The Author of Maggie Scratch Investigates The Blue Shepherd Contract

I went here first thing yesterday morning. The Acadèmia del Cinema Català. All I had was an address. I knew the building would be on the port but I had no idea it would be so impeccable. Majestic blue skies! Warm spring air! Inside I spoke with two gentlemen. They informed me, they enlightened me, they gave me some good advice. Basically, the bottom line is: major flaws exist. I have a contract that has no duration term. Is there anything that lasts forever?

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There you have the Barcelona post office, seems to me, it’s been there … forever! That tower, who goes there, pigeons and gulls? I have trekked many times to those big empty halls and waited in line. I was tempted to have some coffee at that lovely new cafe, but I had to hurry back to work so I got on my way.

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In front of the bus stop, I saw this sight.  The mosaic “Barcelona Face.” Roy Lichtenstein pays homage to Gaudi, but what about those Robocops touring the city on those machines?

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Maggie Scratch in Barcelona Today With Goosebumps in Gracia on Easter Sunday

Here I was walking towards the Verdi Cine to see Mustang. I highly recommend it. I highly recommend walking in Gracia, especially at Easter. There are people, some tourists, it’s crowded, but not overcrowded. You can see things and hear things and get up close.

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The graffiti grabbed me.

Ed! Ed! Who is Ed?

The heart says it all.

 

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The lady folksinger had the voice of a bird.

I listened, she was sweet, but I was drawn to another voice right up the street.

flamenco

I never heard Flamenco like this.

Right in front of me! Songs of pain and bliss.

I leaned back against the wall.

Why wasn’t everyone as stunned as me?

How could they talk? How could they stroll by? Didn’t they know what they missed?

Didn’t they hear that miracle?

The cry, the wail, the notes this singer sang!

I had goosebumps, I was thrilled, I was honored to be in their midst.

Not famous. Not digital. Not electronic.

Pure. Chilling. Essential. Spiritual—this!

They sang for you and me, for Easter Sunday, for all of us.

And they were a gift.

Artists on the street.

Artists playing.

Anonymous.

The Screenplay of The Blue Shepherd Has Spanish Roots

Vintage Spanish TV

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The screenplay of The Blue Shepherd has its roots in Televisión Española. In 1986 I began writing gags for a quiz show, then I wrote the sketches for the show and then I wrote sitcom pilots. I had a mentor, Sergio Schaaff. He taught me about television — he wanted a joke every fifteen seconds! Over fifteen years later I took him  what was then an early script of  The Blue Shepherd. I’m not sure if he read it, but when I went to retrieve it he looked at me like I was crazy: “Do you really think people will be interested in a story about a shepherd?”

This was the man who hired me to write for his top rated quiz show, Si Lo Se No Vengo (If I’d Known I wouldn’t Have Come) solely on the basis of an original sitcom I had written, “Rita and Anorexia”  (based on a sitcom character I had grown up with called “Rhoda”).  When I hand delivered my sitcom to Sergi’s buddy at Spanish TV, it turned out his wife was from my home town! Not only did Sergi hire me on the spot, he PUT me on the spot! He would give me a room and a pile of paper and  pens and close the door and say, “Write!” He was my boss.  He would talk to me at work. We would bat around ideas. I would try to get him to tell me what he thought people really wanted to watch on TV. Once he said, “Susana! If I knew that I’d be a millionaire!”   

Sergi Schaaff

 

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Maggie Scratch in Barcelona Tonight with Lee Scratch Perry, the Apolo and the Full Moon

I saw the full moon and was under its spell.

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“Are you angels?

I’m the black king.

The king of kings.

King of the Jews.

Judas.

I see Judas in the trees.”

I had no idea Perry was a poet. Or a prophet. The truth is, I didn’t know him at all.

I danced. I was free, I was wild for a while.

The Apolo’s red lights made my notebook pages pink. The Apolo won my heart. The bathroom is great. Chipped black paint on the walls, big wide mirrors for shaking out your hair and sheets of paper in the stalls. Unisex. Brand new shiny metal toilets. No seats! No lid to pull up or down.

I went back to my booth.  The Apolo filled up.

Slowly but surely the crowd rolled in, couples, love, kissin, sex!

Apolo

Imagine that space being body to body.

“Exercise! Exercise!

Push up!

Push up!”

 Lee Scratch lit a joint.

“Life is spliff!

Life is spliff!”

The king coughed.

At eighty he has arms of steel.

He waved at me, he was blessing us.

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“My spirit is bright.

My spirit is delight.

My shadow is black.”

Apolo I love you, Apolo you enchant me, thank you Lee Scratch Perry, thank you Apolo, I’ll be back.

The Author of Maggie Scratch says: Never give up!

The original 30 page Treatment for the film, The Blue Shepherd, was copyrighted in 1993 on my parents’ wedding anniversary day, March 24th.

The film producer, Enrique Esteban, who had various film production companies in various cities, helped with development, not only morally — he paid me! He asked me how much a treatment would cost, I quoted him my top price and he agreed without batting an eye. I asked him why he didn’t try to negotiate the price and he said: “I never argue about price.” But this is the same man who would call me for a meeting which I would think was about one thing and it would turn out to be about something entirely different. He would catch me off guard. Enrique Esteban once taught me: “Hay que torcer!” This is perhaps the best piece of doing-business advice anyone could get. The context in which he meant it would translate: “You gotta be a sly fox!”

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Michele, you are beautiful inside and out!

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Maggie Scratch in Barcelona Today at Thai Noodles el Petit Bangkok

Gloomy, rainy Barcelona Father’s Day.

 

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I called my dad  3,000 miles away.

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I needed chicken soup.

I got it.

Thai broth, better than mine. And that’s saying a lot, because I love my homemade chicken soup.

We had Pad Thai with crayfish.

It was just as good as Sea in Brooklyn.

And that’s saying a lot.

We were cozy and happy and I had a glass of wine. The day was gray but my spirits lightened with every sip and every bite.

Did I say bite?

I drank my soup!

cooks

Nacho serves and cooks with Fai and we ate their coulant de chocolate and had good strong coffee for dessert.

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We walked home laughing and the sun came out!

Yum!

A Shepherd and A Little Girl

God knows where the original of this photo is. If I had the original, the crease wouldn’t be there, but what is is. At least I have this!  Juan Pujolet was my Ibicenco neighbor and I guess you could say that he is the man behind The Blue Shepherd, although, the truth is, the shepherd is also my father, my brothers and all the men in this world who deserve to be loved. The little girl here is Sadie, my daughter. I think she will remember this photo, she may even remember this moment. If Juan was still alive, I know he would remember it. He was so pleased to be sitting there that day, he was so pleased I had brought this child into the world, into my home, he was so pleased to be invited to sit there and have a drink with Sadie. A shepherd and a little girl. The sight must have lodged itself not only in my mind’s eye, but in my heart, in my soul, in my cosmic consciousness and unconsciousness and in my collective unconscious and in all my cells and all my borrowed cells too.

My shepherd, my child, I shall not want.

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This is Where The Blue Shepherd Began

Actually, The Blue Shepherd began with a dream I had sometime after I took the Story Seminar course for scriptwriters with Robert McKee in Barcelona probably in 1992. But it could have been 1991, or even 1990. The point is, it was many years ago. Robert McKee inspired me. I filled a big fat spiral notebook full of wonderful quotes from that man. Don’t ask me to find that notebook. I’m trying to find all the scrap-makings of The Blue Shepherd and it’s like going on an archaeological dig in the recycle bins of the New York Public Library.

Amazingly enough, I found this letter. For those of you who don’t know Spanish, it’s the letter any scriptwriter who shows a film treatment to a top-notch producer dreams of. I was visiting my parents in Philly at the time I received it. They didn’t need a translation of the names Harrison Ford and Kevin Costner.

 

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Unplugging With The Blue Shepherd

 

Since my computer isnt working right i am blogging from my phone. This is a first for me as im all thumbs and dont even know how my new phone works. I love not dealing with apostrophes and capitals. It feels very good and liberating. I was looking for a picture of Evelyn but could only find this shot of her hand. You can see how happy i am. Evelyn has taken on The Blue Shepherd. Tomorrow i will connect a few more dots. I want to connect the dots about the sky. About water. About the soul. About love. About hate. About fear. About finding soulmates. And about finding out how to balance being plugged and unplugged so that when im sitting in the brand new big brother newark airport i remember to look out through the big broad windows past all the flashing monitors and see the pink and blue sunset settle in the sky.IMG-20150522-WA0001