'Thirty-Seven is on submission.
'Thirty-Seven is a collection of seven stories linked by the significant year in which they occur: 1937. Life's struggles abound, whether on a kosher dairy farm carved out of the Dominican Republic rain forest, in an upscale restaurant on Chicago's Gold coast, in a rural Palestinian village, on a stone bridge in the Green Mountains of Vermont, in a lower east side tenement house, near windswept sky-burial grounds on the Tibetan high plateau, or in a remote hut in uncharted Papua New Guinea. Diverse cultures. Distant locations. Different yet universal challenges. 'Thirty-Seven explores the question: How can events in one year sum up the whole of the human condition?
2006 "Second-Rounder Badge" at the Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition
Richard Grayson is a gifted actor, most famous for popularizing Shakespeare. He also won an unprecedented Best Actor Academy Award for his voice-over work on an animated film. Because of his beautiful, impeccable elocution, Richard is known around the world as "The Voice." But what his fans don't know is that Richard has suffered with a speech impediment his whole life. When he is not acting, he happens to sound like the offspring of Elmer Fudd and Tweety Bird!
Grayson's impediment, known as SED (Semantic Emphasis Disorder) is a rare malady in which people enunciate and emphasize the wrong syllables when they speak. It turns out to be the same problem Regis Philbin has - even though he doesn't know it! (Of course, Regis will have an hilarious cameo role in the film, appearing as himself as he discovers that his trademark speech patterns are actually due to SED!)
The only way Grayson sounds "normal" is when he is acting, speaking memorized lines. Therefore, even though he is one of the world's most popular actors, he has also become the world's most reclusive celebrity, never speaking in public, never speaking out of character, and never granting interviews.
When Grayson finally undergoes therapy at a speech clinic, scene after belly-laughing scene are filled with speech disorders and unconventional treatments that have never before been seen - nor heard - on film. Until now. In Dramatically Incorrect, no one is off-limits. Between the excessive salivators (think Sylvester Puddy Cat), the low-talkers, and the phumpherers, combined with activities such as the "Miss-Communications" talent contest, things at the Speech and Oral Health Clinic (aka SOHC) get out of control.
When Grayson's own child shows signs of having SED, Grayson finally decides to go public and grants an interview with - who else but... Barbara Walters. During the interview, flashbacks take us through Grayson's childhood and early career.
Dramatically Incorrect explores the difficulty of living with a speech disorder, using riotous, offensive, politically incorrect humor as the vehicle to entertain as it also enlightens.
2002 Semi-Finalist, Feature Film Program, Sundance Institute
Anna's Journal is a moving story that looks at the lives of two young adolescents who are dealing with issues of bigotry, intolerance, family dysfunction, and awakening sexuality. We first meet the Ludkins, a Jewish family living in a small, rural town, as they celebrate the Jewish New Year. Thirteen-year old Anna Ludkin is dealing with the confusion and embarrassment of being the only Jew in her school, of feeling different and isolated from her peers.
Into her life comes Johnny Bennett, an African-American teenager from her school. Johnny is interested in interviewing Anna's grandmother, Leah Perliema, for a website he has developed that looks at intolerance on a personal and global level. Leah is a Holocaust survivor and Anna is overly protective of Leah's privacy, partly because she doesn't want her to have to re-live the pain of the Holocaust, and partly because Anna does not want to face her own issues of prejudice.
Anna and Johnny develop a profound, intimate friendship. Their friendship grows into a blossoming, sensual exploration, taking them through the magical, confusing stage of adolescent "early-life crisis." In addition to the wonders of this new relationship, they also face challenges of being a bi-racial couple. By learning about each other, Anna and Johnny become a mirror for the larger society in which we all live. Paralleled with the young couple, Anna's parents are going through their own journey, facing their own fears about marriage and parenthood.
A main focus of Anna's and Johnny's relationship revolves around Johnny developing his website. Together, they begin to uncover intriguing yet disturbing information about Anna's grandmother. The evidence seems to suggest strongly that Leah might actually be the legendary Anne Frank. This compelling, fantastical component explores the intriguing questions: What if Anne Frank never really died? What if she is actually still alive, living as an 80-year old recluse in rural America?
Historical accounts, Holocaust flashbacks, and issues of human intolerance are intertwined in a beautiful coming-of-age story. As the different story lines intercept, reality and fantasy are blurred. As Anna tries to uncover her grandmother's past, as Anna's parents try to reconnect their bonds, and as Johnny tries to expose our society's weaknesses, they each discover something important about themselves.
The Possibility Exists
Rob Fisher is an easy-going, popular high school teacher. He lives with his wife and his two stepchildren, and he is an active, well-liked member of his community. Rob has a special rapport with kids; he coaches wrestling and is successful working with at-risk teens. He leads a happy, comfortable life until everything changes - in the flash of a computer screen.
Rob is working late at school one day. He is searching the web and notices an unfamiliar address on his browser. When he clicks on the address, a pornographic website pops up. As he briefly checks out the site, Rob's principal walks in and catches him. In that moment, Rob's simple, wonderful life is turned into a living hell.
Rob is immediately suspended from his teaching and coaching duties. Rob is confused about the principal's overreaction and naively assumes this suspension will only be temporary until everything can be straightened out. What Rob is not aware of is that someone had been accessing pornographic websites on his computer on hundreds of prior occasions, over a period of months. The principal had just been watching and waiting to catch the perpetrator in the act. She had assumed it was Rob all along; she just needed proof. The principal had already filed a report filled with devastating "findings of fact" based on nothing more than supposition. One of the damning allegations states that "the possibility exists that Rob attempted to contact and meet individuals under the age of 18."
Although Rob is able to quickly prove that he was nowhere near his computer on about 70 percent of the times inappropriate sites were being accessed, the School Board will not give him time to make his case nor investigate it fully. The bureaucratic mentality combines with society's paranoid, litigious climate to fuel the fires of mistrust.
Within 24 hours of being "caught," Rob is forced to resign from teaching and coaching with the threat that all of the accusations will be made public if he does not leave quickly and quietly. He is assured that all personnel matters will be kept confidential. But when Rob resigns without explanation, everyone in the community is shocked and the rumors begin to fly. Confidences of close friends, family, and colleagues are negatively swayed by unsubstantiated charges and innuendo. Seems that the truth is more about perception than reality.
Although Rob did what the School Board asked, the Police Special Crimes Unit is called in to confiscate the computer and investigate Rob and all of his past interactions with children. He is ordered to stay away from all children - including his own stepchildren. Alone in a cheap, depressing apartment, Rob tries to sort things out. Prospective employers who at first seem very enthused with Rob at job interviews suddenly turn cold after checking his references. Rob is clearly being blackballed despite initial assurances that the situation would remain confidential. Students start spreading rumors about Rob. The State decides to use Rob as an example and they revoke his teaching license for "conduct unbecoming a teacher." All of the allegations - including assumptions and inaccuracies blown out of proportion - make it to the news. And once the story hits the newspapers and the internet, the mere words become fact.
The Possibility Exists is a gripping, thought-provoking account that is actually based on true events. This reality makes it even more disturbing when one realizes that injustice of this kind can happen to any us, at any time. Lives can be ruined. And they are. Ultimately, the film explores how peoples' reactions to events reveal more about their own dirty little secrets and lies than about what really happened.
Ally McBeal: Skin Deep
Entourage: Welcome Back
Almonds and Raisins, two-act musical
Hunt Follies, one-act play
Across the Ages, one-act play
The War Hero, one-act play
One Step, one-act children's musical
Arms, three-act play with music
Eco/Friendly, one-act play
GrowLab: Activities for Growing Minds, for the National Science Foundation
Infusing Prevention: Interdisciplinary Substance Abuse Prevention Activities for Grades K-12, for the United States Department of Education
Power Plants!, for the Burlington Electric Department
Joy has also produced educational videos, promotional videos, public service announcements, CD-roms, and commercials for the Vermont Council on the Arts, The University of Vermont, National Science Foundation, Burlington Electric Department, New England Power Association, United States Department of Education
"The Possibility Exists"
Students from other groups start listening in as Rob speaks.
Well, Columbus was not the best navigator.
When he landed in the Caribbean, he
called the inhabitants "Indians" because
he got lost and first he thought he was
in Asia, specifically India. He was told
that an infinite amount of gold could be
found there. When he became the
Governor, he demanded that all the
natives bring him gold. If they didn't,
even if it was because they were unable
to, he'd have one of their hands cut off.
Yeah, it's pretty sick, but you have to
realize what his construct was.
How he believed things to be. How he - or
any of us - build - or construct - our
truths. Listen. This is an entry from
Columbus's log from November 4, 1492: "I
also understand that, a long distance
from here, there are men with one eye and
others with dog snouts who eat men. On
taking a man, they behead him, drink his
blood, and cut off his genitals." How we
construct our knowledge directs us to the
way we look at things and then how we act.
It doesn't excuse it, but it might explain
why he treated the Tainos as he did.
With every slash of the blade, my head pounded. My arms ached from the constant swinging. Who would have thought a mere two kilograms would weigh so heavy? The knife's bugle insignia with the words Corneta Promedoca Rep Dom blurred with every stroke. The machete my Haitian friend gave to me even though that was half of all his earthly belongings. An unlikely friendship, Jean-Jacques and I met in the batey when I was first learning about irrigation systems. He knew so much and I so little. It was hard for me to imagine that only a year ago, only 80 kilometers as the crow flies, on a path much like this, machetes were the cause of so much misery. His people were slaughtered. Because language was used as a political tool, an excuse for hate. All for the sound of an "r".
Trujillo was a man of contradictions. When every other nation turned us away, the undesirable Jews of Europe, only he offered refuge to us. He saved me, and hundreds of other Jewish families. To the world, he appeared generous without rival. To us, he was a savior. The only one who would take us in. Not even the Americans would. That was hard to understand. Shame on Roosevelt. Shame on the Americans. That is one of the reasons I never left here to go to the United States, like many of the other first settlers. I had a bitter taste. Besides, why leave paradise?
The other world leaders of wealthy, liberal, first-world countries did not allow us refuge. They turned away Jews wanting to flee the worsening conditions in Europe. There were no safe harbors. But this dictator who had three decades of horrendous violations of human rights, of oppression and murder, he was the only one to offer to resettle us, to open his doors and shores. We left one butcher in Germany and arrived here at the hands of "the Butcher." He brought us to his island, welcomed us, gave us a banana plantation. The United Fruit Company had abandoned it so it was a fitting haven for us.
Some say he was trying to improve his international reputation. Just a year before the Evian Conference, the Parsley Massacre took place. Most people have not heard of it. It is another holocaust that must be remembered. 72 years ago on the week of my 29th birthday Generalissimo Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina ordered the massacre of thousands of Haitians who lived here. He first created a mass revulsion of the Haitians, then he fed the frenzy with unfounded accusations of everything from degradations to thievery, and he told his people, "I will fix this." An all-too familiar solution.
He focused his murders of the ethnic Haitians living in Dajabon, the area closest to the northwest border with Haiti. His troops andmagistrates - the alcaldes pedáneos - along with overzealous civilians massacred between 15,000 - 30,000 innocent people. We will never know how many for certain. Many found their final resting place in the Masacre de Río. Another river of blood. Too many rivers of tears. It was so simple to identify those who were to be killed. Like a yellow star.
They'd hold up a sprig of parsley and ask, ¿Qué es esto? Perejil they should have responded, en español. Native Dominicans trill their r. The Haitians with their Kreyòl accents could not. When the word was pronounced wrong, the offenders would be brought to the forests and jungles and be hacked to death with machetes. People fear lions and bears and other animals in the wilderness. I've always felt the most dangerous animal on our planet is most certainly man.
excerpts from Theatrical Script "Arms"
High School Wrestling Room. JOHN is coaching two teen boys as they wrestle on the mat. The kids get up and JOHN talks to his friend WILL.
WILL: Hey, you're not going to Iraq, are you?
JOHN: Hell no. At least I hope not. Damn. I signed up to help with floods and fix roads. Going to war? That would be so jacked up. But I don't see it happening. I mean, a few months ago the commander told us to pencil in a possible deployment but I can't see how they'll take us. We're the last National Guard unit in the state. If we leave, who are they going to have left to defend the country... the Salvation Army?
WILL: Well, I hope you're right. This war has gone on for so damn long. I don't even know what we're doing there anymore.
JOHN: I don't know why we went in the first place. I think it was a con game from the beginning.
MALE CHORUS MEMBER stands on a platform extending from the Guard Tower. He is in front of a makeshift card table, surrounded by other CHORUS MEMBERS.
MALE CHORUS MEMBER: Step right up, ladies and gentlemen. See this here is the 3-card Iraqi Monty. Look under here - weapons of mass destruction. Now keep your eye on Saddam Hussein. Nope, too late. Can you find Osama Bin Laden? Wait, you're not keeping your eye on the right one. Now try to find the Iraqi stability - without it we will have increased global terrorism. Ladies and gentleman, you're not doing too well. Oil, you say? Well, keep your eye on the moving target… step right up! Step right up!…
Avery Living Room. PENNY is at her lap top, i.m.'ing. The words show up on the projected monitor.
She sends some "audibles" to try to get his attention.
PENNY: John, are you there?
PENNY: It says you're online. Are you there?
Then she speaks out loud to herself.
PENNY: No, you're never there any more, are you?
We hear PENNY's voice as she types.
Dear Mr. President,
It is now March and the beginning of month seven. The sap is flowing, as all things flow in the spring. This war is sapping the nation. It is sapping my energy. And you, Mr. President, have sapped my patience.
I have written you an honest and intimate letter each and every week for the 25 weeks of John‘s deployment. Last week I received a polite form letter from the White House. It said, "Thank you for sharing your views on Iraq."
Well, Mr. President, thank you - for nothing.
(Proud wife of LT John Avery)
PENNY: What do you want from me? I waited and waited. I did the best I could. And what about you?
JOHN: (incredulous) Me?
PENNY: Forget it. It doesn't matter.
JOHN: Yeah, nothing matters any more.
PENNY: You know John, we all have choices. You said you had to go to protect your soldiers, to keep them safe. You chose your soldiers over me, over Telly. You lost sight of us long before you even left.
JOHN: You are absolutely right. I have been blind for a long time.
PENNY: See, this is what I was most afraid of. This war. Changing you. I know your upper body is permanent. But John, the damage was to only to the center of the cord so your legs may get better. They said there's always a slight chance the feeling might come back.
JOHN: I'm feeling plenty.
PENNY: You're not yourself.
JOHN: I'm still the same man who's always longed for you. Only you. You think I didn't have temptations?
PENNY: This goddamned war.
JOHN: The war? The kind of love we have - I thought we had - that love, that love couldn't be wounded by war. It would survive anything. You can justify all you want.
PENNY: You are different. And I understand. We knew this might happen. Remember? But we can get through this. You just need to have patience and trust.
Joy is the author of three published works of non-fiction, and many theatrical scripts, video scripts, teleplays, and screenplays.
Click here to contact Joy via e-mail.