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 2009 - April 2010
Screenplay Contest – Teleplay/Short Series

"Shooting People"

Written by Tristam A. Thomas
Craig Rosenthal
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

From early childhood stories meant everything to me. Growing up, I had the opportunity to meet numerous film directors and producers (my father happens to be a film score composer), and by watching them work I became genuinely inspired. These experiences forged my affection for the film industry and the idea of using the medium of film to tell stories and shape an audience’s emotional response.

In referral to my writing abilities, actor John Sessions wrote; “Tris has an eye and ear for the macabre and has lots of potential”.

Another of my life’s passion is acting. I believe there is a multitude of characters inside all of us and the world truly is a stage on which to cast them. I have acted in school and amateur dramatic productions since as long as I can remember, but to me true characterization comes from living, not from rehearsing.

I am currently studying for a BA (Hons) degree in film production at the Arts University College, Bournemouth and hope to graduate next year.

I am truly grateful for the opportunity you have given me.

Additional Writer Information:|
tristamthomas28@googlemail.com

LOGLINE

LIFE, CAMERA, ACTION!

SYNOPSIS

The story is about a young man named Marvin who suffers from a reclusive, psychotic disorder and a misplaced obsession with Diana Ross. He is desperate for companionship and understanding, but is prevented by the mental pressure of having spent his life being locked in his bedroom by his bible-bashing parents. Things are then complicated further when he runs away from home, and his veil of sanity begins to slip when introduced to a stripper named Cindy who is the embodiment of a young Diana Ross. Reality and voyeuristic fiction truly begin to blend in a sexually infused cocktail of film and documentary through the eyes of a killer.

LEGAL NOTICE

The Shooting People screenplay, copyright, and story idea below is owned by Tristam A. Thomas. No copying of any of the below pages is allowed unless approved by owner.

SCRIPT FOLLOWS

OPEN ON:

INT. MARVIN'S CAR. NIGHT

Credits over MARVIN driving in his car. He is singing aloud to 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' by Diana Ross. Every now & then he checks his rear view mirror and smiles.

                  MARVIN
         (singing)
    aaaahh ahh aah aaaah!

We see the passion in his face as he sings.

                  MARVIN (CONT’D)
         (singing)
    oooooooo ooo ooooooo

MARVIN looks in the rear view mirror and holds his gaze, as if singing to someone sat in the back seat.

                 MARVIN (CONT’D)
         (singing/speaking)
    If you need me, call me. No matter
    where you are, no matter how far.
    Just call my name, I'll be there in
    a hurry, on that you can depend and
    never worry...

 

The CAMERA tracks up to the rear view mirror, in the back seat we see a girl, a pretty girl about twenty one years of age. She is bound and gagged and screaming for dear life.

Tears of makeup stream down her face as she struggles desperately to get loose.

Pan back to MARVIN, still singing.

                MARVIN (CONT’D)
        (singing/speakin)
    Can't stop me baby, If you are my
    go-oooaaal! Aaaaahh ahh aah
    aaaaaah!

                        FADE TO BLACK.

EXT. INTERVIEW IN THE PARK. DAY

MARVIN is lit in true interview fashion. The camera locked off on a tripod and the background is soft focus. He has a smile on his face and looks happy and comfortable. He speaks with absolute freedom, but his eyes blink almost uncontrollably.

                MARVIN
    There's that one about Freudian
    slips.
        (beat)
    Two guys are sat at a bar and one
    says to the other: "y'know, I hate
    those fuckin Freudian slips. The
    other day me and the wife were
    getting a train to Pitsburg and I
    went up to the booth and the girl
    there had these huge tits and
    instead of saying 'can I have two
    tickets to Pitsberg?' I said 'can I
    have two pickets to Titsberg?'"
        (beat)
    The other guy chuckles to himself
    and says "I know what you mean. The
    other day I was leaving the house
    and instead of saying 'Mother, I'll
    be back in an hour' I said 'BITCH,
    YOU RUINED MY LIFE!'"

He laughs long and hard to himself.

CUT TO: BLACK

CUE MUSIC AND OPENING CREDITS

EXT. OUTSIDE MARVIN'S HOUSE. DAY

MARVIN stands talking to the CAMERA. He is wearing glasses and has only a moustache, he looks about twenty three years of age and dresses like a 1990’s throwback. When he speaks we can hear hints of a Welsh accent. He has a small video camera in his hands and is trying hard to fix it.

                 MARVIN
        (aside)
    Fuckin', piece, you.

He slaps the camera and gives up on fixing it.

                 MARVIN (CONT’D)
        (to CAMERA)
    Once I get this fixed then it's
    justa matter of time, y'know. Then
    just got to make the film and we'll
    be out in Hollywood, man. It's just a
    matter of time.
        (beat)
    No it's good to be out. Good to be
    out good to be out.
        (inhales a deep breath)
    Good to be out in the fresh air.

He smiles proudly at the CAMERA.

CUT TO:

INT. MARVIN'S HOUSE. DAY

MARVIN is giving us the tour of the house. At regular nervous intervals he picks up different items and shows them to the CAMERA. He passes a bird cage with a beautiful Eastern Rosella parrot sat inside. MARVIN pauses and glares at the bird.

                 MARVIN
    This is Tallula. Don't pay any
    attention to her, she'll just waste
    your tapes.
        (to the BIRD)
    Isn't that right.
        (he looks disgusted)
    Sat there all high and mighty like
    you're something big.

MARVIN aggressively squares up to the cage.

                 MARVIN (CONT’D)
    WHAT!

With a twinkle in her eye, THE BIRD stares relentlessly back at     him.

                 MARVIN (CONT’D)
    That's what I thought. That's why
    you're in the cage.

He moves on.

We enter his bedroom, it is small and covered in posters and memorabilia of Diana Ross, in her prime.

Noticing the camera noticing the posters MARVIN speaks

                MARVIN (CONT’D)
    Ah yeah, Diana.

He nods, smiling knowingly at the camera.

                 MARVIN (CONT’D)
    Diana probably wasn't very happy at all when Mary & Cindy     were shoulder-to-shoulder with her. After all, that would     mean the audience is seeing all of them as equals as opposed     to background scenery, which Diana would have preferred.     I'm sure we all remember the Motown 25 incident when Mary     & Cindy did this same thing, and you know what happened     next!

CUT TO:

INT. MARVIN'S HOUSE. NIGHT

MARVIN is alone in his home watching the TELEVISION – still manically trying to fix the video camera. He is watching a black and white romance movie and the scene is of a MAN romancing a WOMAN.

Hold on his expression.

FADE TO:

EXT. STREET. DAY

We follow MARVIN from behind as he walks, with some difficulty down the street. He glances over his shoulder and notices the CAMERA. As we catch up with him we see that he has a TELEVISION in his arms.

                MARVIN
    Oh what that? It's a television.

A soft woman's voice speaks, as if coming from the CAMERA.

                WOMAN O/S
    Can I ask where you're taking it?

                MARVIN
    I'm returning it.

CUT TO:

INT. ELECTRONICS SHOP. DAY

MARVIN stumbles into the shop and drops the television on the floor. The INDIAN SHOP OWNER comes bundling out from behind the counter. He is furious.

                THE SHOP OWNER
    This bloody guy! Why you come back
    this time!

MARVIN stands back, stunned.

                MARVIN
    I would like to return this
    television set.

                THE SHOP OWNER
    Return it! You bloody stole this
    one! For a third bloody time.

He hustles MARVIN out of the door.

                THE SHOP OWNER (CONT’D)
    Go on! Get out! I tell you this is
    the last time you do this, you
    hear! You get out of my shop.

                THE SHOP OWNER (CONT’D)
    Bloody bastard guy!  

THE INDIAN SHOP OWNER pushes the lens of the CAMERA down as we

CUT TO:

INT. MARVIN'S CAR. DAY

MARVIN has parked his car outside a GARDEN CENTRE. We watch him from the passenger seat biting his nails, patiently waiting for something.

When he feels the time is right he exits the car. Looks around and suddenly bolts towards the entrance of the GARDEN CENTRE. From the passenger seat we witness him grab an assortment of potted plants from the display outside the shop.

Frantically, he bundles as many as he can into his arms and runs straight back to the car. The pots fall all around him and smash on the road as he runs. Dazed people begin to exit the shop watching MARVIN sprint away.

He throws the remaining few into the back of his car, jumps into the driver's seat and speeds away. As the GARDEN CENTRE disappears into the distance a slow smile emerges across his
face.

OFF SCREEN we hear the WOMAN'S SOFT MOTHERLY voice.

                WOMAN O/S
   Why do you think you steal things?

CUT TO:

EXT. INTERVIEW IN THE PARK. DAY

                MARVIN
    I don't steal things. I'll take
    them back.

               WOMAN O/S
    You can't return the ones that were
    smashed.

After a moments pause MARVIN replies.

               MARVIN
    I could fix them.

               WOMAN O/S
    Do you need money?

              MARVIN
        (defensively)
    No!
        (beat)
    I have a job.

CUT TO:

EXT. MR TICKLE'S. NIGHT

ESTABLISHING SHOT of MR TICKLE'S strip joint. A giant neon sign flashes above the entrance. It is of Sir Mr Tickle of the 'Mr Men' books with a crude smile on his face and his hand up a woman's skirt - she blushes excitedly.

               MARVIN
    This is it.
        (beat)
    Cool, huh?

CUT TO:

INT. MR TICKLE'S. NIGHT

MARVIN shuffles in through the entrance wearing a white 'Tommy Bahama' shirt with blood red shoulder stitching. Two bouncers are stood mumbling to each other, they both stop and watch in silence as MARVIN moves past.

We follow through the lobby, up the stairs and into the bar. Music booms louder every step MARVIN takes until it finally blares out when he opens the door.

INT. MR TICKLE'S - CONT'D. NIGHT

The bar is filled with clients and dancers. MARVIN shuffles awkwardly across the room, trying to be invisible. He makes his way into a back room which has more strippers in it than the bar itself. As MARVIN enters they briefly stop what they are doing to acknowledge him.

              MARVIN
    Alright.               

They all carry on with what they were doing. None acknowledge him.

MARVIN continues into yet another back room which is the MANAGER'S OFFICE. We hear the sound of the manager, MARCUS snorting a long hard line of something. He throws his head back as he comes into our view. For a moment he sits, convulsing from the line. Then casually, as if nothing has happened he sits forward and looks sternly at MARVIN.

             MARVIN (CONT’D)
    Alright Marcus.

            MARCUS
    There's sick in one of the bins.
    Clean it out.

MARVIN leaves the room immediately. The CAMERA stays holding on MARCUS.

             MARCUS (CONT’D)
GO!
        (shouting after him)
    And change your shirt! You look
    like a fuckin' tampon!

CUT TO:

EXT. MR TICKLE'S. NIGHT

MARVIN is holding a bin in one hand and a hose pipe in the other. Water is spraying everywhere and the bin keeps tipping over.

We hear the voice over from MARVIN'S interview

             WOMAN O/S
    Do you like your job?

              MARVIN O/S
    Do you like yours?

CUT TO:

EXT. INTERVIEW IN THE PARK. DAY

              MARVIN
    Watch people all day, everyday? I
    love watching people I do. I tell
    you if I could have one super power
     it would be to be able to see
    everything, all at the same time.
    One camera on me
        (he points to the camera)
    And one on everyone else, like on
    the tele.
        (beat)
    I love the tele, watching the tele
    y'know. Fascinates me the way they
    string it all together. When I was
    young my mother took me to a
    television studio when they were
    doing that show. But we watched it
    from inside the actual studio bit,
    where they control the cameras
    from. And I remember watching the
    Director just sliding from one shot
    to the next, some dissolved, some
    span, some just straight cut, gawh
    he was like a surgeon! He had an
    eye on every lens, he could see
    everyone.

              WOMAN O/S
    I'm not sure.

               MARVIN
    Why?

               WOMAN O/S
    To always hear what people are
    saying about you?

               MARVIN
    I'm not stupid. I know what people
    say about me.

CUT TO:

INT. MARCUS' OFFICE. NIGHT

MARCUS is interviewed in his office with a bald half naked woman on his lap. He delicately places an acid tab under his eyelid, SCREAMING with pain as he does it. She has a line. Once the tab is in place he casually leans back as if nothing has happened and calmly says

              MARCUS
    He's a moron. But he's on £3.75 so
    what you gonna do.

There's a knock at the door and MARVIN walks in.

               MARCUS (CONT’D)
    You didn't hear that did you?

               MARVIN
    Hear what?

CUT TO:

EXT. OUTSIDE MR TICKLE'S. NIGHT

Two BOUNCERS stand next to each other in silence in front of the CAMERA. Finally one of them speaks

               BOUNCER ONE
    Nonse.

MARVIN walks out from behind them with a full bin bag, just missing what they are saying.

INT. INSIDE MR TICKLE'S. NIGHT

Two STRIPPERS giggle to each other and talk to the CAMERA.

                STRIPPER ONE
    Attractive!? What, that fat little
    so n so?

                STRIPPER TWO
        (chewing gum)
    Wouldn't sit on his face if he
    fuckin' paid me.

                STRIPPER ONE
    He'd have to, mind you.

                STRIPPER TWO
    Well I'm just sayin' he'd have to.
    I mean, look at it.

The CAMERA pans to show MARVIN stood feet away listening to their entire conversation.

                STRIPPER TWO (CONT’D)
    Who's gonna get wet from that?

MARVIN looks solemnly into the CAMERA and walks on.

CUT TO:

EXT. GRAVEYARD. DAY

A grieving MOTHER and her two young sons stand over the grave of their newly buried father and husband. The MOTHER places a bouquet of flowers down on the grave. So overcome with emotion she hurries her boys back to the car O/S. We hold on the GRAVE.

MARVIN ambles into the frame. He snatches the bouquet from the grave and shouts after the MOTHER

                 MARVIN
    Excuse me!

The MOTHER and her sons pause and turn.

MARVIN holds for eye contact then sprints off in the opposite direction. We follow him to see that his car is parked at the nearby entrance to the graveyard.

The MOTHER runs after him, but as he speeds away into the distance she hopelessly drops to her knees in a flood of tears. Her two young sons standing by.

CUT TO:

EXT. MILLFIELD PREPARATORY BOARDING SCHOOL. NIGHT

MARVIN creeps in though the entrance of the prep school. Weary of who is watching him. He rushes through the grounds to a forest on the far side of the campus.

EXT. FOREST. NIGHT

We stalk MARVIN as he walks through the shadows of the forest. Armed only with a torch he constantly looks around, over his shoulder and up into the trees.

Eventually he reaches a small shack hidden deep in the forest and camouflaged in leaves and branches.

MARVIN pulls out a key on a piece of string around his neck and quietly opens the padlock on the door. The darkness consumes him as he steps inside. He hangs his torch from the roof of the shack.

The little light falling through the cracks in the roof spills onto a large covered mound inside the shack, covered in military camouflage rags. MARVIN takes the rags in one hand and rips them off. He turns to the CAMERA and ushers it inside.

                 MARVIN
        (smiling menacingly)
    You have to see this.

As we move through the darkness of the doorway and into the light of the shack we see beams of light shining off symbols and toms. A beautiful shimmering DRUM KIT sits hidden in the shack, deep in the forest.

MARVIN sits at the kit and smiles warmly to himself.

He starts to play 'Come See About Me' by Diana Ross with absolute ease and as he plays her song begins to join in.

From outside the shack we listen while MARVIN effortlessly plays on with Diana into the night.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. MARVIN'S HOUSE. DAY

MARVIN is showing us 'Come See About Me' performed by Diana Ross and The Supremes on Youtube. MARVIN laughs to himself and imitates Diana

                MARVIN
        (singing)
   'Come see about me'.

He smiles and turns to the CAMERA.

                MARVIN (CONT’D)
    Diana probably wasn't very happy at
    all when Mary & Cindy were shoulderto-
    shoulder with her. After all, it would
    mean that the audience is seeing all of
    them as equals as opposed to background
    scenery, which Diana would have
    preferred. I'm sure we all remember
    the Motown 25 incident when Mary &
    Cindy did this same thing, and you
    know what happened next!

He stares lovingly into the screen.

                MARVIN (CONT’D)
    Look at her. Always smiling. If
    only I could put Diana in the
    movie. That would be the one.

CUT TO:

INT. MARVIN'S HOUSE CONT'D. DAY

MARVIN is writing a letter on a scrappy piece of paper with a broken pencil. We hear the words he is writing as a V/O, but fragmented as if being read by an infant.

                MARVIN V/O
        (monotone)
    Dear Mother, I am writing to let
    you know that I am safe and happy.
    The days seem to be rolling into
    one on recently. I have not had
    much sleep in the last few days,
    but I intend to have a long rest
    when the film is finished.
    Holloywood is everything you would
    expect it to be. The streets are
    littered with stars. It is so nice
    to be surrounded by like-minded
    individuals. Just the other day I
    saw Woody Harrelson - he asked me
    for the time. I Hope that you will
    attend the premiere even though I
    know it is not your bag. I am
    thinking of you always and pray for
    the day that we will all be
    together again, out here, living
    the life that I have built. Love.
    Marvin Rumney.

He scribbles out the last bit and writes in its place

               MARVIN V/O (CONT’D)
   Your son. Marvin Rumney. 

(CONTINUED)