Monday, August 20, 2018

THE MAN UPSTAIRS synopsis

LOGLINE
Give away your pennies, and you get more pennies that can start small miracles, which lead to bigger ones.

PITCH

Almost like manna from heaven, pennies come to nine-year-old Coral Graf, who lives on the Upper East Side of New York City. Always wanting to cause good in the world, she gives the pennies away, hoping to create a larger miracle. Interestingly enough, whenever she shares her pennies with others, she always gets more coins. The stream of pennies never stops and neither do the miracles with them. 

SYNOPSIS
Nine-year-old Coral Graf lives on the Upper East Side of New York City with her father and mother in a red brick, high-rise apartment with many neighbors. Her father owns a local deli with Jewish delicacies that all the neighbors love. At least three days a week, her mother is a telephone operator at the Empire State Building. Ever since Coral was a baby, The Man Upstairs dropped pennies through the heating vent. At first, her father yelled at The Man Upstairs, explaining that he didn’t want the pennies. When The Man Upstairs continues to drop the pennies, Mrs. Graf sets out a tin can to collect them. She decides that the family should give away the money to needy people in the neighborhood. After the Grafs grow tired of giving the pennies away and want to keep them for themselves, The Man Upstairs stops dropping them. Believing in the power of small miracles to create bigger ones, Coral insists that she must give the pennies away. Later, when Coral places the tin can under the apartment vent, more pennies come out, faster than ever before. The Man Upstairs only drops pennies when someone from the Graf family gives the coins away. From that day on, Coral is in charge of the pennies that fall in the tin can from The Man Upstairs. She promises never to hoard the pennies, but to do good with every penny. The more pennies he gives her, the more she gives away. She might even be a millionaire; all because The Man Upstairs knows she will keep her promise.

When The Man Downstairs steals Coral’s pennies from The Man Upstairs, she tiptoes down the apartment stairs with her tin can, knocks on his door, and demands her pennies back. Slowly, the door cracks open and an ugly hand drops a pile of pennies in the hallway—the same hand that reached through the heating vent in the apartment floor to steal pennies from Coral’s tin can. When The Man Next Door tries to spend Coral’s money on frivolous junk during his Saturday morning sales calls, she eats desserts and watches TV cartoons instead, saving her money for The Man Across the Street, who needs to pay his rent, and The Man Around the Corner, who needs hot coffee. Of course, Hanukkah candles that Coral buys with her pennies from The Man Upstairs cause the rent to be paid for The Man Across the Street, and the daily cup of coffee from Coral to The Man Around the Corner causes him to leave his cardboard box on the street and take a job at her father’s deli. During Passover, Coral decides The Man from Central Park, who is sick and living on a bench, must visit the emergency room so bad things can “pass over” him. After explaining to the doctor that The Man Upstairs is paying for the visit with money from her tin can, The Man from Central Park has an affordable doctor bill, and he is well. 

More certain than ever that she has the power to cause small miracles, Coral makes an impromptu appointment with The Man from The Synagogue, a Rabbi at Fifth Avenue Synagogue, and explains to him that she has been receiving pennies from The Man Upstairs. Coral’s father warns her that The Man from The Synagogue might not understand her relationship with The Man Upstairs. He says not everyone has enough faith for miracles to happen and that Coral herself is a miracle. Although Coral gives her latest batch of pennies to the Synagogue, the Rabbi tells Coral that he enjoys the baked goods from her father’s deli, and she has quite an imagination. He compares her pennies to manna from Old Testament stories. He tells her that her good deeds are mitzvahs, where her actions show what she believes. When she asks the Rabbi to talk to God for her and ask God where to give her pennies, the Rabbi again says that she has a wonderful imagination. He reminds her to keep the Sabbath and tells her that he must get back to work. She asks the Rabbi to let her know what he does with her money and insists that her pennies came from heaven, believing The Man Upstairs gave her enough pennies to change the world. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

Fishtail: The Story of a Girl with a Summertime Braid

Each summer when you sit by the swimming pool, 
And you try to find a bit of shade to keep cool, 
Listen to the tales of fish in the open sea.
They might involve you, and they might involve me.
I like to braid my hair and tell stories aloud. 
I’m so good at spinning tales that my family is proud. 
The normal-type braid, I don’t ever do.
Fishtails are my favorite, let me braid one for you.
The fairytale will have a knight or a valiant king, 
And a princess that has a song to sing. 
An evil rotten witch is always a must,
But her plan in the end will need to go bust. 
The king saves the princess in the castle on a hill,
And love will win out, even if hope seems nil. 
Why don’t you braid a fishtail with your own hair?
I’ll listen to your story, it only seems fair. 
But a warning to tell you, fishtails have the charm. 
Other types of braids might bring you alarm. 
They have no story-magic or fancy at best.
Use your heart to practice fishtails; you will be blessed.
Divide the long hair in two larger sections, 
From which you take the outermost selections. 
Criss-cross the hair until you reach the end. 
By the end of the story, make a brand-new friend. 
You could braid three-strand or French braids all day, 
But none will bring you characters in a play. 
Three-strand braids use three sections to make one, 
And it stays together until you make it come undone. 
A French braid is classy but requires an accent,
So do Dutch braids which are having advent. 
Waterfall braids look good in long hair. 
Four-strand braids have a certain flair. 
The simple solution seems to be rope braids, 
Where two strands are twisted in double shades, 
But once again, none of these braids have tales. 
Only fishtails have stories that involve whales!
I’m listening to your fable as you make a braid,
Like fins in the sea, fishtails are handmade!

Copyright 2018 Jennifer Waters


Thursday, May 10, 2018

OAK APPLE DAY synopsis

LOGLINE
A little girl longs for romantic love but goes after it in quite the wrong way. 

PITCH
Ten-year-old Poppy Marigold, inspired by the kiss in Sleeping Beauty, imagines being kissed by her own prince and thinks each of her three favorite boy classmates should by now have kissed her more than once. But they ignore her. Using the annual Oak Apple Day parade as cover, Poppy climbs a tree and pelts the boys with apples, planning to kiss them when they’re down. If one of them wakes when she’s kissing him, it will be true love, and everyone will know it. The first apple only hits Alastair in the shoulder. The second hits Duncan in the head but doesn’t knock him down. The third toss smacks Fergus to the ground. Poppy jumps out of the tree and kisses Fergus. He tries to run, so she takes chase and pelts him with apples. Finally, Fergus gives up and makes Oak Apple Day history by kissing Poppy. 
                                   
SYNOPSIS 
The British celebrate Royal Oak Day on May 29 in honor of King Charles II’s birthday. Ten-year-old Poppy Marigold wears an oak apple round her neck because if a student doesn’t wear a costume they are to be pinched—in the bum. Poppy sits at lunch with Alastair Glover, Duncan MacGregor, and Fergus Laird. None of the boys say anything to her. She wants to pinch them in the bum for their bad attitudes. Inspired by the kiss in Sleeping Beauty, she imagines being kissed by her own prince. For weeks, Poppy was sure she was in love with each of the three adorable boys, and now was the time to finally be kissed. She decides that the large Oak Tree outside the School is about to help her get that first kiss.

As Poppy pinches the boys’ bums, their teacher announces that the Heart of Oak Friendly Society Parade starts at three o’clock. This year Poppy plans to sneak up the Oak Tree and drop apples on Alastair, Duncan, and Fergus. More determined than ever, she remembers how wonderful love is supposed to be, according to Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince. So, when no one is looking, she stuffs her dress pockets and backpack with apples. Poppy thinks if she hits the boys in the head, they’ll pass out, and she can kiss them before they wake up. If one of them wakes when she’s kissing him, it will be true love, and everyone will know it. When Poppy finishes her Maypole, she slips out to the Oak Tree and positions herself on a sturdy tree branch where she has good aim at any of the boys. 

Her classmates walk out with their Maypoles, oak boughs, and flowers. They look so festive Poppy almost forgets her plan to drop the apples, but when she sees Alastair, she drops the first apple and hits his shoulder. She drops the second apple on Duncan. It hits him in the head, but it isn’t strong enough to knock him out. When she sees Fergus, she throws the apple so hard that it smacks him to the ground. She declares it’s true love. Poppy climbs down and the rest of the apples fall on everyone. As her teacher scolds her, she runs to Fergus, grabs him and kisses him. A few moments later, Fergus opens his eyes, looking so shocked and confused that he can hardly breathe. Yelling, Fergus gets up off the sidewalk and runs down the parade route as fast as he can. Poppy calls after him and runs to try to catch him, throwing apples from the sidewalk at his head, with good aim. After a few minutes, Fergus gives up, and makes Oak Apple Day history when he kisses Poppy. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

THE LEGEND OF THE TREE OF LIFE synopsis (LEGENDS part two)

LOGLINE
Sometimes things go so badly, dangerously wrong on such a huge scale it takes great courage, cleverness, and conviction to set them right—even if you’re only 14 years old. 

PITCH

Julia Genesee’s Humansville backyard holds the Tree of Life, but in the world of Eden on the other side of the Tree, evil Prince Ubel has overthrown Adam II and plans to create his own species to subordinate humans around the universe. Called to action by Evelyn, Eve’s descendant, Julia and her dog Meatloaf enter that other realm where she poses as a convert to Prince Ubel’s cause, then finds keys and a golden sword that might save the day. In the line of duty, Julia decapitates the evil Prince, enters a labyrinthine system of underground rivers and caves, and finds the imprisoned Adam II. Freeing him and bringing him and the original Tree of Life back to the surface, Julia sees Adam II restore order in Eden and free Evelyn from chains to reward her loyalty. Back in Humansville again, Julia realizes her family never even knew she was gone.    

SYNOPSIS

It has been several months since the Tree of Life stood tall in 14-year-old Julia Genesee’s backyard in Humansville. With the Tree of Good and Evil gone, all seems quiet and serene. Then one night in a thunder storm, lightning hits the Tree of Life, and it cracks through the trunk of the tree into its roots. Listening to the player piano in her living room once again play a magical song, Julia and her dog Meatloaf run into the backyard only to find that the song opens the window to Eden for a second time. Evelyn, a descendant of Eve, partially crawls through the window to deliver a message to Julia. Although Evelyn can’t crawl through the window entirely—because she is chained to the original Tree of Good and Evil in Eden for eternity—she warns Julia that Adam II has been captured by an evil ruler named Prince Ubel. He wants all the power from the original Tree of Life in Eden, and he has sent lightning storms to all the places in other worlds where seeds were planted to grow secondary trees. If she is brave enough, Evelyn asks Julia to visit Eden and help save Adam II and the original Tree of Life, which Prince Ubel has uprooted from the springs in Adam II’s palace and hid in an unknown location. If Prince Ubel controls all the power of the Tree of Life, he will have the ability to decide the life and death of every soul everywhere, and he will most likely destroy them and their children to create his own species—a species that would make any humans subordinate to them. Because humans have too much free will, Prince Ubel’s new race without free will would control any humans who are not killed. Evelyn tells Julia that she only has minutes to decide if she is up to the task. The window will soon close, and Julia will not have a second chance to slip through the window. Worried her family will wonder where she went, Julia scribbles a note in the dirt saying: “Be right back.” Before thinking about it too much, she jumps through the window and sits next to Evelyn, chained to the Tree of Good and Evil. 

Rain pours as Julia and Evelyn sit beneath dripping tree branches in Eden. Evelyn explains that Adam II has been gone for days, and Eden is desperate for someone to find him and the missing Tree of Life. Then to Julia’s surprise, out from behind the tree trunk jumps Meatloaf. She wasn’t aware that her dog had followed her through the magical window from Humansville. As the dog starts to howl, a looming figure walks in the shadows until he appears to the women. Holding the sword that was supposed to guard the Tree of Life in Eden, Prince Ubel threatens the women to either join him with the rest of Eden or die. He tells them that Adam II has only days to live and that the power from the Tree of Life will then be his forever. The Prince taunts Evelyn and says that he would surely free her from being chained to the Tree of Good and Evil, if she serves him. Unable to think of anything else to do other than lie, Julia tells Prince Ubel that she will join him in his reign. Secretly, in her heart, Julia plans to kill Prince Ubel at the earliest moment and free Adam II, but she can’t convey this to Evelyn in front of Prince Ubel. Evelyn gasps and refuses to join Julia in her supposed betrayal. Then Prince Ubel decides that Evelyn’s fate chained to the Tree of Good and Evil is worse than death, so he leaves her chained to the Tree, and he departs with Julia and Meatloaf. 


Later that evening, Julia arrives at Prince Ubel’s camp outside of Adam II’s palace. He gives her a tent and says that his soldiers will move into Adam’s palace once his belongings are removed. The Prince says he wants to put Julia in charge of identifying all the Trees of Life throughout the cosmos. If she could organize them into an exact list, then Prince Ubel would be sure they were all destroyed with his lightning attacks. He shows her the key for the vault in his tent, where the maps of the Trees of Life are held in safe-keeping. He tells her to arrive early in the morning to start her job. When Julia asks Prince Ubel where he is keeping Adam II, the evil prince threatens Julia with the sword that once protected the Tree of Life in Eden. When Prince Ubel isn’t looking, she grabs the key to the maps. She apologizes with tears and runs with Meatloaf into her tent to sleep for the evening. While in the tent, Julia whispers to Meatloaf that he must go out during the night and find Adam II and come back and give her a clue as to his whereabouts. After she sends Meatloaf out, she sneaks back over to Prince Ubel’s tent and spies through the curtains to see where he has kept the sword that protected the Tree of Life. As she peers through the curtain, Meatloaf returns with no clue as to where Adam II might be. He whimpers and digs in the dirt. The sword from the Tree of Life is also nowhere to be found. 


Curious as to what else might be in the vault, Julia slips into Prince Ubel’s tent with the key while he is asleep and opens the vault door when his guards aren’t looking. Next to a set of maps is a second key, which Julia believes might be able to free Adam II. As she lifts the key and the maps from the vault to take them with her, she finds the missing sword. She looks at Prince Ubel who is fast asleep and then glances at his guards. With Meatloaf outside the tent, she decides that she has no choice but to kill Prince Ubel now and put herself in charge until Adam II can be found. She takes the sword and decapitates Prince Ubel. Then, she stabs the prince’s guards in the back with the sword before they notice what she is doing. Meatloaf runs into the tent and barks. As other soldiers approach the tent, Julia holds the head of Prince Ubel on a dinner plate. She points the sword at the guards and declares that she is now the ruler of Eden, and they will bow to her or be destroyed with the rest of the prince’s soldiers. In terror, the guards flee as a beam of light streams from the sword and strikes them dead. 


Before any more guards arrive, Julia grabs Prince Ubel’s head on the plate with the maps and the second key and flees with Meatloaf back to Evelyn. She figures the only way that Evelyn will trust her is if she shows Evelyn the head of the dead prince. When Julia arrives to Evelyn, she gasps in horror and asks if Adam II has been found. Still unable to find Adam II, Julia unrolls the maps from the vault. Fascinated with how many seeds have been planted from the Tree of Life in other worlds, Evelyn asks her if she and Meatloaf checked in the caverns below the palace for Adam II and the uprooted Tree of Life. She said there is a channel of rivers that runs beneath the palace into caverns. Maybe there is still time to find Adam II before he is killed in captivity by whatever inevitable trap Prince Ubel set. So, Julia and Meatloaf set off on a small boat with a lantern that descends into the caverns. As they hold up their lantern and descend into the caverns, the water grows higher and higher and the boat nears the top of the ceiling. After hours of floating along a dark corridor, they come across Adam II behind bars in a corner of the cave. The Tree of Life had been tossed next to him with the roots toward the ceiling. Julia uses the second key that she found in Prince Ubel’s vault, and it opens the cell door.  


Thankful for his release, Adam II tells her he thought he had only a few more hours until he drowned in the rising water. She tells him that she killed Prince Ubel and took control of the kingdom, but Eden is in disarray, and they must hurry before someone else tries to put themselves in charge. Worried that they still might drown, Julia hurries back into the boat with Adam II and Meatloaf. She floats the tree next to the boat, as Adam II holds it, and they try to float to the surface. After hours of rising water and capsizing a few times, Julia and Adam II return to the surface. The Tree of Life, however, is sopping and moldy, and Adam II is concerned it won’t grow. Now in charge of his kingdom again, Adam II carries the Tree on his back and replants it firmly beside the springs of his palace. Slowly, over a few days, the Tree begins to bloom. For her faithfulness, Evelyn is released from being chained to the Tree of Good and Evil. Adam II once again sends Julia back to Humansville with seeds from the Tree of Life. After returning through the magic window between Eden and Humansville with Meatloaf, she plants the seeds in Humansville in her backyard to grow another Tree of Life, hoping for a second chance. Watching the sun rise over the hills, her family never even noticed she was gone.