SCREENPLAY : Darlenne Susan Girard
FORMAY: 8 x 1 hour episodes - limited television series
LOGLINE: A 14 year old runaway caught up in a world of drugs, prostitution, and violence; living on the street, learning to survive, and not really caring if you don’t.
STORY: Powerful, poignant, and sometimes overwhelming, FREEFALLING is a two and a half year journey that begins with the loss of innocence, and ends with the death of a young girl in a skidrow hotel room. Character and event driven, FREEFALLING is an emotional train-wreck. A really fucked up love story. A street fairytale without a fairytale ending. And the story of everything that happens in between... is FREEFALLING.
With those spare words, begins a heartbreakingly poignant, breathtaking, and tragic story of a young girl's journey from innocence lost at the tender age of 14, to her death two and a half years later.
Forced to leave by an impossible situation at home, Melinda finds herself living on the streets. It is only her chance encounter with Angel; who thinks of more than just herself, that Melinda finds a fighting chance. Angel takes Mouse, whom she has christened Melinda, under her wing.
Melinda (Mouse) and Angela (Angel) are without a doubt two of the most unforgettable characters I have ever encountered. The story’s unique style, pace, and tempo conveyed the pain, despair, desperation and hopelessness of life on the street.
The tragedy is real. It happens on every single day, in every city, on just about every street corner. Yet there is one more tragedy, in an already tragic life… Melinda has brought with her an unwitting passenger.
FREEFALLING is uncompromising and unapologetic. Anything less almost seems dishonorable.
Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw
FREEFALLING is a very intense story about the unforgiving world of child prostitution, drugs, pimps, incest and violence. The story is uncompromising, and very direct without anything held back. The story is a very serious, event driven account of what happens to young innocent girls who become prey to the ruthless. The plot is very emotional, very powerful, and very real; having volunteered for the local Police Victim Services Unit for five years. This story has touched me. I believe society must confront these issues and address our failure as a society to allow this to continue.
The opening/closing four line poetic elements are a converse paradox to the story which lies within. A beautiful, simplistic composition which perfectly captures the before and after affects of FREEFALLING.
It belies the inevitable consequences, which glaringly protrudes throughout the screenplay, and the crafted use of motion and dialogue to motivate the telling of the story of the principal life and times of its main character, Melinda. Born into a dysfunctional environment, Melinda & her elder sister Betty are subjected to sexual and physical abuse from their father. The story is incredibly consistent in its believability throughout. The young girls are faced with traumatic situations, some of which told in the beginning, others filtered along the screenplay’s path.
You are immediately drawn into Melinda’s plight, her unenviable task of dealing with a pedophile father, her growing relations with a boy named Billy, and her growing awareness that her situation is not normal, and the only path is a path of escape. You feel an increasing understanding to what she is going through, the trauma Betty is feeling to protect her younger sister, and the devastation Melinda also feels by her father’s advances.
As the advances continue, so do the extremity of such actions, Melinda becomes a runaway. For a fourteen year old, the real world turns into a life of prostitution, drugs, and despair. Melinda quickly attaches her relations to those who become receptive to her. At times a pitfall, while at the same time, her saving grace.
Life quickly turns into a harrowing struggle to stay alive, in which the only method in doing so is to employ herself within a world of being emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually ‘turnkey’d’ by men and pimps. The story turns to her closest friend, Angel, a young prostitute who has taken Melinda under her wing. As often times are, when living such an unstable precipice of life, when life and death are so easily intermingled, so too are the tragic consequences involved with such a disparaging story.
I always look for a message in every story. This screenplay has a clear and pronounce message of despair, loneliness and betrayal.
Sympathy and understanding can save lives. As in FREEFALLING, and just as unfortunate in real life, lives are ultimately torn apart, lost, and simply fall through the cracks. Through FREEFALLING we find the greatest gift in relaying a world we either deny as real, find fault in acknowledging, or simply ignore. By this testament we are left with our own social mirror to take action for those around us. In the end, if one of us suffers, we all suffer.
FREEFALLING is a story about life on the street as told through the eyes of an abused, pregnant, teenaged runaway, but at its heart, it is a heartbreakingly poignant story about pain, love, and friendship. It is a powerful and intense screenplay. An overwhelmingly realistic story that will rip your heart out ten different ways (in good ways, if that's possible). The characters and dialogue are brutal yet richly drawn, the characterizations vivid, and the portraits of life on the street are dead on. The descriptions couldn't be any more realistic. There is no fairy tale ending. Pain and hurt run throughout. It is brutally honest and unyielding in the strength of its narrative. And when you're finished, all you want to do is take a deep breath, and hug your kids.
I must be really ugly or something, because nobody wants me. Not even God wants me. That’s why he makes me stand out here in the cold.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, nearly 800,000 children are reported missing each year in the United States. That is more than 2,000 a day. It is estimated that some 8 million children go missing around the world each year. This is beyond being a tragedy, but rather a reflection of a society which has become apathetic and uncaring about its most vulnerable of victims - children.
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