I am very grateful to the anonymous reviewer on the Black List who made me feel my whole writing life was worthwhile, following a downer of a week. And to Nitza, Kyle, Elizabeth and Terry of the Writers Lab, who plucked me out of the universe and gave me the opportunity to become a screenwriter. And to Tina, who spent half her life working to end violence against women…and then helped me figure out the knots in this story. Okay, so there’s a long list of people to whom I am grateful. And they help with this: Every artist has to believe in herself whether or not anyone else does. Some days, there’s manna from heaven.
For today, just this day, here’s mine:
RUN FROM FIRE by Lyralen Kaye
Essex County, MA
Crime Drama, Family Drama, Crime Thriller
An advocate for rape victims is put to the ultimate test- when she breaks a local fireman’s reign of terror, his violence turns to her, and changes her from advocate to client.
This script is phenomenal. Colleen is a brilliant central character– ultimately utterly believable, with a troubled heart who will always put her clients before her own well being. And this script then puts that kind of a character to the ultimate test. It is extremely hard to read, but in the best possible way. The pacing is fast and slow in just the right places– the emotions are visceral and raw. Jeremy is the perfect counterpart to her almost Don Quixote complex and when their relationship nearly breaks it feels completely real. The quiet-turned-loud racism of Essex County is pitch perfectly considered in this script and skewered precisely. There is an anger in this script that is palpable but it drives the reader through it. The stage directions are well considered– when something as specific as the rape of the protagonist occurs, it must be described carefully so any actors involved know the level of emotional and physical commitment required for such a scene and there is just enough here to inform but not dwell. This is heart pounding realistic drama at its best. The flashbacks are just right– raising the right amount of dramatic questions about the past at the appropriate times and paying them off at just the right times. The title is evocative & thought provoking, considering the content.
There is very little to fix in this script. It could possibly go with a bit of a dialogue trim– the writer could have a read through just to make sure individual bits of dialogue don’t feel awkward in the mouth, but that’s a fine tuning thing. There’s only one line that really clanged in the entire script– the “Black Lives Matter” line just rang a little false, but the overall intention in the scene is good. Really, these bits are all related to specific taste. By the time this script would be shot, they would be solved. Wonderful job.
RUN FROM FIRE should be made. No question. In the sea of ultra-macho Massachusetts police corruption stories, this one, with an utterly watchable and complicated female protagonist who any actress in the mood to win an Oscar would jump to play, deserves to stand above them all. Now.