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 2013
Screenplay Contest - Teleplay/Short Series

" Emily "

Written by Benjamin Glassman

Jason Bickings


During my freshman year of high school, I wrote and directed my first short film.
Filmmaking had me hooked immediately, and I spent the following two years making dozens of action and screwball comedy films. I then decided to handle a much darker topic, and I wrote “Emily” in my junior year of high school. The subject matter of this story is deeply personal to me. I was inspired by my own experiences in high school and as a teenager in general to writethis film, and I believe that it is a strong representation of my views on the high school life and being a teenager in today’s society.

Writing “Emily” has taught me that screenwriting is no easy job, but it is extremely fun
and very rewarding. I wish to say to my fellow writers that the writing process can often times be hard and even discouraging, but always maintaining faith in yourself and remaining true to your story and its characters will help you be successful in writing to your greatest potential.


Following the disappearance of a teenage girl, a boy begins a search for her that leads him and his friends down an extremely dark path.


After teenage girl Emily Bellanti goes missing, a boy, Nathan, begins a search for her
while reflecting back on their complicated relationship. At the same time, his best friend, Josh, aids him in his search to discover what happened to Emily. During this journey, they discover unsettling things about the people around them and the high school psyche overall. The story uses the situation of a missing student to examine the shallow, inattentive mindset that many high schoolers today tend to have, and shines a light on how blind people can be to issues surrounding them.

The story also explores the unique and sometimes haunting bonds of love, and the love
that doesn’t love back. Josh is an earnest kid who is always looking out for Nathan’s best interests and trying to keep him out of harm’s way, but receives no acknowledgement in return from Nathan. Following the loss of his mother, Nathan turns to Emily to feel the love that is now lost. With Emily now missing, Nathan becomes persistent in his search to find the girl he needs so desperately in his life.

At its core, “Emily” is about friendship, bonds and high school life. We follow Josh and
Nathan as they dig deeper into this mystery and we learn more about them as their true
motivations begin to unravel. “Emily” is a study of modern teenage life and the immensely powerful love that makes us, and sometimes breaks us, as people.


The Emily screenplay, copyright, and story idea below are owned by Benjamin Glassman. No copying of any of the below pages is allowed unless approved by owner.



Over black, the sound of an infomercial.

Tired of sore and achy feet? Do you
find yourself constantly itching and
scratching at--

Click. The sound of a Spanish melodrama.

I just don’t understand what you mean
when you--

Click. The sound of a sitcom.Incessant crowd laughter.

Well I guess that settles that!

Crowd laughter explodes.



A teenager, JOSH(17, earnest), sits at his kitchen table. A bowl
of cereal sits in front of him. On the T.V., a news program is

           NEWS REPORTER
Now all of the details are not yet
confirmed, but what is known now
is that Westridge High Student Emily
Bellanti was reported missing as of
early this morning. Authorities are
saying that she was last seen on
Saturday night near the Wallgrove area
with a group of her friends. If you
haveany information regarding her
whereabouts, please contact the
Westridge Police Department at

The T.V. displays the news reporter standing in front of a suburban home. Beneath him, the headline reads “Local Teen Missing.”Josh stares blankly at the screen. He is visibly affected by this information, but does not know what to make of it.






Josh is now in his closet, awkwardly putting his socks on while
he rests his cell phone between his ear and shoulder. It rings a
few more times before the groggy voice of DAN(17, athletic)
picks up.


Dan turn on the news.


Turn on the news!


Daniel sits up and grabs the remote. He turns in a slump to the
T.V. and turns it on. He fumbles with the remote and switches
the channel. He looks up; eyes immediately widen.



Josh is driving Dan in his car. Dan rubs his eyes, still groggy.

When did they say she went

Saturday night.

Jesus. And nobody knew until

Well she has to be missing
for 24 hours before her
parents can file a report.


Have you talked to Nathan?

No, why?

A beat. Josh looks to Dan with incredulous eyes.

           DAN (CONT’D)
Oh...oh shit!


Josh and Dan close their car doors and begin to walk up the
parking lot. One backpack strap hangs loosely from Dan’s shoulder.Dan turns to him.

Have you tried texting him?

Yeah. He didn’t respond. I
called a few times, too.

No luck?

Josh begins to walk faster.

No. Has the shuttle gotten
here yet?

Dan checks his phone for the time.

Uh, no. 7 more minutes.

At that, Josh hurries and rushes out of the shot. Dan follows.


Dan and Josh stand facing the street in front of the shuttle
stop. A cluster of teens exit the shuttle. None of them appear
to be a familiar face to the two.

Shit! Where is he?

I don’t know.

A moment passes. Dan looks down at his phone.

8:05. I gotta head to 1st.

Josh is still unsettled.

Yeah, alright. See

Dan walks off. The shuttle departs in front of Josh with Nathan
nowhere to be seen.


Josh slides into a seat in his first period classroom. He begins
to take out his notebook and pencil when he notices two girls in
front of him talking quietly.

           GIRL 1
Did you hear about Emily

           GIRL 2
Yeah. I heard she left
Dylan Reinholt’s party
with some guys and never
came back.

Josh continues to prepare for class, but listens in on their

           GIRL 1
I heard that too. I heard
some guy posted a picture of
her with like ten seniors
and a bunch of weed and vodka
and shit.

           GIRL 2
Show me!

           GIRL 1
Can’t. He deleted it.

At that, Josh becomes interested.

The morning bell blares and the class settles. In the seat next
to Josh, another boy, SHAYAN(17, persian, pothead), sits down.
He lays his backpack on his desk and turns to Josh.

What up, what up.

He and Josh exchange a powerful low-five.


You hear about Bellanti?


Shit, man. Hope she turns up.

Shayan puts his backpack down on the ground beside him.

Me too...Have you seen Nathan

Nah. Why?

Just wondering.

Josh’s face displays his concern. Shayan takes out his phone and
begins texting. Out from the loudspeaker, the morning announcements commence.

Good morning Westridge High!
Please stand for the pledge
of allegiance.

Josh rises, but Shayan grabs him.

Dude! Check this out.

Shayan turns the screen of his phone to Josh. On the screen, a
picture of a girl, Emily Bellanti, shows her holding a bottle of
vodka, laughing. Two boys sit on both ends of her.

It’s Emily. Saturday night.

Wow. Who posted this?

Michael Reese from Boxer. It
got deleted but Shane took a
screenshot first.

The photo interests Josh, and he begins to think about it. The
words “with liberty and justice for all” sound and complete the
pledge. The rest of the class sits down. The morning announcements continue.

And now here’s Ben Davis with

*microphone shuffling*

           BEN DAVIS(VOICE)
This weekend, boys‘ varsity
defeatedShutlin High 67-42.
Jeremy Warren scored 14, Tim
Johsnon scored 11, and Theo
Dalton scored...

Josh, who was sitting in his desk, thinking, turns to Shayan.

Hey, you were there, right?
At Dylan’s party.

Shayan, absorbed in his texting, doesn’t respond.


Josh thinks for a moment.

Do you know what Michael did

Shayan doesn’t respond as he is focused on his phone. Josh


      (Not looking away from phone)
Uh...No. Why do you ask?

Just wondering.

At that, the sports announcements finish.

And if anybody has any information
regarding the whereabouts of Emily
Bellanti, please see the principal



Josh is now sitting in the computer lab, staring off into space.
Next to him sits Matt.

Hey dude, you alright?

Josh comes out of his daze.

Yeah, I’m fine.

You sure?

Yeah. I’m just thinking about
this Emily thing. It’s so

Nah man, it’ll be fine. She’s
probably hiding out at a friend’s
house ‘cuz her parents wouldn’t
give her the credit card or
something. It’ll blow over in a
day or two, just watch.

Josh doesn’t respond, but sits quietly and contemplates for a

Check this out.

Josh looks over at Matt’s screen. The sound of a thunderous
smash echoes before the sound of a video game character screaming ensues. Matt laughs hysterically. Josh fakes a smile and looks down.


Students move in various directions as they walk through the
halls. Dan appears from a crowd and goes to his locker. He opens
it up and begins to take books from it and put them into his
backpack. Josh appears from behind a wall nearby and goes over
to Dan, who notices him.


Hey. Still no word on Nathan?

Nah, sorry.

It’s fine. I think I wanna
stop by his house, see if he’s

Where else would he be?

I have no idea. That’s why I
want to check.


Dan zips up his backpack.

           DAN (CONT’D)
Let’s go find the little

Dan shuts his locker door.


Josh’s car careens into Nathan’s driveway. It rolls to a stop in
front of Nathan’s house and Josh and Dan get out. Looking up at
the house, Josh yells:



He and Dan move towards the house. Rock music echoes in the air.
Dan and Josh exchange a confused look. They then advance toward
the backyard.


The rock music is much louder now. Dan and Josh peep out from
behind a wall and look forward. In front of them, NATHAN(16,
lanky) is sitting next to a motorbike, fixing it up.


Nathan turns. Although surprised to see them, he does not show


He clicks off the radio and turns back to his work. He picks up
a tool and resumes work on the motorbike. Josh is bewildered by
the setup Nathan has created.

Where were you today?


Are you sick or something?


Dan and Josh are taken aback by Nathan’s vagueness.

You just ditched? Didn’t the
office call?

Told my dad I was’t feeling well.
He called it in.

Josh and Dan stand facing Nathan in an awkward silence. Nathan
looks up from his work after the pause.

           NATHAN (CONT’D)
Is there something you two need?

We just wanted to make sure you
were fine.


You know, this whole Emily thing.

Josh’s words spark within Nathan. He withholds his evident anger.

Yes, I’m fine.

At that, he completes work on the bike. He puts the tool away.

You going somewhere?

Nathan shoots Dan a dirty look.

Yeah, actually I am.

There is a pause as Josh and Dan wait for Nathan to elaborate.

...Where might you be going?

Nathan fiddles with the bike for a moment before answering.

I’m going to look for Emily.

Josh and Dan stand in shock at Nathan’s words.

You’re what?

Nathan is fed up with the interrogations. He puts on his backpack and starts throwing the rest of his tools into the tool

Look, Nathan. I think the police
are already out looking for her.
Maybe you should just stay here.

Nathan ignores Josh. He places his helmet on his head.

Thanks for the advice.

He takes the bike and pushes it out onto the driveway. Josh and
Dan follow behind him