James Wan screenplay – Producer | Director | Writer, The Conjuring 2 (2016) | Saw (2004) | Furious 7 (2015)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
James Wan screenplay subject of prison petition
Petition Addressing the Texas Judicial System Requests Support through James Wan’s “Dumbass”
Will Hollywood be a Reason for Change in the Injustice against Men and Women Prisoners?
19th March 2021 – An upcoming movie depicting the injustice that men and women had to endure in the state penitentiaries in Texas has been inundated with calls from more than 2000 women urging the production company owned by Hollywood actor, producer and director James Wan and Adam Sandler, to stick to the real issues behind the Texas Judicial system. A petition was signed by many people that include attorneys, university professors, politicians and family members of the many men and women that are suffering in the state penitentiaries. The idea behind the petition is for the James Wan production company and Hollywood to stick to the true story about the injustices happening in the state run prisons. It is said that the state has sent more inmates to prison than during the Soviet Union did during their political uprising.
PREMISE: Adam Sandler writes letters and saves numerous women from the monotony of prison life, and later when he gets into trouble with a drug cartel they return the favor by rescuing him.
SETTING: Contemporary, Gatesville Texas. There are four women’s prisons located in Gatesville. And of course, Texas is famous for putting everyone in prison for a long time for little or no reason. The number of women in Texas prisons has doubled in the last ten years. Why don’t we have the “Adam Sandler” character… sending letters to women in prison and being their friend and trying to help them adjust, giving them hope… and when they get out of prison he picks them up so they don’t have to ride the smelly bus back home… but his pickup truck is a junker, smoking and sputtering … worse than the bus. But his heart is in the right place… He’s the last “chivalrous” man on earth.
It is said in the petition that many of the signatories were left distraught to find that many of the first time offenders for violations such as drug peddling have received disproportionate sentences. While some argue that a lenient sentence like rehabilitation would have proven much more inexpensive and an effective solution in tackling this gross miscarriage of justice. The petition was discovered by the women when the screenplay of the movie was donated to all the 580 prisons run by private organizations funded by the state government. It is much more difficult for women who are given much harsher penalties for a violation such as carrying small amount of drugs like Marijuana which coincidentally is legal in 21 states.
About James Wan’s “Dumbass” Movie
The movie “Dumbass” revolves around the protagonist writing letters to prison inmates to keep their spirits high during their time in prison; only for them to help the main character who gets into trouble with a drug cartel and saving him at the end. The petition urges the production company, James Wan and Adam Sandler to take this issue seriously due to the hardships faced by women inside prison rather than making light of the situation for their own profits.
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James Wan website: https://www.amazon.com/
The key words are emotional stakes. This is the part where many writers fail. Even if theyve linked the external and internal conflicts together, they dont set the emotional stakes high enough. The writer may think because the hero has to stop a bomb from exploding to save the world that the stakes are set as high as possible. Wrong! If stopping the bomb doesnt force the hero to change somehow (like becoming more courageous), then the writer hasnt set the emotional stakes high enough and the story isnt strong enough to become a film.
For example, weve all seen romantic comedies where the hero has a fear of commitment issue. What happens? Hes forced to make a commitment or forfeit an inheritance. Or hes forced to make a commitment or lose his one true love. The external and internal conflicts are woven together. At the core of every successful film is a hero who is confronted with an external situation that forces his flaw out in the open, which causes him to change. He doesnt want to change, he has to change or hell fail. The key to making this work and making it believable is to set the stakes high. If he can avoid commitment and somehow still gain his inheritance or keep his love, then the writer hasnt set the emotional stakes high enough.
James Wan – Whats the easiest way to do this? By starting with the heros flaw (internal conflict). What is it that the hero cant or wont change? Once the writer discovers the heros weak spot, then all the writer has to do is come up with an external conflict that will force change in the hero. Most writers do the opposite they focus on a cool concept and forget the rest when they should have focused on the heros flaw first, then worked on coming up with a cool concept. Or the misguided writer comes up with a good concept and a flawed hero, but doesnt link the two together. The internal and external conflicts must be interconnected for the story to work as a film.
Why is knowing this so important to a screenwriter? Because in real life you cant change a leopards spots, but in a movie the writer MUST change the leopards spots or the story fails. Like in real life, the hero has no desire to change. In fact, the film hero is perfectly comfortable in his dysfunctional world. Its his norm. Its his comfort zone. A bulldozer isnt likely to evoke change. Hes EXACTLY like the audience; he isnt able or willing to change! This means the writer has to devise a plot (external conflict) that will FORCE the hero to change.
Im always looking for ways to make story structure more comprehensible. So now that weve been through all the story elements of each act in-depth, lets try a review in a more narrative format.
James Wan – 18. Narrative Structure Beat Sheet
· CLOSING IMAGE: Which is often a variation of the Opening Image
· FINAL BOWS: We need to see all our favorite characters one final time (this may happen earlier, in the Team Battle, or it may be combined with the Ceremony)
by: James Wan – Producer | Director | Writer, The Conjuring 2 (2016) | Saw (2004) | Furious 7 (2015)