After an outburst at work, a young man obsessed with control is ordered to see a therapist, who might just be as equally manipulative as he is.
As screenwriters, we’re constantly told to “show, don’t tell”. And that talking heads should be avoided like the plague.
Well, someone also once said that “rules were made to be broken.” Mark Lyon’s Jessup does that – in spades. It’s a script with just two characters. A verbal fencing match, across a desk.
And it’s that dialogue which makes these one worthy. As uncomfortable and disquieting as it may be.
Meet twenty-something Jessup: malcontent extraordinaire. He’s been a disruptive influence at his workplace. But he’s got talent worth retaining. Thanks to that one saving quality, Jessup earns himself a trip to the company psychologist – instead of the unemployment line.
An experienced head-shrinker, Ronald Simplot’s a piece of work himself. In his forties, he’s seen it all – and Jessup’s manipulative tricks are an open page. As the conversation between the two morphs from pleasantries to battle, Simplot lays it all on the line. Jessup’s a whiny little brat. One that deserves a major spanking. His career may force him to talk to losers like Jessup… but there’s no reason he can’t tell it like it is. He laces into the youngster; refusing Jessup’s request for a “psychological break.” And he tells the boy just what he thinks of him – revealing a surprisingly sadistic side…
But battles of wits are fluid. And how quickly tables can turn. Who will win in this fight? Doctor or Patient? And who are we rooting for, anyway?
If you like your stories with multiple shades of gray, then Jessup is ideal. Crackling dialogue imbued with tension. A subversive power struggle – and an unexpected plot twist. Give this one a read. Unless you have delicate sensibilities!
Budget: Pretty cheap to film: limited locations and a cast of two.
About the writer: Mark Lyons is a screenwriter from Youngstown, Ohio. He’s written several scripts, most notably ‘Best Film’ award winner “God’s Empty Acre”, which was filmed as ‘Girl(s)’, at the 2013 Winter Shorts Film Festival and Best Drama at the 2013 World Independent Film Expo. He has also written the feature “Thistles” which was a Quarter-Finalist in the 2013 Bluecat Screenwriting Competition and the short “Ginger” which was a Finalist at the 2013 Shriekfest Film Festival. He can be reached at markielyons “AT” yahoo
About the reviewer, Anthony Cawood is an award winning screenwriter from the UK with over 15 scripts produced, optioned and/or purchased. Outside of his screenwriting career, he is also a published short story writer and movie reviewer. Film links and details of his scripts can be found at AnthonyCawood.Co.UK.
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