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 2012 - April 2013
Screenplay Contest - Full-Length Series

" Solecks "

Written by Carlton Witherell

Jason Bickings


Carlton Witherell majored in Film/Video Production at Emerson College and graduated with honors. His screenplays have received awards and recognition in a variety of competitions, including:

• 1st Place for Solecks at the 2012- 2013 The Writers Place Screenplay Competition

• 1st Place for The Most Famous Man No One Has Heard Of at the LA Film, TV and Webisode Festival Screenplay Competition

• Finalist for The Most Famous Man No One Has Heard Of at the 2012 Honolulu Film Awards Screenplay Competition

• Finalist for The Most Famous Man No One Has Heard Of at the 2012 Awareness Festival Screenplay Competition

• Semi-Finalist for The Most Famous Man No One Has Heard Of at the 2012 LA Screenplay Competition

• Honorable Mention for Death Cult at the 2012 LA Movie Awards Screenplay Competition

• Honorable Mention for Death Cult at the 2012 LA Int’l Underground Film Festival Screenplay Competition

He has recently completed a new screenplay entitled It Girl. Here is what others are saying about It Girl in the Consider Pass Coverage section:

Slamdance Screenplay Competition:

“Kyle is an unusual character with well-defined depth.”

“Interesting twists and a strong protagonist.”

Big Bear Lake International Film Festival:

“This is well-written and demands great empathy for the main character.”

“The pace of the story is very good and the author has done a good job of giving each character a distinctive voice.”

Carlton also has experience working on several 35mm films in Hollywood as a 2nd AC, grip and boom operator. He has also logged many hours working within the HD shooting format, including non-linear editing experience on Avid systems and Final Cut Pro.

Additional Writer Information:


While St. Louis Detective ChaytonSolecks investigates a series of gruesome slayings, he begins to suspect the killer may be someone very close to him.


The “sawzall killer” strikes again.

St. Louis Detective ChaytonSolecks has been assigned to the case. He gathers intel from a confidential informant that the butcher may be the leader of a vicious drug gang. Solecks sets up a deal, and disaster ensues when Chayton’s new partner makes a mistake which nearly costs both of them their lives.

Solecks realizes the lead was bad after the sawzall killer takes the life of another victim a few days later. The pressure is on now, as the mayor and the public demand the murderer be apprehended. To compound Chayton’s stress, a reality television crew follows his every move, documenting his slow tailspin into despair.

He begins to question whether he’s the right man for the job, and confides in his mother and wife that he’s thinking of giving up detective work altogether.

They convince him to persevere, but every promising lead evaporates into a frustrating missed opportunity, as if the killer always knows what Chayton’s next move will be.

When the sawzall killer strikes yet again, Solecks finally discovers a clue that leads him to believe the murderer is someone very close to him, someone that has been enjoying their voyeuristic opportunities to watch Solecks descend into madness.


The Solecks screenplay, copyright, and story idea below are owned by Carlton Witherell. No copying of any of the below pages is allowed unless approved by owner.




The lot is empty aside from a late model Dodge Charger. It’s parked a few hundred yards from the Gateway Arch.


DETECTIVE CHAYTON SOLECKS, Native American, 42, rubs his weary eyes. His cell BUZZES.

It’s a new text sent from his wife. Solecks beams when he sees it’s a PHOTO of his 5-month-old girl wearing adorable footed pajamas.

Solecks’ partner, DETECTIVE MICHAEL THOMPSON, dumps half a bag of M&Ms into his mouth. The rookie detective is 27, Caucasian, disheveled and overweight.

Thompson squints like he sees something in the distance.

There’s the douche.

Solecks looks up from his cell and nods.


The two detectives walk casually toward J-ROCK. He’s African-American, 22, sports a huge afro.

Right before they get to J-Rock, Thompson discreetly whispers to Solecks.

So you wanna play stupid at first?

I’ll play stupid, you just be yourself.

Thompson cracks up, elbows Solecks.

J-Rock sits at a picnic table, gives the detectives a “what’s up” nod.

What are the streets saying?

It’s like this man. I hear Williams was
steppin’ big time on the cartel’s territory.
He’d been warned over n’ over – but the
dumbfuck didn’t listen.


Solecks looks like he’s already run out of patience. His breath clouds in the chilly air.

A blackout team’s been ordered up
from Columbia. They’re here to send a

A blackout team?

The baddest motherfuckers to walk the
Earth are now roamin’ your precious city
streets – huntin’ what’s left of the Williams
family. And they ain’t gonna stop ‘till they kill
every last one of ‘em.

Is that right?

My advice - it’s best just to let this play out.
Trust me man, you don’t wanna get involved
in any way. Williams made that mistake, you
don’t wanna do the same.

Gimme the scumbag that gave the order.

I don’t know his real name, but they call him
The Man. Never met him, ain’t never seen him.

If I were to go find this guy right now, where
would I look?

Abandoned hotel – southeast side.

Tell ya what. You’re gonna set up a deal for
me with The Man.

Ya’ll must be fuckin’ kiddin’. You said I just
gotta supply info.

Things’ve changed. His crew wiped out an
entire family. Butchered a four-year-old and
an infant with a sawzall blade.

Yeah, I feel real bad about that, but I ain’t
settin’ up shit.

Then you can forget about my protection,
and kiss your little side business goodbye.

J-Rock frowns. He folds his arms and bitterly nods “yes.”


Graphitti and bullet holes in the hotel’s facade. Desolate, litter strewn lots surround the building.

The detectives walk up to the main entrance of the hotel, stand in front of a thick armored door.

Snow collects on Solecks’ overcoat as he gestures to the camera looming above.

Thompson coughs nervously. Solecks glances at him with a bit of concern.

Just stick to the game plan and we’ll
get through this.

Bro, I ain’t worried about nuthin’. I had
three years in Narcotics before I ever
landed in Homicide.

The armored door creeks open.


The detectives follow a LANKY COLUMBIAN up to the second floor, through a maze of dark hallways.

A generator thunders in the distance as they round the corner to another hallway.

Solecks spots a POTBELLIED COLUMBIAN near the end of this hallway with a rusty AK-47 yoked over his shoulder.

The potbellied Columbian sits on a crate in front of five massive 12,000 watt generators connected to the second floor electrical panel through a transfer switch.

He also smokes a cigarette next to fifty-five gallon steel drums full of gasoline.

As Solecks passes by, the potbellied Columbian looks up at him, winks slyly.


Solecks and Thompson follow the lanky Columbian inside what had once been a beautiful suite. The only furniture is a large oak table in the middle of the dining room.

A group of COLUMBIANS, all with a cruddy assault rifle or shotgun slung over the shoulder, turn their attention toward the detectives.

A very tall Columbian, MORALES, 26, stands by himself in the middle of the dining room toking on a joint.

I’m Morales.

He walks up to Solecks, gestures to shake hands.

Wuz startin’ to think chews were backin’
outta the deal.

Solecks gazes down at Morales’ hand, ignores the gesture, walks past him into the living room.

Solecks looks around, moves through the kitchen, down a long hallway toward the back bedrooms.

He peers into the first decaying remnant of a room.

On either side of this room, YOUNG WOMEN hunch over metal work benches, shackles and chains around their ankles bolted to the floor.

Two THUGS stand in the middle of the room and supervise the activity.

Some of the women mix pure cocaine with baking soda and water in plastic bowls, stick them in microwaves.

Solecks pulls his head out of the room, looks further down the hall.

A MUSCULAR GANGSTER stands in the middle of the hallway with a filthy AK-47. Beyond this man, the hallway extends quite a ways, at least six bedrooms back there.

Solecks leisurely makes his way back through the kitchen and into the dining room.

Thompson slides to the oak table, being sure to stay away from the large plate glass window facing the street.

Morales glares at Thompson, spits on the floor as he thumbs to Solecks.

Parner ez rude mang.

Thompson shrugs, manages to flash a half-smile. Sweat pools into his eyebrows and upper lip.

Chew boys ez also late. I don’ like that
disrespeck. Lucky chews got good credentials.

The smooth lines of Morales’ face meet in disapproval. He runs his hand through his greasy black hair.

Solecks moves between the oak table and the window.

He slowly unslings the duffle bag, places it on the table.

I gotta hand it to ya Morales – you sure
know how to pick 'em. I think I might’ve
caught a few diseases just walking into this
shit hole.

Chew gots a big mouth mang. Don’t like
my place, chews can leave.

I plan on it, very soon. Let’s get down to

Morales gestures to his bodyguards. Two thugs walk to the hallway closet, pull out a large cooler.

They move across the dining room, heave it onto the table.

Morales grins at Solecks while flipping up the cooler latches.

Chew gonna be glad chew came to my
place today. Dis shit’s so pure – ain’t gonna
have no troubles distributin’ to your Tee-Pee

Morales pulls out an enormous package of white powder, drops it on the table.

He pushes the package forward, then draws Solecks’ duffle bag toward him, unzips it.

Morales takes out a brand new M-16 loaded with high-tech attachments. He yanks the charging handle back, levels the barrel at Solecks’ head.

What chew think mang?

A haunting laugh from Morales.

I like da way da bullet tumbles outta dis
one. Shoot chew in the shoulder it come
out chew ass!

Morales smiles, pretends to pick off targets out the window. He cradles the M-16, studies it for a long time.

Can easily get you two dozen more.

Morales stares at the M-16 as if in a trance. Solecks peers into the cooler.

What the hell is this Morales?

What chew mean?

You promised a delivery of twenty kilos.
That cooler couldn’t hold no more than ten.

So I’m a little light – no biggie.

What am I gonna tell my clients when I
only deliver half of what I promised?

That’s chew problems – not mines.

Solecks turns to his partner. Thompson frowns and shakes his head, gnaws on his upper lip.

No more time, no more excuses. If you
can’t handle the weight, then I wanna
deal with The Man directly.

Morales turns his back from the detectives, glares at the thugs and laughs.

He quickly turns back around, aims the M-16 at Thompson’s temple.

Two thugs snatch the cooler off the table as the others level their weapons.

Another man grabs Solecks’ duffle bag, walks it to the back bedrooms.

Morales levels the M-16 muzzle, sways it back and forth from Thompson’s to Solecks’ head.

      (to Solecks)
I bet dis what chew see in chew nightmares –
eh Scalper?

Thompson blinks his eyes rapidly, getting more distraught by the second.

Punks thinks chew can come in here an
insult me? Order me aroun’ like I’m chew

The sound of heavy footsteps move down the hallway.

THE MAN, 38, a gigantic Columbian, sports a deep tan, white muscle shirt. Gold chains adorn his hairy chest.

He struts through the corridor into the dining room.

The Man stands next to Morales, puts his massive palm on the barrel of the M-16, gently pushes it down.

Solecks throws a furious glance to Morales.

The fuck’s going on here?

The Man lumbers toward the detectives, towers over the two.

                     THE MAN
I’m The Man.

The Man watches Thompson yank his belt up a couple times, a bad habit carried over from his rookie days because of all the equipment on his Sam Browne belt.

Solecks also notices Thompson yanking up his belt. He turns to The Man, claps his hands together.

Okay. We’ve got a big problem here.
We made a deal for --

The Man interrupts with a wave of the finger.

                     THE MAN
You is right about one thing. There is a
big problem.

The Man bends at the waist, puts both palms on the table.

He slowly leans into Solecks.

                     THE MAN
What kind of car you drivin’?

What kind of car?

The Man smiles, slowly tilts his head up and down.

I got a Charger.

                     THE MAN
What color?

The fuck does that matter?

Answer the question bitch!
The Man gestures for Morales to calm down.

                     THE MAN
I said – what color?

It’s blue... dark blue.

                     THE MAN
Where’s it at?

Solecks points to the rear of the suite.

I got a little disoriented walkin’ through
all those hallways. Probably out there,
down the street.

The Man nods, walks out of the dining room.

Tension arcs across Solecks’ shoulders. He turns to look at a freaked-out Thompson, realizes he’s on his own.

The Man walks back down the hallway into the dining room, looks at the detectives and smiles venomously.

                     THE MAN
You cops.

Solecks slams his fist on the table.

Whaddaya mean we’re cops? What’s
your fuckin’ problem? I got the guns – you
got what I want. Let’s do this deal right now.
Otherwise, we’re gettin’ the hell outta here.

                     THE MAN
The only place you goin’ my friend, is the

The Man points to a few of his underlings.

                     THE MAN
Get me the fuck outta here.

The Man nods to Morales, turns and disappears down the hallway with four thugs.

Morales motions for the gangster on his left to frisk the detectives.

The gangster runs his hands along Solecks’ shoulders, slowly down his body.

Solecks’ eyes grow wide as the gangster’s hands move toward his ankle. The thug misses his P232 by half an inch.

He repeats the process with Thompson, pauses when he runs his hand underneath Thompson’s collar.

The gangster snickers, throws the wire to Morales.

Morales catches it, turns his palm up slowly, stares at the wire. An eerie smile creeps across his face.

He drops the wire, crushes it with the heel of his snakeskin boot.

Chew dumbasses don’ even come heavy?
Chews just a couple of stupid pigs – eh?
A couple of dead pigs.

Another Columbian appears from the back bedrooms with a large gym bag. He places it on the table.

Solecks watches in horror as the Columbian pulls out hand grenades, bricks of C-4, wire and plastic zip ties.

Another thug moves to the window with a spray can in each hand. He begins to black out the glass.

Morales bashes the stock of the M-16 over Thompson’s skull.

Tie ‘em up! 12

The gangster grabs a zip tie, struggles to tighten it around Thompson’s thick wrists.

Fuckin’ fat-ass pig!

You don’t gotta do this. You could all
just walk away.

Morales grits his teeth, shoves the M-16 barrel into Solecks’ mouth.

I bet chew gots dis place crawlin’ with
pigs, but what chew dumb-fucks don’
know is we got a secret way outta here.
Then we gonna make sure to blow up all
chews – sky high!

The gangster finally affixes the zip tie around Thompson’s wrists, moves to Solecks.

The thug with the spray cans finishes blacking out the window.

Tears flow down Thompson’s face.

Please – I gotta family. You’ve gotta
family, don’t you? Just keep the guns and
let us go.

Morales pulls the M-16 out of Solecks’ mouth, cracks it over Thompson’s skull.

He nods in the direction of the gangster struggling to affix the zip tie around Solecks’ wrists.

Hurry the fuck up mang – or I puts a bullet
in chew ass too!

The gangster works faster, again very sloppy. Just before he begins to tighten the plastic tie, Solecks separates his wrists slightly.

The gangster puts one hand on each of the detectives’ shoulders, shoves them down into the chairs.

He makes his way around the oak table, stands behind Morales.

Everyone’s attention is now on two thugs sticking C-4 to the front door of the suite.

Solecks turns to Thompson momentarily and whispers.

Just stay cool. I won’t let anything
happen to you.

Solecks works his wrists back and forth, lubricates them with sweat. He curls his right hand, wrenches it up through the zip tie.

He carefully lifts his left leg, crosses it over his right. Under the cover of the table, he palms the P232.

The two thugs at the door kneel on the floor to set a trip wire.

Morales levels the M-16 at the detectives.

Any laz words fuckers?

One of the thugs on the floor shoots a glance underneath the oak table.

His jaw drops as he watches Solecks aim the P232 at Morales’ crotch.

Boss! He’s got a –-

Solecks squeezes the trigger. The bullet rips through where Morales used to have a testicle.

For a second, the entire gang seems paralyzed with shock. The thug on the floor begins to reach into his waistband.

Solecks aims at the thug, squeezes twice. Two rounds tear into the scumbag’s body, drops him to the floor.

The entire gang starts to scramble. Two thugs roll into the kitchen, take cover behind the pass through.

Solecks pushes Thompson’s chair over, watches him flop to the floor.

He places both palms under the oak table, heaves it over.

Solecks plunges behind it just before a reign of bullets pour into the dining room.

Howls of pain. AK-47 gunfire thunders. Dense, acrid smoke fills the room.

A shotgun blast through the oak table. Pellets shred the detectives’ flesh.

Solecks pops his head above the table, sees a gangster peeking over the pass through.

He aligns the site of his gun and squeezes. Streaks of red dribble down the kitchen cabinets behind the gangster.

Solecks glances at Thompson. The rookie balls up in a fetal position.

Solecks turns his head, peers around the edge of the table. A grenade bounces across the floor toward him.

He drops the gun, clasps his hands on Thompson’s shoulders and hauls him upright.

Grabbing Thompson from behind, Solecks thrusts his own back into the plate glass window, using his momentum to smash through as he hauls Thompson with him.

A second later the grenade explodes.