Tribal: Prologue


What’s all this then? An explanation seems to be in order. I am currently working on the nearly completed first draft of a film screenplay, tentatively titled “Tribal”, which concerns a wrongfully accused man who, in his quest for the truth, finds that perhaps the biggest enemy is not one tribe or the other but himself.

While I do perform some editing as I go along, once the first draft is completed, I will be editing more thoroughly to not only polish the story flow but also to trim it down to a reasonable size. One screenplay page translates roughly into about one minute of screen time so, for example, a 120 page screenplay would end up being about a two hour movie. It’s generally a good idea to initially write more than needed as that provides more back story to work with and helps the writer to better develop the characters and main story. Think of it like a large piece of marble which a sculptor gradually chisels down to the final statue.

I thought it would be entertaining to serialize the first draft, warts and all, and put it out on the website so people can follow along with the story as well as the creative process itself. Toward that end I’ve broken the screenplay up into successive installments which I’ll be posting every few weeks. I’ve contracted with local Lehigh Valley artist, Franky Vasquez, to provide illustrations for each installment in the manner of the old books that I (and perhaps some of you) grew up with back in the pre-internet era. In the real film industry world, illustrations never accompany screenplays and that will be the case with the final draft which eventually gets shopped around. But for now we’re just having a bit of fun.

Hope you enjoy following along! Feel free to let me know what you think. There’s an email link on the About page.

Cheers, Doug
Bethlehem PA, March 2020

Notes on Formatting:

Screenplays adhere to a standardized format which includes specific fonts, margins and other film industry standards. A few notable conventions are as follows:

• Dialogue & Narrative – This is the “stuff” which makes up a screenplay. Dialogue is pretty self-explanatory. Screenplay narrative, unlike in a novel, doesn’t delve into a character’s thoughts or motivations but rather simply describes the setting for each particular scene and any action that is occurring. In other words, what the movie goer is seeing on the screen.

• Scene Headings – The heading consists of three components which describe: 1) whether the scene is interior (INT.) or exterior (EXT.), 2) the specific scene location, and 3) the time of day. For example, if a scene takes place in a noisy bar at night the heading would be INT. NOISY BAR – NIGHT.

• Characters – When characters first appear in the screenplay the name is in CAPS and the character’s age is given, plus, if applicable, any significant physical characteristics.

• Abbreviations – A couple of fairly common abbreviations are:

V.O. (Voice Over) – Used when there is a narration, usually by a character (ex: Henry in Goodfellas) or, less commonly, by a non-character.

O.S. (Off-Screen) – Used when a character is speaking in the scene but is not seen on screen. For example, he might be off in another room.

Draft 1 – March 1, 2020
WGAe Registration: I329491
Working Title: Tribal
Working Logline: An angry man searches high and low for the truth but everywhere he goes he finds himself there.