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 2008 - April 2009
Screenplay Contest - Teleplay/Short Series
Written by Steven Karageanes

Craig Rosenthal

Steven’s writing and acting career has followed a most unusual path. Despite his creative
tendencies, Steven initially pursued medicine, and became a physician at 25. During residency in Chicago, he started acting in such films as Cold Night Into Dawn (with Michael Ironside), U.S. Marshals, Flat Iron Blues, and in an episode of ‘E.R.’ After sports medicine fellowship training in Cleveland, Steven returned to his hometown of Detroit, MI and became a team physician to the Detroit Tigers, a medical consultant for the NHL and the US Olympic Committee, and a fellowship director for 8 years. His textbook, ‘Principles of Manual Sports Medicine’ (2005) was the first physician-written text to integrate sports medicine and manual medicine.

However, Steven’s medical career never fully cured his creative bug infection. Once he was diagnosed with it in 2004, he treated it by starting training at Second City Detroit for over three years, and performed at various other theaters in Detroit, culminating in his role as Steve the Manager in the first performances of ‘Brunch the Musical’ in 2007, currently seen off-Broadway in New York.

This was the same time Steven completed his short script for ‘American Piety’, a story about a awkwardly goofy young man who is hit by a car and must choose a religion (Buddhism, Islam, Christianity) to get back to Earth. In addition to writing the script, Steven made the film and acted in it. The script was a finalist in the American Gem Short Script Contest and 3rd place at the Indie Gathering. The film was successful as well, screening at the Cannes Film Festival, Monaco Charity Film Festival, and 12 others. It won honors and awards at the Accolades (best short film and best supporting actor), Independent Features Film Festival, held at the Tribeca Theaters, and the Action on Film International Film Festival in LA.

Another of his scripts, ‘Seventeen Syllables’, a comedic story of a haiku teacher discovering that terrorists use haiku to coordinate attacks, was a finalist in the NY PictureStart Film Festival and was the overall short script winner at the Indie Gathering. Other scripts receiving accolades or festival acceptance include ‘Pulpp’, a ‘Pulp Fiction’ parody set entirely in a grocery store, and ‘Painkillers’, a TV pilot about a world famous sports medicine group whose founding surgeon can no longer operate and hires two brash young doctors to replace him.

Steven’s other short film production is ‘Le Derriere’, a silent French film about two dancers squaring off a la Crouching Tiger-The Matrix-You Got Served. It was accepted into several festivals as well. He also did all the post-production for the first two episodes of ‘Becka and the Big Bubble’, a TV show based on a series of children’s books created by fellow improvisor and LA actor Adam Schomer and his sister Gretchen Wendel. Steven also added voice work to the show, which aired on KPBS San Diego in December 2008.

Steven just completed work on his first feature script, ‘Needle’, which was a 2009 finalist in the ACEFEST Great American Screenplay Competition, and ‘Want’, a 2009 finalist in the NY PictureStart Film Festival and Cinema City International Film Festival. Production for both hopes to be completed by 2010.

Additional Writer Information


You always want what you can't have.


Mark Whitley is a wealthy broker who has everything he wants--women, buildings, baklava. However, his lover rejects his plea for her to marry him and leave her husband. Distraught and frustrated, he impulsively hires a happy-go-lucky hitman to rub out the husband, but not telling him about his lover . After meeting the hitman, Whitley realizes he’s out of control and becomes consumed by guilt. Finally, the hitman meets Whitley to tell him the job is finished, but with one small wrinkle--he also killed his wife.



We see an off-white wall, as if we are leaning against it, looking down as far as it goes. Silence.

Suddenly, a WOMAN, mid-20s, in the throes of passion, slams against the wall, arms outstretched, right side of her face pressed flush. Then, a MAN, early-30s, presses his chest against her. He places his hands on top of hers.

She turns around to face him, embrace him. He pulls her away. She leaves a lipstick mark on the wall.


The man sits in a posh restaurant during lunch looking into space. He sits across from two BUSINESSMEN, who talk nonstop. Businessman #2 has a cane in hand.


The woman wears a petite spaghetti strap dress. The man slides it up around her waist. Her leg slides up his. We move up towards their faces. They kiss passionately.


The man is clearly daydreaming.

                BUSINESSMAN #1 (O.S.)
...And then he transfers ten million
to the Swiss account right before
the reports are released, and Marky
here makes another five.

                BUSINESSMAN #2 (O.S.)
Amazing. That's forward thinking.


The woman faces the man, looking deep into his eyes. She reaches for the spaghetti straps.


Her dress drops to the floor.


The man's mind is still in the hotel room.

                BUSINESSMAN #1 (O.S.)
He even cleans out Miller, dumps his
shares, crushes his stock prices,
right when the son of a bitch is
trying to sell his company!

                BUSINESSMAN #2 (O.S.)
That was your handiwork, Mark?

                BUSINESSMAN #1 (O.S.)
Three days later, he dumps the old
man's daughter!

                BUSINESSMAN #2 (O.S.)
You mean the Victoria's Secret model?


She lies in bed on her side, adorned only by a bedsheet.

Mark drops his pants. She gestures with her index finger to come hither. Mark obliges.


                BUSINESSMAN #2 (O.S.) (CONT'D)
I'm sold. I want to be in the Mark
Whitley business.

                BUSINESSMAN #1 (O.S.)
And shares are selling high, my friend!


Mark straddles her as she's on her back. He goes to take his T-shirt off.

Leave it on. I like how it feels on me.

Mark FREEZES, unsure of what to do.

                WOMAN (CONT'D)
Are you considering another option?


Well then...


                WOMAN (CONT'D)
...take me.


                BUSINESSMAN #1 (O.S.)
Whaddaya say, Marky Mark? You wanna
get richer off of kids' toys?

                BUSINESSMAN #2
Mr. Whitney?

                BUSINESSMAN #1
Mark, buddy? MARK!!

Mark snaps out of his funk. He stares at the businessmen.

Sorry. I was somewhere...else.

                BUSINESSMAN #1
Hope it was someplace nice.

Both men laugh. Mark doesn't appreciate it.


Mark finishes his run on the treadmill. Admiring himself in the mirror, he STRUTS OUT.


Mark is talking on his Bluetooth, waiting at the register for food. The DELI CASHIER hands him an order of spinach pie. Mark snaps his fingers impatiently. The cashier hands him an order of baklava. Mark walks off.


Mark talks on the Bluetooth, pacing behind his desk.

Fuck that guy...He has no liquid assets,
too much debt, and that crack he made,
being someplace nice...I'm running him
out of business before Arbor Day. Oh,
before I forget, I need two tickets
for a new show this weekend.

Mark eyes a small jewelry box on his desk. He picks it up and plays with it in his fingers as he talks.

                MARK (CONT'D)
Any show, I don't care. Front row,
of course?... Three hours?
     (sits down)
Who cares, I won't be there more
than one.

Mark clicks off his Bluetooth. He pockets the box. He looks at his computer monitor, but then drifts off in thought.


Mark sits on the edge of the bed. She struts out like a runway model, modeling a fashionable outdoor jacket, and high heels only. Mark shakes his head no playfully.


Each jacket, Mark shakes his head no. They giggle, she gets sillier, tosses hats at him, plays around more.


The last coat. He shakes no. She opens her coat, dropping it below the shoulder. Mark nods yes, yes, YES!


Mark sits at his desk and stays in his daydream.



Mark briskly walks up to the exclusive Book Cadillac Hotel entrance carrying roses. He enters the hotel.


Mark enters the same luxury suite he always meets her in.


Mark enters the main room of the suite.

                WOMAN (O.S.)
I find myself in dire need of room


She lies on a chaise lounge, wearing an unbelievably sexy blue dress. The sun pours over her glowing body like honey. Her innocent playful smile excites Mark.

Well, room service is here.

How very thoughtful. What methods
do you employ to service me?

Mark approaches her, then kneels next to her.

Someone as refined and delicate as
you requires a gentler approach.

Mark lies the roses next to her. He kisses her.

Ah, roses!
     (smells them)
"Love is much like a wild rose,
beautiful and calm, but willing to
draw blood in its defense."

     (playfully mocking)
Yes, but "the stem is what you hold
when you want to...get...uh...laid."

Both laugh heartily.

Your lustful words soothe my soul,
Marcus Aurelius Botanicus.

Mark stops laughing and becomes serious.

I really missed you.

She gets up and walks over to the table to pour a drink.

     (a bit less friendly)
They say absence longer than twentyfour
hours makes the heart grow
fonder, right?

Mark walks close behind her. Her wedding ring catches the light, drawing his eye.

Kinda bright there, on your hand.

She looks at the ring and retracts her hand in embarrassment.

It'll do.

Mark pulls out the jewelry box from his pocket. He opens it, and presents it to her.

I think you can use an upgrade.

The beautiful four-carat ring dwarfs hers. He give it to her.

Oh my.

She is momentarily flustered, but quickly regains her composure. She walks to the window, her back to Mark.

Mark, clearly expecting a different reaction, scrambles to break the silent tension.

I thought we go out Saturday. I got
tickets to a show, at the Opera House.
Front row. A client of mine...

...You know I can't go.

Her posture becomes defensive.

I just wanted to give you this...

...Mark, I can't.

Not one Saturday?

It's not just then.

Leave him.

     (pause, thinks)
I can't.

Why not?

Mark, don't.

     (anger rising)
Why not?

He needs me.

I need you more.

No, you want me.

That's right. I want you.

She moves away from him. He pulls her face-to-face.

                MARK (CONT'D)
I've never wanted anything more.

Anyone more.

I've never wanted any single person
more in my entire life than you.

Only because you don't have me.

Only because I love you.

     (pulls away)
This is my fault. I shoulda stopped this.

Say you love me.

I can't leave him.

Say you love me, goddammit!

It's not about that.

Then why are you here?! Why do you
come here?

You give me what I want, what he can't.

I can give you more. I can give you

I don't want that.

But you're everything I want.

I'm everything he needs. And there's
a difference.

She places the jewelry box in his hand, closing his fingers around it.

                WOMAN (CONT'D)      

She kisses him gently. Mark holds her tight, passionately kissing her.

They separate. For a second, Mark thinks she's his.

She touches his cheek and smiles weakly. She grabs her purse.

                WOMAN (CONT'D)
I love you.


Mark waits for her to return. Nothing.

He tosses the jewelry box into the garbage can.



Mark finishes his treadmill run. He's distracted, pissed. He smacks the stop button with his towel and storms off.


Mark stands in line waiting for his spinach pie and baklava. Impatiently, he fidgets with his fingers.

Come on, I don't have all day.

The DELI CASHIER hands him his bag of food. Mark snatches it out of his hand and flashes him a glare.


Mark paces. He calls her on his Bluetooth cell phone.

Come on, come on.

                WOMAN (V.O.)
Hello there. If you want me, you'll
have to try harder!

Hi there again, it's Mark. It's
been a week since we talked, and you
won't return my calls. And I told
you I hate that voicemail greeting.
It bothers me. I--need to talk.
Just call back! Please.

He sits down. The computer screen has a news website banner headline: "MAN FOUND NOT GUILTY OF ORDERING HIT ON BOSS"

Mark clicks on the title. He reads, "Defense Attorney Nicky Nettles poked so many holes in the plaintiff's case that, despite two weeks in deliberations, the jury would not able to convict Mr. Frankie "Rub-Out" Gamache."

Mark grabs his phone and quickly dials.

                MARK (CONT'D)
Nick? Hey, it's Mark. How are
you?...Great to hear...Congrats on
the Gamache case...I'm fine...You
know, there's so many fish in the
sea, jumping into my boat, dumping
their husbands...anyway, I have a
client writing a novel about hitmen...


Mark sits in his Audi A6 across from a condo complex. He looks tired. He has a Canon camera in his hands.

He sees a WOMAN and an OLDER MAN in a suit walking towards their car, her arm around his. He uses a cane.

The woman...it's her. With her husband.

Mark snaps a photo. It's Businessman #2, from the restaurant!

Mark reacts. Then, a smile. This may work out well.


Mark snaps off several more, taking care to avoid shooting her.

The older man enters the passenger side, but Mark's gaze drifts to her.

She enters the car and drives off.


Exterior of the restaurant, The Tribunal, a top steakhouse.


Mark sits at a table, dressed in dark, stirring his Glenlivet scotch, tapping his fingers impatiently. He checks his cell.

A slender, bespectacled TALL MAN briskly approaches the table. He wears an average-looking blue suit with a colorful red and yellow tie with cartoon characters on it. He has a happy, almost eager demeanor. Mark does not expect this.

The man extends his hand and shakes Mark's hand.

Mark Whitley?


Hi there! Brad Flowers. We spoke on
the phone.

(in disbelief)
You're the guy I talked to today?

Yessirree! Frank's laying low since
he beat the rap, so he passed you on
to me. I'm kinda his gun on call.


I love the food here, Mark. Can I
call you Mark?

Yes, but...

Thanks Mark. They go the extra mile
here, like olive oil poured out for
you on the small plate. How nice is
that? I'll use the oil sometimes to
loosen the trigger of my gun

Excuse me, Mr. Brad--


--Flowers. You don't seem the type
to do dirty deeds.

Why, are you shopping around?
Consumerreports.org? E-pinions?

No, I don't know any hitmen, just from
the movies. You don't look the part.

Boy, I wish I had a dime every time
I heard that.
But really, who is more conspicuous?
The brooding, silent loner in the
corner with the dark trenchcoat, hat
pulled down over his eyes, drinking
Glenlivet on the rocks...

Mark look at his Scotch glass, surprised Brad knows his drink.

                BRAD (CONT'D)
...Or a happy good-looking fella
like me with a Goofy tie? Hmm?

How did you know what I ordered?

I've been here since seven watching
you. Didn't notice me, did ya?

I guess not.
So how many "kills" or "hits" have...

Hey Mark.


Put your hands under the table.

Excuse me?

Put your hands under the table.


Go ahead, silly, I don't bite!

Mark nervously slides his hands under the table.

                BRAD (CONT'D)
Reach out with your right hand.
Feel that? That's my Smith & Wesson
9mm semi-automatic, I call him Fun
Boy. Now reach with your left.

Mark hesitates.

                BRAD (CONT'D)
Come on, Mark Whitley, of 2582 5th
Avenue, cell phone 201-551-1155,
last four digits of your social 4114.
Have some fun.

Mark is stunned. He complies--again.

                BRAD (CONT'D)
That's a Glock Slimline, .45 caliber.
Feel that long smooth thing at the
end? That's a silencer. I call him
Leddy Lee.
     (lightens the tone)
So where's the envelope?

Mark pulls out an envelope from his suit and hands it to him. Brad empties out the contents: $5000 in cash, several pictures of her husband.

                BRAD (CONT'D)
     (pointing at picture)
What's this he's carrying?

It's his cane, or something.

You're paying me to hit a crip?

He's not crippled, it's just a gait
disorder, or something.

Can't walk. Uses cane. Cripple.

He's very rich.

Oh, so rich cripples dodge bullets
better than poor ones? This better
not be about a woman.

No, not at all.

Not at all?

No, he's a businessman. I just want
him rubbed out.

Why don't you spray some Pledge on
his wooden staircase at home and let
him crack his skull open? Then you
can rub him out and the scratches in
his wood at the same time.

Stop it.

OK, OK. But just so we are on the
same page, the price is now double.

Double? Why?

Moral surcharge. I mean, a cripple?

Your pricing scale is based on morals?
Give me a fuckin' break, Brad.

Well, it's a sliding scale.

Better keep sliding, Flowers. If
he's so easy to knock off, you should
only charge half! This is a scam.

Mark hears the sound of a gun loading. Brad's eyes stare intently at Mark, who backs down from his rant.

You're forgetting my toys.
I'm a professional, Mark. My hits
are clean, with no loose ends.

Brad takes his hands out of his pocket and puts the envelope in his suit coat and finishes Mark's scotch..

                BRAD (CONT'D)
Now listen carefully. Do not contact
me, try to find me, or write me love
letters. Once I leave you tonight,
there is no stopping this. This money
is the down payment. You pay the
rest when the job is completed.
When that happens, you'll receive a
text message saying "Let's watch
'The Bachelor' together."

Let's watch 'The Bachelor' together.

You'll have a map to show you where
to go. OK, stud? Got all that?

Brad stands up to leave.

Yeah. So in two or three days?

Go relax somewhere. Get blown by some
socialite, snort coke off their tits,
rub margarine on your ass, whatever you
brokers do for fun.

Brad EXITS. Mark stares at the empty Scotch glass alone.