Birth Of A Movie Line

Over the last few days I’ve been transferring some home videos to DVD. Most of them haven’t been watched since I recorded them the first time.

The first one I did was a video of my grandfather’s home movies he used to make on 8mm film. Silent but in color films. The film to video cassette we did years ago. My brother Shane and I went to his house and found all the films with us in them, and played them on the projector with the video camera running. It is not the greatest copy, but it is better than having nothing. What I found amazing was that while video taping these films back then, my brother and I discussed what was going on, what other things we remember from that day. An awesome commentary.

Much of those films were shot while on my grandparent’s commercial trawling boat. They were shrimpers during summertime. In the winter, they were fur trappers. So there is a lot of that stuff in there. Things not many would understand if Shane had not explained these things for my video. I was only about three or four when the films were made so there wasn’t much that I remembered. He was older and he spent a lot more time on the boat shrimping and trapping.

I had forgotten my brother was with me when I converted that film to video. I had forgotten about the “narration.” It is strange because Shane died last year. Now I have a hell of a lot more of his voice than those two old messages from him that I was saving on my telephone answering machine. I won’t ever get rid of those either, because there were some really neat things he said in there. One of them something I lifted and put in a character’s dialogue at the end of my screenplay. A really beautiful line. To me. Maybe it is not anything that would move anyone else. But that is one line I would never change in that screeenplay no matter how much money anyone ever tried to pay me to change it.

Now I know why writers give publishers and directors so much hell during rewrites. Things like that, we can’t let go, won’t let go. The thing is, this one little line was the driving force for the last half of writing this script. I kept hearing his words over and over again, that line I lifted.

There are other videos, one of Candace fresh out of the hospital after being born. It was sad to watch that one because all I could think was I know how it all ends.

I’m sure one day someone will watch those goofy monologues of mine from those acting classes and think the same thing after I’m gone. Had I found those a few years ago, I might have destroyed them. Me, a Cajun doing a British stage accent, or the one where I’m doing a Southern accent. Oh my, makes me blush just thinking about them.

Here is the Pathé Baby movie projector. It belongs to my Parisian friend. Her dad invented it. Cool, huh?


20 thoughts on “Birth Of A Movie Line

  1. I just can’t wait to see those old movies, pack them in your case now so you don’t forget! There’s a school of thought that says “Everything happens for a reason”, so there might be a reason for Shane’s commentary in those videos. Maybe you should write something about those old days, and Shane is helping you? I’m so glad you got those videos. They are giving you so much comfort now, and will continue to do so. Isn’t it strange to think that things that were once so ordinary can take on such great importance?

  2. Good idea, Liv, I’ll bring some. I’ve got some videos of when you and Klaus were here.

    Michele, that line is in my last workshop submission. You did say you had liked the piece (it is in the montage).

  3. This is so sweet, Kitty. To have all those memories saved so that noone will ever be able to delete them. I wish I had something similar from my dad. But then again, I cannot even look at pictures without coming down to tears, so I guess a video with sound and movement would stay in a drawer for years and years.

    “I know how it ends”. This line gave me the goose bumps.

  4. I have a video of my dad that is only about a minute long. I really regret not getting more video of him. He died a few months before Spanky was born so it’s sort of cool that I can show her how he looked and sounded (big tall Texas accent versus the rest of our Cajun accents). He was also laughing in there and that is how I remember him most, laughing.

  5. hey, i would like a copy of those movies. i really would like to show Kennedi one day why we named our boat “The Cloudy Sky”. I think about DeeDee everytime Tommy watches the Cubs play baseball. How did i ever remember that this was his team? Anyway did you know that Kennedi’s middle name was almost Lena. After Momo Lena and Tommys grandmother Lena. They both had the same name, weird. PaPa Jimmy , I think about him every birthday, with his birthday being only one day before mine. Also everytime I see Tommy’s uncle pop-a-top on a Pabst Blue Ribbon Special. And Uncle Shane, well lets just say that i remember him everytime I hear the song “Every Rose has a thorn” by Poison. Just the funniest story about how he used that song once to get back with Aunt Paula. The funny part about it is that she actually thought that he wrote her that song. Took him back and I think a few weeks later heard it on the radio.

  6. I hadn’t heard that story about Shane, Ape. That’s hilarious.

    Yeah, I’ll make a copy of the old films for you. I’d like to find out who has the original films and go back down the bayou to make a better copy. I can just dub Shane’s voice back over them. Some of our aunts an uncles also had movie cameras (with sound, yay!), maybe they will let me copy some of those.

    Hey Ape, if you have their email addresses, could you forward them to my email?

  7. you have a friend with a very famous name in montreal.

    Pathé Frères:
    Pathé Frères was founded in France by two brothers, Charles and Émile Pathé. The phonograph portion of the company was established in 1894 and the cinema division was created in 1896. The Pathé brothers, former restaurateurs, used a distinctive rooster as their trademark for their “talking machine” and ‘Le Coq’ served as a reference to their culinary origins. In later years Le Coq would also refer to a figure in their company newsreels.

    In 1898, a small phonograph cylinder factory was built at Chatou near Paris, and Pathé Frères began producing recordings on cylinders. By 1909 their recordings were produced on discs. The company released their first complete opera – Carmen – in 1910. Early in 1914 the company set up distribution centres with J.A. Hurteau and Co Ltd, Montréal, and M.W. Glendon, Toronto. Four years later the Pathé Frères Phonograph Co of Canada Ltd opened a sales office in Toronto. It was listed in city directories until 1921. By 1919 branches existed also in Paris, London, Moscow, Brussels, Milan, and New York.

    The music division of the company recorded some of the earliest performances by several Canadian-born musicians. Pathé did not record in Canada but made 78s of performances by such expatriates as Emma Albani, Henry Burr (as Harry McClaskey), Craig Campbell, Kathleen Howard, Frank Oldfield, and Cora Tracey, in studios in New York and London. The Cherniavskys and Gitz Rice also recorded for Pathé. Pathé, France, was purchased in 1927 by English Columbia; English Pathé, later, by Decca. The name Pathé has survived in France on labels belonging to IME (EMI) and Pathé-Marconi.

    Author Edward B. Moogk
    The Canadian Encyclopedia © 2007 Historica Foundation of Canada

  8. Thanks, Brut, that is fascinating information.

    My friend is not a Pathé, and neither was her father. He invented the first small movie projector for the company, the one in the photo (that was his, well, it belongs to his daughter now). He either worked for Pathé, or they bought the invention from him. I have seen some photographs at her house of this machine in production. She has the coolest photo albums I have ever seen. She also has a lot of artifacts from his lab. One of them is an early record player that plays a recording which is on what looks like a giant spool of thread.
    Going to her house is like going to a museum. You know how I love machines. LOL.

    But yeah, she does come from an influential family, she met Matisse in the south of France when she was a little girl.

  9. This is lovely. Those unexpected voices can totally blind side you… Absolutely. I feel like I’ve already told this story to you maybe but… I heard my grandfather’s voice for the first time ever sitting on the floor of the equipment room in film school listening to a 1/4″ reel-to-reel my parents had recorded back in the sixties… My sister – tiny – reciting poetry from memory and then this deep new york voice. My paternal granfather. I never met him, dead before I was even a twinkle in someone’s eye. And there I sat weeping and making the equipment guy very uncomfortable (smile).

  10. i remember watching some of those videos. my mom has a bit of film also that if she does nothing with i would like to snag.

  11. Sulya, no, you didn’t tell me that one. Cool story. Yeah, these old films are treasures.

    Capone, I recently spoke with your mother about her videos and she said she knows someone with a machine that can convert them to DVD. She says she’ll make copies. I notice she has a MySpace page and has been scanning old photos and putting them up there.

  12. We just returned from putting flowers for Shane and Pumpkin. Billy, Grizz, and I went. We are really missing our friend. 😦 If you could share the tapes. we would love to see them, and hear his voice again. I hope you and yours are doing well.

  13. Hi Ann,
    Thanks so much for going out and putting flowers on the graves.
    Taking your dog Grizz out there is just perfect for Pumpkin, you know how he loved dogs.
    Sure, I’ll make a copy for you. : )

  14. So true, Shane did love dogs, he always had one.
    Pumpkin was the one who tried to rescue every dog he ever saw wandering the streets when he was little. He had a bleedin’ heart for dogs. Big time.

    So how is Grizz? That sure is a pretty dog.

  15. How are you and your’s? Billy broke his foot about a month ago. That really put a damper on working on this old house. Hopefully things can start getting back to normal soon. Wait, what is normal? So long I forgot. Grizz is great. He is finally looking like his breed. His coat grew out enough for Billy to groom him right. We will send you a picture. Now if he would just keep his Holloween costume on long enough to get a good shot of him.
    How are your dogs. They are always pretty girls. when do you think, ya’ll might come down here for a visit? The holidays are just around the corner.

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