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 2010
Screenplay Contest – Teleplay/Short Series

"Momfia"

Written by Dean Watts


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dean Watts is a native of San Diego, California. He grew up in Salem, Oregon and after high school attended George Washington University in Washington D.C. After graduating from GWU, Dean attended SMU School of Law in Dallas, where he met his wife Heather. After graduation, she and Dean moved to East Texas and had two fantastic children. Dean and his family now live in Nacogdoches, Texas where he continues to practice law.

Additional Writer Information:
dean.watts@att.net

LOGLINE

A hapless father must battle ruthless soccer moms when he accidently parks in the school drop-off line on the first day of kindergarten.

SYNOPSIS

Momfia is a story about a father who incurs the wrath of ruthless soccer moms when he accidently parks in the kindergarten drop-off line on the first day of school. In response to this appalling incident, the Momfia meets him at the local coffee shop, where they try to extort him into taking out their rival on the school board. Using his wits, the father turns the tables on these evil women by tricking and blackmailing them instead. Ultimately, he gains a premier parking place in the drop off line and becomes the "Godfather" of the school parking lot.

LEGAL NOTICE

The MOMFIA screenplay, copyright, and story idea below is owned by Dean Watts. No copying of any of the below pages is allowed, unless approved by owner.

SCRIPT FOLLOWS

FADE IN:

Int. 1998 C280 Mercedes sedan - FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL

GREGORY ALLEN, a handsome forty-something father, waits patiently behind numerous cars in a private school drop off line. ALEXANDRA GREGORY, a beautiful five year old girl, sits anxiously in the back seat.

                  Alexandra
I'm so excited Dad!

Gregory looks in the rearview mirror and smiles.

                  Gregory
You're gonna' have a great year!

Ext. private school entrance - minutes later

Alexandra opens her door and jumps out.

                  Alexandra
Bye Dad!

                  Gregory
Bye sweetie.

Gregory's car moves forward several feet then stops. Gregory rolls down his window.

                  Gregory
      (yelling out the window)
Alexandra, wait!

Gregory leaps out and runs after Alexandra. Alexandra looks back at Gregory. She turns and runs back to him. He gives her a pink backpack and a big hug.

                  Gregory
I love you!

                  Alexandra
I love you too, Daddy!

Alexandra skips into school as Gregory runs back to his car. He hurriedly jumps in.

INT. Gregory'S CAR - cONTINUOUS

Gregory puts it in gear and starts to pull away. There's a RAP on his window. He looks up to see JULIA CLAYTON, an intense looking soccer mom, staring at him. Gregory rolls his window down.

                  Gregory
Hi, can I-

                  Julia
     (tersely)
There's a strict rule against parking in the drop off line.

                  Gregory
Sorry, it's my first day and-

                  Julia
Drive up there.

Julia points to a parking space at the far end of the parking lot.

                  Julia
    (angrily)
I need a word.

                  Gregory
Uh, sure.

Ext. a vacant section of the parking lot - moments later

Furious, Julia glares at Gregory as he gets out of his car.

                  Julia
You parked in the drop off line.

                  Gregory
Oh, my daughter just forgot her-

                  Julia
    (angry and slow)
You parked in the drop off line.

Julia scowls at Gregory.

                  Julia
Your incompetence has made me late for my morning coffee.

                  Gregory
Then let me buy you a cup at Starbucks. There's one right-

Enraged, Julia stabs her finger in Gregory's chest.

                  Julia
Never say Starbucks in front of me again.

                  Gregory
    (horrified)
Why?

                  Julia
Kathi's Koffehouse sponsors our school. Starbucks is strictly off limits to students and parents!

Julia looks him up and down. She thinks for a moment.

                  Julia
You're new here. What's your daughter's name?

                  Gregory
Why?

Julia grabs him and shakes him like a rag doll.

                  Julia
    (shouting)
Tell me her name!

                  Gregory
Alexandra!

Julia walks back to her car and peels out, leaving Gregory looking vexed.

INT. Gregory's car - later that Day

Gregory sits anxiously in the pick up line as children of various ages run out of school and climb into their parents' cars. Gregory talks on a cell phone.

                  Gregory
Heather, these soccer moms are scary!

                  Heather (v.O.)
I'll be home in a few days.

                  Gregory
I'm not sure I can handle this myself.

                  Heather (V.O.)
It's just a few days!

                  Gregory
You have no idea how mean-

He looks out his window to see Alexandra accompanied by her TEACHER. Alexandra's face looks beet red and she's crying hysterically. The Teacher opens the car door.

                  Gregory
I'll call you back.

Gregory closes his cell phone as Alexandra gets in his car.

                  Gregory
What happened?

                  Teacher
She had a rough day.

                  Gregory
Why? What's the matter?

The Teacher leans in and whispers.

                  TEACHER
    (whispering)
They're watching.

                  Gregory
Who?

Gregory looks around and sees several women whispering and staring. He then sees Julia give him the "I've got my eye on you" sign. The Teacher backs up.

                  TEACHER
Bye, sweetie. See you tomorrow.

                  Gregory
Wait, what exactly-

The Teacher scoots off like a cat in the rain. Alexandra climbs in, sobbing uncontrollably.

                  Gregory
Alexandra, what happened?

                  Alexandra
The other kids won't play with me!

                  Gregory
Why not?

                  Alexandra
     (sobbing)
I don't know!

Julia stares at him for a few moments, then walks away. Gregory drives off, looking shaken and joyless.

INT. Gregory'S CAR - minutes later

Gregory appears to be trying to collect himself as they drive through town. He looks in the rearview mirror at Alexandra, still sobbing.

                  Gregory
Let's go to the park!

                  Alexandra
    (sniffling)
I'm too sad to play.

                  Gregory
Come on, we'll have some fun.

Int. Gregory's car- day

Gregory and Alexandra start to pull into the park entrance, but see Julia suddenly standing right in the middle of the road adjacent to the "Welcome to Pecan Park" sign.

                  Gregory
Oh my God!

Gregory slams on his brakes, stopping inches from Julia. She doesn't flinch. She walks over angrily to Gregory's window. Gregory rolls his window down.

                  Julia
    (sweetly)
Your daughter can't play here today.

                  Gregory
Why not?

Julia points to Gregory.

                  Julia
    (coldly)
We take drop-off line disruptions very seriously.

Julia eyes him and crosses her arms.

                  Julia
You wanna' fix this problem? Go to Kathi's Koffeehouse at nine tomorrow.

                  Gregory
But-

                  Julia
Or you'll wish you woulda' put your kid in public school.

Fear flashes across Gregory's face.

                  Julia
Don't be late.

Gregory looks her strangely.

                  Gregory
I-

                  Julia
    (over her shoulder)
And don't park in line.

Gregory looks at Alexandra.

                  Gregory
Come on, Alexandra. We'll find another park to play in.

Gregory looks perplexed as he drives away.

Int. Kathi's Koffeehouse - The next day

Julia sits with SAVANNAH PARKER, MARGARET BROWNING, and JOAN DUNBAR in a large booth in the corner. Margaret is an intimidating, but attractive six foot brunette. Joan looks like a hot bookkeeper, with glasses and a grey suit. Savannah looks sexy in her tight blouse, heels, and Versace skirt.

                  Joan
So why this guy?

                  Julia
He's a nobody. If this plan goes south, who are people gonna' believe, him or us?

Gregory walks in the door.

                  Julia
There he is.

They all turn and stare at him. Gregory approaches them cautiously.

                  Savannah
He's cute.

                  Julia
    (disgusted)
Please.

Gregory walks up to them.

                  Gregory
Hi, thanks for inviting me.

                  Julia
You're five minutes late.

                  Gregory
My watch says-

                  Julia
    (sharply)
You're late. Now sit.

Gregory gives her a puzzled look, then sits down.

                  Gregory
Who exactly are you?

                  Julia
Just some concerned parents who need your assistance.

                  Margaret
Do us this favor, and maybe things 'll get better for your daughter at school.

Julia points to five women sitting at a booth on the opposite wall.

                  Julia
You see those five skanks over there?

They all look over at Gregory menacingly.

                  Gregory
Yeah.

                  Julia
That's the majority vote on our school board.

                  Joan
We're in the minority.

Gregory looks at the exit longingly. Savannah smiles at him and winks.

                  Julia
But that's gonna' change.

Gregory sits anxiously, while Savannah looks at him and plays with her hair.

                  Julia
Take this. In it is the name, address, and picture of your target.

Julia slides a manila envelope across the table. He looks at it and smiles.

                  Gregory
    (chuckling)
You guys really had me going. I'm gonna' get an espresso. You want anything?

Gregory starts to get up. Julia nods at Margaret, who SLAPS Gregory hard across the face. Gregory looks shocked and sits down rubbing his cheek.

                  Julia
You need to start taking this seriously, Gregory.

Julia looks up and sees a BARRISTA bringing a refill of coffee. She smiles and refills everyone's coffee.

                  Julia
    (sweetly)
Thank you so much!

                  Barrista
Is everything okay here?

                  Julia
    (laying it on thick)
Yes, thanks.

                  BARRISTA
Just let me know if you need anything.

Julia looks at her smiling broadly.

                  Julia
We will.

Julia watches the Barrista walk off.

                  Julia
    (under her breath)
Nosy bitch.

Julia's expression changes from chirpy sweet to dark and evil.

                  Julia
    (coldly)
All those birthday parties, all those play dates. Too bad she'll never be invited.

                  Savannah
We can be lots of fun, if you give us a chance.

                  Margaret
Or we can be your worst enemies.

                  Julia
Since the school year's started, there's no way your daughter can get into another private school.

                  Margaret
    (smiling sweetly)
They're all full.

                  Julia
And public school. Well, let's just say those high test scores won't do her much good there.

                  Margaret
Her whole future depends on what you do right now.

Gregory sits silently for a few seconds. He sighs.

                  Gregory
What do you want me to do?

Julia points to the envelope.

                  Julia
Get her off the board. I don't care how. She'll be replaced by me and then we'll take over.

                  Joan
Or else, we make little Alexandra's life a living hell.

                  Gregory
But she's only five years old!

                  Julia
A perfect age to learn how the world works.

Savannah puts her hand on Gregory's knee. Gregory gulps.

                  Margaret
Ya' got 'til tomorrow to think it over.

Julia shoos him away with her hand as if he were a bug.

                  Julia
Now leave us. We have important matters to discuss.

Gregory gets up and walks hastily towards the exit.

CONTINUED