Posted by: steveonfilm | December 30, 2009

Pride is Forever: Day 24

I finished up fleshing out the scenes/sequences of the first act today. Here’s how the final few turned out:

9. Flashback: Doug’s high school recruitment and winning the state meet.

Two coaches, same ones from sequence 2 and 3, coming into the stands. Mention some guy from Detroit running in the next race is their guy.

We see Doug come up on the final lap. Father Stevens on the side lines tells Doug it’s the final lap. Leave it all on the table. Remember, pain is temporary!

Doug put his kick into high gear with one lap to go.

One coach wants to know who this “kid” is. They’ve got no idea.

Doug completely hauling ass. Pulling away. Final stretch. No one can touch him. Sets the state record by three seconds.

After the race Father Stevens comes over to Doug and intoduces him to the two coaches. “You ever think of running at the collegiate level?” “Not really.” Fly down to Knoxville with us tomorrow. Maybe I can change that.”

Back to scene: Doug finishes reading the letter and smiles.

10. Doug waiting for Victoria outside of her “work-study” job. She tries to avoid him. He follows her through campus. She agrees to a date if he wins his race at the meet.

Victoria leaves her job and finds Doug waiting. She’s annoyed.

He wants to apologize for the other day. He’s really a good guy. Just does dumb stuff sometimes. Take her out for coffee or something.

Some back and forth. Still no go.

He asks if she’ll at least come to the track meet this weekend. He’s got a big race. Lays out who he’s racing. She can’t make it… gotta “wash her hair.”

She bites. He beats the Big Ten champ, she’ll go out for coffee.

Good enough.

11. Doug at dinner with teammates. Tells about the Victoria challenge. They laugh at his chances.

Dorm cafeteria. Place is a madhouse. Doug mentions his chance of a date with Victoria. The guys laugh. The girl who works in the athletic department? Ha! No way.

Doug says she agreed to get coffee with him if he wins his steeplechase race. So basically she figured out a way to say yes, while at the same time saying no.

You need to worry more about finishing the race, and less about winning the race.

12. Doug practicing the night before with the steeple hurdles. Doesn’t go so well.

The track is empty. Just Doug, some hurdles, and the lights. He runs over and is completely awkward hitting the hurdle. At one point he loses his balance and stumbles into the fence.

“Great plan Brown. This is really working out.”

His sights set on the water pit. He heads over, gets ready, hits his stride, hits the hurdle, and flops big time into the water.

Raising his soaking wet head he accepts defeat, and the reality he’s not gonna get that date with Victoria.

Tomorrow isn’t going to be as easy as he thought.

To give you an idea of what exactly Doug fell in during scene/sequence 13, take a look at this picture:

This kid is gonna eat it... hard.

13. Race time. Doug paces back and forth staring at Big Ten champ as he undresses.

Doug at the start line, pacing back and forth, eyes set sqaurely on the Big Ten Champ. A psyche out. The Big Ten champ tosses Doug a cautious look as he takes his sweats off. Runners to their marks. Doug stips down.

DAnny and other runners watch from nearby. Some back and forth about what Doug is doing.

Get set.

14. Doug beats the Big Ten champion.

BAM! It’s on.

Doug leaps over the first hurdle awkwardly. Stan pulls ahead. Doug quickly recovers and settles in behind him. Half way through.

TWO COACHES follow the splits from a press box. Doug’s times aren’t half bad.

Mark eases over the water barrier. Doug not so much. He stumbles, curses, then catches a glimpse of Victoria in the stands. Doug regains focus, and kicks it into high gear.

One lap left. Doug right behind Mark. Pushing him. Nearly matches him over the last hurdle, the finish line in sight. And Doug kicks it into high gear, pulling ahead.

The Coaches watch from the booth, “Jesus Christ, he’s gonna do it?”

Doug’s kick is too tough for Mark, and he pulls away no problem. Doug wins the race, much to everyone’s surprise and excitement. Doug looks up at Victoria, who sheepishly smiles and claps in the stands.

You might notice that the final sequence is exactly what I wrote in my “treatment” for the plot point at the end of Act 1. When I was getting ready to flesh this out a bit, I remembered that I basically already had the whole sequence down on paper. I’m not sure if this is exactly how the scene will go, but I think it pretty much captures the type of feeling and sequence of events I want to follow.

I’ve played around with the back story about what goes down with Doug prior to the start of the film, and I’ve decided to stray from real life events for the sake of dramatization. I’ve hinted in my notes so far about Doug not being allowed to run the 5K, and Coach Hansen telling him as much. I’ve decided that this is the backstory that sort of driving Doug’s motivation at this point. He wants to run the 5K, as he prefers it over the 10K, and he’s not happy that he’s not being allowed to do it. This has a lot to do with his challenge of Peterman in scene/sequence 7.

This decision just sort of evolved organically. I mean, I was reflecting on how I wanted to approach the back story when I read over my notes again and realized the backstory had already developed on it’s own and was staring me in the face. Doug wanted to by a 5K guy. But he had just been told that’s not going to happen, especially not after how well he ran the 10K the previous year. Now, the 10K thing is real life backstory that the viewer wouldn’t know (he placed 3rd at the ’71 NCAA nationals). But not being able to run the 5K I had completely made up for dramatic purposes. I realized that this could serve as a catalyst for Doug. A reason for him to push that much harder, to try and prove the coaches wrong, and get back to running it. Anyway, it all sort of fell into my lap, and it just feels right, so I’m going with it.

Tomorrow should be fun. I get to start writing the first ten pages. But more on that later.

Until next time, keep writing!

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