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 2010 - April 2011
Screenplay Contest - Full-Length Series

" Queen of Vengeance "

Written by Mark Winzer

Jason Bickings


Mark Winzer began writing screenplays in 2006 and finished his first feature script entitled “The Interview” in 2007. This screenplay was selected by numerous prestigious film festivals and took 1st place at the VisionFest Film Festival in New York and won the Cinema City International Film Festival in Los Angeles. This encouraged him to continue to develop his craft and he has now completed four feature length screenplays and two short scripts. “Queen of Vengeance” is his second female driven historical action screenplay. The first, “Dressed in a Black Flag”, was optioned to Producer Kerry David whose credits include “Like Dandelion Dust” with Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino. His socially relevant drama “Ripples” is in development at Silver Screen Entertainment, Inc. Mark is currently working on his passion project, “Keemo the Archer”, which is a script he wrote to inspire children battling cancer. It is now in Pre-Production at The Ebeling Group whose credits include the holiday special “Yes Virginia” which aired on CBS. He is thrilled to be working with such amazing artists on this film. Mark lives on the shore of Lake Michigan with his wife and two children.

Additional Writer Information:


A peaceful leader, a loving mother…slayer of 70,000. A Celtic queen leads a rebellion against the Roman Empire to avenge her daughters. Based on the life of Boudicca.


“Queen of Vengeance” is a historical epic based on the life of Boudicca; the Celtic queen who led a massive rebellion against the Roman Empire to avenge her daughters. At the heart of the story is a once peaceful leader and loving mother on a quest for revenge that drives her to slaughter 70,000 Roman citizens and burn three cities to the ground. Under her command, the Iceni army completely annihilates the IX Legion in one of the most crushing defeats in the history of the Roman army. But her quest soon crosses the line between revenge and blood lust, which leads her kingdom to a point of no return.

The subplot interweaves the touching story of the Iceni slaves Ferox and Perditus. Ferox is the teenage son who is willing to sacrifice his life for freedom. Perditus is the father who is willing to sacrifice his freedom for life. Slaves to Virilis, a cruel Centurian, Ferox and Perditus are forced to help raid a small Iceni village. Ferox cannot stand idle as the village is pillaged and he kills two Roman soldiers. This begins his parallel journey to avenge his mother who was stolen away from him by slavery. With his knowledge of Roman warfare tactics, he becomes an unlikely adviser to Queen Boudicca and he helps her plan the destruction of the IX Legion. At the end of his quest for revenge, Ferox makes an insightful discovery about the cost of wrath that forever changes the history of Britannia.

"Queen of Vengeance" examines the topical debate of the justification of war and when that justification is exceeded. Revenge continues to be one of the most common cinematic themes, but this story delivers a fresh and unique perspective on both the theme and the genre.


The Queen of Vengeance screenplay, copyright, and story idea below are owned by Mark Winzer. No copying of any of the below pages is allowed unless approved by owner.



A desire to resist oppression is implanted in the nature of man.---Tacitus



SUPER IN/OUT - "Rome, 61 AD"

The ROAR of 250,000 Romans CHEERING rises up with dust thrown by the chariots racing side by side down the huge oval track.


The rabid mob packs tightly into the circus stands as they struggle to view the race.

Bread and wine vendors apply their trade sending up both to the hoards of people.

Perched behind the stands, on ornate columns, the Emperor's posh seating area looms over the mob.


EMPEROR NERO, impish, early twenties, leans forward with a nefarious grin. Over his shoulder, LUCIUS SENECA, fifties, pale, watches both the emperor and the crowd approvingly.


The white chariot moves to the outside of the green chariot and begins to pass.

People leap to their feet CHEERING as the chariots race by.


The green chariot cuts off the white chariot sending it SMASHING into the spina.


The white chariot driver LAUNCHES through the air as his chariot CRUMBLES from the impact.


People YELL, HOWL and spill wine from their wooden chalices as they watch the crash in a state of delirium.


The white chariot driver DRAGS behind the runaway horses. The green chariot passes the post at the end of the spina sending everyone to their feet CHEERING.


Emperor Nero stands up with a smile and waves to the huge crowd below him.

The circus mob CHEERS the leader that has given them such great entertainment.


The green chariot driver slows the horses to a trot and waves at the adoring mob.

The mob CHEERS WILDLY for the victor.

The white chariot horses continue to RUN with the lifeless body of the driver DRAGGING behind them.


BURRUS, forties, steps up cautiously behind Emperor Nero with a false smile.

He struggles to mask his trepidation.

Emperor Nero seems to sense the presence of his chief aide and turns away from the adoring crowd to face him.

                     EMPEROR NERO
Burrus, my good friend. Is there no
time to relish in such a spectacle?

Seneca quickly steps between them and gestures toward the front of the seating area. They walk away from the other spectators in the seating area and stand at the front rail.

I am afraid there are more problems
arising in the providence of

Emperor Nero takes a long swig from his golden chalice.

                     EMPEROR NERO
I might have guessed.

Seneca apprehensively watches the senators and diplomats make their way to the exist steps.

The area clears out quickly as Emperor Nero and Burrus gaze out over the huge circus maximus.

We have received a will of inheritance
from the kingdom of the Iceni.

Emperor Nero shrugs.

                     BURRUS (CONT'D)
King Prasutagus has died. Trade
with the region has stopped until
his will is ratified.

Emperor Nero's face flushes with anger.

Seneca steps in close to the emperor looking frazzled.

If word of this spreads, it could
lead to another revolt. A revolt
our coffers can't afford. There is
a loan of forty million sesterces at
stake in addition to enormous tax
revenues extracted from-

Emperor Nero puts a hand up to Seneca.

                     EMPEROR NERO
What provisions are called for in
the will?

Burrus hesitates looking at Seneca as if for support.

Seneca looks back at him fearfully.

Burrus proceeds reluctantly.

It appears that Prasutagus wished to
preserve his line.

Emperor Nero's face contorts with rage.

                     EMPEROR NERO
Just tell me what the will says!

He has named you co-heir to the Iceni
Kingdom along with his wife and two

Emperor Nero flings his golden chalice to the ground.

He glares at Burrus with vehement eyes.

                     EMPEROR NERO
A barbarian dictates terms to Rome!?

These barbarians have no comprehension
of Roman law, which will only allow
for an inheritance through a male line.
Prasutagus has no male heir to his kingdom.

Without a male heir, the Iceni kingdom
should be subjugated.

Emperor Nero paces for a moment and then tightens his fists.

                     EMPEROR NERO
Rome will deliver a message to the
Iceni people! A strong message indeed.
They want women claiming nobility? I
want them begging to be slaves! Then
all lands and properties of Britannia
will be confiscated in my name! Starting
with the Iceni.

Emperor Nero SNAPS his fingers at a slave.

The slave rushes over with another gold chalice and quickly fills it with wine.

Emperor Nero SNATCHES it back from the slave.

The slave nervously bows and quickly walks away.

                     EMPEROR NERO (CONT'D)
The Gauls were once fierce warriors.

Emperor Nero drinks from the chalice again and then looks around the empty seating area with a sinister glare.

                     EMPEROR NERO (CONT'D)
But the Gauls lost their courage
when they lost their freedom. This
is what must happen to the tribes of
Britannia! All of them!

Seneca and Burrus look at one another unsure.

Governor Suetonius is leading a
campaign on the island of Anglesey.
It could be months before he could
be ready to suppress the Iceni.

The ninth legion, under General
Petillius, is nearby. Camped outside
of Camulodunum.

I doubt they need be bothered. Now
that King Prasutagus is dead, there
is no fight left in the Iceni. His
wife needs only a strong message and
she and her daughters will forfeit
any claim of nobility.

                     EMPEROR NERO
Than you shall go yourself to deliver
that message!

Seneca looks stunned.

                     EMPEROR NERO (CONT'D)
This so called queen must feel the
heavy hand of the empire. There can
be no doubt of our supremacy.

Seneca looks at Burrus with a look of dread and then despairingly back at Emperor Nero.

But my duties here are-

                     EMPEROR NERO

Seneca swallows the insult and stares forward.

                     EMPEROR NERO (CONT'D)
I will have a centuria of the finest
soldiers escort you.

Seneca bows to Emperor Nero.

                     EMPEROR NERO (CONT'D)
You will let these barbarians know
the power of Rome. Do you understand?

Seneca slowly nods with his head still lowered forlornly.

Yes my Caesar.

Emperor Nero turn to Burrus.

                     EMPEROR NERO
What do they call this barbarian

They call her Boudicca.





SUPER IN/OUT - "The Roman Providence of Britannia"

BOUDICCA, late thirties, with long matted red hair, rides a horse at full gallop through the tall grass. Her piercing blue eyes radiate power and zeal. She wears a large golden torc around her neck and a thick cloak fastened by a brooch covering her leather tunic.

ISIBEAL, teen, long red hair and LAIDIAN, teen, long blonde hair, ride alongside her. Both wear large golden torc's around their necks in the same pattern as Boudicca.

A short distance back rides CADERYN, early twenties, fierce looking, Iceni warrior.

He struggles to hang on and keep up with the pace.

Further back ride two DRUID PRIESTS, with fearful expressions barely masked by the intricate tattoo's inked on their faces.

They hang onto their horses tightly as they gallop wildly.

Boudicca smiles back at Caderyn and the priests as they struggle to hold onto their horses.


Boudicca and her daughters ride well ahead of the other three. They majestically weave through the tall grass as they gallop fearlessly at full speed.


Boudicca pulls back on the reigns slowing the horse to a walk. She beams at the sight in front of her.

The fruitful countryside sprawls out toward the river.

Isibeal and Laidian trot their horses alongside Boudicca with confident smiles.

Ride below and check the crops.

They nod and quickly head the down hill toward the fields.

Boudicca smiles lovingly at them and they head down the hill.

Caderyn pulls his horse to a stop alongside Boudicca. He looks out over the flat crop fields and the girls riding
toward them.

Boudicca looks over at Caderyn with a playful smile.

                     BOUDICCA (CONT'D)
I hope you didn't let me win the
race because I am your queen.

I didn't know we were racing.

Everything is a race Caderyn.

Caderyn returns her smile.

It's good to see you smile again.

Boudicca nods reflectively.

I can see his hope for our people in
the eyes of my Isibeal and Laidian.
Because of them, I feel as though he
has never left me.

Caderyn nods approvingly.

The druid priests approach them OUT OF BREATH from the wild ride. They look at Boudicca with an expression of uneasiness.

Boudicca CHUCKLES at the priests as they regain their composure and sorely dismount from their horses.

                     BOUDICCA (CONT'D)
An easy ride back. I promise!

The druid priests look at her doubtful and then walk with their horses to the edge of the hill.

Boudicca shakes her head smiling at them and then turns back to Caderyn.

                     BOUDICCA (CONT'D)
We need to expand these fields further
toward the forest. No Iceni should
worry about hunger during the winter.

Caderyn nods, but then looks uncertain.

The Roman army is pushing further up
the river. Soon they will be camped
just beyond the forest. Too close
for my liking.

Boudicca looks sternly out over the crop fields.

I want peace with the Romans. We
need to continue our trade with them.
We need to continue to embrace them
as friends. Peace and trade
agreements are the signs of a wise

Fear in the eyes of the enemy is
also the sign of a wise leader.

Give your people strife and soon
they will have nothing to give in
return. Give them peace and they
will provide a fruitful bounty for
the benefit of all.

There's no fear in the eyes of the
Roman soldiers that camp near here.
And that worries me.

All the more reason to keep the peace
with them.

Without fear, the Romans respect no

Boudicca looks at Caderyn disapprovingly.

Her demeanor and tone shifts from friend to Queen.

They have respected ours.

Only when we have forfeited slaves
or trade.

Boudicca flashes an angry glare at Caderyn.

Enough! I'll ignore your brash words.

Caderyn drops his head.

                     BOUDICCA (CONT’D)
You were more than a friend to my
husband. You were like a son, but it
is I who now leads the Iceni people
and when his will is ratified my
throne will pass to Isibeal and
Laidian. Never argue with them as
you do now. Never forget your place
again. Do you understand?

Caderyn looks up sheepishly as his face flushes.

Forgive my tongue. I do not have
the wisdom of a king.

Caderyn bows his head.

                     CADERYN (CONT'D)
Or queen.

Boudicca's anger quickly subsides as she looks at Caderyn with his head bowed before her.

I know you do not trust the Romans,
but we will honor the treaties of my
husband. We will keep the peace.
And my daughters will prosper as
heirs to the Iceni kingdom. And you
will serve them as you served my

Caderyn raises his head and nods proudly.

I will serve them proudly.

Laidian and Isibeal suddenly ride up alongside Boudicca and

Caderyn with beaming smiles.

The crops are tall and thick!

Boudicca looks down over the field with a look of excitement.

We can deliver some of the harvest
to the outer villages! A gesture of
strength from Queen Boudicca to keep
them unified.

Good Caderyn. Deliver whatever we
can spare so even the smallest village
knows the kingdom is still strong. But
the gesture shall be from my daughters.

Understood. They will see the wisdom
of their allegiance to Isibeal and

Laidian and Isibeal trot their horses anxiously.

Shall we race back mother?

Boudicca glances at the Druid priests and grins.

I think we should slow the pace for
our ride back.

We can give them a head start to be

Caderyn puts his hand up in protest.

No one needs to give me a head start.

Laidian circles Caderyn closely.

Men have always had a head start.
That's why winning gives us so much

Boudicca LAUGHS along with Laidian and Isibeal.

Caderyn CHUCKLES and smiles.

Isibeal rides up close to Caderyn.

We'll wait until you are across the
river. That should make it a fair

Caderyn's smile disappears. He looks at them seriously as the insult settles in. With a snarl, he kicks his horse.


Caderyn races off toward the river.

Laidian and Isibeal grin at each other and then LAUGH.

Boudicca grins at the sight of Caderyn riding wildly toward the river.

He struggles to hold on as the horse gallops.

Be careful with him. He'll kill
himself trying to impress you.

We promise not to break him.

His body. Not his spirit.

Boudicca LAUGHS and shakes her head.

I am not surprised to hear you mention
his body sister.

What do you mean?

I see the way you've been looking at
him. And he at you!

Isibeal struggles to look shocked by the comment.

What? He looks at you the same way.

Laidian slowly shakes her head with a wry smile.

His face looks like he just pulled
it from a cool stream whenever you
pass by.

Boudicca grins playfully and leans forward.

Really? How has this escaped me?

Isibeal looks annoyed by the teasing.

She TROTS her horse to face away from Boudicca and Laidian who smile at one another.

O.S. Druid priests CHANT SOFTLY.

                     BOUDICCA (CONT'D)
I'll stay and ride back with the
priests. Now go and make sure we
are ready to receive the Roman

Laidian and Isibeal kick their horses and they lunge forward
in pursuit.

Boudicca smiles proudly as she watches them gallop toward
the river.