Monday, 21 May 2012

A Hard Lesson the Screenplay

A contemporary English drama, adapted from my novel, A Hard Lesson, the story explores betrayal, torn loyalties and peer pressure. A character study on how people behave when under the spell of a manipulative sociopath, every character is tested to the limit.

Modern English Screenplay

The story centres upon a teacher, Sarah who is assigned to tutor a dyslexic, Josh, who becomes a suspect to a stabbing. Her boyfriend, Frank belongs to a tightly-knit clique controlled by fearsome Kurt who lacks human empathy. Little does she realise a link exists between her job and Frank’s world. But being timid by nature, she would appear insignificant to the likes of Kurt.

But the dynamics of the group begin to change when a sexual chemistry develops between her and Josh after she sets him an assignment on erotic art. One insignificant event has an unforeseen impact upon a system that would appear infallible. As a result, the story climaxes in an unexpected way.

Screenplay on Kindle

A Hard Lesson screenplay has been formatted in a unique way for Kindle in that various elements of the screenplay have been keyed for ease. Dialogue appears as normal black text; action and description appears dark grey, and character cue appears in bold.

The other elements of the screenplay exhibits sluglines (or scene headings) like a typical screenplay, and possess the other symbols that indicate the scene location and time of day. The screenplay is also available in paperback and is formatted in the normal way. A character list and a guide to reading the screenplay can be found in both the kindle book and paperback.

Character List for A Hard Lesson the Screenplay

There are ten main characters within the screenplay, which are as follows:

  • Sarah: Teacher of literacy. In her mid-twenties, she is na├»ve and timid, but tenacious by nature.
  • Josh: Sarah’s difficult and dyslexic pupil. In his early-twenties, he is a grunge factory-hand and misfit from a prosperous suburb.
  • Frank: Sarah’s boyfriend. Clever and roguish, he seems a step ahead of Kurt’s obsequious friends that form Kurt’s criminal troupe.
  • Kurt: Charismatic sociopath and leader of a criminal clique of which Frank is a member.
  • Mrs. Tobin: Josh’s attractive mother; a perfectionist who hides a manipulative streak.
  • Sue: Mrs. Tobin’s daughter; high-maintenance and uptight, she deeply resents her brother Josh.
  • John: Sue’s self-satisfied business-lecturer husband.
  • George: Kurt’s chief heavyweight.
  • Harry: Rum-swigging tramp, custodian of Kurt’s secrets.
  • Joe: An upstart who desperately wants to prove himself to Kurt but ultimately gets used.
There are also five minor characters which are: a librarian, a tourist, a barman, a punter and Mr. Jacobs.

A Play with Dramatic Scenes

There is plenty of subtext within the scenes, that clearly indicate what is said does not correlate with the body language, which sets up tension within the story, particularly in the scenes between Sarah and Josh, which features sparring of dialogue but which hides an altogether different undercurrent.

Dialogue for A Hard Lesson

I really enjoyed writing the dialogue for the screenplay, as there was so much going in within each character’s heads, and which would leak out unintentionally. Every character has a different agenda, and each clashed with one another in some way.

Buy A Hard Lesson Screenplay

The screen-time for A Hard Lesson is around 90 minutes, an average feature film or full-length drama. There are around 16,000 words within and is available on other readers as well as Kindle, being Sony, Apple and Android.

Related links on my sites

My other screenplay, Nora
Character development in screenplays
Family and group dynamics in gangs


  1. Hi Rachel. I work with sold and unsold screenwriters in Hollywood. I'd like to send you an email for your thoughts re novelizing some incredible stories that may never see the big screen.

    Thank you,

  2. Hi James. Thanks for the note. I have many projects on the go at the moment, but thank you for the offer.