Our Story Began in these Seats

Challenge 2 of the 4X4 SAC Songwriting & Blogging Challenge 2016
Lyrics and Storytelling
By Bryan Potvin
Challenge: Write a song that tells a story. It can be in any genre. This is a very lyrically driven song that heavily relies on a story arc and timeline with characters, conflict and resolution.

Seats_Theatre

I feel as though the Week 2 Challenge is a perfect opportunity to work on a song that in many ways feels like a gift to me. A friend and colleague told me her story a few months ago and I have been waiting to write a song about it.

My friend and her (now husband) met in small town Saskatchewan, where they both lived. They started going to the movies together at the Falcon Theatre, (the only movie house in their town) and it became a standing Friday night date. They married and have been for 32 years.

Recently, the Falcon theatre underwent renovations, and her husband purchased their exact Friday night seats, restored them, and put them in their own movie/rec room. What a lovely and heart-warming story! (see the actual seats left)

  • There is a pressure to get a true story “right” and to respect the essence of someone else’s experience.
  • There are many ways to tell this narrative, but because it is so personal, I choose to have the two characters talking with one another (ie a duet) rather than a single narrator/character. Dialogue is  direct—not described or recounted.
  • To me, this choice better captures the intimacy of the experience.
  • I found it quite a challenge to move through a story with such a long arc with limited words—three verses and a chorus, really. As it stands the song is about 4 minutes, and that is a little too long now, (without production).
  • I am quite aware that I made a cardinal error in shifting perspective in the third verse. In the first two verses the characters are speaking to one another,
    • Male:   “Pardon me, but is this seat taken now?
      Pardon me, cuz I’d like to get to know you somehow”
      Female: “There’s no one sitting here with me.
      No one, at least until now.”
  • In verse 3, both characters are talking to someone who is ‘sitting in their seats’ at the movie theatre some 32 years later. Together, they are explaining to this ‘seat-stealer’ the essence of the song
  • I tried to signal the shift in perspective from talking to each other, to speaking with the ‘seat-stealer’ straight-away in the very first line “Pardon me, but sir, you are in our spot”
  • Of course, I could have simply put this point in a Bridge, but the song was already becoming too long. I opted for the last verse to do so.
  • Moving forward from here, I need a female singer for the lines identified above. It may be a little difficult to understand the duet, with just me at this point.
  • As Bryan Potvin pointed out, a story song must also have an interesting accompaniment. Harmonically in this song, I resolved the cadence from the verse to the choruses with a #I chord and not the expected tonic (I chord). The Chorus is in another key, a key that is up a semi-tone. To me, this gives the Chorus a sense of motion, and in this way propels the narrative forward. In the return to the verses, I go back to the original key. The final Chorus, modulates up another half-tone.
  • I think that I will include this song on my next CD. Now, I just need a female singer!

Here is the Soundcloud link:
https://soundcloud.com/scottanthonyandrews/ourstorybegan-scottanthonyandrewsmp3

… and here are the words
Our Story Began in these Seats
Words & Music: Scott Anthony Andrews ©2016

Verse 1
Male: Pardon  me, is this seat taken now?
Pardon me, cuz I’d like to get to know you somehow
Female: Theres’ no one sitting here with me
No one, at least until now
Both: We’re just waiting with wide-eyes
For the red velvet to rise

Verse 2
Male: Pardon me, as I curl my arm around you
Pardon me, ‘cuz I want to feel a little closer to you
Female: I like your arm as it hugs my back
You feel like the hero to me
Both: We’re just learning scripts like stars do
Hoping our lines will come true

Chorus
Both: We’re just watching in the dark
Though the movie began in these seats
The actors always play their parts
But the picture began, the adventure began,
Our story began in these seats

Verse 3
Male:
Pardon me, but sir, you are in our spot
Pardon me, it’s like a standing reservation that we’ve got
Female: The Falcon theatre; our Friday night thing
Thirty-two years, it’s called us to love
Both: So we brought our seats home
For a movie all our own

Chorus (2x)

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