Screenwriting

I began writing screenplays in 2001. At the time I was sleeping on the floor of a room I’d rented from a young trans man in the Bay Area. I was going through a particularly awkward period in my transition, unable to find work, pretty much without a single pot to piss in and surrounded by a grinning menagerie of stuffed Tasmanian Devils and a live bunny under the table, so I did what everyone does, I decided to write a screenplay. I felt that there was a trans story that wasn’t being told and I was going to tell it, dammit. Of course, it was far less than stellar, as most first screenplays are, but I was determined to make my mark, dubious as it may be. Thirty feature-length scripts later, I’ve kind of gotten the hang of it, as evidenced by: two 2011 Nicholl International Screenwriting Fellowship semifinalists, one of which finished in the top 30 out of 6700 submissions, a 2014 Nicholl quarterfinalist, a 2014 Page International Screenwriting Competition semifinalist (Drama Category) and Finalist (Comedy Category), a 2017 Page International semifinalist (Drama Category), a 2018 Page International silver medalist (Drama Category), and a 2020 runner-up in the Scriptapalooza Screenplay Competition.  I have one script currently languishing in development hell with Gunslinger Productions, Austin, Texas. I’ve optioned two, both of which went exactly nowhere, one to Harry Knapp, co-producer of “Rescue Dawn,” and the other to Aurum Angels Productions. Such is Hollywood. It’s a tough nut to crack.

Here’s a sampling:

THE MONSTERS OF SAINT MARGARET (2020 Runner Up, Scriptapalooza International Screenwriting Competition, 2018 Silver Medal, Page International Screenwriting Competition)

There are monsters about, monsters and haunted places, places where the past has shaped itself into hideous things.  Yes, monsters do exist.  They walk unseen among us.  It took a lonely and confused twelve-year-old to discover them. 

THE REMARKABLE LIVES OF DISMAL NOBODIES (2014 Finalist, Page International Screenwriting Competition)

For Grant Halstead, a hapless park-bench lawyer, love can come with a mean learning curve.  But even if you’re out on a limb and your clients are dissembling mobsters’ wives and mole people, it’s best to embrace the possibilities. 

RELENTLESS

Robbie and Mace, trapped in their desperate broken dreams, until the day their lives collide, and all hell breaks loose.  Just when you think that things can’t get any worse, you get taken for a ride by the Homecoming Queen.

INCIDENT AT SALT CREEK (2014 Semifinalist, Page International Screenwriting Competition)

Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord.  But for Lacey Daniels, trans woman, father and professional killer, it’s personal… and it’s gonna be messy.  A dark and tangled modern take on the classic western revenge tale.

THE STABLE HAND (2017 Semifinalist, Page International Screenwriting Competition)

It was the summer of 1968.   T.J. Melon looked to be nothing but an old drunk riding Route 66 on the rawboned stable horse he didn’t want, an old man with little left to lose.  He didn’t have the look of a war hero.  Maybe he knew it already, but he soon found that the road can be unforgiving place and you can’t ride away from yourself.  

A BAD NIGHT FOR STINKY AND THE BONE

She had a curious way about her, like maybe she came from someplace else, someplace where vengeance is a wild-ass hoot of a thing. LA maybe. I tell you what, the desert can soak up a lot of blood, but it can’t soak up her kind of crazy.  It wasn’t just inscrutable, it was downright lethal.  On the plus side, she never quite lost her sense of humor.

THE JASPER COUNTY KILLINGS (2019 Semifinalist, Page International Screenwriting Competition)

Alone and adrift, a trans woman returns to the dying Nevada mining town she’d known as a kid, only to be drawn into a vortex of violence, obsession and deceit, one that would lead to murder, and the horrible truth about her two dead childhood friends.

BREAKING THE FALL

Jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge didn’t redeem Mariah’s shattered life.  It took a dying Nevada mining town and the love of a slow-witted innocent to do that.

THE TRUE BITTER TALE OF IKE AND ADELINE 

West Texas, 1875, a brutal and unforgiving place, where chance encounters can be life or death and vengeance is enduring.

CAROL ANN

The bitter, self-absorbed life of a rock-hard lesbian rancher, haunted by her violent past and suddenly charged with looking after her teenaged niece, explodes in a fateful collision between her desires, her pent-up hatred and her protective instincts.

JONAH AND THE SHARK

For fifteen-year-old Jonah, it was more than the fishing, more than the shark. It was his anchor in an uncertain world… and his passage.

EARLINE (2011, top 30, Academy Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting)

To twelve-year-old Lizzie all that mattered was their friendship.  For others it was more complicated.  When you’re transgender in bayou country, it’s not just the bass fishing that can get you killed.

BLASPHEMY (2011, Semifinalist, Academy Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting)

The blood-stained T-shirt. The image of Jesus. The outcast teenagers. The unexplained healings. Small-town Texas confronts the unimaginable, that the Messiah is not one of them. .. and she’s back.

THE LAKE

The summer of 1966.  The end of innocence.  Texas teens travel to Michigan to work the night shift in a pickle factory.  There they stir jealousy and the dark secrets of the past, triggering a tragic bloodletting.

CROSSING INTO NIGHT 

Two women, each unstoppable, the brutal drug boss and the gringo soccer mom, one thing in common, a kidnapped child.  On the west Texas border lives are cheap and the drug trade is steeped in the blood of innocents.