Hollywood Treatment Date: 7/14/14. I was stunned to receive this document. The screenwriter had seen deeply into the work and took it up a level. The cinematic vision was incredible and wove the cinematic expression into something more than the writing permitted. I was humbled and inspired by the craft.
Title: Trailing Sky Six Feathers
Author: Ian Prattis
Treatment By: R.J. Welch
Trailing Sky Six Feathers by Ian Prattis is the tremendous story of Ian’s modern day spiritual awakening and discovery of his past life as Native American Eagle Speaker during the 18th century. Only through the intervention of his spirit wife Trailing Sky is Ian able to defeat his past vices and personal struggles to become the man he is today.
It’s important to recognize the film adaptation will be “based on true events” and not a documentary or biopic. The novel’s incredible scope of events – from the 18th century Indian struggles to contemporary political movements – is fertile territory for great drama and will be adjusted and adapted to best serve the themes of the novel while creating a gripping film.
With all novel adaptations, it’s important to focus on creating a compelling beginning, middle and end that can be captured in two hours of screen time. The film treatment will condense the novel’s amazing depth of detail, life stories and lessons about politics, anima, Gaia, Buddhism, and much more to create a linear filmic narrative.
In the novel, the first chapters set in the 18th century will now be interspersed throughout the rest of the narrative, mirroring challenges Ian faces, culminating in his death in the 18th century and his discovery of his true self and relationship with Trailing Sky in the modern day.
Additionally, like other real life film adaptations, characters and events will be condensed, combined or expanded to serve the narrative of the story. The Native American sequences will be expanded considerably while Ian’s contemporary life will be streamlined to highlight certain important events.
Overall, Trailing Sky Six Feathers by Ian Prattis can be an excellent and exciting film with a unique Native American spiritual angle rarely seen on screen.
A Canadian professor struggles with the realization his life is guided by the spirit of his dead Native American wife.
ENGLISH COAST — IAN PRATTIS, mid 30’s, takes a swig of beer as he steers a BOAT
off the coast. With him are his two young children IAIN and ALEXANDER and his WIFE. Other PASSENGERS are with them, Ian is giving a boat tour of the bay.
His wife says they should head back to shore, the weather is getting bad. But Ian isn’t in the mood to hear it, he wants to stay out longer, tempting fate, pushing his wife away because he’s drunk and hates being told what to do.
The SHORE radios over, saying a storm is coming. Ian sees CLOUDS forming on the horizon, FLASHES of lightning and –
Cut to the Great Plains of America, the 1800s. And a Native American Village complete with tents and horses. TRAILING SKY, a beautiful woman, sits with her husband, the strong and stoic EAGLE SPEAKER outside of their lodging. Trailing Sky breaks out of a trance — she says a storm is coming. She has had a vision of violence and destruction. She doesn’t understand it, only that they must pack up immediately if they’re going to survive.
Back with Ian on the boat, the STORM hits them hard, waves crashing over the bow. Ian knows he’s made a terrible mistake. The radio chirps to life, the MAN on the other end saying they’re going to be in for a rough ride. At the shore, they turn on all the house lights, one by one, to help the distressed boat find its way. Ian hears that there’s only one path that they can use to get back to the safety of the bay. But it’s surrounded by rocks. If Ian can’t navigate perfectly, they’ll all die. Ian looks at his wife and children and prays for help.
With Trailing Sky, she awakens from a trance – her husband says they’re under attack! APACHE WARRIORS are burning the village, killing the men and kidnapping the women. Trailing Sky, praying to her sky gods and ancestors for strength, goes into a trance, says she’ll save her husband.
Ian on the boat hears the voice of Trailing Sky saying “I’ll guide us to safety” – he looks around, but doesn’t understand it. Is he going crazy?
But he steers the boat forward, as if possessed, and navigates through huge rocks and hidden shoals to safety. They arrive at the dock and the VILLAGERS are there, saying it’s a miracle. Ian docks the boat and everyone departs thankful to be alive. Alone on the boat, Ian looks around – who was that woman who spoke to him?
Back to the attack, Trailing Sky and Eagle Speaker, as if guided by a magic hand, are able to sneak past the attacking Apaches, ducking behind bushes and rocks until they’re out of the encampment.
Eagle Speaker asks her how she did that. She says it’s the power of their ancestors and the medicine woman strength. She felt as if she was guiding her husband to safety, but through a watery world. She doesn’t know why she sees this, only that she knew if she didn’t save him from the crashing waves, she’d have lost him forever.
Now safe on a bluff, they look back on their village and see families escaping, apaches chasing them down. The village is burning. Their only path is forward into the unknown wilderness.
Ian finds himself in a bar celebrating his brilliant sailing skills. The BARTENDER lines up a dozen shots for him. Ian downs them all, but confesses he was stupid, getting caught in the storm was his fault. And he’s not some brilliant sailor, something happened he doesn’t understand. Regardless, he decides to drown his questions is whiskey.
He arrives home drunk to find his wife waiting for him. His two sons are asleep. But she says it’s over, she knows he nearly killed them all. She’s leaving him. He needs to clean up his act, otherwise he’ll drink himself to death. She says he needs a new beginning and he knows she’s right.
Trailing Sky and Eagle Speaker arrive at a cave in the mountains. Trailing Sky says the spirits have guided them here and this is where they’ll make their new beginning. Eagle Speaker says he trusts his wife’s spiritual powers.
Ian arrives in Ottawa, Canada with nothing but a solitary suitcase and an invite to the university. Cut to Ian teaching a night class, but his heart isn’t into it. It’s a new beginning, but is this really where he belongs? He says to himself he needs a sign.
After class, he leaves the university and sees a bar. He wants to go in but he hears a VOICE, female, telling him to go a different direction.
Back with Trailing Sky, she awakens from a trance – she’s panicked, Eagle Speaker is in danger! Cut to Eagle Speaker hunting a deer. He sneaks through the brush after the deer, but doesn’t see three APACHE SCOUTS hunting him.
An apache raises his bow to fire but – thwack – the apache is killed, an arrow sticking out of his neck. Eagle Speaker looks up and sees Trailing Sky holding the bow. She aims as the other two apaches attack Eagle Speaker. She fires, killing the second apache, and Eagle Speaker uses his axe to fight the last apache, killing him.
After the battle, Eagle Speaker asks how Trailing Sky knew he was in danger. She says the spirits spoke to her. But there’s dangers out there greater than the apache. He must be guided in the right way to find true happiness.
Ian follows the haunting female voice through the forest until he comes to a lodge. There’s chanting and firelight shining through the doorway. He goes inside and finds SPIRITUAL ELDERS holding a ceremony.
Ian hangs back, watching the amazing rituals. One older WOMAN in particular draws his attention. This is WHITE EAGLE WOMAN. Ian is lost in the dancing fire light and chanting, FLASHES of Trailing Sky and Eagle Speaker taking over his mind. He makes eye contact with the woman before he passes out.
Back at the cave, Eagle Speaker and Trailing Sky see a WOMAN approaching. They recognize her outfit, know she’s one of their neighboring clans. They greet her and she says her name is LONG WILLOW. Her family was killed by the apaches, but she’s had a vision she must help the man who speaks with eagles to build a new village.
Trailing Sky says she had a vision Long Willow would join them. The man who speaks with eagles is Eagle Speaker. Willow says she will help him on his journey.
Ian awakes to find White Eagle Woman kneeling over him. It’s morning and Ian passed out on the floor of the lodge. She helps him to his feet and leads him outside where they find a golden eagle flying high above, circling them. White Eagle Woman says she’s never seen a golden eagle do that, it’s a sign. Who is he to receive such a powerful sign? He says he’s just a professor and has no idea how he got to the lodge last night.
White Eagle Woman says he needs to open his mind to the ancient spirits. He says he doesn’t like the voices, they’re bizarre, and it’s beyond his understanding. She says that a golden eagle has spoken to him, he’s chosen for great things.
The Native Americans leave their cave behind and start on their journey to the river encampment where they hope they’ll find more of their people. Long Willow says she’ll stay with Trailing Sky and Eagle Speaker forever, she won’t remarry, their goal is too important for her to start a new family. They accept her into their family as they trek onto the open plain.
Meanwhile, Ian is told by White Eagle Woman he needs to go on a self-discovery journey. It’ll be hard, but it’ll help connect him with the spirits he’s been hearing. He meets RISHI PRABHAKAR, a mystic, who invites him to India.
Cut to Ian arriving in India. Ian takes cabs through CROWDS of people to a shrine. There, he finds HUNDREDS of people have come to experience awakenings. Ian talks with Rishi and learns of his customs and how to awaken his inner spirits.
Back with Trailing Sky, she leads them over a bluff to see FAMILIES setting up camp near a river. They recognize the families, these are survivors from the apache attacks. They sit together and thank their ancestors for bringing them together again.
But Trailing Sky has a vision – sickness is coming, she worries her powers won’t be able to save Eagle Speaker.
With Ian, he’s become sick. He worries he’s going to die and receives phone calls from his friends, this could be it for him. But Rishi says this is only an awakening. Rishi does a ceremony and Ian falls into a dream state.
In the dream state, Ian sees Trailing Sky who lays her hand on his cheek. The sickness immediately fades away. Ian asks who she is, but she says he’s not ready to know because he’s not ready to believe. She disappears as he wakes up to find the sickness has lifted. Rishi recognizes that Ian has had a profound experience but Ian still doesn’t know what all this means. Ian returns home and meets with White Eagle Woman to meditate on these developments.
Meanwhile, Trailing Sky and Eagle Speaker have set up their new home at the river village. Around the great fire, the families speak of starting a better society, one where they can protect against the apache. Eagle Speaker is angry about the apache, wants to go on the offensive and kill them all.
But Trailing Sky says he needs to let go of his anger. There are demons inside of him that have tormented him. Until he can overcome his demons, he’ll never be the great leader he’s destined to be.
Back with Ian, White Eagle Woman does a ceremony to unlock the demons sealed inside him. In a dream state, Ian is visited by his dead AUNT who reveals Ian was molested as a boy by a relative. She apologizes for not stopping it before, knows Ian buried this knowledge deep down. It was an attack, a violation, one that can never be undone.
But if Ian doesn’t let go of the hate, he’ll never be able to discover his true self and move on. Ian awakens and tells White Eagle Woman what happened. She says he’s moving closer and says he needs to go on a solitary retreat. There, he will meet his next guide.
Ian drives into the Canadian Rockies, well beyond civilization, to a cabin. There, Ian meditates, looking out over the great expanse of forest. A medicine circle sits outside the cabin. The circle calls to him, it’s powerful, ancient power is enshrined here.
Ian closes his eyes but when he opens them again, a TIMBER WOLF has appeared. Ian stands, scared of the creature. But the wolf comes to him and licks his hand. Ian then gives the wolf an offering of food, which the wolf accepts. The wolf then paces around the cabin, motioning for Ian to follow him. Ian goes into the forest and —
Cut to Trailing Sky and Eagle Speaker run through the forest, Trailing Sky ahead of her husband. They’re having fun, a moment of levity.
With Ian, he runs with the wolf through the forest. The wolf leads him over streams and up rock paths.
Back with Trailing Sky and Eagle Speaker, they embrace and fall into a soft patch of grass and begin making love.
Ian and the wolf finally reach a rock outcropping high above the forest line. Ian sits, looks out over the incredible view, untouched by man. He has quick visions of Trailing Sky and Eagle Speaker making love. He cries, the moment so pure and beautiful.
Later, the wolf rides in the back of Ian’s car as he returns to his home. Ian stops at a restaurant to get food and meets CAROLYN who takes an immediate interest in the wolf. He tells her the truth about meeting the wolf. He thinks she’s going to think he’s crazy, but she believes him. She holds her hand out to the wolf who licks her, approving of this new woman. Ian can’t help but take it as a sign.
Cut to Carolyn moving in with Ian. Ian is surprised by his son Iain, now an adult, has come to live in Canada. His son tells him that his other son Alexander is in a bad way in Glasgow, Scotland. Ian knows he must do something otherwise he’ll lose Alexander.
Meanwhile, Trailing Sky and Eagle Speaker welcome their DAUGHTER into the world. They hold a ceremony to the now HUNDREDS of members of their new society. Eagle Speaker has been elected the leader. As they burn offerings to the spirits to welcome in their daughter, they receive news from a SCOUT – the apaches are preparing for war.
Ian lands in Scotland and goes to find his son. ALEXANDER, early 20’s, is living at a place called the “Punk Palace” – a home filled with DRUG DEALERS, burned out MUSICIANS and more. Ian finds his son has been beaten up and is in a really bad way. Worse, Alexander owes drug dealers money or he’s going to get killed.
Back with Trailing Sky, she and Long Willow train WOMEN how to fight. The women are determined to defend their homes and families. Eagle Speaker works with the men to prepare a strategy against the apache invaders. It’s going to be a bloody battle.
Ian says he’ll pay off Alexander’s debts if his son joins him in meditation. They go on a walk and learn walking meditation, practicing their breathing. Then, they jump a fence into a private park and meditate together, father and son. Alexander is coming around, the drug withdrawal eased by the meditation. But Ian has a vision of APACHE WARRIORS.
The apache warriors approach the river settlement. Like last time, they think the village will be an easy victory. They see weak men, children and women for the taking.
But as they rush the village, Trailing Sky leads an attack – arrows fly out of the trees and kill scores of apaches. Eagle Speaker leads hand-to-hand fighting against the apaches. One apache is able to get into the village and grabs a woman, only to find the woman has a knife and stabs him to death.
Meanwhile, Ian and Alexander finish their meditation and return to the Punk Palace. There, DRUG DEALERS are waiting for Alexander. And this time they’re going to do more than beat him up.
Ian sits with the dealers and offers to pay Alexander’s debts. Moreover, Ian wants to make sure the drug dealers never come after his son again. The thugs don’t like being told what to do, but Ian’s genuine conviction convinces them to let Alexander move on.
Back with Eagle Speaker, he walks over the dead bodies of defeated apaches. The APACHE LEADER meets with Eagle Speaker. The apache thinks he’s going to be killed, but Eagle Speaker shows him compassion. He says the apache aren’t welcome here unless they come to trade. If they want war, Eagle Speaker’s people will defeat them again and again. The apache agrees to peace and leaves.
Ian bids farewell to Alexander who is on his path to recovery. Alexander says he’s going to keep meditating and he’s done with drugs forever. Ian is glad he’s finally been able to connect with his son, the guilt of being a distant father in the grip of alcohol has been weighing on him. But now, he sees Alexander is going to turn out just fine.
Later, Eagle Speaker celebrates with Trailing Sky and the rest of the village. They’ve secured their peace in the world. But Trailing Sky is worried, she’s had spirit visions and something bad is coming for Eagle Speaker.
Meanwhile, Ian and Carolyn are on a journey to Arizona. Ian has had a vision of something important in the Arizona desert he must discover. Ian doesn’t know what he’s looking for, but he and Carolyn get in a rental car and start driving.
Eagle Speaker tells Trailing Sky he must go on his own journey now. Eagle Speaker gets on his horse and leaves Trailing Sky behind.
Ian and Carolyn arrive at a national monument called Rainbow Bridge. The bridge is a natural rock formation hundreds of feet high spanning a river. All alone at the bridge, Ian and Carolyn walk towards the formation. Ian reaches out and touches the rock and receives a shock –
Eagle Speaker rides until he sees EUROPEAN SETTLERS in a wagon train. He’s curious about these people, rides up close. At the same time, Trailing Sky awakens from a vision. She knows Eagle Speaker is in danger. She gets on her horse and rides off.
Ian now climbs up on the bridge as the sky darkens and a thunderstorm begins, raining hail down on them.
Eagle Speaker looks to the sky and sees storm clouds. At his feet is a European blanket. He picks it up and it begins to hail. Eagle Speaker COUGHS —
Carolyn calls out to Ian, they need to leave! But Ian is in a trance. The hail falls in a perfect circle around him.
Trailing Sky rides as fast as she can and sees the Rainbow Bridge before her.
Ian looks up and sees the vision of Trailing Sky walking towards him on the bridge. He reaches out his hand and, as he does, he’s superimposed over the body of Eagle Speaker, dying on the bridge.
Eagle Speaker says he’s sick and dying rapidly. Trailing Sky says she can call on the spirits to heal him, but he says his mission in life is complete, he’s found a home for their people and defended them against the Apaches.
Trailing Sky cries as Eagle Speaker’s life fades away. But she says, “I will find you, my husband. I will find you,” as he dies. He says he knows she will and closes his eyes.
Ian awakens to find the hail storm has ended. And before him is Trailing Sky, like a spiritual vision. She says she’s found her husband again and she’s been with Ian for his whole life, watching over him and protecting him.
Trailing Sky takes Ian’s hand. This is a union over two hundred years in the making. Finally, she says, she can be with Eagle Speaker forever, now reincarnated as Ian. Trailing Sky turns into a BEAM OF LIGHT and enters Ian, as if his soul and the soul of Trailing Sky combine inside of him.
Later, Ian walks down the Rainbow Bridge. Carolyn is glowing and understands completely as Ian takes her hand, the circle is complete. They walk away framed by the sun shining through the majestic arch of the Rainbow Bridge.