Lights! Camera! ACTION!
Lulu in Honolulu
A Screenplay by Lulu Harrison
SCENE 1: ZOOM IN on Hollywood mega stars LINC and FIONA HARRISON lounging on the beach with their daughters LULU and ALEXIS—
If only real life were like the movies. Instead, the Harrison family's fabulous Hawaiian vacation has fallen apart, thanks to Lulu's parents' massive blockbuster film shoot. Their tightly-scheduled family time has been taken over by extra time on the set—and they're totally missing out on the real Hawaii. Lulu decides to teach her family the meaning of ohana, but her genius plans are seriously backfiring. (She didn't mean to unleash a rampaging pug onto her parents' movie set. Oops!) Can Lulu get her family back together, or will her exploits push them further apart?
Praise for Lulu in La La Land:
"Fun, infectious humor and satisfying, light storytelling."—School Library Journal
Read an Excerpt
ACT 1: SHAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT
SCENE 1: HULA FOR BEGINNERS
EXT. WAIMANALO BEACH PARK, GRASSY AREA UNDER TREES-MONDAY MIDMORNING
CUT!! Hey, just so you know, I've written a screenplay once before. It was about my life in L.A. So I'm getting the hang of it. In case this is the first screenplay you've ever read, here's some script lingo you should know. Before each scene, I'll write where it's happening. If I put "EXT" that means what's gonna happen is outside or "exterior." If I put "INT" that means what's gonna happen is inside or "interior." Most of the other stuff you'll get just because you've probably seen movies or TV shows. What I'm writing is like what actors and directors read before they film a movie. OK, back to: ACTION!!
FADE IN ON:
A tattered blue flag that says "OHANA DAY CAMP" whips back and forth in the wind. It's stuck between the slats of a wooden picnic table.
The hot, bright summer sun filters down through tree limbs. The patchy sunlight falls on twelve kids ranging in age from eight to fourteen. They shuffle, stamp, turn, and wiggle in two horizontal lines. All wear bathing suits and are barefoot except one. LULU, an eleven-year-old girl, thrusts her hips from side to side as she tries to follow the movements of the girl in front of her. Clothing covers her from head to toe. Her enormous swarm of brown hair is mashed under a white and red baseball cap that says "ALOHA," but the "O" is shaped like a heart colored in with a rainbow. AUNTIE MOANA, an older Hawaiian woman with short black hair and warm cocoa-colored eyes that match her skin, softly calls out movements as she herself does them.
One, two, three, tap. Sway. Sway. Sway. One, two three, tap. Sway. Sway.
A man, UNCLE AKAMU, with salt-and-pepper hair, strums a ukulele as he watches the waves crashing onto the beach behind the dancers.
(to kids in the back rows)
Follow the person in front of you if you're lost.
(to all the kids)
And...step up, forward. Step up, back.
(slightly out of breath)
I'm so lost I don't know forward from backward.
Next to Lulu in the back row, NOELANI, a slim girl about Lulu's age, slides her feet and floats her arms to the hula music. Her rhythm and motions are one with the breezes blowing through the trees and the waves washing onto the shore. She wears a stretched-out tankini top and board shorts that have faded from blue to almost gray. Noelani's long, black braid hangs down her back and thwacks her brown shoulders as she turns from side to side.
Lu, forward is what's in front of your nose.
Lulu looks up from her feet and watches KHLOE. Khloe's smooth waving arms and swaying match the ukulele's melody. And even though the wind blows her long, straight blond hair, not a strand looks out of place. She wears a skimpy leopard bikini with pink straps.
(quietly to Noelani)
Khloe better be right in front of me at the hula-off next week or else I'm gonna mess up a zillion times.
Uncle Akamu finishes the song, HUKILAU. Auntie Moana lightly claps to get the children's attention.
CUT!! Scripts don't usually do this, but I have to break into the story to tell you something Hawaiian. Auntie Moana isn't really my aunt or an aunt to anyone at Ohana Camp. All us kids just call her Auntie. One thing I love about Hawaii is that Hawaiians treat neighbors, friends, and even friends of friends as part of their family. Ohana means "family" in Hawaiian. And, in Hawaii, you call someone Auntie and Uncle if they're older than you. It's a sign of respect. Auntie Moana was born in Hawaii, in the same house in the Waimanalo neighborhood where she lives now. And wanna know something else cool? Her name means "ocean" and her husband, Akamu, his name means "earth." Uncle Akamu told us kids that he knew Moana would complete his life the moment they met 'cause they would be the perfect joining of the earth and the sea. Wow! Now, that's so much more romantic than any gross, kissy stuff my sister Alexis thinks is love. OK, now back to: ACTION!!
(addresses all the kids)
Before we do the dance again...
Several children groan.
...let's remind each other about hula basics.
(jumping right in)
The movements should be smooth and delicate. And our feet do something different than our arms so, like, arms and feet go in different directions.
Geez peas! No wonder I mess up. I have a hard enough time getting my arms and feet to go in the same direction.
Campers around her crack up. Uncle Akamu winks at her.
And our hips never stop moving while our upper body...
Mahalo, Khloe. Thank you. Anyone else?
CAROLE, a skinny, tall girl with deep black hair and eyes, wearing a tiny leopard-print bikini, yells out.
Hands and arms tell the story.
Yes, mahalo. Hands and arms paint the picture.
CATE, a petite blond wearing the same leopard bikini as Carole, leaves her line and walks up near Lulu.
Always be on your flat feet. And...
(looks down at Lulu's orange-and-white checkered Van's shoes)
...hula is performed barefoot.
Well, I just don't want to burn the tops of my feet.
Keiki, children, there is something important you are not yet telling me.
No one says anything. LIAM and MALEKO, two tall boys, flick each other's arms as they goof around.
Noelani clears her throat. Lulu turns to look at her. She's never heard her best pal speak up in the group before. Noelani mostly saves her ideas and her jokes to share with Lulu.
Hearing her friend use the Hawaiian word for teacher, Lulu smiles. Noelani knows so much stuff, but she's SO quiet about it.
Noelani hesitates, nervous now that everyone in the class is looking at her.
Hey, what were ya gonna say?
Noelani looks down at her bare feet.
(in a loud voice)
I bet you were gonna say that the most important part of dancing hula is not to look at me, so I don't mess you up.
All the kids giggle, except Khloe, Cate, and Carole, who call themselves KHLOE AND THE Cs. They exchange glances.
Noelani lifts her eyes from the ants crawling over her left toe. She finds courage in Lulu's clowning.
I think the most important part of performing hula is akua.
Uncle Akamu continues to look out at the surf, but his brown eyes crinkle in the corners, his way of smiling.
Auntie Moana takes a moment to answer. She pauses-not like she's thinking, more like she's listening to the wind and a message it's sending through the trees.
Mahalo, Noelani. Yes, akua. Spirit. That's the only way to dance hula. You must feel the akua.
Uncle Akamu plays the hula music again.
The kids shuffle into the starting hula stance: knees slightly bent and heels together.
Lulu looks down at her feet.
OK, feel the music.
(talking to herself, but loud enough for all around her to hear)
Right, together. Right, tap. Left, together. Left, tap.
Now sway, sway, sway.
Suddenly, a LOUD VOICE SCREECHES from the parking lot.
KHLOE!! KHHHHLLLOOOEEE! CAROLE and CAAATE!!!!