Screenplays

Since moving to Los Angeles in 2016, screenwriting has been one of the areas in which I’m trying to grow as a writer.

MOTOR CITY
Pilot Episode of One-Hour Drama

Motor City is a historical drama set in Depression Detroit during the tumultuous rise of the United Auto Workers union. Following an ensemble cast in the surprisingly diverse world of the auto industry, the pilot introduces you to the forces that made 1937 Detroit such a dangerous and chaotic place for the early Labor Movement — not only workers and management, but politicians, corrupt cops, ethnic communities, Communists, white supremacists and mobsters.

This story is as close to my heart as they come. I grew up in Michigan in the 1980s, when people who drove Toyotas got their tires slashed. My dad was in the UAW. So were all my friends’ dads. I grew up with stories of the Flint Sit-Down Strike and the Battle of the Overpass — and yet these stories were always left out of my history classes. The sad fact is labor is in the decline today. The Left acts as if working people are an embarrassment — when’s the last time you saw a labor leader on NPR or MSNBC? — and blue-collar people have responded by voting with their middle finger for candidates like Donald Trump. The time is right for a show like Motor City, which will put the Labor Movement center stage again. Click here to read MOTOR CITY.

 

TANTA
Feature Screenplay, written in collaboration with Ziad Al-Tarek

When the United States “liberated” Iraq in 2003 we created a new hell for gay men. Gays were grudgingly tolerated under the regime of Saddam Hussein, but during the orgy of violence that followed his fall from power, homosexuality was outlawed and gays became the targets of the police, government soldiers, and violent militia groups.

Tanta (an Arabic slur against gays) follows three gay men — Malik, who escaped to America; Nori, who would rather die than give up the fight in Baghdad; and Ehsan, a closeted police officer with everything to lose. When Nori is held for ransom by a Shiite militia, Malik and Ehsan form an unlikely alliance to save him. This feature screenplay version expands on a short film written by Ziad Al-Tarek, an Iraqi émigré who lived through the worst of the violence and saw it with his own eyes. Click here to read TANTA.

 

ROCKET
Pilot Episode for One-Hour Drama, co-written with Teresa Jusino

In 1950s New York, a small group of artists and writers try to transform a moribund comic book company into a creative powerhouse that will fly in the face of postwar America’s repressed sensibilities. By focusing on darker material, they hope to speak directly to a generation of children starved for the truth, and build a home for society’s outcasts and misfits. But you can’t hold a mirror to a society so deeply in denial without facing some serious opposition.

With its focus on a unique time and place where geek culture said the things everyone else was afraid to see, Rocket is to comic books what Mad Men was to advertising — except instead of midcentury nihilism, Rocket explores the joy of creation and contentment of at last finding a group where you belong. The project was an equal partnership with the inimitable Teresa Jusino, comic book aficionado, staff writer at The Mary Sue, Tor.com and Pink Raygun, co-host of the Supergirl Radio podcast, regular guest on TrekRanks, and @TeresaJusino on Twitter. Click here to read ROCKET.

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