Pork Pie

Institute History

  • 1991 June Screenwriters Lab


The visions were relentless. They danced upon the big screen of my mind over and over without end, daring me to address them. Dare indeed. You see I'd never written anything before, not even letters; I always phoned. But these questions from my childhood refused to go away until I'd answered them one by one. And so I began my search for answers to the questions of a child's heart. Questions of heaven. Is it real? Does it snow there? And if so, are the flakes white? Or are they even brighter like an orange sherbet. Do they play baseball in heaven? And will I again see Miss Bessie, my baby-sitter whose body I watched at age four being carried away in a white sack and placed in that scary white wagon with the blackened back windows. Or my two best boyhood friends, whom I lost in a ten month span in that memorable year of 1988 and who've proven to be irreplaceable. And would I finally get to meet the late great Charlie Butler, my grandfather who died when I was six months old? And if we met, would he be proud of me?

So I set out to quench the thirst of my childhood and sat down to write a screenplay, whereby I could paint a giant picture of the visions dancing around in my head. What has become known as PORK PIE was born on the stairwells of Broadway's Music Box Theater. I'd sketch out scenes on the steps in between my entrances in A Few Good Men. Then at 5 a.m. each morning, I'd rise and step into my closet turned writing space, try to flush out those sketches so that they coherently addressed what it was I thought I was trying to say, while at the same time remaining true to the genre of the screenplay. And after all was said and done, what I found waiting at the rainbow's end was PORK PIE.

Set in 1958, PORK PIE is the mythical fable of one Volcy Jackson, who upon the death of his mother, and as a favor to her last request, sets out on a journey to find the ever elusive jazz piano great, Charlie Butler. After an exhaustive ten year search, on July 4, 1958, a chain of events occur that propel Volcy into the presence of the jazz great. Smack in the middle of the PORK PIE HAT BAR! The jazz man's purgatory. Once there, in order to get out and play the Palace, one must cut against some of the greatest jazz cats who ever lived and are now somewhere between life and everlasting peace.


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