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The Movie

EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE—The Story of a Father and Son

A father rejects his gay son, then learns the boy is on the streets of Hollywood, at the mercy of men who abuse boys, and may have been a victim of a serial killer. Everything the father did wrong now crashes in on him. He must find his son, entering the abyss of street life in Hollywood, not even knowing if the boy is dead or alive.

This ain’t Tinseltown.

EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE–The Story of a Father and Son will be a unique and powerful movie, a smart, quirky independent feature film for sophisticated audiences, young and old. It will be a high-quality feature film for theatrical release, produced as efficiently as possible.

It is also a film for fathers of this generation. Two decades ago, the film A FIELD OF DREAMS had a unique and unusual impact: men were known to go see it by themselves and weep because of the impact of the feelings inspired by the film about seeing their fathers. The audience for EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE will not walk away from this feature film untouched and unmoved. It might change a life. It will entertain many.

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The Story

THE STORY

Michael R. Barnard’s thriller screenplay “EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE—The Story of a Father and Son” first appears to be a tawdry tale of street hustlers and a serial killer attacking boy prostitutes. It is actually the powerful story of a man fighting to fix mistakes he has made. The story possesses hints of “Brokeback Mountain,” “Boys Don’t Cry,” “Billy Elliot” and “Dallas Buyers Club,” yet has its own unique and wonderful personality.

John Kelly is a truck-driving good ol’ boy who has muddled through life without giving a second thought to his knee-jerk reactions to problems that affect him. One problem: his girlfriend left because he was not thrilled that she became pregnant. Another problem was a couple years ago when his teenage son David announced he was gay. John’s knee-jerk reaction was to do what he knew any self-respecting good ol’ boy had to do: abandon the boy.

When his son runs away from home, John lets him go and never looks back.

But it’s an escape he cannot maintain. One day, the town cop visits John to find out if he has a son. John lies and says “no.” The cop tells him it was nothing big, just that some boy prostitute had been killed in Hollywood and the cops there were trying to track down any possible lead to identify him.

The news that his son may have been killed is the beginning of the change in John’s life. He is suddenly faced with the scope and consequence of his bad judgment and is compelled to find his son. He heads to Hollywood, where a series of events leave him stranded and broke, living among the boys of the streets.

He becomes a close friend of one of them when he finds the boy, Armond, after a customer beat him up and skipped out of paying him. John also meets Julia, a social worker trying to get the cops to pay attention to the serial killer killing the boys of the streets. She is angry because nobody cares.

Armond and Julia, each in their own ways, become guides for John as he survives on the streets and tries to find his son. John is ignored by cops and befriended by street hustlers. The boys of the streets continue to be exploited by older men.

The killer is always nearby, and boys keep dying.

When, after days of searching, John finally learns that his son might be alive, John and Julia frantically track him down only to discover that David is in immediate danger of being the killer’s next victim. He is in the killer’s car. In a chase through the slimy hustling environs of Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood, John finally catches up with them just as the killer is about to strike. After an intense battle, John collapses, distraught, screaming out for his son: “David!”

By the movie’s end, the audience will be cheering for John.

You’ll believe a man can change.

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The Reality

THE REALITY

We know a movie is just a movie, but EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE—The Story of a Father and Son is not just a fascinating thriller. It’s not just a poignant story about the difficulties in lots of relationships between sons and fathers. It is also a story about a critical wave of sentiment that is building in America and worldwide: people are becoming aware of the damage that hatred and prejudice about gays is causing to fellow human beings.

Today, we are learning new tawdry details about the exploitation of young people from the same era as EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE, the late 1990s. Boys, some tossed to the streets, some confused, some awkwardly driven by dreams, all exploited by men for their own sexual purposes.

In 2010, there were almost a dozen suicides attributed to gay-bashing, abuse, and bullying. (see this article)

A SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER: “I would disown my kids if they were gay.”

People are shocked to learn about hatred such as this diatribe from an Arkansas public school. These are the words of Arkansas District School Board member Clint McCance. He posted this publicly on his Facebook page.

“Seriously they want me to wear purple because five queers killed themselves. The only way im wearin it for them is if they all commit suicide. I cant believe the people of this world have gotten this stupid. We are honoring the fact that they sinned and killed thereselves because of their sin. REALLY PEOPLE.”
“…because being a fag doesn’t give you the right to ruin the rest of our lives. If you get easily offended by being called a fag then dont tell anyone you are a fag. Keep that shit to yourself. I dont care how people decide to live their lives. They dont bother me if they keep it to thereselves. It pisses me off though that we make a special purple fag day for them. I like that fags cant procreate. I also enjoy the fact that they often give each other aids and die. If you arent against it, you might as well be for it.”
“I would disown my kids they were gay. They will not be welcome at my home or in my vicinity. I will absolutely run them off. Of course my kids will know better.” (see this article)

A FATHER: “Goodbye”

Recently, this horrible letter surfaced about a son, “James,” who had come out to his father:

A father's letter
A father’s letter

Our society has always had a mechanism: when bad judgment and hatred become visible to all, others can strive to correct it. It’s like flipping on a light and all the cockroaches scurry away. The public awareness can cause correction.

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The Screenplay

THE SCREENPLAY

“Michael’s script is one of the best I’ve read in a very long time. It’s got a terrific story (one that could have gone so wrong at least a dozen times but didn’t,) it’s got loads of heart (in a good way,) it’s got humor (I laughed out loud at least a couple of times,) it’s got genuinely interesting and appealing characters (the lead is especially well drawn and a great role.) Best of all, it’s actually full of good writing. It’s a film that really needs to be made.”

Those are the comments of former Miramax executive Mark Lipsky. (see archive copy) Others in the industry have said similar things about the screenplay EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE–The Story of a Father and Son: John Ferraro at Paramount Classics, Hunt Lowry at Warner Bros., Jason Blumenthal at Sony Pictures, and many others. In the end, it’s a unique story that can only be told by someone particularly passionate — the filmmaker and people who need to see the story made into a movie.

In late 2007, we went into production on the film with star John Schneider in the lead role of the good ol’ boy truck driver father (Dukes of Hazzard, Smallville), but shut down production immediately after shooting only one scene when the then-new Great Recession gutted the portfolios of investors.

When I first began writing the story for the screenplay EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE–The Story of a Father and Son in 1998, I would’ve been astonished to learn that the subject matter could still have an impact now, more than a decade later. Not only is it still true, it is worse. Society is moving too slowly to protect its families in diversity.

EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE is a good screenplay, a thriller drama that is fast-paced and full of good characters. It is an enjoyable movie and will please audiences.

Here’s a scene from EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE that I wrote many years before Mr. McCance and “Dad” said the same thing in real life:

————————————————–

GOOD OL BOY 1
You don’t know what you’d do if you had a boy who come to you saying, ‘Daddy, I’m a queer?’

JOHN
I don’t know.

HENRY
Well sure as hell I know. That boy’d be out there with them gayboys, no son of mine, I tell you. Shit.

JOHN
Your son?

HENRY
Well, it ain’t my son. But if there were a son…

JOHN
But it ain’t your son, so how do you really know?

HENRY
Damn, John, what you talking about? Of course it ain’t my son. But if there was a son…

JOHN
You’d throw your son away?

HENRY
Throw Hank away?

Henry ponders for a second, then declares:

HENRY (CONT’D)
No, damn straight. Throw him out. No son of mine!

JOHN
Damn straight. That’s the way it is. Well, I gotta finish off that truck.

————————————————–

EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE tells the story of a father who was like Mr. McCance and “Dad.” Except this man, his name is John, this man fights to correct the mistakes he made.

The audience is going to be cheering for John by the end of the movie.

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Artistic Statement

ARTISTIC STATEMENT

The reality of the exploitation of boys by older men in late 1990s Hollywood is playing out vividly in the news right now. It is a real world, where boys seeking survival or dreams or both have been exploited and abused, some by passers-by in cars with cash, others by superstars who could grant dreams.

The reality of gay teen anguish, being pushed aside by friends and family for being gay, has also been in the news. Recent announcements about the high suicide rate for gay teens has shocked the nation.

How weak is a family if it can’t absorb the fact that one of their own is gay?

The story of EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE–The Story of a Father and Son is fiction based on fact. Serial killers do kill prostitutes. Fathers do throw away gay sons. Teen gays do flee to the streets to escape and seek survival—and, perhaps, dreams. Old men do exploit needy young boys for their own sexual experience.

This story is unique in movies. It sheds a light on this real world, hidden from our sight. It could help some young people. It could help some parents. The revelation of this reality, as exposed in our thriller movie, could open the eyes of people who might otherwise do the wrong thing about a gay child.

And, the movie EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE—The Story of a Father and Son is entertaining and exciting for everyone.

BOYS FOR RENT – THE LATE 1990S RETURNS WITH A VENGEANCE TO GAY HOLLYWOOD


BOYS FOR RENT – THE LATE 1990S RETURNS WITH A VENGEANCE TO GAY HOLLYWOOD

 Written by Michael R. Barnard, filmmaker.

 Santa Monica Boulevard  cc https://flic.kr/p/7wjgRm

Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood

The past is coming back to haunt several people in Hollywood. The last years of the previous century—the late 1990s—are being relived by victims, abusers, and those who were merely in the environment of that time. Those were days when teenage boys wandered the streets of Hollywood willing to, or coerced into, trading sex for stardom or survival or both.

New lawsuits filed recently allege traumatic sexual abuse of minor boys at Hollywood sex parties of that era, trauma that has led to suicidal despair for victims. Those named in the lawsuits include powerful Hollywood directors and executives, most famous of whom is Bryan Singer, director of “The Usual Suspects” and several X-Men movies, including the current “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” (Those accusations are dissolving in a sea of lies and contradictions by the accuser; see “Judge Scolds Hollywood Sex Accuser for Lying in Court.”)

Hollywood is, of course, a state of mind more than a literal neighborhood. (Hollywood fought a losing battle to become a city separate from Los Angeles during that same era.)

In the late 1990s, the streets—particularly Santa Monica Boulevard—were filled with boys, many under 18, seeking older men for money and maybe stardom. There were two distinct territories: the Hollywood end of the boulevard, essentially La Brea Avenue to Vine Street, for boys hanging out on street corners trying to turn tricks in order to pay for food and shelter, and the West Hollywood end of the boulevard between La Brea Avenue and Robertson Boulevard.

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