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i hate this stupid riddle!

the kelly clarkson wha?

"because of you"

MUSIC VIDEO TREATMENT SCREENPLAY*
KELLY CLARKSON
BREAKAWAY
SPJK2K / No Talent Productions 2005
3rd Draft /MARCH 28, 2005


FADE IN:

ON BLACKSCREEN

We see nothing as we listen to a slightly muffled but extremely heated argument. Both parties are at fault, continually cutting each other off and hurling insults at each other, neither side really listening to the other. It is the unmistakable sound of a marriage being flushed down the toilet.


MAN

-stop lecturing me, dammit! I don't bust my  
ass all day to come home to this crap! I-      
WOMAN

Oh, like you're ever home! All you do is work!
You're never here, it's like having a roommate
instead of a husband! I want you to at least-

MAN

Somebody has to pay all these bills you run up!
Oh but I'm supposed to be itching to get here  
for this? Wait, you want what, you want what?
You want, you want, that's all I ever-             

WOMAN

It's not just about me! You have children in    
case you forgot! Is it really that hard to be-   

MAN

Time for the want list! Let me get a pen and  
paper, what do you want now? What? What  
else-                                                      

WOMAN

If you shut up for two seconds, I'm trying to-  

MAN

Don't tell me to shut up, dammit! I put up with
enough crap at work, I-                              

WOMAN

"I" "I" ""I", all you think about is yourself! Shut
up and stop yelling so much, you'll wake-       


A LOUD THUD jars us out of blackscreen, the unsettling sound of an angry fist connecting with something structural. A dark ceiling now completely occupies our view as the vocal sparring gets louder.


MAN

WHAT DID I JUST SAY!                            

WOMAN

STOP YELLING! DAMN YOU, I HATE YOU!      

MAN

YOU'RE YELLING, YOU STOP YELLING!         

WOMAN

YOU SHUT THE HELL UP!                           


A string of indistinguishable THUDS once again jolt us to another perspective, facing a dimly lit door.

INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT - CONTINUOUS

where the commotion can be heard coming closer down the hallway outside.


MAN

COME HERE!                                        

WOMAN
(sobbing)

BASTARD, I WISH I'D NEVER MET YOU!     


We MOVE CLOSER towards the door as the noise approaches and passes by. Another door slams shut, more pounding fistwork.


MAN

OPEN THIS DAMN DOOR! OPEN IT!            

WOMAN

LEAVE ME ALONE! JUST LEAVE!                 

MAN

BITCH! TO HELL WITH THIS!                    


Angry footsteps storm back down the hallway, keys jingle and another door slams, causing something to hit the floor. A car's engine cranks, the flash of HEADLIGHTS briefly illuminate the door in front of us, and we SPIN towards the bedroom window as the car speeds away. Neighborhood dogs start barking outside as our attention returns to the door, then the doorknob, and we can hear the woman inconsolably sobbing from down the hall.

A HAND reaches from below and LOCKS the doorknob.

PLAYBACK STARTS

Through the dim room, we MOVE TOWARD a dresser adorned with a mirror, where we can discern various photographs taped to the edges. We DESCEND directly in front of the mirror, reflecting only a silhouette in the darkness. The figure reaches under a lamp beside the mirror and turns it on, revealing a YOUNG GIRL in her pajamas looking back at us, tiny slivers of saline scrolling down her cheeks. We share her POV as she turns away, glancing at a digital clock next to the bed that reads 2:02. We return to the reflection to see

KEL

staring back at us, sans makeup, wearing the same pajamas, her face streaked with the same tears. In the mirror, we can now see the clock's reverse display, which appears as 'S O:S' in the reflection. Kel wipes away the brine with her sleeve, dons some glasses and reaches for a pad and pen, begins writing as the lyrics commence.

(I will not make the same mistakes that you did
I will not let myself cause my heart so much misery)

CLOSER on the pad as the words pour forth, the very ink glistening with her uncensored emotion. A stray teardrop PLUNKS onto the pad, inkstrokes swirling into an ugly black puddle.

ANOTHER ANGLE

as Kel yanks the specs off and vigorously dries her eye with the back of her hand, and we MOVE THROUGH THE WALL into the bedroom of the woman, her MOTHER, sitting on a bed littered with used tissues, tugging at her wedding ring until it loses its grip on her finger, then throwing it at the wall.

(I will not break the way you did, you fell so hard
I've learned the hard way to never let it get that far)

BACK ON KEL

wincing in anguish and disgust, she throws the pad and pen across her room.

CUT TO:

EXT. CEMETERY - DAY

A gentle drizzle lilts as Kel, dressed in black, stands before a beautifully decorated COFFIN poised for its descent into an open grave. She is alone as she delivers her musical eulogy.

(Because of you I never stray too far from the sidewalk
Because of you I learned to play on the safe side so I don't get hurt)

She leans forward, knocks some flowers off of the coffin in a slightly irritated manner, then gently replaces them with something we can't quite make out.

(Because of you I find it hard to trust not only me but everyone around me
Because of you I am afraid)

LOOKING UP

from the open grave where, for a split second, instead of Kel we see the young girl dressed in black, just before the coffin is lowered into frame, plunging our view into darkness again.

PLAYBACK STOPS 1:10

INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT - CONTINUOUS

as the blackscreen transforms into a SUITCASE being pulled away from frame, revealing the young girl, clutching a teddy bear and standing in front of her mother, whose hands rest on the girl's shoulders.

GIRL'S POV

The man, her FATHER, walks away with the suitcase, toward the front door of the house. A coffee table by the door holds several framed photographs and a clock displaying the time 11:33. His footsteps echo through the awkward silence.

YOUNG GIRL
(softly)
...Daddy...?                                           


He stops in front of the door, given pause by the mere sound of her voice. His head turns slightly in acknowledgement, and he is drawn to note the photographs on the coffee table. His free hand slowly reaches toward one, but stops before connecting.

ON THE GIRL

as she takes a confused step forward, not knowing what to make of what is happening before her.

GIRL'S POV

The father retracts his hand, opens the door, steps outside with the suitcase, and closes the door behind his back.

BACK ON THE GIRL

Unable to stop staring, as if realizing her world is about to change and there are no answers why. A beat. Suddenly she THROWS the teddy bear towards the door. It bounces off the corner of the coffee table and knocks the framed photograph to the floor, glass SHATTERING helplessly, along with the clock, which lands upside down, causing the digital display to appear as 'h E:l l'.

CLOSE AND HOLDING ON the photo, a picture of the family together, which is slightly obscured by the cracked glass inside. Our view is interrupted by HORIZONTAL STATIC, and a VACCUUM CLEANER passes before us.

INT. SAME LIVING ROOM - ANOTHER NIGHT - CONTINUOUS

PLAYBACK RESTARTS 1:10

PULL BACK to reveal a TELEVISION SCREEN displaying the typical vaccuum cleaner interference while the girl, now a TEENAGER, is finishing her chores. She shuts off the vaccuum cleaner, wipes some sweat from her brow. The front door opens, it's her mother, completely exhausted, just arriving home from work. They hug each other. There is a momentary unspoken contemplation between the two of them, as it were, of a life less dysfunctional.

(I lose my way and it's not too long before you point it out
I cannot cry because I know that's weakness in your eyes)

INT. HIGH SCHOOL AUDITORIUM - NIGHT

A musical production is taking place, our girl and her mother are both there, the girl on stage, the mother in the audience, which is filled with the families of the students on stage. Proud parents are sporting video cameras and nudging their little ones, pointing out the older siblings on stage. As the production comes to a close, the cast comes out on stage for a bow to roaring applause.

INT. BACKSTAGE - SAME NIGHT

The cast has been joined by their respective families, everybody is celebrating, our girl and her mother are all smiles when they meet up and hug each other. Then, in an OVER SHOULDER POV, our girl sees another student actress with both parents, the father mouthing the words "I'm so proud of you."

(I'm forced to fake a smile, a laugh, every day of my life
My heart can't possibly break when it wasn't even whole to start with)

Our girl can't bear to see it, swallowing hard as it levels her like it has so many times before, and we SWING AROUND to see that her mother is battling her own demons during the embrace, her vantage point revealing yet another obliviously harmonious married couple with their newborn.

CUT TO:

EXT. CEMETERY - DAY

We MOVE IN from behind Kel as she continues her lyrical mourning before the open grave while MEN appear from either side and begin shoveling dirt into the plot. We continue to CLOSE IN AND SWING AROUND until we are facing Kel, and we can now see an elaborate funeral setup behind her, only nobody is there.

(Because of you I never stray too far from the sidewalk
Because of you I learned to play on the safe side so I don't get hurt)

FROM ABOVE we watch the men continue to shovel, and we begin to see that the object Kel placed on the coffin is a small PHOTOGRAPH. Just as we realize it is the same cracked glass framed photograph of her family, a patch of DIRT lands on top of it.

(Because of you I find it hard to trust not only me but everyone around me
Because of you I am afraid)

BACK ON KEL - WIDER

as she is becoming visibly disturbed by the words she is singing.

MOVING - CONTINUOUS

Our view of Kel is blocked as we pass by the back of the TOMBSTONE. After we are past it, for a moment we again see the young girl where Kel was standing.

CUT TO:


INT. GIRL'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Our girl is laying on her side in bed when a sound distracts her, she sits up, turns to the wall. The time on her bedside clock is 3:17 as we pass through the wall to

INT. MOTHER'S BEDROOM

where her mother is also laying on her side in her own bed, weeping softly amidst the quiet desperation in realizing what has become of her family.

(I watched you die, I heard you cry every night in your room)

EXT. CEMETERY - CONTINUOUS

Kel begins to walk across the freshly laid dirt towards the tombstone.

(I was so young you should have known better than to lean on me)

INT. GIRL'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

The girl falls back onto her pillow, fighting back her own tears and attempting to drown out her mother's pain by covering her ears with her hands. She tips her head back on the pillow, peering up at the digital clock. From her vantage point, the upside down display reads 'L l:E'.

(You never thought of anyone else you just saw your pain)

EXT. CEMETERY - CONTINUOUS

Kel pulls something out of her pocket as she reaches the tombstone.

INT. GIRL'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

Kel suddenly sits up in the bed, completely uninhibited, belting the last line in anger, frustration, guilt, her pain spilling all over her face.

(And now I cry in the middle of the night for the same damn thing)

INT. MOTHER'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

Her mother wipes a tear and suddenly stops, looks at her left hand in confusion.

EXT. CEMETERY - CONTINUOUS

Kel kneels before the tombstone.

INT. LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS

CLOSE on her father's left hand reaching for the photograph before he walked out the door.

INT. MOTHER'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

Mother turns in surprise to the wall where her daughter's bedroom adjoins.

EXT. CEMETERY - DAY - CONTINUOUS

The rain continues to drizzle lightly as Kel stares at the EPITAPH on the tombstone. She takes a moment to read the engraving to herself, her eyes slowly cascading across the words.

(Because of you I never stray too far from the sidewalk)

OVER SHOULDER POV

of the engraving, which reads:

THE CLARKSONS
MARRIED JUNE 25 1971 DIVORCED OCTOBER 8 1988


BACK ON KEL as she reaches to place the objects from her pocket on top of the tombstone.

INT. MOTHER'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

Mother looks back at her hand, her RING FINGER exhibiting only an all too familiar pale-skinned circle.

INT. LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS

The father's RING FINGER is also bare as he pulls his hand away from the photograph.

(Because of you I learned to play on the safe side so I don't get hurt)

EXT. CEMETERY

Kel pulls her hand away as the modulated finale crescendos into play.

EXTREME CLOSE UP

of her parents' WEDDING BANDS atop the tombstone.

(Because of you I try my hardest just to forget everything
Because of you I don't know how to let anyone else in)

As Kel rises from her kneeling position, she looks across the heretofore unseen section of the cemetery in front of her, and we see

THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS OF TOMBSTONES

all with wedding bands atop them, each one bearing the name/married/divorced epitaphs of incalculable broken homes and lives.

VARIOUS ANGLES of this eerily disturbing sight inundate the frame as Kel surveys the familial damage while attacking our psyche with the self-loathing and suffering of the final chorus.

(Because of you I'm ashamed of my life because it's empty
Because of you I am afraid)

As the panoramic vista of the dysfunctional graveyard concludes, we find the young girl standing alone in front of the Clarkson tombstone. She stares with disbelieving, disgusted, mature eyes.

(Because of you
Because of you.)

PLAYBACK STOPS

We can only hear the rain now, and in a moment of utter repulsion with the world around her, she runs forward and angrily shoves at the tombstone, grunting and pushing until it UPROOTS FROM THE PLOT, TIPS BACK, AND FALLS TO THE GROUND. She stares at her futile attempt to attain closure, panting a bit from the effort as the rain begins falling harder. She looks around the cemetery for a moment, turns and walks away.

CLOSE ON the two wedding bands lying amidst the debris of the tombstone.

FADE OUT.






* due to the lack of practicality regarding concise details inherent in a typical music video treatment, the technical style utilized in this composition is a proprietary hybrid consisting more of a screenplay format than a video treatment formula.



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