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 2012
Screenplay Contest - Full-Length Series
" A Gentleman’s Game "
Written by Mandel E. Holland
Heather Kenihan "Chasing Rabbits"

Mandel has completed the graduate film program at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. His journey to NYU was a long one. After high school, Mandel attended Florida A & M's School of Business and Industry. But after his freshman year, he was forced to leave due to financial hardship. He worked as a handyman and pumped gas before joining the U.S. Army. There, he distinguished himself and was awarded seven (7) service medals and commendations, as well as becoming a U.S. Paratrooper during his two years in the Sixth Ranger Training Battalion before his Honorable Discharge. Mandel then returned to New York and started work as a Paralegal at the law firm of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley &McCloy with plans of becoming an attorney. He resumed his education at Fordham University as a full-time student, while maintaining his full-time job. In his senior year, Mandel decided against a legal career and instead looked into becoming a filmmaker.

Mandel graduated from Fordham with a B.A. in U.S. History, a Minor in African-American Studies, and a 3.0 GPA. Upon graduation, he devised a plan to go to NYU film school and make his first feature film in his third academic year. He continued working and took nonmatriculated writing courses before putting his plan into effect. The plan resulted in the feature film The Other Brother, (2002), starring MehkiPhifer of "8 Mile", "Clockers", "Soul Food" and TV's "ER". Mandel served as writer, producer, director, 1st A.D., and actor on the film.

Since then, Mandel has written ten (10) feature-length screenplays; two of which have been produced independently. Today, his challenge is to continue in a career as a "full service.

Additional Writer Information:


When chasing the American Dream, there are no rules.


A poverty-stricken boy pursues a life of honor... by becoming a criminal.

This crime drama chronicles the life of Frankie Dobbs, an uneducated bookie, and his 40-year rise in the New York City Numbers Racket. Frankie’s desire to live life as a noble man in a criminal career keeps him conflicted to the point of madness. A madness displayed in the rationalization of his illegal enterprise and the manner in which he maintains it. Even as his pursuits destroy everything he cares for, Frankie continues on, chasing the unattainable.

This classic gangster tale is an intimate look at an American sub-culture no historian can depict with accuracy. The author of A Gentleman’ s Game grew up a child of this world and has a one- of-a-kind perspective on the players, bosses, and intrigue that millions are aware of, but no outsider can ever know.

Audiences will love scenes like the one set in the back room of the protagonists’ bar, where a group of friends are playing cards. They’re laughing, and joking and having a great time when suddenly one of them pulls out a gun blows another man’s brains out!... the murder has nothing to do with the game...


The A Gentleman’s Game screenplay, copyright, and story idea below are owned by Mandel E. Holland. No copying of any of the below pages is allowed unless approved by owner.




“Got To Be Real” By Cheryl Lynn plays as score while HORACE (Black, large build, dark skin, 30’s) moves about the room in a jovial fashion. He’s getting ready for a night out on the town. He checks himself out one last time in the mirror. SOLID! He leaves. CARD OVER PICTURE (IN MIRROR) READS:
HARLEM, 1979


Horace struts down the street, moving with a purpose. He passes a man he knows who tries to pull him into a
conversation. But Horace keeps going. He pauses to admire a good-looking woman before going into “The Rendezvous”.


Horace is greeted by the bartender and a couple of the regulars. The bartender gives these last few patrons the bums rush. The clock on the wall reads 3:40.


Three men are at a table, laughing and talking while playing cards. They’re showing no signs of quitting.

Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa, you can’t
do that.

Do what?

You can’t look at the cards he
throws in.

I wasn’t looking at his cards. I
was just moving ‘em, they was on
top of the money.

Junior, was he looking at the cards
you threw in?

Hell yeah he was looking at the
cards I threw in. He been doin’
that shit all night.

No I wasn’t--

Yes you was. You been doin’ that
shit all night.

You think I’m cheatin’?

Nigga I know you cheatin’. Junior?

He cheatin’.

There’s a knock at the door.

How y’all gone say that?

Same way you gone sit up there and
tell a bold face lie.

        (to Junior)
Was that the door

                 JUNIOR                             DEACON
      I don’t know.              How could I be cheatin’ and
                                       be down damn near two-hundred

Another knock at the door.

Cause you stink nigga!

Frankie laughs as he goes to the door.

                   JUNIOR (O.S.)
Why you think we always calling yo’
ass to play.

Frankie looks through the peep-hole before opening the door. Horace walks in.

                   DEACON (O.S.)
Hey! There he is! My main man

Horace walks toward the table, smiling.

What’s happenin’ baby?

Frankie and Junior in here ripping
me off.

Frankie and Junior laugh.

Maybe with you playin’ I can get
some of my money back.
        (raising his glass)

Frankie whips out a Colt 45 and BANG! (Music Stops) The bullet snaps Deacon’s head back, shattering his glass. BANG!! BANG!!! BANG!!!! BANG!!!!! BANG!!!!!!

Deacon falls back in his chair, kicking over the card table on his way to the floor.

Junior, still seated, uncovers his ears and looks down at Deacon. “Stagger Lee” By Lloyd Price starts to play.

The night was clear...

Deacon’s contorted body lies dead on the floor.

And the moon, was yellow...

The Colt 45, still smoking in Horace’s hand.

And the leaves-came-tum-bling-

Frankie takes a drag from his cigar, looking at Deacon. He pauses for a moment before exhaling the smoke.

The horns sound, “DA DA, DA DA...”



“Stagger Lee” plays on the radio as a boy stares out the large storefront window (FRANKIE DOBBS, Black, 15 yrs.).


                   FRANKIE (V.O.)
I remember the first time I ever
saw a Cadillac.


A big black Cadillac is parked right in front of the store.

                   FRANKIE (V.O.)
I was with my Mother and we were
coming back from my Aunt Muzz’s
house in Brooklyn. We got off the
subway in Mid-Town to see the
Christmas displays. I musta seen
ten Caddies that day.

A BLACK MAN approaches the car. He’s handsome, distinctive, and well dressed. He gets in the car and takes off. The music fades away as the car disappears.


Frankie watches the car for as long as he can before it vanishes.

                   FRANKIE (V.O.)
But that was the first time I’d
ever seen one uptown.

A MAN grabs Frankie’s arm.

Boy what I tell about gettin’ lost!
Didn’t you hear me callin’ you?

RUFUS DOBBS (Black, 40’s), Frankie’s father, drags him away from the window.

Get your butt to the storeroom and
get this lady’s rug! She been
waitin’ ten minutes!

Rufus gives Frankie a shove before apologizing to the WOMAN.

(“HEY LITTLE GIRL” By Dee Clark plays as score.) Frankie looks angry as he steals glances at the PRETTY TEENAGED GIRL with the Woman(ALTHEA PAYNE, 15 yrs.). His look softens.

                   FRANKIE (V.O.)
I worked for tips at my Father’s
job on the weekends. And every weekend
he’d have something to yell at me about.
Most of the time I deserved it.


Frankie loads the rug into the woman’s car.

                   FRANKIE (V.O.)
What made it so bad this time was
that he did it in front of Althea
Payne. The prettiest and most
popular girl in school.

Frankie finishes and finds himself staring at Althea. Her grandmother catches him.

                   NANA PAYNE
Althea get in the car.

Althea leaves. Nana Payne gives Frankie a coin tip, then gives him a look that would melt steel.

                   NANA PAYNE
I’ll thank you not to be lusting
after my granddaughter.

Yes ma’am.

Embarrassed, Frankie goes back into the store.

                   FRANKIE (V.O.)
I was always getting in trouble at
work because it wasn’t what I
wanted to do.

Inside the store, Rufus is apologizing to his BOSS for Frankie’s behavior.

                   FRANKIE (V.O.)
Hauling carpet worked for my
father. But it didn’t work for me.


“Lonely Teardrops” By Jackie Wilson plays as Frankie sits on his bed doing a pencil drawing of Radio City Music Hall in his notebook. His tip money is on the bed near his feet.

                   FRANKIE (V.O.)
The final straw was when my father
decided it was time for me to learn
the facts of life.

Rufus walks into the room and over to Frankie.

                  RUFUS                                     FRANKIE (V.O.)
     Frankie, I think it’s about                From now on, I had to give
     time you start learning the             my father half my tip money.
     facts of life. The first is,know         You for rent, food,
     nothing in this world is                   everything I was getting up
     free. You’re a man now,                until now for free.
     earning money... It’s time
     you start paying your own way.

Rufus divided up the coins, then took half of them.

                   FRANKIE (V.O.)
This was supposed to make me take
my job more seriously.

This will make you take your job
more seriously.

Rufus continued to pontificate.

                   FRANKIE (V.O.)
Only thing it did was make me hate
that job even more.

Frankie goes back to drawing, nodding periodically as Rufus talks.

                   FRANKIE (V.O.)
One day, a teacher I had saw some
of my drawings...

Frankie looks at his drawing of Radio City, then looks off into the distance.


From the same perspective as the drawing, Frankie stands on 6th Avenue looking at the building.

                   FRANKIE (V.O.)
And got me a job at her husband’s
company, where they design
buildings to be built all over the

We hear, “Ding”.


Frankie gets off the elevator looking for the architect’s office. He finds it. (“Maybe” By The Chantels plays as

                   FRANKIE (V.O.)
Since I was out of school for the
summer, I worked there all day

Frankie is inside taking lunch orders.

                   FRANKIE (V.O.)
I still kept my weekend job at
Sloan’s, since I wasn’t getting
paid at all here.

Frankie is cleaning the staff kitchenette.

                   FRANKIE (V.O.)
Mrs. Perry never told me
internship means you work for free.

Frankie comes back from picking up a package.

                   FRANKIE (V.O.)
Still, I was downtown. I figured,
I’ll pay my dues for a few weeks,
then I’ll get some real work. But
when a few weeks passed, and I
hadn’t seen pencil nor paper the
first, I spoke up.

                   FRANKIE (CONT’D)
Mr. Perry. You think I’ll get to do
some drawin’ soon?

                   MR. PERRY
Frankie, you’re not going to be
doing any drawing here.

But Mrs. Perry said--

                   MR. PERRY
Mrs. Perry is a teacher. She
doesn’t know how the world of
architecture works. You have to
have a college degree to draw here.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t
have a place here. You continue to
work hard as you have been these
past weeks, and you’ll easily become
our residen‘Guy Friday’.

Guy Friday?


Frankie wanders out of the building. He looks dazed and disoriented.

                   MR. PERRY (O.S.)
Yeah. You know, making deliveries,
keeping the office clean, fixing
things, a ‘Jack-of-all-Trades’ if
you will.

Frankie drifts into the street.

                   MR. PERRY (O.S.)
And who knows, with your smarts and
‘go-getter’ attitude, you may even
grow up to become my personal

A Big Black Car comes screeching to a halt, inches before killing Frankie! Frankie looks over at the car... It’s a

                   FRANKIE (V.O.)
That was my last day at that job.
And the last time I ever worked
below a hundred and tenth street.


(“Yakety Yak” By The Coasters plays as score.) Frankie is on the side of the stoop with a half-dozen other boys in the throws of a dice game.

                   FRANKIE (V.O.)
That summer, our hustle day was
Monday. I started working at
Sloan’s during the week, but the
showroom was closed on Mondays. My
Father still worked because they
took in shipments and cut carpets
for installs on Mondays.

Among the boys is JUNIOR EDMONDS (Black, 15 yrs.).

                   FRANKIE (V.O.)
Junior worked in the laundry on
Morningside and they were closed on

Another one of the boys is HORACE CARTWRIGHT (Black, husky, 15 yrs.)

                   FRANKIE (V.O.)
Horace didn’t have a job. So he
pretty much hustled everyday.

Frankie, Junior, and Horace are winning. The others get upset, but keep playing.

                   FRANKIE (V.O.)
We’d roll dice on the stoop, play
cards in the park, whatever was
clever, we was doin’ it. It was
only chump change mostly. But
anything that got some fool to put
his money in our pockets, was cool
with us.

Frankie is shaking the dice in his hand when he looks over his shoulder and sees a Big Black Cadillac pull up and stop at the light.

Frankie turns toward and pauses, staring at the car. He sees the driver as the driver sees him. It’s the same guy that was parked outside the carpet store.

Green. The car pulls off. “Good Golly Miss Molly” by Little Richard cranks up full blast as Frankie drops the dice and chases the car.

Hey Frankie! Where you goin’?
        (to Junior)
He can’t leave. He gotta give me
chance to win my money back!

Game over nigga.

Horace punches the Kid in the face! Junior joins in on the vicious beat-down as Horace takes his money and the other kids take off running.

Frankie is trotting at first, then starts running. Struggling to keep the car in sight.

Frankie chases the Caddie for blocks before it pulls over (music from radio stops). The man gets out of the car. As he reaches the curb, Frankie comes barreling up to him.

Whoa! Goddamn boy! What the hell
you doin’ runnin’ up on me like you
the poe-leece!

        (catching his breath)
Sorry sir. I saw you... back
there... at the light.

        (recognizes him)
You mean way back there on one
twenty-eighth street?

Yes sir.

Well, you caught me. What chu’

That’s a... Really nice car.

You ran behind me all this way to
tell me something I already know?

Frankie searches for an answer.

You really like this car don’t you

Yes sir.

What’s your name?

Frankie Dobbs sir.

What chu’ do for money when you
ain’t shooting dice?

I work for tips down at Sloan’s
Carpet and Rugs.

Tips huh?

Yes sir.

You like that job?

No sir.

Reece looks him up and down, then smiles slightly.

                   REECE (O.S.)
Come down to a hundred thirty
second, between seventh and eighth
tomorrow. Ask for Reece.

He reaches in his pocket and pulls out a wad of cash the size of a grapefruit! He peels off a twenty dollar bill and hands it to Frankie.

We’ll see if we can put some real
money in your pocket.

Yes sir.

Reece walks away.

Thank you Mr. Reece!

Frankie stares down at his new dub. A smile overwhelms his face.