FWB

FWB

Screenplay

Friends With benefits

Can two lifelong friends stay that way when they decide to take a Kama Sutra class together?

Flipping the Rom-Com script

Challenge

As a spec film script, the challenge I set for myself was to take on a classic movie, When Harry met Sally, and take a new look at its enduring theme: can lovers be friends?

Solution

I updated the concept by combining equal parts When Harry Met Sally and What About Mary? to recast the theme and reframe the question into a modern-day sex comedy.

Process

Analysis

Brainstorming

d

Beatsheet

b

Outlining

l

Screenwriting

Review

i

Rewriting & Polish

SAMPLE SCENE

Friends With Benefits is a spec film script intended for grownups in a movie theater.  This scene occurs early in the script and defines the core dilemma the story exists to solve.

“You know the odds that two people, sitting together at my bar, would have only had lousy sex? Zero.”

“You know the odds that two people, sitting together at my bar, would have only had lousy sex? Zero.”

“Here’s the problem: I’m never sure I’m doing it right. I never know what goes where when. I just suck at it.

“Here’s the problem: I’m never sure I’m doing it right. I never know what goes where when. I just suck at it.

“No! We’re not going to ruin our friendship over… benefits.”

“No! We’re not going to ruin our friendship over… benefits.”

How Can I Help?

Minds Eye

Minds Eye

Screenplay

Minds Eye

What if national security required you to read someone else’s mind, even if it meant losing your own?

A DOUBLE-SIDED SCI-FI SCREENPLAY

Challenge

True story—for decades the CIA ran a project called Stargate, a classified program to recruit and train spies with extrasensory perception. What would that look like? What would it sound like? Would I be able to see the world through your eyes?

Solution

I answered my questions with another question: what if national security required you to read someone else’s mind, even if it meant losing your own? Wow. That’s the kind of premise I like, where the internal and external conflicts are inextricably intertwined. 

Process

Research

Brainstorming

d

Beatsheet

b

Outlining

l

Screenwriting

Review

i

Rewriting & Polish

SAMPLE SCENE

Mind’s Eye is a spec film script intended for the movie theaters.  The opening scene serves to introduce both our villain and our hero, and give a hint of their mysterious abilities.

“Could you help me with this? It starts with 059 and ends with… you.”

“Could you help me with this? It starts with 059 and ends with… you.”

“Help! Somebody HELP!”

“Help! Somebody HELP!”

“He’ll see before you’re in the same room as him. He’ll know what you’re gonna do before you do it”

“He’ll see before you’re in the same room as him. He’ll know what you’re gonna do before you do it”

How Can I Help?

Sanctuary

Sanctuary

Screenplay

Sanctuary

What is Sanctuary? The centuries-old idea of using churches to provide safe haven for those who need it.

A Script that asks “what if legal ≠ moral?”

Challenge

Because Sanctuary tells the origin story of the Sanctuary Movement, which took place over a decade and involves a half dozen important characters, it was a daunting script to write about an explosive subject.

Solution

By using the surveillance and trial of the Sanctuary Movement as the narrative framework, I was able to introduce the antagonists and zero in on the core conflict right away.

Process

Research

d

Beatsheet

b

Outlining

l

Screenwriting

Review

i

Rewriting & Polish

SAMPLE SCENE

I optioned Sanctuary twice; once to Caribou Productions and once to indie producer Jane Fleming. It’s a hard script to get made. This scene starts the movie and sets the stage for everything to come.

“It started four years ago, sir. In the desert.”

“It started four years ago, sir. In the desert.”

A sidewinder slides across the sand, winding between the radio and a woman’s high-heeled shoe.

A sidewinder slides across the sand, winding between the radio and a woman’s high-heeled shoe.

“They’re not Mexicans, Louise. They’re El Salvadorans.”

“They’re not Mexicans, Louise. They’re El Salvadorans.”

“Listen, I got a situation. You hear about them illegals, the desert people?”

“Listen, I got a situation. You hear about them illegals, the desert people?”

“Sorry amigos. My church works with the sheriff’s department. That means we have to follow the rules.”

“Sorry amigos. My church works with the sheriff’s department. That means we have to follow the rules.”

How Can I Help?