Novel Ideas for a Modern World

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FRAYED INTELLIGENCE    124 pages   Action Thriller  Feature Film  

 
LOGLINE: A CIA officer investigates the mysterious disappearance of six Americans in Moscow. When his quest leads him to an exotic striking woman he uncovers a plot that threatens to plunge the United States and Russia into nuclear holocaust. His only hope seems to be this woman, who he cannot trust and cannot forget.

NOTE: This script is very much in the flavor of "Lethal Weapon" as it is face paced, and also in that the characters are not perfect, make lots of mistakes, and have their comic moments. Even though this is an action script, it is also a character study of a man who has too many flaws to be in the intelligence business. Even though he is an expert in his craft, he is hopeless when his flaws are exposed, especially when a woman is involved. This script is PG-13 or R rated depending how sexual the director views the material. 

SYNOPSIS: Dean Edwards, working as an Intelligence Officer in Afghanistan, helps the troops there locate enemy operatives through his satellite and drone expertise. Befriended by an Army general, Edwards proves his worth as he helps the Americans root out the enemy combatants along with the supposed help of the Afghan irregular army. He is reassigned to Moscow when he learns that his brother and five other Americans have disappeared there. The action picks up quickly as terrorists launch several attacks within Moscow which seem to have something to do with the missing Americans. Edwards discovers that all of the Americans have traveled to meet a Russian bride. The catch: they were all the same woman, Albina, an exotically beautiful woman who Dean learns to be Chechnyan. She seems to be involved in everything: Afghanistan, Moscow, the disappearance, and much more. By spying on her and using his anonymity, he discovers that the Americans’ passports and credentials were stolen and used by terrorists to travel back to the United States undetected. However, he also finds out that Albina always knew he was an agent and used him, wanting him to learn of the plot. Why? In a virtual world encounter he learns much more about her and all of her secret desires. As he continues to pursue her throughout Moscow, he cannot forget her and in a series of meetings finds himself in far too deep to turn her in, even when he discovers that all of the Americans are dead and she may have had a hand in his brother’s death. From his intelligence efforts, in a joint operation with the Moscow police, a plot to explode a dirty bomb in Moscow is thwarted. In a chase through the city, Albina once again leads him into a trap which she also seems to provide him the clues to get out of it. She then lets him in on the big plan: a similar nuclear attack is planned in New York and only Edwards has the means to stop it. With Langley and Moscow both at his throat he pulls off a miracle and stops the attack back home while also passing on a warning to his friends back in Afghanistan who are able to defeat the Afghan irregulars who were always their enemy. At the end, moles are exposed, Russians are killed, Afghans are dealt with, and our exotic woman escapes with a fortune to a place that only Edwards can find. In a final virtual meeting we are left to wonder: will he turn her in or will he run to join her? 

 

 

STANDARD AUDITION     116 pages   Romantic Comedy       

LOGLINE: Sean and Angela seem to be from two different worlds, he a construction worker, and she a frustrated theatre stage manager. However, through a series of wild hi-jinx, flying toilets and mannequins, gay revues, and incredibly bad theatrical disasters, they find true love in this tribute to the surviving spirit of those lost in the World Trade Center.

 SYNOPSIS:  In the wild and crazy world of New York City, Angela, a theatre stage manager, searches everywhere for the man of her dreams- even in the subway near Battery Park with her girlfriend Cindy. What she finds is a scruffy construction worker named Sean who she literally runs into. Yet Cindy sees something in the rag-a-muffin and tells him how to run into Angela again. She really didn’t need to help. As it turns out, Sean is an actor who works construction while waiting for his break. He attends a league audition where he performs his monologue for a number of attending theatres including a bizarre director who has him do things like bark like a dog and do Shakespeare in a Swedish accent. His auditions also include Angela’s company. Not recognizing him, she pushes for a callback, and not knowing she was at the audition, Sean runs into her at the subway station where he passes off some roses to her in a chance moment. Not knowing each other, the two continue to search for each other until fate again intervenes and they finally officially meet. Determined not to let work get in their way, each thinks the other doesn’t know what they do for work and make a pact not to let whatever work they do get in the way of getting to know each other. This sends them off on a series of romantic encounters that can be best considered “auditions.” Their travels include some football game with some of his coworkers and the hi-jinx that happens at the construction site where Sean works. Inspired by the bizarre audition he pens a short comedy sketch that he gets performed through his partners’ connections at a Gay revue.

          Finally Sean gets a callback and he mistakenly thinks it’s for the bizarre director. Again, with some mistaken identities, Sean thinks he misses his audition while performing some of his shtick for a man in a red scarf.  However, Angela reveals everything to him and even the fact that the man with the scarf is not only the director, he’s her father. In the end Sean does the play, and instead of going to the big party takes Angela back to construction site where we see for the first time it is the new World Trade Center. Sean’s father was killed in the tragedy and he was determined to build a legacy for his father that would make him proud. Mission accomplished as both he and Angela embrace as the Trade center magically rises again against the New York Skyline.

 
 

SILENT GUILT         117 pages      Psychological Drama    Low budget
 
LOGLINE: Amy, a social worker, is presented with the case of her life. Melissa, a 16 year old girl, is the only witness to her father's murder. Two problems: Melissa can't remember what happened and she is deaf. Amy breaks through and discovers some very unpleasant secrets, most about herself. While entering the girl's world of silence, she opens up her own past which she had long thought silently buried.

NOTE: Low budget, no special effects, limited locations, very strong, memorable, and award worthy female leading roles. This script has been performed in two play competitions, winning the prestigious NVTA Festival and the VHSL Competition. It was rewritten as a screenplay and was a finalist in the initial Project Greenlight competition. It has been rewritten recently and is being pitched for the first time to prospective producers. The elements of this script are so visually appealing that on screen it would make quite an artistic statement for you.
 
SYNOPSIS: Amy, a social worker, has many problems of her own- always late to work,  too easily bedded by strange men, and frustrated by the fact that she never became the premier dancer she always thought she would be. Into her life walks Melissa, a 16 year old deaf girl who is the only witness to her father's murder. Melissa is unable or unwilling to open up and explain what happened and who did it and it becomes Amy’s job to reach through her silence and help get to the bottom of the tragedy. The girl was assigned to Amy in desperation because she took sign language in college and Melissa refused to open up to any of the court appointed sign specialist.  In the course of working with the girl, Amy finds out she’s a dancer, and excellent one at that. By using dance she is finally able to get the girl to remember what happened. In horror, the girl acknowledges she knows what happened but will only tell what happened when her sister Kristine arrives. When her sister gets there Melissa begins her story when she was a little girl and through a series of flashbacks we learn that her mother died when she was a little girl and because of her deafness she was so alone in the world. It finally comes out that it is Melissa who killed her father. He had been sexually abusing her for several years since her mother’s death. She could not tell anyone because she did not know the signs and later when she did, she was too ashamed to let anyone know. It all came to a head when she began to have feelings for a young boy and when the father banned her from seeing the boy and threatened to remove her from the dance school, it was too much for her to take. She killed him in an accidental moment of rage. Kristine breaks down and says that it’s all her fault, and admits that the father had abused her too when her mother died. She never said anything and when she left for college hoped that the father would not do the same the 12 year old sister.

       Then in flashback, Amy has to deal with her own angst as she recalls the heartbreak of being a teenager herself and having her mother give all the lead dance roles to girls with families with money who supported their fledgling school. When she left for college, she ignored her mother who begged her to come back and dance in the studio again, “dance for me one last time.” Instead, she concentrates on college and celebrated graduation with a night of drunken sex with a boy she met briefly in a bar and hardly talked to. It was that night that her mother died. Heartbroken and guilt ridden, her life was even more complicated when she found out she was pregnant. Having never heard from the boy and not knowing where to find him, she was left to deal with it on her own.  An abortion and much hurt later she runs into the boy and rails at him for his insensitivity.  At that point she discovers he was deaf and never called her because he had no way to communicate anything to her. Again feeling guilt, she takes some sign language classes in an attempt to confront him again and apologize for her remarks. In the end he blows her off, and she is left to move on with her life.

At this point Amy realizes that what she had to go through was so she could help these two sisters. Seeing that they would be okay, and now able to make peace with herself, the final scene finds Amy alone at her mother’s grave, dancing for her one last time.

 


A CASE FOR HEAVEN    114 pages    Romantic Comedy         High Concept

LOGLINE: A young lawyer representing the interests of heaven is faced with a case that threatens the end of the world. With his opponent the Prince of Darkness himself, the stakes cannot be higher, until the lawyer finds in order to win he has to lose the love of his life, who he has never met. Confused? All things become clear and work out in a romantically fitting end. With guest appearances by Judge Judy, American Idol, Elvis, Frank Sinatra, and a host of familiar faces, heaven never seemed so much fun. With his opponent the Prince of Darkness himself, the lawyer must choose between winning the case or saving the woman's life, a woman whom he has fallen in love with. The choice he makes is one that truly saves everything.

NOTE:  This is not a religious script: it merely uses the premise of heaven to address issues that face us everyday: saving the environment, making good choices, and giving yourself to what is right. With guest appearances from American Idol, Judge Judy, Elvis, and a number of celebrities this a script that is topical, commercial, and high concept.

SYNOPSIS: Morning dawns on an important day in Heaven as it braces for this year’s arrivals. Everyone is excited because a big festival is announced, one that can only be made in heaven. Four cherubs are tasked with planning different parts of the festival- the art, music, dance and arrangements. Two cherubs goes to the hall of artists and dancers to choose the person to create a new mural and dance. But the cherub for music recruits the three American Idol judges, Simon, Paula, and Randy to judge a contest who will be the entertainment for the grand event. The fourth cherub, a clumsy bumbling fool who has been given the nickname “Stupid,” is derailed when he receives a letter contesting that heaven is in involved in a legal violation which threatens the end of the world. The cherub, seeking a lawyer- not too many to be found in heaven- chooses Edward, a novice, in desperation. The lawyer arranges a meeting with the Prince of Darkness to resolve the matter and recruits Judge Judy to arbitrate the dispute which deals with ownership of Purgatory. The Prince contends that Purgatory belongs to him and all the souls within, which is countered by the lawyer’s contention that ownership was given up when Satan took up residence in hell. Judge Judy, playing Solomon, agrees to a compromise which states that the next soul destined for Purgatory would be the object of a contest- whoever could win their soul would win Purgatory. The Prince, loving a good contest, eagerly agrees, and whisks away to make his devious plans. Judge Judy begs the lawyer to win because she doesn’t want the end of the world, what, with grandchildren to see grow up and payments left on her timeshare in Cancun. While all of this is ongoing the American Idol crew audition a number of great singers including John Lennon, Elvis, and Marilyn Monroe (Simon says “Can I get copyrights to this?”)

           The lawyer discovers the next soul is one Maria Rodriguez of Los Angeles, who is described by Heaven’s Bookkeeper to be the “one saving El Mundo.” Accompanied by the cherub, Edward travels to earth and finds dozens of Maria Rodriguez’s. Finally he finds one who is a young, beautiful Environmentalist who is on a crusade to stop potential oil drilling expansion in Southern California. Convinced he has found the right Maria, his job is to protect her and make sure she has no sin until it is “her time.” During the antics that pursue, Edward falls in love with the young girl, and the feelings are obviously returned. During this time, the Prince is also doing his job- setting up traps for her, even attempting to kill her off early which would also plunge the world into chaos. The Prince also has some side antics going on through his devilish demons and partners in crime who are using the proposed oil strike near West Hollywood to turn the area into a toxic wasteland. The Environmentalist sets out to stop the new oil drilling, and in so doing, encounters the Prince in a series of hi-jinx conflicts. Protected by Edward and the cherub, Maria asks if Edward is her Guardian Angel, to which he has to reply yes. Our heroes foil the Prince all the way to the moment of truth when it appears that death will take young Maria. Unable to see the girl die, Edward sacrifices himself instead, which causes his soul to be taken by Satan. However, the Bookkeeper, an old foe of the Prince, confronts Satan when he tries to take possession of Edward and Purgatory, and points out that Edward did nothing wrong because they had the wrong Maria Rodriguez, who now was happily knitting socks on a cloud bank with her guardian angel. Unperturbed, the Prince claims he will win anyway because his demons who were drilling the oil well from the bottom up would break through to the surface any minute. The Bookkeeper smiles and points out that they knew about the little plot and that everything is under control. When the demons break through they find that they emerged inside a new exhibit and ride at Disneyland. Stripped of their scary tactics, the demons can only smile and say “cheese” as the new ride opens to the delight of the children.

             Meanwhile, in heaven, the festivities couldn’t be any grander with a number of famous artists adorning the grounds and the choice of the American Idols performing- Frank Sinatra who Paula is quite smitten with. Randy hangs out with Marilyn Monroe and the rest (“It’s what I do, dog.”) and Simon gets booted for being Simon.

           While our Maria mourns Edward’s passing, who is once again a resident in heaven, she makes a memorial for him beside those of her parents. As she grows older Edward’s spirit speaks to her and when she finally does make it to heaven, once again young and beautiful and dressed in her wedding gown, she is met by Edward and the family she lost as a child. As the wedding ensues, the cherub is also rewarded for his good deeds by being allowed to drop the name “Stupid” and go back to being the legendary “Cupid.” He admits his past bad deeds (Shooting arrows into Julia Roberts and Lyle Lovett, amongst others, and emptying an entire quill into Bill Clinton), and as the wedding is ongoing, he cannot resist resorting to his old habits and chasing some potential targets across the universe.

 

 

PHOTO OP    134 pages      Psychological Thrill           High Concept

LOGLINE: A retired military intelligence officer is kidnapped and forced by his captor to relive a brutal past using video, film, and flashback. This psychological examination exposes the origins of some of the most famous photo journalist moments of the Vietnam War and related events. In this crushing thriller who the captor is and why he will probably repeat his crime is the culmination of this bitter and tragic story. 

SYNOPSIS: An elderly Marine Colonel, resting comfortably at home, is brutally attacked, bound and gagged by an unknown assailant. The captor, dressed in military fatigues, with a face covered in camouflage paint and sweat pouring down his ebony skin, addresses and berates the Colonel with familiarity as if they know each other, Through the brutalization, the captor grips the Colonel’s throat with his heavily gloved hands and precedes to “retell” a history of the Colonel and his dealings with two young marine recruits: Kevin, an African American, and Balder, a young white educated recruit. In a series of film, photographs, and flashbacks, the captor reminds the Colonel of how he recruited the two young men into the Intelligence Community in the early 1960’s and used them to do so many of his dirty and illegal jobs. From the Bay of Pigs disaster to Vietnam horrors, the two young men make a pact that they will never leave the other behind. “I’ll always bring you home, no matter what” is the mantra that the two live by in their continued missions which call for them to compromise much of what is right in the world. The captor probes the mind of the Colonel, determined to make him understand the atrocities for which he was responsible. The Colonel used Kevin, a photographer and Balder, a former journalist, to collect information, and to thwart several attacks in this historically correct expose of the times. In one mission Balder has one of his fingers blown off, and showing no sympathy, the Colonel sends them both off on another mission “so that you won’t sit home and cry about it.” During another mission, the two soldiers witness the horrors of Vietnamese villagers being shot for refusing to relocate, Buddhist monks burning themselves in front of the Saigon embassy while others are napalmed for insisting on making their religious track to Cambodia. Producing the photos and artifacts, the captor makes his case to the Colonel that he alone was responsible for every single atrocity. “You didn’t give a shit about the men who died. All you cared about was the Photo Op. man.” Additionally, he states that he will do whatever he can to make sure the world knows of his hideous deeds. He painstakingly recounts one last mission which leads to both of the recruits caught behind enemy lines with no hope of escape. Kevin is killed and Balder uses his dead body as a shield until he is finally captured. While a POW he suffers cruelty that is beyond his capacity to endure. When he is finally freed, Balder returns to a country that no longer wants him and a military that no longer needs him. He returns to his journalist roots but finds no solace and no audience for his anti-war messages. At this point the captor stops his “story” and breaks down to the Colonel asking him “what happened after that? I can’t remember.” Freeing himself, the Colonel surprisingly comforts the man, and in another shocking revelation, the Colonel washes the paint from the captor’s face to reveal that it Balder. He takes the glove from Balder’s hand and attempts to hold it with some tenderness. Ripping away from the Colonel, Balder wails out in abject misery, and sits on a bench in the backyard of the Colonel’s house, crying in his solitude. When an attendant from a local Psychiatric ward shows up looking for Balder, the Colonel tells him to go back to the ward- “He’ll come back on his own. Just like the last time.” We learn that Balder’s problems run so deep that when he first got back from the war he located Kevin’s grave, dug him up, and had to be stopped from “taking him home.” Stopped at this, Balder took on Kevin’s persona, passing himself off as a photo journalist, painting himself black, which leads to him being committed. As he watches Balder walk off, the Colonel has a moment of regret and remorse before he steels himself for the coming day. In a final film scene where a family portrait is being taken, we learn an even more startling fact: Balder, the Colonel’s son, never wanted to be a soldier and rues that he may regret giving up his journalistic career. The Colonel assures him that this is the correct decision and implores the photographer to “Just take the photo.”




REFLECTIONS IN BLACK AND WHITE    120 pages Historical Drama  High Concept

 

SYNOPSIS:  Moses, a young black man, who is an accomplished photographer, travels to the Georgia in 1883 to discover his roots. There he finds the remnants of the old South in the mansion where his mother was raised. There he finds Colonel Caleb Connolly, a now a successful businessman. Moses learns that the Colonel is a hero of the war, and is said to have saved a large shipment of the Confederate treasury from the Union. Moses also meets Joseph, the Colonel’s mute son, and discovers him to be sharp as a tack and very welcoming. This is displayed during the political campaign that the Colonel is waging against the incumbent carpet bagger Congressman. He also meets Mister Rater, an elegant black man who works for the Colonel. Moses thinks perhaps he has finally met his father.

              Moses shares many hilarious moments with the trio as they barnstorm across the county promoting the Colonel’s campaign. During one of the stops, Moses witnesses the lynching of one of the Negro workers. Assisted by Joseph, who uses Moses’ photography equipment to capture the image, Moses saves the men when he shoots and kills one of the murderers. Moses is unfortunately arrested for murder because existing state laws state that a black man is guilty if he kills a white man regardless of self defense. In the trial that ensues, Moses faces certain death until the Colonel reveals that Moses cannot be charged because Moses is actually his son. Moses is declared not guilty because of the Anti-miscegenation laws.

        The Colonel reveals that Moses’ mother was actually Clare, a beautiful young black woman who was passed off as being white. When Clare gave birth to twins, one showed white qualities. That was Joseph. The other was obviously black. That was Moses. To keep the secret, Moses was given to Clare’s mother who Moses always assumed was his mother. However, when Sherman marched through Georgia during the Civil War, Clare is thought to be killed, Moses is taken by his grandmother to New York, and the Colonel is arrested.  

             Because of the Colonel’s new found understanding of black and white relations, he reveals that he indeed had saved some of the Confederate fortunes and donates the treasure to a number of black universities across the South. a Reverend, the brother of the lynched man, who will found a school for blacks.

          Moses and his brother Caleb open a photography studio together. The biggest miracle of all is that their mother Clare is found, a victim of lost memory,. Finally, all is as it should be and the family is made whole.