So, I’m sitting in the Arts Center at school, right, and I’m snacking on this hummus cup, when it finally hit me what my screenplay should be about: A STREET PERFORMER, yeah duh. I consider myself a creative writer (shit, I’m even thinking about making it my minor), but I’ve never thought about writing my own screenplay before so it took me awhile to get in the zone. I had some other work to do at the time on Pocket Change so I started working on that. It kind of hit me like a double altissimo A note from an alto saxophone in an empty subway.
“I should really just write a play about a street performer, so I can also put it on here..”
So I did it. I think I pulled it off, but that’s sorta up to you guys. Jake and Jess are two twenty something’s, one searching for an extended hand, the other extending it. They needed each other, like a performer needs his crowd or a producer needs something catchy to produce.
This is my mini screenplay about a street performer and his break. Enjoy!
JAKE ORSON, An NYC Street Performer in his late 20’s
JESS LEVINGTON, A SoHo Music Producer in her mid 20’s
Corner of W Broadway St and Prince St. About six years ago.
JAKE, a Street Performer, walks along a busy NYC sidewalk past a couple convenient stores with a guitar case in one hand and a folded chair in the other. He finds a spot to set up and takes his acoustic guitar out of the case and puts the strap his left shoulder.
He takes a couple moments to grab a pic, tune’s up and then starts to play.
“You breathe me in, I breathe you out
that’s all this is, what love’s about
how I used to see this thing we do
funny the feelings hidden from you
when life’s all good and our loves all great
not til they’re taken away, we break….”
(A few passerby reach into their pockets and empty some change into his open case. People walk in front of him, so it’s difficult to see him for some time, but you can still hear him playing.)
“only then, does the heart feel hopeless
broken down, miles from home
though home’s beside you, so let me remind
(Jess, A women in her 20’s approaches Jake like any interested passerby and listens for a few moments.)
“if I could rewind this and take
it back to what we were”
(Jake watches as she just stands there, listening intently, even closing her eyes to really feel his music.)
leaves hit the autumn flo…”
(Jess interrupts Jake’s song.)
You know, I walk this way everyday after work hoping to see you play.
(Jake stops playing abruptly and couldn’t hear what she said)
Sorry, what’d you say?
I said I walk this way everyday just to hear you play. Works usually pretty crazy so it’s nice to stop and listen to you for a bit.
(Hearing Jess the second time brings a nervous smirk to Jake’s face and he looks down at his feet, then back up at Jess)
Well that’s what I’m here for. I’m glad you enjoy it, it’s sort of my getaway out here. Anywhere on the street really.
Really? You’ve got pissed taxi drivers honking like every forty seconds. I don’t know if I’d call it relaxing, kind of distracting.
(Jake looks up at Jess and neither say anything for a few moments)
Sorry for jumping into your song like that, something inside of me wanted to let you know you were noticed out here
(laughs to herself)
No, no, don’t worry about it, I was just warming up anyways.
I’m jake by the way, Jake Orson.
(Jake reaches his hand out to shake hers.)
Would it be weird if I told you I already knew that?
It’s not like I stalk you or anything, I promise, but one of the first times I watched you play I asked a guy next to me who you were and he gave me one of your cards. I think you’re on of the best out here, Jake.
(Taken aback a little bit by everything Jess says, he smiles and laughs it off. )
Yeah, I know that guy, he sets up down by that burrito joint on Sixth Avenue, his name’s Carlin. If you’re into some real kick ass saxophone, I’d take a walk down there before you call it a day. Guy’s talented, probably has me beat.
(Jake starts to set up for his next song. Takes a feel around his open guitar case to get an idea of what he made, then looks back up at Jess. He notices the bag she’s wearing says “Okies Recording Studio” and recognizes it.)
When I hit twenty I usually call it day and go get a drink, are you in a rush or anything?
Oh, um, no not really, I mean, well what do you mean?
Well, I’m already at fourteen I think, or close at least and I played longer than normal yesterday at Times Square so I ending up making like forty bucks.
(Jess looks at him still a little confused about everything.)
Is that your studio?
(Jake points to the name on the bag hanging over Jess’s shoulder)
Yep started it right after college, well a few friends and I did. We all went to Berklee for music production and it was kind of our first taste of the real world.
No shit Jess, I was a terrier for four years! Majored in marketing and advertising.
BU? My ex-boyfriend was a terrier. Total asshole. Kind of swayed my opinion about you guys for a couple years after.
Probably played football right? Back-up quarterback?
Third string tight-end.
(Both of them laugh)
Anyways, how’s business going?
Business is okies. A little background on me, I say okies a lot
Figures why I named my studio after it. But we just signed a couple new indie bands from Western Mass actually, I think one of them might take us somewhere. Maybe put our name on the map. Heard of Passion Pit before?
Actually, funny you say that, I saw them at this indie festival last year. I think they were a fill-in band or something but totally, I liked them. Definitely bringing something new to the music world.
That’s what were hoping. I’ve got a lot of money tied up in this thing. Didn’t think It’d take us this long to find that one band of stars to get us out there.
(Jess takes a seat next to Jake’s guitar case)
Like what kind of name is Passion Pit anyways, though? Everyone in the studio really likes it, I just don’t see it sticking, I mean it’s different, yeah, but I don’t know. Maybe it’s me. What do you think of it?
Honest opinion dude.
I think it’s genius. It’ll work for them.
But why though? They think it’s genius too.
It makes them stand out. It’s half the problem. Of course you need the talent but you need the name too. Something to make some college kid listen to your song and spread it with his friends. Look at me, I’m just a guy playing on a sidewalk using his own name. Some people probably think it’s lazy or whatever but it’s just me. The name works. Their name works also. You need to have passion and they’ve got a bunch, so much they put it in their name. Seems hard to beat if you ask me.
Maybe you’re right. Maybe it does work.
Wait, what’s that one song you play, where it’s like “Remember that old park back by the fields, where we used those…”
(Jake interrupts her)
“…tree’s as our shields, the only place we ever knew to be alone,” That one?
Yeah, what’s that one called?
Funny you ask, I don’t really have any names for my songs. I just remember them by the story.
Well then, whats the story behind that one if you don’t mind me asking?
(Smiles and starts to fidget with his guitar)
The idea within the song is real, like it’s coming from my heart, but most of the things in that one, didn’t specifically happen to me. A lot of the lines represent what I wish I did and some of the others actually do represent what I did. It’s just a story about getting away from the bullshit thrown at you as a kid, going to college, whatever. It’s for your own interpretation. I interpret my music differently almost every time I perform.
Well, I can relate to it. Can I name it?
You wanna name it?
Yep, I wanna name it. Is that okies with you?
You know what go for it.
Cover Love. I’m thinkin’ Cover Love.
(He thinks to himself for a moment)
Cover Love, I think that fits Jess. Like I really think it works well.
(She smiles at him and then looks down at her shoes for a second then back at Jake.)
Jake, is this your job? I mean is this what you love to do?
No that’s okay, I actually work at a cafe a couple blocks from here, so I come and play after my shift. But music’s my love.
What are you doing this Saturday? I don’t know what you street performers calendars look like.
I was looking to drive up to Flushing since the METS have a home game, figured if I caught the fans early, I could make a pay day. But Nothing really actually.
What do you think about recording that song in my studio? With a full band and everything.
You’re not serious are you?
(Jess grabs her backpack and pulls a pen and business card out and flips it over. She writes her number on the back and hands it to Jake.)
Yes, I am. And I want to see how serious you are about all of this.
(JESS gets up and smiles at Jake. She quickly blends in with the traffic of people and he loses her)
(Jake looks at the card and begins to smile. He starts to play the song.)