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jessie_kur

New Zealand

avid follower of podcasts, and the rules.
i also write, semi-regularly to never.
i avoid capitalisation because i think it makes me edgy.

Message to Readers

This is the pilot episode of a show which, for want of a better name I've called 'The Artist', about an artist (spoilers!) who takes some extreme measures to sell her work. Feedback would be most appreciated, especially if it's about the fluidity. Thanks for reading, and I hope this doesn't make you cringe to death.

The Artist

January 12, 2017

1. BLACK...

WOMAN (V.O) 
Art was always my thing... 

FADE IN

INT - CHILD'S BEDROOM - DAY

TITILECARD - 1989

Small room, but warm and sunlit. There are various drawings on the wall, a classic staple in every suburban family home. In the centre sits a TODDLER (2), covered in paint. We'll know her as VIOLA RYERSON.

VIOLA (V.O)
I was always told I was born to do art. 

CUT TO - SCHOOL ART FAIR. 

TITLECARD - 1998

EXT - SCHOOL FIELD - DAY

A pigtailed, braced and glasses-ed VIOLA (11) holds up two trophies and grins to her parents, who are busy taking her photo. Lots of FLASH (PHOTOGRAPHY), lots of chatter, and in the background, an EASEL. There is a large painting on it, brandishing a FIRST PRIZE RIBBON. Another typical suburban setting - lots of green grass, overly proud moms and minivans in the background. 

Because nothing screams middle class like a Ford Freestar.

VIOLA (V.O) (CONT'D)
It's how I always pictured making my living.

CUT TO - AN ART STUDIO.

TITLECARD - 2016

INT - VIOLA'S STUDIO - NIGHT

VIOLA, now 30, sits on a stool staring at a PAINTING. A WIDE SHOT reveals that the studio is also her apartment - a tiny bed, kitchenette in one with a separated restroom, overlooking New York City. Very Rent.

Like her childhood home, it has paintings everywhere - only now they are more sophisticated. The apartment has the added charm of empty liquor bottles.

VIOLA (V.O) (CONT'D)
But was I prepared to die for it?

CUT TO - THEME SONG.

2. FADE IN

INT - ART AGENT'S OFFICE - DAY

A plush, luxurious looking room on the surface - but is actually breaking down inside. A FLUORESCENT LIGHT flickers, and atop an expensive looking LEATHER ARMCHAIR are stacks of important looking papers. Despite this, the ART AGENT, who we'll know as RICHARD STONE is still dressed immaculately, if not a little aged when compared to a PORTRAIT that hangs on the wall. 

RICHARD
Ms Ryerson. I'm sure you are aware of your predicament - 

VIOLA (OS)
(bored)
The painting's aren't selling. What else is new?

VIOLA folds her arms and looks up at RICHARD.

RICHARD
Ms Ryerson - if you please - I think we need to discuss this seriously. (Beat). Despite the lack of, shall we say, interest, - we are all aware of your ability, and we'd like to suggest some, uh - we'd like to give you some advice. Y'know, you could change your style up a little bit, or something of that sort. 

VIOLA brings out a box of MALBORO LIGHTS, and looks at RICHARD pointedly.

RICHARD (CONT'D)
I, uh - fine, go on then. 

VIOLA lights a cigarette, and takes a long drag.

VIOLA
How many lithographs did we sell this year?

RICHARD
Of 'Deja Vu'' ?

RICHARD points towards a beautiful piece on the wall. No doubt one of VIOLA'S best works, however, it is clearly outdated. 

RICHARD (CONT'D)
Uh... around 45. Which isn't so bad, if you think about it...

VIOLA
(taking another drag)
Jesus. 45? And you had me make, what, like two thousand? 

RICHARD
(sheepishly)
That was when there were more, uh, takers. (beat) Right now, your style is going out. No one buys landscape portraits anymore - the market's leaning towards contemporary artists. Big bold colours, striking to the eye, huge and magnificent. Those sell well. I'm sure you've heard of Peter Max

VIOLA sets her cigarette down, and lifts an eyebrow

VIOLA
No offence, but your idea is kinda bullshit. How the fuck am I gonna turn a- turn a, a fucking, a fucking Bob Ross into a Picasso?

RICHARD
Why don't you just go home and think about it, huh? Do a little experimenting, see what you can come up with?

VIOLA gets up to leave 

VIOLA
(like an exasperated teenager)
Fine. Fine, whatever. Uh, thanks, Richard. 

RICHARD
No problem, Ms. Ryerson.

VIOLA (V.O)
What was I going to do?

CUT TO - INT - BAR - NIGHT

Typical hipster bar, full of college students/starving artists who think they're a lot better than they seem. Despite the face that she is 30, VIOLA stills visits with her college friends, a little too frequently. It's safe to say she fits in. As we pan across the room, we see a lot of beanies, glasses, minimalistic tattoos and craft beer. Because goddamn it, they're original!

VIOLA is sitting with her best friend from college - LAUREN FAULKNER. She too was an art student, but unlike VIOLA, has a hearty trust fund to fuel her craft. VIOLA, not so much.

LAUREN
What are you gonna do?

VIOLA takes a swig from her glass of SCOTCH. 

VIOLA
Who knows? I'm only thirty, for fuck's sake, and I'm already outdated. I'd retire now if I weren't so broke.

VIOLA SCOFFS

VIOLA (CONT'D)
Y'know, they used to call me a prodigy?

MONTAGE - VARIOUS

A) After the art fair seen in SCENE ONE, a young, energetic RICHARD STONE walks up to eleven-year-old VIOLA and her parents. They discuss, inaudibly, VIOLA'S painting, and RICHARD says something which shocks VIOLA'S MOM, who has her mouth agape with joy.

B) Sixteen-year-old VIOLA is making a speech at a local charity ball. A projected image of her painting depicting world peace stands behind her. As VIOLA finishes her speech, the crowd erupts with a standing ovation. VIOLA looks to the wings of the stage, where her parents give her a big thumbs up.

C) A NEWS REPORT of VIOLA'S success. At 19, she is the youngest artist to have an exhibition in the local museum, and has donated three of her paintings to a local hospital. She is, by all accounts, a small-town celebrity. But little does she know, that that's all she'll ever be... 

BACK TO SCENE

LAUREN SCOFFS

LAUREN
The prodigy card expires as soon as you hit 21. 

VIOLA
Yeah, yeah, I know...

LAUREN
And these days you gotta do some extreme shit to get noticed. I mean, fuck, even Van Gogh chopped off his own ear to make a statement. 

VIOLA raises an eyebrow

LAUREN (CONT'D)
Besides, we all know that the artists who sell the most paintings - 

VIOLA
- are the one's who're dead. 

They both laugh - suicide has become an inside joke between them, a product of their hyperbolic personalities. 

VIOLA (V.O)
That's when I realised exactly what I'd have to do. 

CUT TO BLACK

VIOLA (V.O)
I was going to kill myself.

END CREDITS















 

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