TITLE: Verity’s Surfing Movie
PREMISE: A retired Ivy League English professor fights Alzheimer’s as she moves to southern California. Her goals are simple. She struggles to remember her lost son and write a surfing movie.
GENRE: Surfing Drama
TIME: Contemporary of 1960s
SETTING: Los Angeles, California
MARKET: USA, International
WRITER: Alan Nafzger
OTHER INFORMATION: This screenplay is complete and ready to shot.
Verity (72) is a retired college literature professor. Her lifetime job has been in a small prairie town at a community college. She has had spectacular career and has been very appreciated. After 45 years on the prairie, she is still very in “east coast” and was educated in Boston. She aspires to bring something of the east to her this campus. She is very gentile and profound. Half the students do not understand her humor and whit. But she has always persisted. She values education and intellectualism over entertainment or making bank.
Until recently, Verity has been married to a history professor. Her husband has died and she continues to teach but the fun and enthusiasm has gone. The couple has no children.
Verity retires and endures the end of career party. She surprises everyone, casually announcing that she is moving to Los Angeles to write a screenplay. This is a shocker, because she has always been critical of TV and film. And she has always admitted a bias against the West Coast intellectualism.
Privately, half the professors are pessimistic. They point out, correctly, that the idea of a 72 year old woman moving 2000 miles away into a strange and dog-eat-dog hyper competitive writing market leaves little to hope for. However in her defense, other professors are more optimistic about her happiness. Also, the idea of moving and writing invigorates Verity. She leaves the prairie a young girl in a 72-year-old body.
Verity sells her Victorian mansion, buys an RV, packs up her dogs, and drives to El Segundo. She pulls into an RV park. She pays for a month and exercises her dogs. She immediately begins her screenplay. Her only real interruption
Verity soon finds herself the object of someone’s affection. Percy is also 70-years-old. He is a retired sound and light man. He was a New Yorker who moved to California 50 years ago. He knows the city and he knows something about the movie industry. Verity mistakes Percy for a native Californian he is so acclimated. Verity resists his affections but in the end slowly capitulates. Just as they begin to become close, Verity begins to show signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
As Verity declines she becomes interested in the surf culture. She befriends a surfer, named Dane. Dane lives with 10 children and a Mexican woman in a motor home. While the surfer is educated and wrote the “greatest surf 80s movie” screenplay, that was 25 years previous. Dane has put the money in the bank and has lived a very frugal lifestyle. He eats what he catches from the sea and his children have hardly any clothes. He claims to be homeschooling the children, but his is not. Verity follows him up and down the coast reading to his children. She maybe researching Dane as the main character of her screenplay, but of course she might just feel compassion for the children, who only seem to know about one thing – surfing.
From various flashbacks, we know Verity was once a vibrant young woman with great intellect. This is contrasted with the her later life in Los Angeles, after the effects of Alzheimer’s disease begin to show. Verity’s great mind deteriorates until she is reduced to a mere vestige of her former self, unable to perform simple tasks and completely reliant on her at times frustrated yet devoted boy friend.