Stairway To Heaven

Alden Olmsted
14 min readDec 2, 2023

aka “the part right before”

Chapter one of my Indie-Film Journal ‘A Virus Ate My Movie!’

Housekeeping Note

Since I believe my best teaching comes through personal stories, and since I so appreciated my time as moderator of Blake Snyder’s Save The Cat! L.A. Writer’s Group, each chapter of this book is basically arranged so you, the reader, can follow along with the story of making the film 30 Bikes: The Story of Homestead Bicycles in the first half — and then be presented with great examples of corresponding story structure in movies you already know in each chapter’s second half.

I may have strayed a bit here and there in honor of the stream of consciousness style that is my wont, but my hope is that this simple structure will provide an easier way to find something you may want to later reference, knowing that each chapter is arranged in a *somewhat* organized fashion.

Oh, if my thoughts were so well organized. <sigh as he takes a long, slow sip from the steaming coffee mug>

– Written July 26, 2020, when a ‘passport mishap’ cost me a trip to Cancun but also finished the book you are holding in your hands. Coincidence? Ah think not.

Stairway To Heaven

(Chapter 1 — ‘A Virus Ate My Movie! ©2021)

What happens right before is oftentimes more interesting than what happens right after.

For example, I know what happened after I was born. I was there. So we can set the stage and get the vibe, here are some of the amazing things that happened right before I was born:

For some people, I could stop right here. What was the world like for a song like Stairway to Heaven to have been written, recorded, and released by the greatest rock band of all time?

A song with lyrics like,

“There’s a lady who’s sure, all that glitters is gold, and she’s buying a Stairway To Heaven.”

Or as the power chords build towards the big finish, my favorite:

“And as we wind on down the road, our shadows taller than our souls, there walks a lady we all know who shines white light and wants to show how everything still turns to gold…”

1971 — A great year for Rock, and other things

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Alden Olmsted

I was born in a small town in Northern California just another latch-key kid obsessed with BMX and Tom Petty. Now I make films and travel and write when I can.