secret’. Where if it is shown later that they did not even know each others name, then he would not have been at all defensive in front of his friends. The neighbour would not have recognised him and certainly would not later approach Michael, unless he had spent more time in the garden with the older woman, and had that been the case Michael and the gardener would at least (friendly types, as they are) would have introduced themselves. It would too, give a more credible reason for him to go to the hospital, And bring fmn flowers with him.
He tries to slip away.
GUARD
Right. Come with me.
The guard grabs the collar of Michael’s jacket. Hauls him
toward the nurses station.
GUARD
Get some help up here.
The nurse picks up the phone. She looks at Michael. His
fingers wrapped tenderly around the small bunch of blue flowers.
NURSE
Who did you say you were you looking
for?
MICHAEL
A neighbor. She came in today. I
don’t know what happened.
She drops the phone back in it’s cradle.
NURSE
Wait here.
She moves down the hallway. The guard wants to protest, but
holds his tongue.
The nurse comes back a minute later.
3.
NURSE
(to the guard)
It’s okay.
She leads Michael to a patient room. Inside is an old woman,
oxygen tubes in her nose.
NURSE
Mrs. Friedman? Your visitor.
MRS. FRIEDMAN smiles at Michael. The nurse leaves them alone.
Michael walks to her bedside. Hands her the flowers. She
smells them it. It brightens her face.
MICHAEL
What happened?
FRIEDMAN
I got old. It happens, sometimes.
MICHAEL
My name’s Michael, by the way.
FRIEDMAN
I know. Thank you for this.
(the flower)
You don’t know what this means to
me. They were Stanley’s favorite. He does know, because that is the gardeners favourite garden activity and she would surely have mentioned it to Michael. And, that is precisely why he brought them to the hospital. He knows the significance.
MICHAEL
No problem.
Silence. Michael is uncomfortable. He looks around the
room, at the medical equipment, the flashing lights, the
beeps, and the buzzes. Feeling that it is right to be there, but looking for a way out , if he needs one?
FRIEDMAN
Well, thank you again. You should
run along.
MICHAEL
I guess so. Get better.
Before he gets out the door.
FRIEDMAN
Michael? One favor? Look after the garden; not the plant
plant for me. Keep it watered.
MICHAEL
Okay. Cool.
4.
FRIEDMAN
You remember how I showed you? Supports the theory that if they shared this info (the watering of flowers), they would be acquainted enough to know each others name.
MICHAEL
Yeah.
FRIEDMAN
Good boy.
EXT. GARDEN — MORNING
Michael has a paper cup full of water. Pours it around the
base of the flower.
People pass by on the sidewalk. No one looks in his
direction.
It’s the path to the tenements he’s worried about. Clear so
far, down that way.
He shoves the paper cup in his backpack. Hoists the bag to
his shoulder. Turns to leave. Stops. He would have to carry the bag low to not spill the water. Over his back; I can’t see this not spilling ever drop.
There’s a weed growing near the flower. He bends down, pulls
it.
Catches the scent of the flower. Pulls it to his nose.
Takes a deep breath. Frowns.
MICHAEL
That’s weird.
Four shadows appear. His buddies. He’s caught.
NIX, the leader, steps forward.
NIX
What the hell is this?
MICHAEL
Nothing, man…
NIX
Check it out, guys. We got us a
little flower fruit. That what you
are? A little pansy?
They laugh. Pick up the chant. Michael’s new nickname.
Nix steps forward, kicks the plant. The stalk snaps.
Michael pushes him away. The entire group converges. Just in order to remain real for the story sake. fmn is more like a mini bush it is not really a flower with a ‘stalk’ that someone might break if they kicked it. And all this smelling of the flower; they have hardly, if any scent. Google search the images and description.
5.
WOMAN
Hey!
They turn. Michael recognizes her. The neighbor.
NIX
Mind your business, bitch!
WOMAN
I’ll call the cops.
NIX
What did you say to me?
Her face goes white. She scurries off. Shouts back over
her shoulder.
WOMAN
Go back down to your slums!
They laugh.
NIX
(to Michael)
Yo, man, we got a meet down at the
Eight Ball. Tonight. Eleven. Don’t
bother showing.
MICHAEL
Thought you was through with that.
NIX
Later pansy.
Nix and his crew saunter off.
MICHAEL
You’re brother be real proud, man.
They ignore him.
Michael tries to prop the plant upright. It falls over.
It’s a goner.
INT. HOSPITAL ROOM — DAY
Mrs. Friedman looks much worse. Michael has an empty can of
Pepsi, filled with water, what’s left of the flowers stuck
in it.
He sets it on the bedside table. Mrs. Friedman struggles to
turn her head.
6.
MICHAEL
I screwed up. Sorry.
She smiles. Sucks oxygen through a tube. An EKG monitor
beeps.
NURSE
Have to cut this short, kiddo.
The nurse preps the bed, rolls Mrs. Friedman toward the door.
MICHAEL
I’m really sorry.
FRIEDMAN
Remember the water.
EXT. HIGH SCHOOL — DAY
The grounds are deserted. A bell rings. Michael sprints
toward the front door.
INT. CLASSROOM — LATER
A teacher tries to engage his audience. It’s July 4, 1776.
The Second Continental Congress meets in Philadelphia.
Nothing but a drone.
Michael sits in the back. Stares out the window.
EXT. HIGH SCHOOL — AFTERNOON
Kids pour from the school. Michael sees Nix and his buddies.
Turns and tries to lose himself in the crowd before they
spot him.
Too late.
NIX
Where you going, bro? My favorite
little guy in the world. I need
you.
MICHAEL
I don’t do that no more.
NIX
Good meeting last night. We’re all
set. An hour’s work, worth a grand
each.
7.
MICHAEL
Not interested.
He turns to leave, but Nix’s crew has him boxed in.
NIX
Do it for free, then. We need to
borrow your old man’s garage.
Michael tries to squeeze through the circle, but rough hands
force him back inside.
Nix signals to his boy’s and they let Michael through.
NIX
Fine. A “G” and a half.
Michael takes off, doesn’t look back.
EXT. GARDEN — AFTERNOON
Michael cuts through the vacant lot. Feet dragging, head
hanging. Ashamed to even look at the spot where the flower
grew.
That patch of dirt. That symbol of his failure.
Stops dead in his tracks. The flower is back. Standing
tall, in full bloom.
And now there are two.
A second forget-me-not grows right next to the first one.
He goes to them. Touches them, confirms they’re real.
He sees the neighbor lady on the sidewalk.
MICHAEL
Did Mrs. Friedman come home?
WOMAN
No, I don’t think so.
MICHAEL
Oh. I thought… Somebody planted
more of her flowers.
WOMAN
I haven’t seen anyone out here.
8.
INT. HOSPITAL — LATER
Michael runs down the hall. A fresh bouquet of flowers
clutched in his fist. His steps are light. A grin on his
face. He sticks his head in the room.
Finds an empty bed. Fresh sheets.
Looks for the nurse. When she see him, her eyes soften. A
sad little smile.
Michael lowers his head. Turns and walks away.
EXT. GARDEN — EVENING
Michael sits cross leg in front of the two flowers.
The sounds of the city bounce off the surrounding buildings.
That world doesn’t matter. Not here. Not in this little
oasis.
The dirt around the flowers is clean, free of weeds. The
rest of the lot is a mess.
That just won’t do.
He pulls a clump of the tall grass. Yanks it out by the
roots. Reaches for another.
Clears a patch around the flowers, several feet wide and all
the way back to the brick building next door.
Still not satisfied.
Goes for more. Grabs another clump.
A flash of color.
A tiny blue petal. A forget-me-not, struggling to survive.
He brushes the crab grass away. Pulls the strands, one by
one. Clears a space for the flower. Frees it from the weeds.
Keeps working. Finds another flower. Liberates that one
too.
He doesn’t stop. More, a dozen at least. All pale blue.
All forget-me-not.
He doesn’t notice the line of boys heading his way. This is not so real to anyone who has had a garden or particularly those who have grown fmn. You’ve got them popping up all over the place every blink of an eye.. What these plants do do is almost what you say. Got one, and they seed and pop up all over the place, but it is a seasonal thing. Even those that pop up in a short while, will usually not flower for ages. So without reading on yet, I’m guessing that there id some magic to happen.

9.
NIX
You shitting me? You really are a
little pansy.
His boys laugh. Michael stands his ground.
MICHAEL
I won’t help you.
NIX
(to his crew)
From now on, he got a new name.
Pansy. Everybody know that, come
tomorrow.
A voice calls out. A COP on the sidewalk.
COP
Hey! Get away from there!
Nix and his crew take off.
Instinct kick in. Michael doesn’t think, just runs.
The cop starts to give chase, won’t follow them down into
the projects.
INT. CLASSROOM — DAY
The drone continues. It’s 1789 now. The Articles of
Confederation are replaced with the U.S. Constitution.
Michael is a million miles away.
EXT. GARDEN — AFTERNOON
Something’s going on. People milling about the garden.
The woman, Michael recognizes. He doesn’t know the others.
He sees the fuss. A dozen forget-me-nots, full sized and
fully bloomed.
WOMAN
You did this? You planted these?
MICHAEL
I just gave them water.
Some in the crowd just stand and take it all in. Others
kneel in front of specific flowers.
A smile on every face. A few tears.
10.
The woman has a rake. She hands it to Michael, smiles and
moves off.
Michael gets to work. Clears the remaining grass and weeds.
Everywhere he goes, finds more flowers. Exposes them to the
warmth of the sun.
EXT. GARDEN — EVENING
Michael throws a clump of grass on a pile. The last of it.
The lot is clear.
A dozen blue plants.
And a hundred tiny stalks, pushing from the dirt.
More neighbors have shown up. Passers-by stop to get a better
look. Everyone, drawn to the garden.
The crowd parts. Nix and his crew. The mood dampens.
NIX
This what you are now? A little
green thumb pansy?
His boys laugh.
MICHAEL
Just leave.
NIX
Here, let me help.
He grabs a rake. Michael knocks it out of his hands.
MICHAEL
Guess you didn’t hear me. Get the
hell out.
Like the crack of a whip. Nix is in his face.
NIX
What you say to me punk?
His boys circle. Shove Michael to the ground. One of them
grabs the rake.
NIX
You hearing me now?
They have Michael cornered. He tries to crawl away. A boot
slams into his back. His face plastered in the dirt. The
boys cackle.
11.
The rake is grabbed away. The boys turn, ready to fight.
Who the hell dares…
One of the neighbors. Another right behind him. More
circling.
Stock brokers, housewives, grandfathers, neighbors.
Nix and his boys hesitate. Never faced anything like this.
WOMAN
You should do what he says. Leave.
Michael climbs to his feet.
NIX
This ain’t private property. We do
what we want.
MICHAEL
Not here. Doesn’t matter what happens
out there. In here, it’s different.
You don’t belong in this place.
Nix tries to act tough.
NIX
Yeah? We’ll see.
Michael doesn’t bite. Stares him down.
MICHAEL
We made a promise to your brother.
You forget that?
NIX
Yeah, well he ain’t here, is he?
See you at school tomorrow, pansy.
Nix and his buddies push through the crowd.
EXT. GARDEN — NIGHT
Michael keeps vigil. Everyone else has gone home. Except
the one neighbor.
WOMAN
You’re exhausted. Go get some rest.
MICHAEL
They might come back.
12.
WOMAN
You’ve done enough.
MICHAEL
I haven’t done a thing.
She points to the garden. Hundreds of forget-me-not. Clawing
their way out of the dirt.
WOMAN
What do you call this?
MICHAEL
It’s not right. Feels wrong.
WOMAN
Go home. Sleep. We’ll keep an eye
out.
Michael doesn’t argue. Too tired. He can’t stay all night.
INT. BEDROOM — NIGHT
Michael tosses in his sleep.
In his dream, he stands on a
CITY STREET
The lamp posts spill gray pools of light on the wet pavement.
The tops of the buildings are lost in the darkness. Nothing
above. No sky. No stars. Pitch black.
At the end of the street, a woman. Screaming. Red and blue
flashing lights.
Michael runs toward the woman. He knows her. Nix’s MOTHER.
She wails. Her knees buckle. Michael catches her in his
arms.
MICHAEL
Where’s Nix? Where’s Andre?
She slides from his arms. Lies curled on the pavement.
The flashing lights are coming from just around the corner.
Michael sprints toward them. Turns the corner…
Finds an empty street.
The lamp posts spill gray pools of light on the wet pavement.
At the other end is Nix’s mother. Screaming.
13.
Red and blue flashing lights, from just around the next
corner.
Michael runs. But the screaming and the flashing lights get
farther away. The faster he runs, the more distant they
become.
INT. BEDROOM — MORNING
He shields his eyes from the light pouring through the window.
He stares up at the ceiling. Something isn’t right. He
scrambles out of bed.
EXT. GARDEN — MORNING
Commotion in the garden. Packed with people.
Michael sprints up the hill. Expecting the worst. The first
thing he sees is Nix.
And hundreds of flowers. In full bloom. A sea of blue.
Michael charges into the garden. Ready for a fight.
Nix is talking to the neighbor woman. She sees Michael,
turns and walks away. Leaves the two boys alone.
NIX
Hey.
Michael is ready for a fight.
MICHAEL
I told you to keep the hell away.
NIX
I know.
Nix looks exhausted. There’s no fight in him.
MICHAEL
What are you doing?
NIX
Nothing. Checking it out.
MICHAEL
All right, you saw. Move out.
NIX
Couldn’t sleep last night.
(MORE)
14.
NIX
Crazy ass dream. About that night.
You know?
Yeah. He does.
NIX
I miss him. Was just so stupid.
And over what? Nothing.
MICHAEL
He wanted to do right. Keep you out
of that life.
NIX
This morning… I don’t know. I had
to come up here. That cool?
Michael looks into his eyes. Challenges him, searching for
any sign of a trick.
Nix just stares back. His eyes are red. Glassy.
MICHAEL
Yeah. Cool.
Nix walks to one of the flowers. Kneels in front of it.
From both sides of the lot, people enter. Some sit alone,
others mingle in small groups.
Many of them neighbors for years. Speaking for the first
time.
Someone has brought a watering can. Gloves. Garden tools.
They set them at Michael’s feet.
Offerings to the garden.
And to him. To Michael.
Overhead, the sun breaks past the roof line. The flowers,
covered with dew, glisten in the sunlight.
Vibrant.
Alive.

The story is good; not sure whether you make it clear that there was magic in the garden

2.

Diana
August 14th, 2014 at 2:10 am

Yeah, what happen to the magic, and it was not clear how the woman died, but over all the story is good material.

3.

Kyle Smead
August 18th, 2014 at 12:20 am

Tough reading it in the environment that I’m in, Sorry about that. Kid, Michael, is really running in this thing. I see the sign underlined on the first page behind him, along with the flowers.

Dramatic and easy to read on the first pass, didn’t get overly entertained.

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