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Rating: 4.0/5 (8 votes cast)

Whigger

The Western Pa. valley where the French Indian War began has run deep in blood throughout its history, however, more young men have died here in the crack turf wars than all of the previous battles combined; Whigger is the story of one such battle.

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  1. mikeyz says
    April 2, 2015, 11:15 am
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    Great story, James and clearly a tale that could only be told by either someone whose lived the life himself or has done enough research to know all about it!

    As you so eloquently state in the story itself, you were right there in the very same neighorhood seeing it all first hand. This gives the piece a much more authentic and genuine interpretation with no added fluff or embellishment needed to drive home the message.

    I come from a conservative suburb of relatively-safe Toronto so it’s a little harder to relate, of course, but the whole plight of Whigger and his family and friends was a fascinating one indeed.

    I see how others have commented on the fact that we have seen this story before in different contexts — to that I say, sure, but you pretty much eluded to this where you emphasize that this is just one of many similar stories happening right now. I’ve never been to North Braddock nor do I know anything about it as far as any Hollywood film educating me on it goes, but it sure is nice to see a story about a small community told straight from a screenwriter who was right there!

    Your dialogue and character interactions between Whigger and his crack-dealer friends is rivetting and, while completely ghetto slang, was not hard to follow in the least even for us folks unfamiliar with that level of dialect … lol! Loved the whole meshing of the drug dealing, gang lifestyle with the music scene as well (this did remind me a lot of 8 Mile) and it really begs the question, James — did you create these hip-hop jams yourself?!

    On that note, I would have perhaps liked to see a little more interaction between Whigger and his family because I really liked how that whole world of Whigger’s complimented his other life. As such, I was rooting for him to really be the stand-up, moralistic family guy who preached the importance of not taking the route he took in life to his wife and kids. I didn’t get this at all and I only found him to be the same basic thug with his family that he was with his drug-dealing friends. In that sense, I think this was perhaps a missed opportunity (i.e., picture this rough and tough gangland lifestyle played against or off-set by his staunch commitment to ensuring a better and clean life for his family.) Instead, I saw this from Tameka (who’s character I really liked by the way) who appeared to represent all that was needed to change with Whigger and the family in general.

    To surmise, I can totally see why this script made the finals because it is a great story. It is also a very REAL story and we know that, especially in this day and age that REAL sells, right?! I’m kidding, of course. It was a very compelling read and one I could not put down.

    Well done, James, and good luck in this competition!

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    • roknsrf says
      April 2, 2015, 10:51 pm

      Thank you, for taking the time to read Whigger.

      What you indicate is one of the sad truths of this story, and Whigger’s short existence. Tameka was 26 when Whigger was killed, she lived through her abusive relationship with Trudat, and the death of her mother shortly thereafter. So, she was beginning to formulate the thought processes needed to start making better choices. However, Whigger was dead by 21 and never had time to work through his situation in order to change and grow. It’s easy to see that Whigger had all the character to one day rise above his circumstances and be the kind of father that Trudat could never be, but sadly, his life was cut short before he was able to absorb any of his life’s lessons. And therein lies the tragedy of this story, not only for him, but his family as well.

      Now, as to your question, I did write all the raps, but only because Tez and Whigger’s raps and beats were under contract with Steel City Records at the time I wrote this story, and were not released until well after Tez’s murder.

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    TheElite09 says
    March 27, 2015, 4:18 pm
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    While this story is nothing new, it’s still a really good screenplay from beginning to end. Whigger was a relatable character, a flawed protagonist with real problems. I enjoyed the dialogue as each character sounded real and I thought the opening with the funeral was a good idea. Nice job and good luck with the contest.

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  3. roknsrf says
    March 20, 2015, 5:44 pm

    I want to thank everyone who took the time to review “Whigger,” and relate how much your critiques helped me improve my script. I have a completely revised script (which I have been told is production ready) available for anyone who would like to have a look. Just PM me with your email address and I will shoot you a pdf copy. Thanks again.

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  4. ltherapy says
    March 2, 2015, 9:22 pm
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    As a native Pittsburgher, I disagree with all the “haters”, like diyerswanny, that have no clue how Yinz guys tawk up here n nat! I found that the dialogue in this screenplay was spot on. I won’t be able to get Tameka’s “Uh-Uh Nah” out of my head! I predict it will be a great future catchphrase like “All right all right all right”.

    This violence is one that unfortunately makes the daily news here in the Greater Pittsburgh area to the point that when we hear the newscaster say the name of the section of town they are reporting from, like North Braddock, we are so anesthetized that we turn a deaf ear to the horror being experienced by these families. We live within a couple miles of them, but refuse to acknowledge this is happening to us, to our fellow yinzers, to Steeler Nation. I am glad someone actually showed these men & women as real-life, likeable people caught up in desperate & deadly situations in order to support their families.

    In contrast to what Jerel said, I like the funeral at the beginning while the narrator is telling the history of the neighborhood and its current violent facts. The only thing is that I would not show anyone’s face nor who is in the coffin. Just do an overhead shot of the funeral, panning out to contrast the heaviness of this dismal scene & ugly ghetto from the brilliance of the splendid metropolis. Shock the viewers that such an unpleasant visual element exists right in the heart of this beautiful city.

    Pittsburgh has a plethora of actors and great movie production companies that could make this movie quite inexpensively. In fact, a movie was just shot in the ghetto of North Braddock, and blockbuster movie execs with A-List stars are always anxious to shoot films all over the Burgh with a great savings to their budgets.

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    • March 4, 2015, 9:41 pm

      I agree with Itherapy. That was a good way to keep the funeral in the film but not give away the fate of Whigger. Show the funeral but no characters faces and let it pay off in the end. Great idea.

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    Dagdason says
    March 1, 2015, 3:02 am
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    This script meets the technical requirements as set down by several of the authors that have written HOW-TO books, including Blake Snyder, Syd Fields and David Trottier. The theme is clear throughout the story and plot points are pronounced and distinct. From initial inspection it meets the beat points in Blake Snyder’s ‘Save the Cat’.
    Though I have personal issues with the grammar within the dialogue, precedence has been set with such classics as ‘On the Waterfront’, ‘The Yearling’, ‘Boyz in the Hood’, etc and writing in the vernacular is not consider inappropriate.
    As tragedies go this one is very distinct and does not go into exaggerated lengths to make its point.
    All the characters are made solid by the dialogue and they are engaging, I particularly love the OG character.
    The scene descriptions and action speaks volumes of the settings for this story and pulls the reader in and helps them to imagine the settings.
    I would love to see this movie made, I feel it has the same power as ‘Boyz’ and ‘8 Mile’ yet is unique in its lesson.

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  6. roknsrf says
    February 19, 2015, 6:49 pm
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    Yes I did review my own script, and yes it is permitted in the rules of this contest to do so. So, if you have a problem with it, take it up with the admin dept. Overall I think my script is worth 5 stars because it is a well written account of what actually happened to a white boy in my hood who violated the code of conduct as prescribed by those who take up this very dangerous form of financial gain. I had this story reviewed by dozens of young men in this neighborhood, and to a man they all commented on how accurately I portrayed the story, as well as, how perfectly I captured the exact idiosyncrasies of their particular regional vernacular speech. In addition, I was present for more than half of the scenes depicted in this story and got the rest from actual eye witnesses to these events. Furthermore, as a white surfer from Huntington Beach I feel that I did an excellent job of gaining these individuals trust and confidence without which I would not have been able to give such a thorough rendering of this very real tragedy. I will say that perhaps my raps were not up to par, but I had intended to use those composed by Tez and Whigger, but they were unavailable due to being under contract with Steel City Records at the time of this writing. Nevertheless, I still hope to use them if the script gets picked up. Now, as to the matter of whether this story is predictable, of course it is! It’s a real life tragedy that is played out in inner cities across the country. Afterall, it starts out at Whigger’s funeral for heaven’s sake. I’m not trying to put a Hollywood spin on it, I’m trying to relate a very real truth. The truth that this kind of lifestyle ends in tragedy for the massive majority of people who engage in it, not only for them but for their family and friends as well. What I found to be unique enough to tell this story is the fact that in this case it happened to a white kid who was raised in this very neighborhood and not a white kid from a white neighborhood who happens to enter a realm he has no business being in because he wants to be a rapper i.e. Marshall Mathers in 8 mile, nor is he a black youth from the hood i.e. Boyz in da hood. On top of that, I found the location of these events to be of particular interest because of its historical significance. This is a geographical area of 6 or 7 boroughs in Southeastern Allegheny County with a population of less than 30 thousand people and a murder rate higher than any inner city in the country due to the crack cocaine turf wars. My hood of less than 500 people saw 7 murders in the first 2 years I lived there (4 from my block), with over a dozen crack houses within a 3 block radius. In conclusion, I felt I told a story that needed to be told and I think I did a damn good job of telling it in the most creative way possible.

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    February 17, 2015, 7:37 pm
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    dry characters with laughable jive-talking dialogue. Story was predictable and pacing was shaky at times. Feels like this concept has been done before – a struggling man turning to crime to support his family – a rehash of 8 mile mixed with Boyz In Da Hood. The screenplay format was good at least.

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    • roknsrf says
      February 17, 2015, 11:16 pm

      The dialogue in this script are the actual words used by the characters as taken from the recordings of these actual conversations. All of the characters are the actual participants in this very real story. So, I wonder how you would fair telling anyone of the guys from this neighborhood that their speech in 2009 was laughable jive-talking.

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  8. January 22, 2015, 8:01 pm

    Your welcome Michael!!! That’s all screenwriting is basically, like science, observation. As long as you write you will forever be an investigator. Always write what you know and feel, the rest will work itself out.

    Look forward to more writing from you!!!

    Jerel

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    says
    January 17, 2015, 8:48 am
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    Overall, an engaging story. The dialect was consistent and seemed genuine. The strongest part of the story is how the breaking of the commandments led to Whigger’s demise. I also thought this was a historical drama based on the image and description.

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  10. January 16, 2015, 11:49 am
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    This was an amazing story. I really felt and cared for the character Whigger, SO IMPORTANT! For all his faults from his struggle with being white in a black neighberhood, limited with his options to succeed, being a father figure, and dreams farther than he can reach.

    The best part of the story, is the dialogue. It breathes atmosphere into the rough streets. I really sets up the lives you will go along with in this tale of dreams and tragedy.

    The saddest part of the story is that it’s true, it’s happening right now. Poverty itself is a big character in this story, people scraping by whether, they hustle drugs or try to rap or enter college to make the best of a bad situation. It brings a lot of authenticity to the world.

    I feel there is strong message in this story for people to pursue their dreams but that comes at a cost of battling your demons. We saw Whigger navigate the life he was trapped in the best he could which wasn’t always the moral thing to do. You get to know him as a friend of yours and get excited for him when he is winning and concerned when he is losing.

    I have very little problems for this script other than, the always, grammar errors, just give it a read over and make corrections. And The description and picture for the story is not enticing. I first thought this was going to be about Native Americans and another “history lesson” script. I was glad I was wrong.

    Replace the picture with a more accurate picture. The ghetto, the projects. And write about Whigger instead of the Braddock history. “A young white male in a ghetto struggles with the decision to turn to crime for employment while taking care of a family.”

    This is a great script filled with characters you can root for, for better or worse and above all make human choices and deal with the consequences. People pushed in the corner of society and making the best of it.

    Give it a read.

    Suggestions:
    This story would still flow without the history “prologue” in the beginning. Maybe, up to you, the funeral should take place at the end instead of the beginning. We see Whigger struggle so much it’s going to hit the audience harder if we keep believing he is going to live, then kill him, cruel but good for the audience.

    I felt Tameka could have a little more vulnerable moments. I love how strong she is but it made me not like her so much. Maybe a scene of remorse a “this is why I’m so tough, cause I care.”

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    • roknsrf says
      January 17, 2015, 10:19 pm

      Thank you Jerel for your insightful review. It’s the first time I have felt someone understood what I was trying to convey. I have been shopping this thing around to a dozen festivals hoping to get someone to hear what I heard and experienced in this new world I found myself in. It is my first attempt at script writing but as a sociology grad with no real desire to do anything but observe and report and yet at the same time I’m so prone to embellishment that I just couldn’t write a documentary. It’s so nice to feel the kind of affirmation your critique invoked in me and I thank you for that.

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