The screenplays at Headwaters Wordsmithing are meant to provide faith-based family entertainment.
It is my sincere belief that a Christian world-view is very uplifting and enlightening. It provides the perfect catalysis for creative story-telling.
There's a great need for coke-&-popcorn parables where folks can find guilt-free laughter, the truth of forgiveness, and an incredible purpose to life.
So that's the plan. And the goal.
Hope you enjoy them.
LIFE, LEAVING, & THE MOTHER ROAD
AWARDS: Finalist at the Gideon Film Festival 2012 and Semi-Finalist at the Kairos Awards 2012
POSTER LINE: "Champions stay on the field."
LOGLINE: "Faith, football, and Route 66 help a family handle the crashes on the Road of Life."
SYNOPSIS: The sudden death of the oldest son crushes the Bodey family – and that it happens during a football game makes the wound even deeper. Pain and anger festers within the relationship of Pastor J.T. Bodey and his wife, Linda, and soon starts to infect their small rural church.
Desperation fuels the decision to start over in a new location. J.T. resigns as a pastor but new surroundings and new pursuits can’t help the Bodeys escape the same fears – and the same anger.
Linda blames football but holds tenaciously to God. J.T. blames God but still loves football. The strongest bond between J.T. and their remaining son, Jimmy, is football - the sport which only brings the memory of death to Linda. Linda confides her fear to Gladdy, an older woman in the church, who helps guide both Linda and J.T. toward an eventual place of reconciliation with God and each other.
Life becomes great for the Bodeys. New friends. Football. There’s even the surprise inheritance of a classic convertible so J.T. and Jimmy can make the promised “Double-J Run” down Route 66 after Jimmy’s high school graduation. Then, just weeks before Jimmy’s senior year, J.T. is rushed to the hospital where the doctor tells the family they only have a handful of months together.
Jimmy’s senior year sees victories on the gridiron as the family grapples with the coming loss. Linda refuses to back down from her faith in God and J.T.'s faith is forged stronger by this new trial. J.T. means to keep his promise and do the “Double-J Run” with Jimmy, his SEAL training reminding him to "never ring the bell" and never quit the mission.
The day arrives for Jimmy and J.T. to leave on the “Double J Run”. J.T. kisses Linda good-bye for the last time and, with a final wave, drives away. J.T. invests his final three days into Jimmy's character, showing his son the two great truths of life:
"God can be trusted" and "Champions stay on the field".
(You can read the first 16 pages of Life, Leaving, and the Mother Road in a PDF file here.)
AWARDS: Finalist at the Gideon Film Festival 2013, Top 4/Honorable Mention in the Tennessee Screenwriting Association's "Make This Film" 2014
POSTER LINE: "The story of a girl, an asteroid, and a very strange car."
LOG LINE: "It's Max Headroom meets Balaam's donkey when God shows His love to a teenager using an asteroid, a broken computer tablet, and a beat-up old car."
SYNOPSIS: Jenny Benson is mad at God. Her mom gets sick. Her dad loses his job. Mom dies. Dad loses everything. Jenny, brother Sammy, and her dad, Bill Benson, must start over in a small town. As Jenny puts it: “We had to move to a house no one wanted, to a town where no one wants to live, and to a life I don’t want!”
Jenny asks God for two things: give her a car and bring her mom back. God’s answer is an asteroid-infested hail storm which injects her birthday gift (a beat-up old car) with a quirky angelic friend named Dents. Sammy is the first to meet Dents via the car’s radio. Through the miraculous use of a broken PC tablet and lots of glue, Dents goes from just a voice to a visual presence.
Dents leads Sammy and Jenny to a deeper trust in God. Sammy readily believes but Jenny’s heart is harder. Yet the gently prodding, peculiar friendship of Dents is melting Jenny’s heart. Dents even helps the town’s rough-around-the-edges mechanic, Gertie, realize that God has always loved her.
Faith grows until Jenny learns that Bill and Sammy have been in an auto accident. Her faith hits a crossroads, a struggle that causes her to fall back into the past.
Jenny runs from God until realizing that the emptiness and despair in her life can only be filled by trusting Him, even in, as Gertie calls them, “those world-class cruddy times”.
When Jenny is put in a life-threatening situation, Dents sacrifices himself to save her, a tangible proof of God’s love.
The final scene around the Benson family table affirms Jenny's trust in God’s constant love – and Sammy finds that angels never really go away.
(You can read the first 11 pages of Dents in a PDF file here.)
THE RINGS OF TALMOORIN
POSTER LINE: What if a promise costs you everything?
LOG LINE: Drunk and heartbroken since his wife's murder, the Clan Lord must find the faith to keep an unbreakable promise and lead his vastly out-numbered clan into an unwinnable battle to save an incompetent king.
SYNOPSIS: Ronson, the baker’s son, witnesses the murder of a blackmailing King’s Captain by the usurper, Baron Naheer. Ronson barely escapes the city, fleeing to the farm of his uncle, Tandrick, who is a Brown Bow warrior of Talmoorin. Tandrick and Ronson seek Sanctuary at Castle Talmoorin, bringing the news of the coming coup to Clan Lord Sinclair. Since the murder of his wife a few months before, Sinclair has spiraled down into a drunken depression, leaving the Clan to be run by his half-sister, Ellawig, the Lord Bow of Talmoorin, commander of the Brown Bows.
Past history has Sinclair hateful and distrustful of Tandrick but a long-forgotten spark is rekindled between Tandrick and Ellawig.
Ronson is given Sanctuary and the treason is made known. No one likes the king, a foppish self-absorbed fool, but Clan Talmoorin made a Bow Oath in All-Ruler's Name to this king. It cannot be broken.
Roth, the eldest son and future Clan Lord, despises the man his father has become. He and Gilson, the carefree younger son, are sent to gather the Clans and warn the king.
Roth goes to a meeting of the Clan Lords to find that all the Clans except the Arboreans - a small clan of eight-foot tall warriors who live in peaceful seclusion - have sided with the Baron against the King. Roth sees an opportunity and joins the traitors while the Arboreans, Clan Lord Fron and Second Branch Vonner, refuse and leave the meeting.
Gilson rides and fights his way to the royal city. He gains an audience before the king, the treacherous Regent, and the Duke, commander of the Royal Army. The Regent convinces the King to send half of his army to Castle Talmoorin, letting the king think the Clans will join him in putting down the rebellion.
The Brown Bows of Talmoorin are frantically mustered as Castle Talmoorin hastily prepares for war. Sinclair struggles to find the courage and hope to lead his clan but his anger at All-Ruler, the God of Clan Talmoorin, allows him nothing but hate, depression, and despair.
Ronson meets Keera, the only daughter of Sinclair, one night at the target range. They share a similar pain, their fathers being drunks, and briefly make a connection.
Through a conversation with Ronson, Sinclair realizes what he's doing to his family and the scope of this impossible situation. The supernatural help of All-Ruler is his only hope.
Baron Naheer arrives with a massive army, outnumbering Clan Talmoorin a thousand to one. Talmoorin's only ally is a small contingent of twenty Arboreans led by Vonner, who had fought beside Tandrick years ago on the Plains of Kilmorrow. The rest of the Arborean army must wait until the Arborean High Council finishes debating the decision to side - or not - with the Talmoorins.
The battle lines are set - 1,800 in a castle against tens of thousands on the plain. Naheer begins the assault just as the Royal Army comes out onto the plain - at half-strength and a mile away from any help from the Talmoorins. The king panics, foolishly choosing an indefensible position faraway from the castle .
Naheer attacks. The Royal Army is out-matched. It begins to falter as the end becomes evident.
Sinclair and Ellawig leave the safety of the castle to lead a final, desperate two-pronged attack. Ronson, the baker's boy, discovers a hidden heritage and a warrior's prowess he did not know he possessed. The Talmoorin counter-attack is furious but it soon falters as well. The Brown Bows are stopped and are surrounded. The end is close.
A low, loud horn is heard. The entire Arborean army joins the fray, their numbers small compared to Naheer’s but still a formidable force. They drive Naheer's forces back from the castle walls and fight through to where Sinclair and Ellawig are making their last stand. But the sheer number of the enemy crushes down on them, stops their advance , and begins to encircle them.
On the distant mountains, clouds slowly swirl, becoming darker. Suddenly a terrifying wind screams across the Plain of Rings. as the All-Ruler comes to the defense of the Talmoorins. The wind becomes two tornadoes that rip through the enemy as the Talmoorins and Arboreans watch.
The kingdom is saved but the king is killed by the last, dying act of Baron Naheer. The ending has the Arboreans receiving a hero’s send-off from Castle Talmoorin...while within the royal castle, the Regent’s murderous plot for power begins to unfurl.
HOW IT HAPPENED: A friend from the 2012 Gideon Film Festival liked this webpage and told a friend. Her friend liked "Life, Leaving, & the Mother Road". He emailed me and asked if I had ever done a "Short Film", offering very helpful suggestions. So here is my "Short". I hope you enjoy it.
POSTER LINE: "The Coach we choose decides how we play The Game."
LOG LINE: "The championship is on the line as the least-likely hero steps to the plate, choosing to trust The Coach - no matter what."
SYNOPSIS: The Championship is down to the bottom of the final inning. Just three outs remain and the Game is tied.
It’s the bottom of the lineup batting 1-2-3 with #3 being Morton “Mort the Wart” Wartman. He’s the one theyhad to put in for one inning due to the "Everyone Plays" rule. And Mort is their last hope - a minimal last hope.
Mort has The Coach on his side but that’s the reason Mort is considered strange. He’s the only one on the entire team that can see and hear The Coach. And that's what will make all the difference in the Game.
Two outs. The Game on the line. Mort steps into the batter’s box. The Coach is standing on the other side of the plate unseen and unheard by everyone else. All The Coach asks is for Mort to trust Him and obey Him immediately. Mort does and produces the most error-filled final inning in the history of Little League as he stumbles/flails/runs/slides his way around the bases. All the while Mort is doing whatever The Coach tells him, even when it makes no sense at all.
As the dust clears at home plate, Mort scores the winning run... and Mort's obedience lets him introduce his buddy, J-Rod, to The Coach.
HOW IT HAPPENED: A friend told me there was a need for a short film screenplay for a couple of AARP-eligible actors. Since I'm a card-carrying member myself, I pondered what is it that I do now that I didn't do when I was younger...and reading the obituaries is one of them.
LOG LINE: Two retired strangers butt heads over a table and a paper before forging an unlikely friendship by sharing their lives and dreams...and it all starts with the obituaries.
SYNOPSIS: Joe starts his first day of retirement by randomly picking the diner, table, chair, and newspaper of Eddie, a creature of habit. Marlene, the waitress, does her best to diffuse the situation and enlists Joe's begrudged compliance to keep the peace.
Eddie's infatuation with the obituaries, (the obits), seems weird to Joe. The next day the situation is less confrontational but still strained. Another day and they begin to warm to each other.
As time goes on, a friendship develops. One day, Eddie points out that the obits should tell more that just what people were but what they had dreamed they'd be.
Eddie misses two days at the diner. One morning a lady from County Services comes in to give Joe the self-written obit of Edgar Glenford Robinson, an obituary full of dreams and aspirations.
The final scene shows Joe having a last cup of coffee at Eddie's table as he reads Eddie's obit, learning the dreams of a friend.
POSTER LINE: "What's life without dessert? And what's dessert without a few nuts?"
LOG LINE: "A lonely 13-year old spends the summer with his quirky "Cake Ministry" aunt and four oddball boarders who help him learn that today's choices become tomorrow's life."
SYNOPSIS: coming soon
(Chewing on an idea that was inspired by a lazy afternoon watching Frank Capra's 1938 classic "You Can't Take It With You".)
CHRISTMAS IN ODAHBOLT, ND/SD
POSTER LINE: "Thrown away doesn't mean worthless."
LOG LINE: "A discarded man stumbles into an unwanted town to learn that worth comes from giving, not getting."
SYNOPSIS: coming soon
(A thought was eroded by my morning coffee: What if a man nobody wants found a town nobody wanted? Next, my sister calls and tells me to try and write a Christmas movie. "They're popular", she says. Hmm...)