Best Scene Reading of Old Lady Dilemmas by Lora Ellen McKinney

Best Scene from the screenplay OLD LADY DILEMMAS Screenplay
Written by Lora Ellen McKinney

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Meghan Allen
CAROLINA – Laura Kyswaty
EMMA – Kiran Friesen

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Dramedy, Drama, Comedy

PILOT: O/L/D? (Old Lady Dilemmas)

It’s a beautiful New York day everywhere except in Emma’s stuck-together vagina.

Emma is a bi-racial bi-national (black Alabaman/white British), Julliard-trained award-winning classical music prodigy. She typically looks and feels half her 50 years. Her body, starting this morning, revolts in an age-appropriate and menopausal if unexpected way. This vaginal revolt interferes with her ability to practice piano, a fact that is especially vexing as she is working on a deadline for an upcoming international performance. She is also toying with composing a non-classical piece with racial overtones that may confuse and distance her classical music audience. Emma has lots to consider today and doesn’t much cotton to interruptions from her nether-regions to a well-designed schedule.

Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay about?

PILOT: O/L/D? (Old Lady Dilemmas)

It’s a beautiful New York day everywhere except in Emma’s stuck-together vagina.

Emma is a bi-racial bi-national (black Alabaman/white British), Julliard-trained award-winning classical music prodigy. She typically looks and feels half her 50 years. Her body, starting this morning, revolts in an age-appropriate and menopausal if unexpected way. This vaginal revolt interferes with her ability to practice piano, a fact that is especially vexing as she is working on a deadline for an upcoming international performance. She is also toying with composing a non-classical piece with racial overtones that may confuse and distance her classical music audience. Emma has lots to consider today and doesn’t much cotton to interruptions from her nether-regions to a well-designed schedule.

Accompanied by Caroline, a long-time and loyal, if unsympathetic friend, Emma sees her gynecologist and a vaginal physical therapist. They prescribe a temporary pain medication and recommend dildo-based exercises and a plan to recondition her female tissues so that she can comfortably have sex in the future. Emma doesn’t own a dildo. She has been celibate for two years. She and Caroline go to a sex store where Caroline, very experienced in the use of sex toys, searches for a suitable starter dildo for Emma. Emma bumps into her makeup artist in the store. Both are embarrassed.

Her purchase made, Emma hails a cab. The cabbie hits a pothole; Emma’s dildo, lube and other items fly out of her purse and land in the startled cabbie’s lap. The day is only getting more mortifying.

Once home, she decides to distract herself by making lunch for an interesting, elderly and lonely neighbor whom she only knows in passing. Mrs. Yasutake surprises Emma by telling her about her time in a Japanese internment camp in Wyoming. Emma is able to put her personal dilemma into perspective. Mrs. Yasutake is a wise woman; she informs Emma that her aging and moisture-depleted vagina is a real female struggle, one to be embraced and not ashamed of. Before Mrs. Yasutake is picked up from Emma’s condo by the doorman, Emma improvises a piano solo to a poem that Mrs. Yasutake recites about her internment experience. It is an unexpected moment that signals a potentially deepening friendship.

Emma does her dildo exercises. The dildo gets stuck in her just as her Havanese, Boo Radley, needs walking. She walks the dog in serious discomfort and a very odd outfit, arriving home to find that her ex-pat “boyfriend” returned stateside to declare his love for her. As Emma and Aidan are reconnecting, she receives a phone call that her good friend, musical collaborator and perhaps former lover, Prince Rogers Nelson, has overdosed on a plane flight.

The dildo releases. The dog runs off with it. The TV news reporting Prince’s health emergency and music (Prince’s and Emma’s) are heard as credits roll.

SERIES: O/L/D? (Old Lady Dilemmas)
O/L/D? is a comedic drama TV series of 12 60-minute episodes. Unique in its approach to the physical, psychological, social, political and professional challenges of middle-aged women, O/L/D/ is Mozart in the Jungle meets Blackish meets Frankie and Grace.

What genres does your screenplay under?

Dramedy, Drama, Comedy

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Professional pianist, Emma Carter, is struggling to accept the ways that she is aging and its potential impact on her functional ability to play piano, her performance stamina and the work required for her to stay creative and relevant in a world in which she has always been an oddity. She is a woman of color who has found success as a classical musician. She was raised in privilege in New York and London. Her Anglo-British mother has remotely royal blood. The family home is on land granted them by King George. She has a brother, a London-based poet, unable to pass for white because he is outed by her fame. Prince is/was her best friend. She feels pressure common among the black and privileged to be perfect for all of the wrong reasons. To her mind, her body’s betrayal is a challenge to constructing her legacy and making her ancestors proud.

This screenplay should be made into a movie because it tells a great story, not often seen on screen, about a vibrant and aging woman. Emma is unique in many ways but struggles with familiar human issues, and in particular, with how to accommodate aging as a woman, classical musician, person of color, responsible daughter, friend and lover. Emma is a charming, funny and relatable character navigating cataclysmic shifts to her self-perception that are recognizable to most women, even if her specific experiences of female aging seem peculiarly specific to her. As an African-American and Anglo-British classical pianist, Emma is new to the screen. She is composing music that highlights social issues, a commitment that challenges her music contract, her devoted classical music audience and the unexpected ways that various parts of her multiracial family and group of friends confront race, change, geographical region, social expectations and love. We have not seen Emma before.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Airborne Dildo

What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

There is a tie between three films, listed in alphabetical order: Love Actually, To Kill A Mockingbird, Twelve Angry Men. Sorry if that sounds like cheating.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I have been writing this TV pilot for four months, though thinking about it and working it through in my head a bit longer. I workshopped it in a class at the University of Michigan. I did two table reads with women of various ages. It was read and critiqued by professional and well-known stage and television actors, playwrights, theater educators and acting teachers. I also submitted the entire screenplay for evaluation. I paid attention to the critiques.

How many stories have you written?

I have written perhaps 100 stories. Likely more. I started writing stories when I was three. As I have matured, my stories have grown up as well. I no longer write about boys who eat snails, teachers that annoy me, Sunday School or being sent to time out. I most often find myself writing about the intersections of health, family and faith.

I have a number of published non-fiction books, one in child psychology and six about African American faith and practice (most are relevant to Baptists). I have also written government monographs on issues of race, child, family and community health.

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

I was motivated to write this screenplay because I have some things in common with Emma. ‘Nough said.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

I did not have obstacles to finishing a first draft of this screenplay. I wrote it in a class at the University of Michigan and had feedback from five different students each week on each component of the script (logline, bible, character development, each act, the entire screenplay).

My challenge was in making draft revisions. I was not certain to which editorial voices (from table reads, evaluators, professional actors and friends) I should pay attention. I learned from evaluators that I had some formatting challenges; I thought I had gotten that right. I was wrong. I don’t like wrong.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I have lots of passions.

Friends. Family. The pursuit of a joy-filled and balanced life. Music. Film. Theater. Fine Art. Dance. Dancing. Walking. Gluten-Free Vegan Gourmet Cooking. Practicing Piano and Guitar. Swimming. Seeking Spiritual Sanctuary. My Adorable Dog, Scout.

The list is long, but I don’t sleep much so I fit it all in.

Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

You can only call yourself a writer if you actually write. Daily. And well. And rewrite. Daily and well.

When I am stuck, I take myself out of my story and write anything at all (organizational lists, letters, thank you notes, song lyrics). This jumpstarts my planned writing process. And sometimes, these unrelated items often end up in my stories.

I firmly believe that you can only call yourself a writer if you are a voracious reader. It is instructive to see how other people tell stories, weave words into surprising narratives and make it impossible for you not to love/hate/care about their characters. Film and theater also inform my writing. I am always on edge waiting to see how a new voice interprets life in an unexpected, beautiful way.

The rest? I indulge my various passions. And, as my dog, Scout, is a great dancer, I have a house party almost every day. Life is good.

****

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo: http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson


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