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, November 2011 - April 2012
Screenplay Contest - Teleplay/Short Series
"A Lament of War"
Written by Praveen J. Collins
Praven Collens "A Lament of War"

Praveen J. Collins is a Sri Lankan American screenwriter, film director, and producer. Born in Newark, New Jersey, Collins was an avid fan of animation, which eventually developed into a love for filmmaking. He graduated Tisch School of the Arts in 2011 and is currently in post-production on a short film that will enter the festival circuit by the end of 2012.

Additional Writer Information:


World War II. Fighter Ace Rick Bannon has just crashed behind enemy lines in rural Germany. Though the war continues miles away, Rick is caught by a lone Nazi Colonel who plans to use him in his bizarre scheme.


Deep in rural Germany during the height of World War II, a United States fighter plane crashes. Staggering out of the smoking debris, Ace Rick Bannon takes in his surroundings – it's a long way back to base. Without hesitation he starts his trek, distancing himself from the crash before anyone arrives. Unfortunately, he is met with a curious Nazi Colonel named Ludwig who happens to be wandering by himself, far from all the action. With his Luger aimed at Rick's skull, Ludwig gives him an offer: he will let Rick go only if Rick agrees to shoot him in the leg. A loony chain of events involving a drunken farmer, a blonde bombshell, and Fate itself follow this bizarre encounter as we discover the reasoning for Ludwig's unusual request.


The A Lament of War screenplay, copyright, and story idea below are owned by Praveen Collins. No copying of any of the below pages is allowed unless approved by owner.



We see BLACK & WHITE stock footage of a WORLD WAR II FIGHTER PLANE soaring through the sky, dodging white hot bullets whizzing by from all directions.

Its wing gets clipped. It struggles to stay in the air before it changes course for the ground.








We are in a rich and colorful forest. It’s a serene Autumn day, the complete opposite of the previous chaos.



A U.S. FIGHTER PILOT in a burnt and tattered uniform staggers into frame, dragging a BEAT-UP PARACHUTE. This is ACE RICK BANNON (40).

Rick tosses his cracked goggles and abandons his parachute. His nose is bloody. The rest of his face is caked with dirt and oil. He trudges through the bush and shrubbery, tired and weak.


Rick reaches a dirt pathway in the forest when...

                   VOICE (O.S.)

Rick turns around to face the voice.

Behind him, about 20 feet away, is a sleazy looking NAZI COLONEL aiming a LUGER at Rick’s head. The Colonel barks in a THICK, GERMAN ACCENT. His name is LUDWIG (35).

Are you zhe pilot of zhe plane?

Rick takes a deep breath. He’s at the end of the line. He sticks his chest out and his chin up, refusing to answer. He possesses the swagger of The Duke himself.


Rick hawks up and spits to the side.

Maybe I am... maybe I ain’t...

Are you armed?

Well now, I can’t spoil the

Ludwig approaches Rick until he’s at point blank range.

Take out your weapon.

Rick studies Ludwig with a cold glare. He complies and takes out his REVOLVER, handing it to Ludwig.

No no no. Keep it.

Rick is confused. Ludwig takes a few paces back and closes his eyes.

Now I am going to spare your life,
Mr. Yankee Doodle. But you have to
do me a favor.

...what might that be?

I want to you shoot me in zhe leg.

Wait... wait, what?

Shoot me in zhe leg, preferably
above zhe knee, but below zhe hip.

Rick is dumbfounded.

You can come closer if you are too
far. I’d rather you not take zhe

Ludwig takes out a silver CIGARETTE CASE from his pocket.

Now why in the world would I shoot
you? How do I know there ain’t some
sniper ready to pick me off once I
lift my gun?

Are you joking? You’re in farming
territory. Zhere isn’t another
soldier for miles.

Ludwig lights his cigarette and closes his eyes.

Whenever you are ready.

Rick looks around the forest. No one in sight. He lifts up his gun and aims for Ludwig’s leg. He pauses and aims for Ludwig’s head.

He can’t do it. He puts the gun down.

Now why the hell do you want me to
shoot you in the leg?

Do you really want to know?

It’d help, yeah. Make things a
little less suspect.

Ludwig takes a long drag from his cigareete and walks up to Rick.

Well, zhree nights ago I was on
patrol in zhe Rhine. I was off duty
one day, so I went to a restaurant,
where I met zhis beautiful
fraulein. Gold hair, full lips, big
eyes, big...

He makes the gesture for breasts.

Later zhat night we made love. It
was zhe most tender love I’ve ever
experienced in my life. It was so
good zhat I don’t zhink I will ever
experience zhat ever again with
another woman. And I believe zhat
zhe only way cruel Fate will allow
me to continue my primal nirvana
with zhis, zhis, zhis angel, is if
I paid Him my dues in some other
aspect of my life.

Rick is still skeptical.

So what do I do? Wait? For what? A
tumor in my brain so I become an
idiot, unaware of the pleasures
zhis woman provides me? Or gangrene
on my frankfurter, so I have to
amputate and never experience zhis
bliss again? No no no no. I must
beat God to zhe punch! Zhat is why
I want you to shoot me in zhe leg.

Just because this is the best
you’ve had in your life?

Zhe best in zhe world, Yankee
Doodle. Zhe best in zhe world.

I ain’t ever been with no woman
good enough to make me wanna shoot
my leg.

Honestly... you know what? I will
show you!

Whoa whoa whoa now. You get near me
and I’ll beat the brains out yer

No! You idiot. I will show you
Odelia! Mein fraulien! You have to
see what she does!

What? I mean, I don’t need to see
you two--

Not me two, you two! You will
experience Odelia for yourself!


I will take you to zhe cabin where
we are staying right now.


Come, come!

Ludwig points the gun at Rick’s head and steers him off.



Rick and Ludwig enter frame.

Zhere is zhe cabin.

You’re really okay with this? If I
had me a frow-line as good as the
one yer yappin’ about, I wouldn’t
let nobody ever look at ’er.

Honestly, whether you are a German,
Yankee, or even Jew, it would be a
sin on my part if I told you about
it and did not let you partake.

Well, you have the gun.

The two start walking towards the cabin.

It’s been a while since I’ve
partaken in frow-lines.


Ludwig opens the door and enters, signalling Rick to come inside with a big smile.

At last, I introduce...ODELIA!

Rick stands just outside the doorway, immediately hit by the sight of Odelia (offscreen). He is speechless.

What did I tell you, eh?

All of a sudden...

BOOM! Gunshot.

...BLOOD EXPLODES out of Rick’s arm. Before Rick can register what just happened -- BOOM! -- his head explodes. Rick falls to the ground, dead.

                   OLD MAN’S VOICE (O.S.)
            (German accent)
Ha ha! Grundgütiger!

Ludwig looks at Rick’s dead body, trying to process what just occurred. He then steps outside to look for the voice.


Far in the distance is an old and fat HUNTER (56). This is JOHANN.


Johann waddles as fast as he can towards Ludwig, RIFLE in hand.

I’ve gotten him! I’ve gotten him!

Yes... you have...

Johann inspects Rick’s body, finding a flask.

Are you okay? Has zhis American
hurt you?


Good thing I showed up, eh? Ha ha

What were you--

Johann sniffs the flask and then takes a swig.

I was hunting and all of a sudden I
hear a big (imitates plane falling)
ERRRRRRRRRR BANG!! I went to look
’Where? Where was zhis zhings?’ and
I found zhe big mess. Of what? An
American plane! Hmph!
            (to Rick)
Der hund. Der hundsohn.
Ludwig stands with his arms crossed in deep thought.

Well...uh...Danke. But, uh--
Can I ask you a favor?

Ha! From zhe look of zhis cabin I
know what you’re asking! Sure! Come
stay at mein farm! It’s not far
away. I will radio zhe other patrol
to pick you up. I will cook. I will
let you have a bath. Anything for a
fighting German. Heil Hitler!

He does the thing they do with that.

Listen... can I ask you to do me
another favor.

What is it?

Ludwig hands him his Luger.

Can you shoot me in zhe leg?

Johann looks at the Luger, puzzled. He looks at Ludwig. He let’s out a hard, hearty laugh, patting Ludwig hard on the back.

AHAHAHAHAHA! What a sense of humor!
Come! Come! We shall go.


Johann looks inside at Odelia. He takes off his hat.

You may stay as well, mein

Johann turns around, spits on Rick’s dead body and walks off. Ludwig follows him.



We are in Johann’s guest room, furnished with a big feather bed and a giant carved wardrobe.

Odelia sleeps peacefully, turned away so we only see her THICK, BLONDE HAIR. Ludwig sits at the foot of his bed, Luger in hand.

Oh cruel FATE, why must you torment
me so?

He aims the gun back and forth between his right and left leg before settling it at the middle of his right shin.

He turns to Odelia and takes a deep breath.

He turns to his leg and takes a deep breath.

His hand trembles. He tries to steady his gun to no avail.

He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath.




Ludwig opens his eyes one at a time. He looks at his leg... ...it’s completely unharmed.

But right next to his foot there’s a hole in the floor. He can see through it.


Through the hole in the floor he sees a chair knocked over and a pair of FAT LEGS sprawled on the ground; a POOL OF BLOOD grows bigger and bigger underneath them.



Ludwig hops up and bolts out the door.

Odelia pulls up her blanket, sound asleep.


Ludwig rushes into the dining room to see Johann dead on the floor with a bullet entry wound in the TOP OF HIS HEAD.


All of a sudden we hear the SOUND OF A PATROL CAR pull up. The DOORS OPEN and CLOSE. FOOTSTEPS grow closer and closer.

Ludwig looks at the front door in terror.

Nein, nein, nein!

The door opens and TWO GESTAPO OFFICERS enter the room.

                   GESTAPO #1
Is this the house of Johann-- AH!

Ludwig stands stupidly over Johann’s dead body, Luger in hand.



1940s stock footage of a large German Prison.


We see a disheveled Ludwig in prison garb standing behind bars.

(NOTE: The following narrator speaks in FRENCH)

And so, cruel Fate caught up to
Ludwig in the end, asking for
something of equal value to what
was the ’Best Sex of His Life’.


We see Ludwig’s shivering SILHOUETTE inside a prison cell.

He spent the rest of the war in
military prison for the murder of
the farmer, though accidental. And
it would be in this military where
Ludwig would experience...

We see the silhouette of a large MUSCULAR MAN walking up behind Ludwig. Ludwig cowers in fear as the Man gets closer.

...the ’Worst Sex of His Life’.

Credits. THE END.