Writing in the Dark,, an apt metaphor for anyone who has ever tried to tap out words on a  backlit screen.  This book, a collection of essays gathered by Max van Manen, shows how "different kinds of human experience may be explored, the methods for investigating phenomena contributing to human experience…the process of inquiry, reflection and writing…a valuable and rich resource".   That is to say, writing is an attempt to reflect what goes on inside us.  Inside us is where "story" occurs.Scott Popjes maintains a busy schedule, writing, producing and editing major theatrical trailers, promos and EPK's and developing and producing TV series and films, such as "The Remarkably 20th Century" and "The Long Ride Home".  Born and raised in suburban New Jersey, this everyman director/editor loves making movies.Ernest Hemingway - The man who ran with the bulls.  His literary sparseness and compression, well-worn and well-earned, captured the attention of critics and public in a volatile age.  In 1952, he received the Pulitzer for The Old Man and the Sea.   In 1954, he received the Nobel Prize for his "powerful style-making mastery of the modern art of narration."  He wrote from life.  Until his life subdued and rescued him.Will Shakespeare - Aka "The bard".  Arguably the best English writer to ever glide pen to page, populist hero as well as aristocratic raconteur, though we wish he had used all women instead of all men to populate his plays.  (Not a prejudice, just a fact.)   His sonnets remain divine.  Rare is the writer who can scribble successfully in one genre, let alone two.  Some postulate this poet and playwright was, in fact, more than one man…or woman.  What would he have done with film, we wonder?Though he produced fewer than 40 paintings, Dutch painter Jan Vermeer is one of the most respected artists of the European tradition. He is known for his serene, luminous interiors populated by one or two figures. Vermeer grew up in Delft, Holland, joined the painters' guild in 1653, and worked as an art dealer to support his wife and 11 children.  In 1672, war with France ruined Holland’s economy and Vermeer's business failed.  Soon after, he died of a stroke at age 42, leaving his family bankrupt.  Vermeer's paintings were largely forgotten for nearly 200 years, until 1858 when a French critic began to write admiringly about his work.  Interest in Vermeer surged again recently with his work exhibited at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  Contemporary writers have also been inspired by him, including Tracy Chevalier whose novel Girl with a Pearl Earring imagines the life of the girl in Vermeer's painting of the same name. L.Ron Hubbard - Whatever you may think of his other worldly beliefs, the full body of L. Ron Hubbard's work includes more than 5,000 writings and 3,000 tape-recorded lectures, spanning five, highly productive decades.  A humanitarian and adventurer, he  believes, "There are only two tests of a life well lived: Did one do as one intended? And were people glad one lived?"  We add, "And can one write about it, anyhow?"Johannes Vermeer's "Lady Writing a Letter with Her Maid" records a prior chivalrous age where class decorum reigned.  (Oh, well, you can't have everything.)   One of the most talented painters in the Dutch Golden Age, that's the 1600's, Vermeer's work was forgotten for centuries.  The most brilliant artists of any century are probably never discovered, their paintings hidden till ruin, their pages dropping to dust in unfound attics.  We find this oddly comforting.  No martyr of time, this particular masterpiece hangs in the National Gallery of Ireland.  Definitely worth a gaze.Jules Verne - Ode to childhood and the player within us.  Verne was born, aptly, in Nates, France in 1828.  He promptly ran off to become cabin boy on a merchant ship but was caught and sent back to his parents.  Thus constrained, his imagination wandered.  He wrote story after story, became very rich, bought a yacht and resumed his initial intent - to sail around the world.  Or Europe anyhow.   Our favorite remains Twenty Thousand Leagues.
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First-Place Winner, May – October 2011
Screenplay Contest - Teleplay/Short Series

"Room 333: The Train"

Written by Joe “Tuffy” Tofuri


Joe “Tuffy” Tofuri is a retired USAF Master Sergeant, and has been a Massachusetts licensed Private Detective for the past twenty years. He currently resides in San Antonio, Texas.

Tuffy is the published author of five books. His latest release entitled “Tuffy’s Heroes-Revised Edition” is endorsed by famed film actor, “Gunny” R. Lee Ermey, and is available at: gipubs.com.

Tuffy has a 20-minute short script entitled “Room 333: The Voice of Terror” that was optioned and produced in 2010. The completed film was accepted into the 2011 Hill Country and 2011 Manhattan Film Festivals. He has four more completed 20-minute short screenplays in his “Room 333” series.

In 2011, his feature horror/sci-fi screenplay entitled “Lobisón” was the winner at the 2011 Terror Film Festival, the 2011 Los Angeles Film and Script Festival and the 2011 Toronto International Film and Video Awards Festival. It was also a finalist in four other Screenplay Festivals.

Tuffy was recently notified that “Lobisón” is currently one of 25 semi-finalists selected from 3,246 scripts in the 2011/12 Free Screenplay Contest.

Another of his 20-minute short screenplays entitled “Room 333: Lucille” was a finalist in the 2011 Film and Screenplay Festival.

Additional Writer Information:


After checking into hotel room 333 a desperate man suffering from a severe psychological disorder battles unknown entities that drive him to the depths of complete insanity.


HARRY ANDERSON suffers from massive headaches and a severe nervous disorder called “Acute Emotional Psychological Collapse” resulting from a train crash that killed his wife and twin daughters. Harry is the epitome of a man caught in the middle of a battlefield with bombs bursting all around him, and there’s absolutely no place for him to hide, except in a bottle. He enters Hotel Room 333 and awaits a phone call from his doctor. Harry is presently at the point where he thinks he is seeing and hearing things. While he awaits the call, Harry opens a bottle of booze and hits it hard.

When the doctor calls, Harry explains his new symptoms to him. The doctor tells him to increase his dosage of medication and advises Harry he will see him on the following morning. After the phone call Harry has a few more drinks - increases his dosage of medication - and passes out in a chair.

Harry is abruptly awakened by a man proclaiming to be the TRAIN CONDUCTOR who promptly asks Harry for his train ticket. The presence of the Train Conductor in his hotel room immediately overwhelms Harry with fear. The Train Conductor tells Harry that he is actually on a train. This becomes reinforced by the appearances of his dead wife and twin daughters, all seated in train seats, covered in blood. But Harry refuses to believe what he thinks he sees and hears when suddenly, he hears a train whistle blowing. The continuous verbal exchange between the Train Conductor, Harry and his dead family slowly begins to drive Harry deeper and deeper into the pits of the unknown.

The situation becomes highly fueled when RICARDO, the hotel’s bellboy, knocks on Harry’s door carrying an envelope on a silver tray. Ricardo presents the envelope to Harry who refuses to accept it for it is impossible to be real. The item within the envelope is a train ticket. The ticket, the Train Conductor and visions of his dead wife and daughters become the catalysts that will drive Harry to the brink of madness.

Harry desperately struggles to wipe everything he thinks he sees and hears from his mind, but it’s fruitless. Thoroughly intoxicated, his wife and daughters incessantly mock him; their verbal barrage strident and relentless. More train whistles fill his ears, and a bright light suddenly splashes across Harry’s face. The hotel room begins to shake as if in an earthquake and the rampant sounds of a train chugging echo throughout the room.

Harry has now fallen deeper into the depths of complete insanity and attempts to escape. But somehow, he cannot move. Something; an unknown force will not allow Harry to move his foot. The Train Conductor scoffs at him as the train’s chugging gets louder and closer. The room shakes violently, knocking items from their shelves. Harry struggles desperately to move his foot as the bright light looms larger and closer to him, but he is frozen in place. His agonizing screams of terror go unheard; masked by the thunderous sounds of a train he cannot see.

But is there a train conductor and a train in Harry’s hotel room? Are his dead wife and daughters really there? Or is room 333 not a hotel room at all, but actually…a train?


The Room 333: The Train screenplay, copyright, and story idea below are owned by Joe Tofuri. No copying of any of the below pages is allowed unless approved by owner.



The hotel is two-star at best -- various characters mull

around reading newspapers and magazines.

Through the front entrance doors comes HARRY ANDERSON -- his face is covered with perspiration -- in his hand is a small suitcase.

All of Harry’s movements and his stammering speech pattern depict his decisive nervous anxiety -- his body language continually reveals his emotions.

Harry darts nervous glances around the foyer as he approaches the front desk -- he notices a drunken vagrant seated in a corner watching him.

Harry stops at the front desk and puts his suitcase down -- he slowly turns his head toward the vagrant -- the vagrant is no longer there.

                  FEMALE DESK CLERK (O.C.)
May I help you, sir?

Harry turns to see the FEMALE DESK CLERK seated behind the counter.

She shows Harry a feigned, weak smile.

                  FEMALE DESK CLERK (cont’d)
May I help you?

Ah, yes. I have a reservation.
Anderson. Harry Anderson.

Harry nervously taps his hand on the counter -- he glances back at the vagrant’s empty chair while wiping his forehead with a handkerchief.

                  FEMALE DESK CLERK
Are you all right, Mister Anderson?

I’m fine, I’m fine. Can I have my
room key, please?

                  FEMALE DESK CLERK
Just sign this register, and I’ll
get that for you.

Harry picks up the pen and watches it shake in his hand -- he signs the register and drops the pen on the counter -- he turns and stares at the vagrant’s empty chair again.

                  FEMALE DESK CLERK (O.C.) (cont’d)
Vehicle information?

Harry turns quickly back to the Female Desk Clerk.


                  FEMALE DESK CLERK
We need your vehicle information,
Mr. Anderson.

Oh. I ah, I-I took a cab...from
the airport.

A door opens behind the Female Desk Clerk -- RICARDO stands in the open doorway staring directly at Harry -- his head is shaven clean and he has stoic, dark haunting features -- his
posture and bearing are above reproach.

Ricardo approaches the Female Desk Clerk and bends over slightly.

Room three three three is now

Ricardo slowly turns his head to Harry.

                  RICARDO (cont’d)
... For Mister Anderson.

                  FEMALE DESK CLERK
Thank you.

Harry watches Ricardo with suspicion as Ricardo slowly walks off and disappears around a corner.

The Female Desk Clerk holds out a key-card to Harry.

                  FEMALE DESK CLERK (cont’d)
Here’s your key-card, Mister
Anderson. That will be room three
three three.

Harry takes the key-card from her with a shaking hand.

That-that man. Who is he?

                  FEMALE DESK CLERK
And what man is that, Mr. Anderson?

The man that was just here! He-he
spoke to you!

                  FEMALE DESK CLERK
Why...yes, of course. That would
be Ricardo, our bellboy. Your room
is on the third floor, fifth room
on your left when you exit the

Yeah yeah, thanks.

Harry moves to the elevator and steps in.

                  FEMALE DESK CLERK (O.C.)
Mister Anderson...

Harry turns to her.

She shows him another feigned smile -- it’s a sly, cunning smile.

                  FEMALE DESK CLERK (cont’d)
Enjoy...your evening.

As the elevator doors slowly begin to close Harry notices the vagrant seated in the same chair and staring directly at him.


The hallway is dimly lit and covered in eerie shadows -- Harry searches for his room number while nervously glancing over his shoulder.

He stops in front of a hotel door and stares at the ROOM NUMBER: 333.


Harry closes the door and locks it -- he looks suspiciously around the room as if searching for someone or something -- he quickly crosses to a small table next to an upholstered chair and puts his suitcase on the table and opens it.

He immediately removes a quart bottle of booze from the suitcase and rushes to the sink and picks up a water glass -- Harry pours booze into the water glass and drains it -- he closes his eyes, savoring the most-needed alcohol.

Harry removes the handkerchief and wipes his face again then refills his glass -- he carries the glass and the bottle to the table and puts them down.

He removes several bottles of medication from his suitcase and carefully lines them up on the table.

Harry reaches into his pocket and removes a small piece of paper and picks up the phone -- he punches in the numbers he reads from the paper and listens as the phone RINGS.

                  FEMALE RECEPTIONIST (V.O.)
Doctor West’s office.

Ah, yes yes. Doctor West, please.

                  FEMALE RECEPTIONIST (V.O.)
Just a moment, please.

Harry picks up the glass and drains it -- he refills the glass then darts a few glances around the room while
unbuttoning the top button of his shirt.

                  DOCTOR WEST (V.O.)
Hello. This is Doctor West.

Doctor West! Yes, this is Harry,
Harry Anderson.


Doctor West is seated behind his office desk.

                  DOCTOR WEST
Hello Mister Anderson.

The doctor picks up a file and glances at it.

I just got in town, doctor, and
checked into my hotel.

                  DOCTOR WEST
That’s fine, Mr. Anderson. Doctor
Ralston sent me your file. I’m,
ah, I’m terribly...

I can’t take much more of this,
doc. I just can’t take it anymore!

                  DOCTOR WEST
I understand. And I’m going to
help you.

You have no idea, absolutely no
idea what I’ve been going through.

                  DOCTOR WEST
I promise you, my staff and I are
going to help, Mr. Anderson. Now
just try and relax tonight, all

Harry squeezes his eyes shut and rubs his forehead.

My head...it-it’s killing me.

                  DOCTOR WEST
Tomorrow we’re going to determine
exactly what’s causing your
headaches. Your appointment is at
one o’clock, Mr. Anderson.

A vehicle BACKFIRING IS HEARD in the distance -- Harry SCREAMS and snaps around to the window.

                  DOCTOR WEST (cont’d)
Mr. Anderson?! What is it, Mr.

No response -- his emotions are overwhelming him -- he chugs booze from his glass.

                  DOCTOR WEST (cont’d)
You still there, Mr. Anderson?

Harry’s voice trembles with a combination of fear and torment.

My God, doctor! What’s happening
to me?!

                  DOCTOR WEST
All right, all right, Mr. Anderson.
You’ve got to calm yourself, okay?
Have you been taking the medication
Doctor Ralston prescribed for you?

Yes, yes, yes, Goddammit! But
nobody’s understanding me!

                  DOCTOR WEST
What do you mean?

I...I don’t know what’s real

A brief moment of hesitation from the doctor.

                  DOCTOR WEST
What’s that?

Harry HEARS SOMETHING behind him and spins around to look -- nothing’s there -- he searches for his voice but it’s difficult for him to speak -- fear and angst have overtaken him -- he drains the glass and refills it.

                  DOCTOR WEST (cont’d)
Can you hear me, Mr. Anderson?

Listen to me, doctor. This...this
is happening more and more every
day. Seeing things, hearing
things, and they’re not, they’re
not real. It’s driving me outta my
God--damn mind!

                  DOCTOR WEST
Yes, I-I see.

The doctor hesitates briefly, contemplating what he just heard.

                  DOCTOR WEST (cont’d)
Ah, I must tell you that Doctor
Ralston gave me a preliminary
diagnosis of acute emotional
psychological collapse, Mr.
Anderson, which is most
understandable in your ah, your
case. Having said this, I’d like
you to take an additional three
milligrams of the Reserpine, to
help you relax. And I look forward
to seeing you tomorrow.

Yes yes, all right, doc. Tomorrow.

Harry hangs up the phone -- he moves to the table and opens a small bottle of meds and removes two pills -- he picks up the glass of booze and swallows the pills -- he washes them down with the booze.

Harry slumps down in the chair -- he closes his eyes and takes in a few deep breaths and lets them out slowly, trying to relax -- he opens his eyes and looks at the WALL CLOCK: 6:20 pm.

Harry leans back in the chair and closes his eyes again -- he’s breathing slow and deep, slow and deep -- he’s asleep.

Time PASSES... the WALL CLOCK now READS: 11:00PM.

                  TRAIN CONDUCTOR (O.C.)
Ticket please.

No response from Harry.

                  TRAIN CONDUCTOR (O.C.) (cont’d)
Hey mister! Wake up, will ya?

Harry slowly awakens and wipes the sleep from his eyes -- he sees the TRAIN CONDUCTOR, 50s, standing beside his chair wearing bib-overalls and a train conductor’s hat -- he holds a ticket punch in his hand.

Christ Almighty!

Harry jumps out of the chair.

                  TRAIN CONDUCTOR
Damn, boy. What in the hell’s
wrong with you?

Harry slowly backs away -- he bumps into the small table, still staring at The Train Conductor.

You-you’re not real.

                  TRAIN CONDUCTOR
What the hell are you talkin about?

If you’re here, I mean really here,
then you’ve got the wrong room,
mister. Now get the hell outta my

The Train Conductor LAUGHS.

                  TRAIN CONDUCTOR
Room? Hell, son. This is the
eleven-twenty to Cedar Post.

The what?

                  TRAIN CONDUCTOR
The eleven-twenty train to Cedar
Post. You deef or somethin?

Harry quickly picks up the glass of booze and drains it -- he stares at The Train Conductor and forces a weak smile -- he
shakes his head.

Nope. I ain’t buying this.

The Train Conductor glances at his stop watch.

                  TRAIN CONDUCTOR
I don’t have the time for this
crap. Let’s see your ticket or git
offa my train.

Harry turns away from him.

Don’t look at him! He’s not real!

Harry grabs his head -- the pain is tremendous -- he rushes to the table and opens a bottle of Vicodin -- he shakes a few tablets out and pops them in his mouth and chews them.

                  TRAIN CONDUCTOR
Hey...what’s that you’re doin
there, kiddo?

Harry squeezes his eyes tightly shut.

Shut up, shut up!

                  TRAIN CONDUCTOR
Listen now fella, I ain’t havin
none-a you drug people ridin my
train. No--sireee. None-a ya.

Harry is perspiring heavier -- he slowly opens his eyes and turns to the Train Conductor.

Get away from me! Get out of my

                  TRAIN CONDUCTOR
Somethin wrong with your head, boy?

Headaches. I-I get these-these
terrible, pounding headaches.
That’s why I’m seein a doctor

                  TRAIN CONDUCTOR
I really don’t give two shits about
no doctors, son. All I want is
your damn train ticket.

Wait wait! Just...just listen,

Harry takes a few deep breaths and wipes his face with the handkerchief -- he picks up the glass but it’s empty -- he throws the glass against the wall and it SHATTERS -- Harry picks up the bottle and swigs from it.

The Train Conductor MUTTERS...

                  TRAIN CONDUCTOR
Damn fool drunk.

I have this-this, I dunno,
condition or somethin. And-and
sometimes, I-I see and hear things
that aren’t...aren’t real.

                  TRAIN CONDUCTOR
If that be a fact, son, then I
strongly suggest you have that
taken care of, and right quick
like, ya hear?

Yes! That’s why I’m gonna see him
tomorrow, my new doctor, ya see?

                  TRAIN CONDUCTOR
Tomorrow, huh? Well hell, boy,
best you be gittin offa my train

But but...didn’t you hear what I
just said?

                  TRAIN CONDUCTOR
I be a-hearin ya. Don’t cut no ice
with me, though. I ain’t here to
be listenin to people’s problems.

But you-you’re not here at all,
dontcha see? You’re nothing but a-

                  TRAIN CONDUCTOR
Hey! Hold on there a mite. Best
you be careful where y’all is
treadin, boy. Cause I don’t take
too kindly to those what be temptin
ta smite me. Ya hear?

Okay. That’s it, that’s enough. I
ain’t having this conversation with
someone who ain’t even here.

                  TRAIN CONDUCTOR
The saints be preservin. I’m
figurin you is just abouts an egg
short of a full dozen, son.

Harry is overwhelmed with confusion -- he’s perspiring heavier and can barely contain himself -- he picks up the bottle and gulps from it -- booze dribbles down his face -- he puts the bottle on the table.

                  TRAIN CONDUCTOR (cont’d)
That there licker you been suckin
on ain’t commin on my train. I
don’t take too kindly to drunks,

Christ Almighty, mister! There
isn’t any...


Harry SCREAMS and rushes to a corner of the room and cowers there, squatting down -- he blocks his ears and squeezes his eyes shut again.

                  HARRY (cont’d)
What’s happening to me?!

The Train Conductor CHUCKLES.

                  TRAIN CONDUCTOR
Damn, boy. It’s only a train
whistle. Been livin by the sounds
of em rights about forty years now,
I reckon.

Harry opens his eyes and slowly rises -- he crosses toward the table with a bit of hesitation.

                  TRAIN CONDUCTOR (cont’d)
Watch out!

Harry stops and stares at The Train Conductor.

                  TRAIN CONDUCTOR (cont’d)
Ya almost ran over that passenger
ya dumb hayseed!

What the hell are you talking
about? There is no pass...

Harry sees the drunken vagrant seated in a train seat blankly staring at him.

                  HARRY (cont’d)
What the...?

                  TRAIN CONDUCTOR (O.C.)
Hey you!

Harry turns to the Train Conductor.

                  TRAIN CONDUCTOR (cont’d)
Ya always gots ta be watchin where
you be walkin on a train.

Harry slowly looks back -- the vagrant and the train seat are no longer there.

My God. I’m going insane.

                  TRAIN CONDUCTOR
Listen to me, boy. That whistle
you just heard was the final
boardin whistle. When y’all hears
two of em, that means we’re fixin
to leave. But when you hear three,
well now, that means we’re on the
move, and right quick like. Now,
if you’re stayin, I need to see
your train ticket.

There ain’t-no-train! I’m standing
right here, in my hotel room, not
on your make-believe...

Harry notices something -- it immediately excites him and he points to it.

                  HARRY (cont’d)
There! Ya see?! A bed! Show me a
train with a big-ass double bed,
mister train man!

                  TRAIN CONDUCTOR
Bed? What bed?

Harry glares at the Train Conductor.

What are you talkin about? That
bed right...

Harry turns and points to the bed -- three rows of empty train seats are now there.

                  HARRY (cont’d)
But it...it was there. I-I know it
was there. This-this is...

He grabs his head as pain rips through his brain.

                  TRAIN CONDUCTOR
Now, about your ticket...

I don’t have any God--damn train
ticket!! Ya hear me?!! Get out!
Get the hell outta my room!

THREE POUNDS on the room’s door are HEARD -- they are not rapid pounds, but slow, FRIGHTENING pounds -- Harry snaps around and stares at the door -- suddenly a nervous smile shows on his face as he turns back to the Train Conductor.

Harry is anxious and points at The Train Conductor.

                  HARRY (cont’d)
Now! Now you’ll see! I’m gettin
rid of you and your make believe

Harry runs to the door and pulls it open -- his nervous smile quickly fades -- he sees something in the hallway that terrifies him beyond belief -- his eyes widen in total fear. Harry SCREAMS in complete horror.