Starting on a screenplay

The time has come for me to start writing a screenplay for the story of Buddy Schumacher, and I’ll have plenty of time to work on it this week.

With gallbladder surgery scheduled Monday morning, I’ll be off of work for the better part of the week, if not all week. This provides an excellent opportunity to lounge at a laptop or sit comfortably at my computer and use Celtx, the free software I downloaded recently, to do the screenplay. I may have to work in short bursts as I’m not sure how I’ll feel in the next several days. But, it’s as good an opportunity to work on this as I expect to have in the next month or two.

This will be my first screenplay. So, I’ll be learning on the job, so to speak. But I’ve done some reading on how to do it and been watching a lot of movies lately, paying attention to such things as establishing shots and screenplay stuff. I’ve already started the file!

This story lends itself really well to a motion picture. In fact, as I researched material for the book, the story came alive for me in a “movie” sort of way. Hopefully, I’ll be able to translate that successfully to a screenplay. I’d never written a book before, and we now have a decent book. So, I’m not to worried that I won’t end up with a decent screenplay.

My thoughts right now are to make Arthur Schumacher Sr. the protagonist. How does this man keep his family sane after his son is abducted, a search drags on, and eventually, after seven weeks, the boy’s body is found a mile away from his home? How does he react to outlandish reports in some of the newspapers? How does this incident affect him as he moves on as the head of his household and a member of a close-knit, small community? 

As the book discussed many other issues, so will the movie. At least that’s what I’m planning. I’ll be looking at the culture of small-town life in southeastern Wisconsin the mid-1920s, including prohibition, hobos and tramps, the treatment of mental illness, the tools authorities had available to solve such crimes, pedophilia and yellow journalism.

I’ll be using some devices to address the fact that there were differing stories as to what happened to Buddy on the day he disappeared, as well as many theories as to what actually happened to him between the time he disappeared and the time the body was found.

And, I’m planning on introducing some new material that was not in the book. Some of this material hasn’t been confirmed as true. But it depicts more possibilities as to what could have happened to poor Buddy.

Writing realistic dialog will be interesting. Hopefully, I’m up to the task.

Now, what should the movie be titled and what actors should play the main roles? I’ve got a few ideas on answers to these questions, but I’m interested to see what you have to say.

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