Lectura Avanzada en Inglés No. 1


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Directing a Movie

Gordon Schultz and his crew are preparing to shoot one of the last scenes of his new film “Shattered”, a tragic love story set in Spain in 1938 towards the end of the Spanish Civil War. As the director, he is trying to finish shooting the film this week but it hasn’t been easy. They have had so many problems, that the previous day in a fit of rage he tore out a page of the script and flushed it down the toilet. Of course that wasn’t the end of it. The paper got lodged in the pipes and the toilet overflowed. A plumber had to be called to fix the mess and everyone was upset.

Sylvia Sanchez is on the set, staring up at the ceiling, mumbling her lines to herself while the make-up crew puts on the finishing touches. She is playing the role of Maria Perez whose husband is fighting the Nationalists near the Ebro river. Ricky Sanchez a few feet away paces back and forth, mentally preparing for the scene. He plays Oscar de la Roca, a deserter returning from the battle, bruised and bloody. He and Maria were childhood friends and he has returned with bad news.

“Take your places…” Gordon calls out to the cast and crew.  “………and ACTION!”.

Maria sits alone in a chair, looking sadly at a picture of her husband. Suddenly the door swings open and Oscar staggers into the room. Maria gets up and rushes to him “Oscar !!” she exclaims; “What happened?”.

Oscar looks at her and  shakes his head “We’re finished! We threw everything we had at them. They were too strong, too well armed. They just … overwhelmed us.”

“What about Pablo?” she asks.  Oscar looks up and then looks down again. “Pablo is not coming back”. “No!” cries Maria; “it can’t be”. 

“CUT!” yells Gordon. Everyone stops, and the director walks up to Maria. “Listen Sylvia, that was …… a bit tepid. Maria gave up everything to be with Pablo. She waited 8 years for him to return from France so that they could finally be together. I think she would be a little more upset than that.” Sylvia nods.

“Ok, let’s take it from the top again. Places everyone! Five, four, three, two, one, and ……….. ACTION!”

Oscar comes staggering in, fake blood dripping from his arm. The door swings wide open, slips off its hinges and falls on one of the cameramen. “WHAT THE ……. CUT!!!!” screams Gordon. He flings his script on the ground and walks over to the injured cameraman. He has a nasty cut on his leg. “Oh for Pete’s sake, could someone call 911??”. “That won’t be necessary” groans the cameraman holding his leg and making a face like he was praying very hard to God. “Just get me the first aid kit and I’ll be fine”.

“Are you sure you’re ok? All right, you heard the man, get him the first aid kit and let’s get back to work” says the director walking back to his chair. Ten minutes later, the actors and the crew are back in place. “Oscar says ‘They overwhelmed us’ let’s take it from there” shouts Gordon hoping to move past the whole door incident. “And………. ACTION!”

“They just….overwhelmed us” begins Oscar with a look of hopelessness.

“What about Pablo?” asks Maria, trying to ignore the cameraman still holding his leg.

“Pablo is gone ! “ replies Oscar softly. “NOOOO !!!” wails Maria, beginning to force out a tear or two.

Gordon  looks up from the script in his hand. “CUT! Ricky ! Isn’t the line ‘Pablo is not coming back’ instead of ‘Pablo is gone‘ ? “

“Oh right ! I knew that sounded a bit off” replies Ricky apologetically.

“Ricky, check your lines please ! We’re all starving here. It’s lunch time. Let’s just wrap up this scene and get something to eat” says Gordon, getting back into his Director’s chair. “Pablo is not coming back; take it from there. Five, four, three, two, one and ………… ACTION!”

“Pablo is not coming back” begins Ricky, trying to get back into the scene. “NOOOO !!!” wails Maria just as Ricky’s cell phone goes off. “ARE YOU KIDDING ME ????  ” screams Gordon from the Director’s chair. 

“Sorry!!! I could have sworn I had switched that off and left it on the table. It won’t happen again”

“Three, two, one and ……….ACTION!” yells Gordon as he imagines strangling Ricky with his bare hands.

“Pablo is not coming back!”

“NOOOOO !!! It can’t be!”. Maria drops to her knees and begins to sob.

“CUT!!” Gordon walks over to the set and hands Maria a tissue. She wipes her eyes and blows her nose. “Still no good ?”

“It’s better, much better. I’m starting to feel your pain a bit. I think you’re getting the idea. However, I want to see more. Just go all out. Ok, let me give you an image to work with. Your heart has been ripped out of your chest. Your children have been eaten by wild dogs. The world that Maria knew is no more. Am I making sense? This is one of the last scenes of the film. The audience should want to get out of their seats and come running over to comfort you.”

“Got it “ replies Sylvia taking a deep breath to prepare for the next take.

“Ok people, let’s get this done. “Three, two, one and …………. ACTION!”

“Pablo is not coming back” groans Oscar.

“NOOO!!!” screams Maria. She throws herself down on the floor and bawls loudly while beating the floor with her fists. “IT CAN’T BE!!” she yells while Oscar runs over to console her. “DAMN THEM!! WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THIS COUNTRY ??!!”

“Don’t worry,” replies Oscar softly “we will get them for this”. He looks up with a look of determination “Cataluña will be saved from those barbaric Nationalists. We will win in the end and Spain will set an example of peace and prosperity for the rest of Europe”.

“CUT !! “ yells Gordon. “Great job both of you! Maria, that’s exactly what I was looking for. Let’s break for lunch. Someone get Maria a box of tissues and a bag of ice for her hand. I think it is beginning to swell.”


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