A homeless teen faces eviction from a men’s shelter – the last haven in his troubled world.
There’s no story if there isn’t some conflict. The memorable things are usually not how “pulled-together” everybody is. I think everybody feels lonely and trapped sometimes. I think it’s more or less the norm. – Wes Anderson, six-time Oscar nominee, three times for screenwriting.
Ask any screenwriter. Conflict glues a story together. It’s an inevitable binding ingredient; essential for one’s masterpiece. Depicted in war, drama and action, Conflict’s always effective. Both to a macro – and micro – degree.
In his rivetingly tale Shelter, talented scribe Bill Sarre wields conflict with subtlety. As we journey through the script, Wes Anderson’s words ring out clear as a bell. “…everybody feels lonely and trapped sometimes.” The result is a truly gripping story – on a raw, bone achingly personal scale.
The two main characters: Daren, a 17-year-old denizen of the New Hope Men’s Shelter, and 50-year-old Maggie – the world weary mistress of the space. Daren is a good kid – but one plagued by substance abuse issues. Not to mention homelessness. It’s a brutal life for anyone to survive. And unimaginable for a teen. And as bad as it is, it’s about to get worse. As the script opens, Daren’s hopes spiral out of control when his best friend is gunned down in a drug deal. Daren reacts to the news by trashing his room. He passes out in a drunken binge… bringing down Maggie’s wrath on his head. A woman at the breaking point, she shrieks at Daren: “I thought you were different. But you’re just like the rest…” Disappointed by his actions, Maggie screams at Daren. She demands he pack his things. And leave….
Enter Lucinda – Daren’s guardian angel. A bright and cheerful case worker, Lucinda is the teen’s only hope – stuck between Daren’s hard knock life and the world weary pain of Maggie. Stepping into harm’s way, Lucinda fights for Daren. She gently leads the teen through his problems. And begs Maggie for compromise.
The result as the narrative unfolds: a dizzying literary display of characters – conflict and despair. A dramatic masterpiece ala Wes Anderson, Bill Sarre’s Shelter is a raw, crisis riddled tale. Drama directors take note: Shelter’s a ‘slice of life’ story for the festivals – one that speaks of strength of character. Not to mention kindness. And hope.
Budget: Low. The main ingredients: modern settings. Solid actors. P.S. If someone makes this movie, let me suggest the music for the closing credits here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJtq6OmD-_Y
About the writer: An award winning writer, Bill Sarre has had scripts place both finalist and quarter finalist with Page and Bluecat. Another short of his, The Grieving Spell, was recently grand prize winner of the London Film Awards. Bill can be reached at Bill.sarre “AT” gmail.com
About the reviewer: Helen Magellan (a pseudonym) is a successful screenwriter with several produced short scripts under her belt.
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