Petition asks Mark E Lee Productions to read prison screenplay
More than 2000 women sign petition demanding a firm commitment from Mark E Lee Productions (film production company) to read screenplay addressing Texas judicial system
Mark E Lee Productions
Dumbass screenplay could sway Texas 2022 election.
Mark E Lee Productions & Adam Sandler’s film company targeted by Texas petition
Will Hollywood just rollover and let prisoner’s suffer?
In Texas, more than 2000 women have signed an open letter to Adam Sandler and Mark E Lee Productions calling on Hollywood to take “movie action” to tackle injustice against men and women in the wake of revelations that Texas has more prisoners incarcerated than the Soviet Union’s gulag system had. Texas currently has over 290,000 inmates housed at 580 facilities.
The signatories, including state senators, professors of criminal justice, social workers, family, and inmates, call for a “firm commitment” to tackle the unjust prisons in Texas. The petition has also been signed by Beto O’Rourke, and Matthew McConaughey. These two signatories might face each other in the 2022 Texas governors election. Both have expressed interest in the job. The petitions arrived for Mark E Lee Productions in Los Angeles last week.
In the open letter to Mark E Lee Productions, the 2080 women write that they are “heartbroken for first-time drug offenders many times addicts who have received extremely harsh sentences in Texas when rehabilitation has proven a cheaper and more effective solution.” The petition goes on to say their family and friends are often heartbroken for and looking for redemption and rehabilitation for the victimless drug crimes.”
The signatories, including attorneys, professors, politicians, family members, and inmates, call on Mark E Lee Productions for a ‘firm film commitment’ to tackle the issue of operating the Texas prison system for profit.
Inside prisons, the women are faced with such horrendous conditions… the petition demands that “filmmakers begin to take the issue seriously.” Also, the petition reminds that “even here in the USA in the 21st century citizens are not safe from government oppression.”
The petition came to light when women discovered the screenplay, a copy which was dontated to all 580 of the state’s prison and jail libraries. The existence of the petition surfaced on International Women’s Day. Women in Texas face extreme prejudice in Texas and often receive extremely harsh penalties for even a small amount of drugs, including marijuana. Marijuana is legal now in 21 states.
Mark E Lee Productions, Dax Shepard or Eileen Davidson have not responded to the petition. Nor has Jana Sandler responded with a comment.
The screenplay “DUMBASS” was penned by writer and retired professor of political science Alan Nafzger.
The premise of the story is that, “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.”
The film would be set in 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 sentences for little or no reason. The number of women in Texas prisons has tripled in the last ten years, as mass incarcerations have proven profitable to not only the state but also profitable for an array of business interests.
Writer Alan Nafzger has called on Governor Greg Abbott to, “end the prison industry.”
Recently, “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak spoke out against the Texas system and put a good word in for mercy and forgiveness out on social media. “How nice for those who have lived such exemplary lives that they can express glee when others have their lives ruined by a mistake, real or perceived,” Sajak tweeted last month.
The petition states, “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.”
Mark E Lee Productions has not commented on the script, thusfar. A statement is expected soon.
Professor Nafzger has made a short treatment of the project available online.
He has made the finished script available at for select filmmakers.
Jessica Kovacevic of Happy Madison Productions has also expressed interest in the screenplay.
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Here is an old screenwriting column of mine from the Cyber Film School. Its still accurate today.
Today there is no excuse for incorrect format because there are free software programs that guide you. The best is Celtx, available for both PC and Mac (and even Linux), so you need to download it unless you already have a screenwriting program like Final Draft. You can get Celtx at http://www.celtx.com.
One reason screenplay format can become so confusing to students is that there are few available examples of what should be done. Published screenplays are not written in the format used for spec scripts, which are scripts written on speculation and then marketed after they are written. This is what beginners write. Published scripts are shooting scripts, which are different in several ways as a result of being the product of a collaboration between writer, director, producer and perhaps actors.
Spec Scripts v. Shooting Scripts
Dont let the rhetoric above fool you: the energy of confrontation can be expressed psychologically as well as physically. We dont need a big noisy confrontation with blood being spilled everywhere. In character-driven stories, the confrontation can be in terms of increasing fear, uncertainty, grief. This is what happens in many contemporary indie movies, such as Chasing Amy.
So what we are leading to in this section of the screenplay is what David Trottier calls the crisis, which leads directly to the showdown.
Your task of writing keeps getting harder. In the last half of Act Two, you have to move your hero into the jaws of defeat, so that Act Three introduces a ticking clock (if at all possible) and a final confrontation where victory is secured against great odds. In other words, the hero gets what s/he wants (in most cases).
And then comes Act Two. Once youve gotten through the first half of Act Two, you surely know the game has changed considerably. Lew Hunter is right, this is the blue-collar grunt work of screenwriting! This is where you give upor you learn how to write a screenplay. If the first act is the honeymoon in the bridal suite, Act Two is the honeymoon in hell.
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