Really Old School by Jim Boston | Script Revolution

Really Old School

Inspired by a piece of 1910s sheet music, a modern-day Omaha, NE teenager wants to honor and emulate the tune's author: Her newly-deceased great-grandmother, a ragtime-era composer-musician-bandleader-arranger.



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The day after Charlotte Waters' funeral, her sixteen-year-old great-granddaughter, JASMINE GREENWOOD, joins Jasmine's father GREG, program director for an Omaha, Nebraska hip-hop radio station, in inspecting the contents of Grandma Waters' old trunk...and they find a handwritten manuscript of "River City Blues," Charlotte's 1917 rag effort.

Jasmine tries out the tune a couple of days later...after swing choir rehearsal at her school, Benson High, where she plays the rag on the vocal music room's piano. PAULETTE RODGERS, the swing choir director, likes "River City Blues;" so does MOLLY ENGEBRETSEN, a cheerleader and one of Jasmine's fellow swing choir members, who joins Jasmine in playing the tune.

Confident-and-feisty Molly and calm, outgoing Jasmine have fun as a ragtime piano much fun that philosophical VERONICA KWAN, who's in a ballet troupe with three of her fellow Benson students, wants to make it a rag piano threesome. And thanks to a knockout audition, Veronica's in.

That's music to the ears of Molly's parents, MARK and HEATHER, who're struggling to keep the restaurant they manage, G&R Mexican Food and Pizza Midtown, in business. Their solution: Introduce live entertainment at the eatery, with the three young ragtimers as the main attraction. If Heather and Mark can't turn the restaurant around in seven months, it's through.

Once Jasmine's, Molly's, and Veronica's band, now called Really Old School, debuts at G&R Midtown (which now has a stage in place of some tables that existed before), the three pianists want to get the act on firmer ground and do more challenging pieces. To that end, Molly and Jasmine decide to quit the swing choir. And not long afterwards, Veronica quits the Four Ballerinas...incensing the troupe's leader, uptight ANYA PETROVIC.

Veronica's departure from the troupe causes her mom, MARGUERITE, to question Veronica's commitment to sticking with activities.

Really Old School lands a fourth member in mentally-tough, fun-loving ANNIE PICASSO, a third-string point guard on Benson's girls' basketball team. She leads the team to the Metro Conference Holiday Tournament title, then celebrates by eating at G&R Midtown...where she jams with the ragtimers. Annie's decision to quit the team to join the ragtime act shocks the whole school...and angers her dad, RICARDO.

Still, Really Old School slowly catches on at the restaurant and eventually earns the "Omaha World-Herald's" "Band of the Week" award...although the award doesn't sit well with Molly's big sister MADISON: "You're not a band. You're just four girls playing piano."

No problem.

Although Molly fumes at the remark at first, she and Veronica add guitars to the act while Annie adds bass and Jasmine adds drums, an instrument she wanted to play in fourth grade. However, Really Old School's new two-ply persona costs G&R Midtown more tables...and more customer seating.

Still, the band sets out to do the school's talent show, "Bunny Tracks." And despite Anya and cheerleader EMMA KARASEK leading an effort to keep the band off the stage, with Anya masterminding an effort to vandalize the talent-show piano and Emma simply denying that the ragtime band signed up for the show (Really Old School was the first act to sign up), ROS goes over at "Bunny Tracks."

Also, due to the band's efforts, as many "Tracks" attendees and performers as possible eat at G&R Midtown after the show...and the resulting sales prove to be enough to save the restaurant.

And Marguerite and Ricardo come to look at Veronica's and Annie's musical efforts in a whole new light.

"Really Old School" video lookbook (2020)
Submitted: October 6, 2019
Last Updated: October 9, 2021

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Jim Boston's picture

The Writer: Jim Boston

I first got interested in screenwriting as a college student in 1979 (Iowa State University); an additional impetus was the paperback version of the "American Graffiti" screenplay. From 1980 to 1994, I pursued screenwriting with a vengeance...but other things happened in my life. Since 2016, I've been back chasing the dream...and it's only because I inherited a Power Mac from one of the codirectors (Nick Holle) of a documentary I was in: "The Entertainers," about the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest and Festival. (Nick received the computer from the husband-and-wife couple who helped produce the film, Brent and Jackie Watkins.) The Power Mac has a copy of Final Draft 6... Go to bio

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