Genres: Drama, War, Comedy, Crime
Setting: 1991 during the Gulf War and present-day Houston, Texas, Kuwait and Houston
Themes: Family and Responsibility, Identity and Belonging, Survival and Adaptation, Loss and Uncertainty, Cultural Clash and Assimilation
Conflict and Stakes: The primary conflicts in this story include Mo's struggle to adapt to his new life in Houston, his family's journey to find safety and stability, and the tension between Mo's desire to pursue his own dreams and his responsibility to his family. The stakes are high as Mo's decisions and actions have the potential to impact the well-being and future of his family.
Overall Mood: Tense and bittersweet
Mood/Tone at Key Scenes:
- Scene 1: Tense and bittersweet as the family prepares to leave their home
- Scene 2: Tense and fearful in Iraq, then shifts to a more relaxed and humorous tone in present-day Houston
- Scene 3: Tense and emotional as Mo argues with Abood about his firing
- Scene 4: Humorous and tense as Mo and Maria discuss Mo's mother's religious beliefs
- Scene 5: Casual and conversational as Mo discusses his job loss and desire to start selling bootlegs again
- Scene 6: Light-hearted and humorous as Mo sells Yeezys and a Chanel purse, and later eats breakfast with Maria and Nick
- Scene 7: Tense and ominous as Mo realizes the cat food bag is leaking blood
- Unique Hook: Exploration of the Gulf War and its impact on a family's journey to Houston
- Distinctive Setting: Contrast between Kuwait during the Gulf War and present-day Houston, Texas
- Compelling Characters: Mo's complex relationships with his family, friends, and girlfriend
- Genre Blend: Blending of drama, coming-of-age, and immigrant narrative genres
- Timely Themes: Exploration of immigration, identity, and the pursuit of dreams in the context of the Gulf War and present-day Houston
Explanation: The screenplay effectively establishes the setting and time period, creates tension and fear in the initial setting of Iraq, and explores the conflicts and challenges faced by the characters. The dialogue is engaging and showcases the characters' personalities and relationships. However, there is room for improvement in terms of visual storytelling, smoother transitions between scenes, and further development of conflicts and resolutions. The screenplay could benefit from providing clearer stakes and urgency, including more details about the Gulf War, and resolving conflicts more definitively. Overall, the narrative is compelling and engaging, with notable moments of humor and depth in exploring cultural and religious differences.
USP: The Unique Selling Proposition in this screenplay is the combination of a compelling and tense narrative set against the backdrop of the Gulf War and its aftermath, with a focus on the resourcefulness and resilience of the characters. The script stands out from others in its genre by incorporating innovative storytelling techniques, such as shifting between different time periods and locations, and exploring themes of family, identity, and survival. This script would be of interest to its target audience because it offers a fresh perspective on historical events and provides a relatable and engaging story that combines drama, humor, and emotion. The compelling storytelling, distinctive characters, and unique elements throughout the script make it a standout piece of storytelling that will captivate and resonate with viewers.
Budget Estimate:$5-10 million
Target Audience Demographics: Adults aged 18-45, fans of drama, coming-of-age stories, and immigrant narratives
Marketability: The screenplay explores relevant and timely themes, features compelling characters, and offers a unique perspective on the immigrant experience. It has the potential to resonate with a wide audience and generate positive word-of-mouth.
Profit Potential: Moderate to high, depending on critical reception and awards recognition. The screenplay's appeal to a diverse audience and potential for positive reviews and award nominations could contribute to its profitability.
Analysis Criteria Percentiles
Summary:The writer's voice is characterized by a mix of intense action, emotional moments, humor, and colloquial language. The dialogue is natural and reflects the characters' cultural backgrounds. The narrative description is vivid and creates a sense of urgency and tension. The writer's voice contributes to the overall mood, themes, and depth of the screenplay by infusing it with authenticity, humor, and a balance between serious topics and lightheartedness.
Best representation: Scene 1 - Escape from Kuwait. This scene is the best representation because it showcases the writer's ability to create vivid and emotional moments through dialogue and narrative description. The scene effectively conveys the writer's style and tone.
- Young Mo: Yes! The crowd goes wild! AAAAAH! (Scene 1)
Mo:A young man who is responsible for his family and faces challenges in his new life in Houston
Yusra:Mo's mother who is preparing the family to leave Kuwait and start a new life in Houston
Sameer:Mo's older brother who accompanies him on their journey to Houston
Nadia:Mo's sister who is also part of the family's journey to Houston
Mustafa:Mo's father figure who reminds him of his responsibilities and gives him a repaired Walkman
José:Mo's coworker at the phone repair shop in Houston
Abood Rahman:Mo's boss at the phone store who fires him due to an ICE raid
Maria:Mo's girlfriend who has a complicated relationship with Mo's family and their religious beliefs
Burly Soldier:An Iraqi soldier who accuses Yusra of hiding from him on the bus
Superior Officer:An Iraqi soldier who intervenes and saves Mo and his family from the Burly Soldier
Aba Weinberg:Mo's friend who he discusses his job loss and desire to sell bootlegs with
Nazeer:Aba's friend who is hesitant to help Mo with his bootleg business
Jim:A customer who buys Yeezys and a Chanel purse from Mo
Nick:Mo's friend who questions his decision to sell high-quality replicas
The Percentile is against the screenplays in our library.
|At least one Character Changes in the scene||6.4||72|
|Story Moves Forward||7.9||48|
|Internal Goal Score||7.9||15|
|External Goal Score||7.1||28|
Note: This is the overall critique. For scene by scene critique click here
Note: This is the synthesis. See scene by scene analysis here
|Dialogue||8.1||79||Everything Everywhere All at Once: 8.0||The Wolf of Wall Street: 8.1|
|Character Changes||6.4||69||The matrix: 6.3||Catch me if you can: 6.4|
|Characters||8.3||63||Thor: 8.2||Good Will Hunting: 8.3|
|Originality||6.86||63||Silence of the lambs: 6.84||Mo: 6.86|
|Overall||8.3||57||Queens Gambit: 8.2||face/off: 8.3|
|Formatting||9.00||46||Mind Hunter: 8.95||Severance: 9.00|
|Story Forward||7.9||45||The sweet hereafter: 7.8||Mr. Smith goes to Washington: 7.9|
|Conflict Level||7.4||41||Fear and loathing in Las Vegas: 7.3||True Blood: 7.4|
|Engagement||8.57||40||Birdman: 8.51||Mo: 8.57|
|Plot||7.9||39||Queens Gambit: 7.8||Everything everywhere all at once: 7.9|
|High Stakes||7.0||38||Lucifer: 6.7||Mr. Smith goes to Washington: 7.0|
|Emotional Impact||7.1||36||Suits: 7.0||Good Will Hunting: 7.1|
|Structure||8.14||33||Community: 8.11||Mo: 8.14|
|External Goal||7.14||27||Stranger things: 7.09||Mo: 7.14|
|Pacing||8.14||19||Community: 8.11||Mo: 8.14|
|Internal Goal||7.86||12||Narcos: 7.85||Fear and loathing in Las Vegas: 7.86|
|Concept||7.3||9||There's something about Mary: 7.2||Erin Brokovich: 7.3|
|Story Content||Character Development||Scene Elements||Audience Engagement||Technical Aspects|
|Scene Number||Full Analysis||Tone||Overall Grade||Concept||Plot||Originality Score||Characters||Character Changes||Internal Goal||External Goal||Conflict||Opposition||High stakes||Story forward||Twist||Emotional Impact||Dialogue||Engagement||Pacing||Formatting||Structure|
|1||The Farewell||Tense, Anxious, Nostalgic||9||8||9||6||8||7||8||7||8||8||9||9||7||9||7||9||9||9||8|
|2||Escape from Kuwait||Tense, Anxious, Relieved, Proud, Amused||9||8||9||6||9||7||8||7||9||8||9||8||7||8||7||9||8||9||8|
|3||Mo's Job Loss||Serious, Tense, Humorous||8||7||8||9||9||7||8||7||8||7||8||8||7||7||9||9||8||9||8|
|4||Family Dynamics and Uncertain Future||Playful, Frustrated, Uncertain||8||7||7||8||9||5||8||7||6||7||5||7||7||7||8||9||8||9||8|
|5||Mo's Frustrations and Family Dynamics||Dramatic, Humorous||8||7||7||8||8||6||8||7||6||7||5||7||7||6||9||9||8||9||9|
|6||Mo's Hustle||Serious, Humorous||8||7||8||6||7||6||8||9||7||7||6||8||6||6||8||7||8||9||8|
|7||Mo's Frustrations and Uncertainties||Frustration, Uncertainty, Defiance, Concern, Insulted||8||7||7||5||8||7||7||6||8||7||7||8||7||7||9||8||8||9||8|
ON a hand taking stacks of money from under a mattress.
SUPER: GULF WAR. AHMADI, KUWAIT. 1991.
1.1 INT. MO’S HOUSE - MO’S BEDROOM - KUWAIT - 1991 - DAY 1.1 *
Reveal YUSRA NAJJAR, early 40s, focused and resolute,
grabbing as many BUNDLES OF CASH as she can carry. We FOLLOW
her as she hurries into --
1.2 INT. MO’S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - KUWAIT - 1991 - DAY 1.2 *
A room that has been turned upside down - there are piles of
clothes and half-packed suitcases all over. Yusra dumps the
cash onto the couch, adding it to an already sizable pile.
She goes back for more, passing -- *
YOUNG MO NAJJAR, seven, dribbling a soccer ball like a *
basketball as if he were driving into the paint. *
NOTE: All dialogue in the Kuwait/Iraq scenes are in Arabic.
YOUNG MO *
(like an announcer)
Olajuwon leaps for the rim --
He jumps up, pretending to slam dunk.
YOUNG MO (CONT’D) *
Yes! The crowd goes wild! AAAAAH!
Mo sees his older brother, YOUNG SAMEER NAJJAR, 11, *
obsessively pacing around the room in a zig-zag pattern, as
if one wrong step would bring disaster. Mo goes to pass him
YOUNG MO (CONT’D) *
(like an announcer)
The Dream looks to Kenny Smith!
(off Sameer’s nonreaction)
Sameer! The Jet!
Sameer cannot be distracted from his pacing. Mo shrugs.
YOUNG MO (CONT’D) *
Tricked him! He keeps it and...
Mo THROWS the ball, hitting his sister, YOUNG NADIA NAJJAR, *
18, who’s folding and packing clothes. She turns, annoyed:
GOLDENROD DRAFT - 12/10/21 2.
YOUNG NADIA *
Mo! We’re all rushing and you’re
still playing stupid games!
YOUNG MO *
Mo’s FATHER, MUSTAFA NAJJAR, 50s, approaches from the dining
table where he’s set-up a workstation for his electronics.
Habibi, your sister’s right. We
don’t have much time, you need to
YOUNG MO *
Baba, did you fix my Walkman yet?
Go help your mother.
Mo runs off to Yusra as Mustafa resumes soldering some
Walkman components together.
A SERIES OF SHOTS:
MUSIC UP: “That’s Alright Mama” by Elvis Presley.
Yusra opens a PURSE, empties it onto the floor, and cuts the
lining with a razor. Mo hands her stacks as she begins
stashing cash into the makeshift compartment.
ON Yusra’s hands re-sewing the purse’s lining. She pulls the
last of the thread taut and Mo, scissors ready, cuts the
Yusra, at a sewing machine, finishes sewing a belt. She
secures it to Nadia’s waist and Mo fills it with money.
Mo finds a few STACKS of CASH in a box of Lion Bar chocolates *
and brings them to Yusra. Exhausted, she forces the forgotten *
stacks into a hidden lining of a suitcase. She doesn’t notice
as Mo grabs some nearby ACTION FIGURES and throws them in
with the clothes.
GOLDENROD DRAFT - 12/10/21 3.
1.3 EXT. MO’S HOUSE - KUWAIT - 1991 - DAY 1.3
Mo, Yusra, Nadia, and Sameer stand outside with Mustafa and
their suitcases. Yusra’s wearing an oversized coat lined with
valuables; Mo in a too-small Pelé jersey.
An early 1980’s SCHOOL BUS approaches, stopping at their
house. The doors swing open and Yusra lifts her bags, guiding
Nadia and Sameer onto the bus.
But Mo hesitates... he can’t stop looking back at their home. *
Mustafa gently nudges him onward. Mo looks to his dad.
YOUNG MO *
Why can’t we go together?
The four of you will be together in
Houston, with Hakeem from the
basketball. I’ll be with you soon
Mustafa lovingly crouches down and caresses Mo’s face.
MUSTAFA (CONT’D) *
Habibi, Allah made you a strong and
clever boy. Now you must use those
gifts as a man. You are young, but
not a child anymore. The family
needs you. Can I depend on you?
ON Mo, his seven year old eyes absorbing the gravity of the
situation. He nods.
Good. I thought so.
Mustafa smiles then hands Mo a now REPAIRED WALKMAN. Mo
YOUNG MO *
Yallah, habibi. Take care.
As Mo goes to board the bus, his smile disappears again as he *
can’t help but wonder if they’ll ever be together again.
GOLDENROD DRAFT - 12/10/21 4.
1.4 INT. BUS - KUWAIT - 1991 1.4
Mo sits with his Mom, staring at the other FAMILIES piled in.
He’s got an empty bag of chips and a mound of orange peels on
his lap. He makes eye contact with a SAD YOUNG GIRL. He looks
away, then slips on his headphones and nuzzles into Yusra.
1.5 INT./EXT. BAGHDAD, IRAQ CHECKPOINT - 1991 - HOURS LATER 1.5 *
Mo’s woken up by a commotion outside the bus, now stopped. He
looks out the window --
vehicles, breaking open their luggage and stealing valuables.
A BURLY SOLDIER enters the bus and makes an announcement:
Everyone, take your bags and get
off of the bus.
Mo tries not to look scared. Sameer and Nadia are having less
success - Sameer moans nervously and Nadia trembles, her
fingers feeling the money hidden in her belt. Yusra grips
them, trying to calm them down.
Go before you blow our cover.
Yusra hands them their bags and ushers them off. We stay with
her as she kneels down, out of sight, listening to the CHAOS
She grabs her suitcase and makes a mess of it, undoing all
her work. She grabs another bag and does the same thing.
Finally, she scatters orange peels and empty wrappers on top.
ON Mo, outside, stealing glances at what Yusra’s doing. He
has enough sense to know not to stare. The passengers around
him watch helplessly as their possessions are ransacked and
valuables stolen. Yusra signals him with a go-ahead, and as
the other passengers get herded back onto the bus, the Najjar
children join them.
The burly soldier accompanies the last of the passengers back
onto the bus. As Mo, Sameer, and Nadia sit back down with
Yusra, the soldier’s eyes land on her:
I never saw you get off the bus.
You playing me for a fool?
GOLDENROD DRAFT - 12/10/21 5.
Mo sees other passengers look on anxiously as Yusra clutches
Sameer, quietly starting to recite Quranic Surat Ya-seen.
BURLY SOLDIER (CONT’D)
What are you deaf, bitch? Think you
can hide from me?
ON Mo, seeing his family in need. Suddenly, he starts fake
YOUNG MO *
Please, sir! Don’t take my Ninja
Turtles! She didn’t know they were
The soldier looks at him, confused. Mo sells it hard, his
tears becoming sobs. He seems genuinely terrified.
YOUNG MO (CONT’D) *
I just wanted to have my toys. It’s
not her fault. She didn’t know!
He holds a weathered TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES toy out to
YOUNG MO (CONT’D) *
Take Michelangelo, everyone knows
he’s the best! Please --
SUPERIOR OFFICER (O.S.)
What is this filth?
The SUPERIOR OFFICER steps on the bus, his uniform crisp and
covered with honors. He eyes the Burly Soldier.
SUPERIOR OFFICER (CONT’D)
You think you’re a big man? Making
women and children cry?
Mo stifles his cries as the Officer gives his subordinate a
hard stare. The Officer eyes Yusra’s luggage -- the wrappers,
the orange peels, and Mo’s Ninja Turtles peeking out. *
SUPERIOR OFFICER (CONT’D)
These bags have clearly been
searched. You want to take the
boy’s candy and toys too?
He signals to a couple of his other MEN and has the Soldier
removed from the bus. The Officer takes one of the figures
from Yusra’s suitcase and hands it to Mo, patting him on the
face. He looks over to Yusra:
GOLDENROD DRAFT - 12/10/21 6.
SUPERIOR OFFICER (CONT’D) *
God be with you all. *
Once in the clear, Yusra turns to Mo, proud and impressed.
You can hear the relief in their hushed voices:
When did you learn to turn on tears
YOUNG MO *
When you wouldn’t buy me a Walkman.
He holds up his Walkman, smiling. Yusra shakes her head,
amused. The bus begins to pull away and Mo puts on his
headphones. Hits play.
PRELAP: “25 Lighters on My Dresser” by Fat Pat --
1.6 INT./EXT. - MO’S CAR - HEADED TOWARD ALIEF - DAY 1.6
“25 Lighters” continues over a MONTAGE:
MO NAJJAR, now in his mid-30s, cruises in his beat up ‘70 *
FORD TURINO COUPE, old-school windows rolled down due to the *
broken AC, the MICHELANGELO TOY he had in Kuwait on the
We take in the sights of Houston -- e.g., the “Be Someone”
bridge over I-10; the Houston Graffiti Building; the “Twin
Mo rolls into Alief and lights up a joint as he passes the
water tower; Crump Stadium; Pencil Middle School...
He throws on a “Houston Mobile Spot” shirt as he turns onto
Bellaire Blvd with its Mexican meat markets, 99 cent stores,
Black women's hair product stores...
Finally, he pulls into a strip mall parking lot and kills the
engine, the MUSIC CUTS OFF.
Psst, psst -- Mo sprays himself with a can of air freshener.
1.7 INT. HOUSTON MOBILE SPOT - DAY 1.7
Mo moves back and forth between desks, multi-tasking as he
puts a new screen on a TEXAS WOMAN’S phone. *
GOLDENROD DRAFT - 12/10/21 7.
How are you doing it so fast?
These new LCD screens are easy,
just a couple of screws and an
attachment. Now if you brought me a
Nokia 1202, that’s a whole
different situation, can’t find
One of Mo’s inept coworkers, JOSÉ, late 20s, shouts:
Yo, Mo! I need those iPhone cases.
Aye, asshole -- this gringa been
Mo doesn’t look up as he puts the finishing touches on the
woman’s phone. Shouting to José:
Which iPhone cases? The SE, 11 Pro,
12 Pro Max, be specific, José!
The iPhone 13s!
MO (IN SPANISH)
Relax, cabrón. They’re in the back
by the Selena Samsung cases -- rest
JOSÉ (IN SPANISH)
Rest in peace.
José does the sign of the cross and walks off. Mo’s boss,
ABOOD RAHMAN, 50s, whistles, motioning for him. Mo hands the
phone back to his customer.
José will ring you up.
Mo joins Abood in the back of the shop. *
ABOOD RAHMAN (IN ARABIC) *
I have to talk to you...
GOLDENROD DRAFT - 12/10/21 8.
Why are you speaking Arabic? It’s
never good when you speak Arabic in
front of the customers.
Abood hesitates. *
ABOOD RAHMAN (IN ARABIC) *
ICE raided our other location this
morning. We ate a big fine, one
more will shut us down. I have to
let you go.
You’re firing me?
ABOOD RAHMAN *
What am I supposed to do? You don’t
have a work permit. I’m sorry.
What about José? José can’t be
ABOOD RAHMAN *
No, José’s legal.
I married in, bro!
ABOOD RAHMAN *
You should marry Maria, she’s fine
as hell! And she’s a mechanic too,
got those oily hands!
Don’t talk about my girl’s hands!
(to Abood) *
How can you fire me over that guy?
God only knows what’s in his search
ABOOD RAHMAN *
Mo, please --
He’s from Matamoros! You know what
that translates to? Kill Muslims.
GOLDENROD DRAFT - 12/10/21 9.
Don’t do this. I know this store
better than anyone. Plus I’ll have
my asylum soon.
Soon. You know. Like, (trailer
voice) coming soon. That kinda
soon. I’m in the system, okay? I’m
not undocumented. My court date’s
coming up. Once they grant me
asylum, I’ll have a work permit.
ABOOD RAHMAN *
And if they don’t, they’ll deport
you. It’s not so simple. You’ve
been waiting, what, 20 years?
ABOOD RAHMAN *
Twenty-two years of courts dates.
What makes you think this next one
will be different?
I’m just playing the odds. How many
times can they push a hearing?
Abood remains unconvinced. *
GOLDENROD DRAFT - 12/10/21 10.
ABOOD RAHMAN *
Listen, inshallah it all works out
and I take you back. Until then...
He holds out an envelope.
ABOOD RAHMAN (IN ARABIC) (CONT’D)
I wish I could do more...
Mo takes it, counts the cash. Looks up, annoyed.
This is the money you owe me. You
made it sound like you were giving
me a lil extra, which would be nice
considering how much I’ve done for
you. Good luck running this place
with (shouting) JOSE! But
whatever, man. It’s not the first
time ICE has run me out of a job.
Salaams to the family.
Mo walks away, goes to dap José goodbye.
Gonna miss you, hermano.
You too brother.
As Mo makes his way out the door, José attempts to curse him
in Arabic along with the appropriate hand gesture.
Hey Mo -- Biteezee!
It’s Bi-teezak! Like this.
1.8 INT. MARIA’S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - NIGHT 1.8 *
Mo checks his phone in bed while his girlfriend, MARIA (late
20s-30s, Mexican), comes out of the bathroom after having
just finished washing for the night.
I’m telling you, if I see Ramón’s
ass crack one more time...
GOLDENROD DRAFT - 12/10/21 11.
Baby, I don’t wanna hear you talk
about other men’s asses.
I don’t wanna see their asses! I’ve
tried belts, lululemons -- the
guy’s crack is relentless.
Put him on oil changes, stick him
under the car.
Maria: That’s not a bad idea... She picks Mo’s Houston Mobile *
Spot shirt up and folds it, before joining him in bed.
You gonna retire that thing? Hang
it on your wall like a jersey? *
I’m gonna keep it so my mom thinks *
I still work there. *
Maria laughs -- then sees he’s not kidding.
MARIA (IN SPANISH)
Seriously? Just tell her!
Why worry her? I’ll figure out my *
next move and then I’ll tell her. *
Maria stares incredulously. Mo lights a joint.
Don’t give me that look. You don’t
know my mom. *
Because you never let me see her.
You saw her just the other day! *
GOLDENROD DRAFT - 12/10/21 12.
We said hello and goodbye, like *
always. Two years now and we’ve *
never had dinner together. *
You want my mom to grill you again?
Think I can’t handle her religious
“Maria, why do you Catholics
worship three gods?”
She has a point about the Trinity. *
Here we go again. You want to put
me in a hijab.
No! Hijab is not the top priority.
We can build to that later. Start
with the basic Muslim package.
Maria grabs the joint from Mo, takes a toke.
You calling me basic?
Ain’t nothing basic about you,
You don’t even go to your mosque. *
Why don’t you come with me to *
church for once? You could use a *
Mo takes a drag, blows out a cloud of smoke.
You know nuns wear hijabs, right?
They got OG hijabs.
GOLDENROD DRAFT - 12/10/21 13.
1.9 INT. NAJJAR CONDO - ENTRANCE/LIVING ROOM - DAY 1.9
Mo, wearing his Houston Mobile Spot shirt, enters the
family’s small condo. Though it’s not dirty, it’s CLUTTERED,
the space filled with mismatched furniture and random items,
with knickknacks and odd collectibles cramming the shelves.
Plus, it’s LOUD. Yusra shouts in Arabic as she FaceTimes with
her sisters, trying to talk over “The Price is Right”, which
is blasting on the TV.
On his way inside, Mo bumps into an end-table, knocking over
one of three mismatched lamps. YUSRA, now in her 60s, looks
up from her FaceTime --
YUSRA (IN ARABIC)
Watch where you’re going, Hamoudi!
Mama, why do we have three lamps on
one table? You don’t even plug them *
Mo picks up the lamp he knocked over, noticing:
This was $11.99 from Target, you
left the price tag on.
Yes, so people will know what a
bargain I got. Come, say hello to
Mo takes the phone to say hello. His Aunt LAMEECE holds her *
phone low for a chin-up view, while his Aunt HALIMA holds *
hers inches from her face. Both unflattering angles.
Hi, Khalto Halima. Hi, Khalto
Hamoudi! Look at you!
Are you okay, habibi? You seem
GOLDENROD DRAFT - 12/10/21 14.
I’m fine, you just need to hold *
your phone a little further away -- *
You need to take care of yourself
if you want to meet a good girl.
You need me to set you up, Hamoudi?
I can set you up right now --
(to off screen)
Ayisha! Come, meet my nephew! *
Nope, all good, Ayisha! That’s nice *
of you Auntie, but I’m okay.
He’s talking to a Mexican girl. And
on top of that she’s Catholic.
Mo ignores their protests.
Hamoudi, Hadi wants a Samsung
Galaxy. How much can you get them
at work, we’ll pay you.
Tell Hadi I’ll take care of it, the
phone’s on me.
Are you sure?
Of course, they love me there!
Oh habibi, thank you!
Mo hands the phone back to Yusra and heads for his room, his
face dropping: Why did I just say that?
1.10 INT. NAJJAR CONDO - MO’S BEDROOM - MOMENTS LATER 1.10
GOLDENROD DRAFT - 12/10/21 15.
Mo enters and shuts the door. He takes a calming breath and *
closes his eyes. But the peace and quiet is short lived as he
hears his door CREAK open, followed by a PURRING.
He turns to find his older brother, SAMEER, now 39, in the
doorway, carrying a cat, in his Chick’n Cone uniform. Sameer
stares at him.
Why are you looking at me
like that? I’m working on my eye
I need you to get some Meow Munch
Premium for Crystal. It’s the only
brand she eats now.
There’s no way a cat’s pallet is
Oh no, cat pallets are very
refined. They’ve done studies.
What about the package of Perfect
Portions I just got you?
I also need you to return that.
Sameer steps in, hands Mo a handwritten list, it has one item
on it: Meow Much Premium. Mo tries to hand it back to him.
GOLDENROD DRAFT - 12/10/21 16.
Habibi, I have a lot on my plate --
It’s gotta be within the next two
hours. Crystal’s on a very strict
Sameer, I’m not Amazon prime. I’m
not promising to deliver in two
hours. I’ll get it when I can,
If you don’t get it, I’m gonna tell
mom about your tattoo.
Seriously? You’re pulling this shit
again? Come on...
Beat. Sameer yells through the door:
SAMEER MO (CONT’D)
Mama, Hamoudi mutilated his
body with a tattoo! Fine, fine! I’ll get the
stupid cat food!
Sameer, satisfied, puts his hand on Mo’s shoulder.
Four hours. I don’t want my little
brother stressed, it’s bad for the
1.11 INT. KAAN YA MAKAAN HOOKAH LOUNGE & CAFE - DAY 1.11
Mo walks into the café, heading toward the back. Hookah smoke
fills the lounge as people chat and share plates.
At a table in the back, two men -- ABA WEINBERG (60s, Jewish) *
and NAZEER (60s, Arab) -- play BACKGAMMON, rolling dice and
sliding checkers as they bicker.
ABA WEINBERG NAZEER
You can huff and puff until
you’re blue, but in 1947, the -- Ah, yes, 1947, the year
United Nations -- history began! --
ABA WEINBERG (CONT’D)
-- presented a plan offering both
sides their own country --
GOLDENROD DRAFT - 12/10/21 17.
Devised by the same European
colonialists who seized the land in
the first place. Pass the tahini?
Aba hands Nazeer the tahini. Mo sidles up to the table and
Hey, Arafat, Rabin, you guys done
with your podcast?
Let’s table the peace talks.
I’ve had enough drama, I just got
You lost your job? What’d you do?
What do you mean, what did I do?
Nothing. ICE raided Rahman’s other
store and he got scared, let me go.
No balls, that guy.
A WAITER, HAMEED, mid 20s, sets down more trays of hummus and
all the fixings. Hameed speaks broken English and thinks
“shit fool” -- which he pronounces “shee foo”-- means “yes.”
Hummus. Lemon juice. Chick pea on
Learn English, kid. Hummus ain’t
He means it tastes good.
GOLDENROD DRAFT - 12/10/21 18.
Shee foo. Shee.
Hameed walks off. Mo takes out a small bottle of OLIVE OIL
and MIXES the hummus with the side ingredients, customizing
it to his liking. Nazeer comments as he mixes:
Look at this guy, so particular
with his hummus. Baladi asly.
Taban. I got high standards, amoo.
You know they make this snack-cup
hummus now? It’s actually not bad.
That’s a war crime.
So what are you gonna do for work?
Mo takes a beat, swallows.
I wanna start selling again.
Bootlegs, counterfeits, whatever.
Why go back to selling that crap?
Because I’m good at it. Can you
hook me up?
Nazeer doesn’t like the idea.
You need a job? Work for Aba in his
I’d love to have him, the kid’s a
natural salesman. But what am I, a
It’s just a side-hustle. I’m still
gonna get another job.
GOLDENROD DRAFT - 12/10/21 19.
NAZEER MO (CONT’D)
Your father, God rest his
soul -- God rest his soul.
Wouldn’t want to see you or Sameer
or Nadia get in trouble.
But he’d want me to support the
family. I don’t want to be selling
this shit either, but what am I
supposed to do?
Nazeer’s still unconvinced.
If I have to go around Harwin
asking for a connect, I will. But
yallah, you know everyone in the
wholesale district. Save me the
time, hook me up.
All right, all right. I’ll make a
call. You happy now?
Thank you, amoo. I appreciate it.
‘67 borders and right of return.
Right of return?? We’ll never reach
a deal with your fakakta terms.
The nakba started the whole thing!
1.12 EXT. STRIP MALL PARKING LOT - ALIEF, TX - LATE AFTERNOON 1.12
Mo leans against his trunk, scoping out possible customers as
people walk by. He spots a 20-something LATINO KID in a
Wassup my man, I --
The kid walks by, gives Mo the finger from behind. Mo shakes
it off, spots a 30-something WHITE GUY wearing New Balances.
GOLDENROD DRAFT - 12/10/21 20.
Nice kicks, bro. Check out these --
As soon as Mo opens his mouth, the guy nervously power
Finally Mo spots JIM (early 50s, southern) walking toward
him, rubbing his lower back in pain. Mo zeros in on him.
What are you, a size 12?
Sonofabitch, you’re right again. My
They’re old, all right. Probably
not good for your back either.
Yeah, I got real bad lower back
Same here. But once I switched over
to these Yeezys, my lower back pain *
disappeared. Thank you, Yeezus,
that’s what I say.
(hands one to him)
See? Designer, yet orthopedic.
Yeah, I dunno. These don’t look
like the kinda thing I’d wear.
That’s cuz you haven’t tried them
Mo reaches into his trunk like a magician and plops down a
stool for Jim.
C’mon have a seat, what’s it gonna
take, 30 seconds?
GOLDENROD DRAFT - 12/10/21 21.
Jim reluctantly takes a seat. Mo fits the Yeezys on him.
(a slight southern accent)
Listen, Corrals are great, but you
can’t walk a country mile in ‘em.
Back pain’s nothing to play with.
Mess up your lower lumber and you
won’t be able to pickup your
Go on, give ‘em a try.
Jim takes a few steps and is pleasantly surprised: *
Wow. These are golden.
And they’re made of high quality
materials too. You can hang your
hat on that. Look, let’s not burn
daylight here. Genuine aftermarket
Yeezys go anywhere from $350 to
over a $1,000 a pop. I’m offering
you these for $200 -- that’s below
Jim thinks about it. He likes the sneakers, but --
I don’t think spending that kinda
money on sneakers is gonna fly with
I smell what you’re stepping in. So
I’m gonna sweeten the pot.
Mo reaches into his trunk, takes out a hand bag.
GOLDENROD DRAFT - 12/10/21 22.
For $300 -- I know, hear me out --
I’ll throw in this Chanel purse
that’s just like the real thing
that sells for a $1,000. She’ll
never know the difference.
Mo stares at Jim. Jim stares back. A beat.
1.13 EXT. STRIP MALL PARKING LOT - ALIEF, TX - MOMENTS LATER 1.13 *
Mo watches as good ol’ Jim walks away in a new pair of
Yeezys, with Corral boots in one hand and a Chanel purse in
1.14 INT. THE BREAKFAST KLUB - NIGHT 1.14
Mo, Maria, and Mo’s oldest friend, NICK (30s, Black), chow
down on breakfast food at this local Houston staple.
Maria stares at the Chanel bag on her lap, marveling. She’s
inspecting the bag, trying to find a flaw.
This isn’t real?
You don’t wanna be selling this
fake shit, man.
It’s not “fake”. It’s a high
That’s the problem -- it’s too
real. Remember Fat Phillip from
Hastings? He got busted selling
those mock Louis V’s -- they hit
him with a fuckin’ felony.
It’s not an actual crime! I’m
stealing from Kanye - he doesn’t
give a fuck. He’s busy making
moccasins for NASA or some shit.
GOLDENROD DRAFT - 12/10/21 22A.
I don’t care about Kanye, I care
about you. You can get in trouble.
Oh you care about him... you voted
You voted for Kanye?
He’s a free-thinker! He was the
only one that wasn’t bought out by
wall street. A self-made man.
Wow. You’re the blackest person I
know. You vaccinated?
Listen, I used to dream about
voting before I became a citizen.
Then when I did... I realized all
the options suck. So yeah -- Kanye.
GOLDENROD DRAFT - 12/10/21 23.
And once I’m a citizen, I won’t
sell this shit. But right now this
is the only work I can get.
Stop acting goofy, man. My boy’s *
got room at Frenchy’s Chicken ‘til *
your case comes through. *
I make way more money with this and *
I can’t get fired. *
Nick swallows a bite, then:
What good is that money if you get *
locked up? *
Maria, you know how me and this guy *
became brothers? His dad died the *
same year my pops went to jail. *
Nick lifts his left arm sleeve up to reveal a tattoo that
We got tats with our dads’ names.
I didn’t know you had one like
I guess he forgot to tell you.
He prolly also forgot that he used
to drive with me to visit my pops.
(leaning in to Mo)
He definitely forgot what the
inside of that jail was like.
Chill man! I’m not goin’ to jail.
Yeah, they might send you back to
GOLDENROD DRAFT - 12/10/21 24.
Back? I’ve never been. I’m not a
citizen there, or here -- nowhere.
I don’t even have a passport. All I
got is my asylum claim and a bunch
of Gucci bags.
A bunch? You got any leather-minis?
I need to take care of my family
today. They’re relying on me. I’m
gonna do what I have to ‘till I can
start my own business, buy some
land... do things the right way.
All I’m saying is you’re doing the
one thing that could kill your
And I’m not tryna get a Mo tattoo.
He’s right Mo... and you’d do
terrible in jail.
What are you talking about? I’d be
amazing. I’d form alliances
Aw, baby... no. You’re too
You’re a big dude but... you’re
actually a small dude, you feel?
Maria lifts Mo’s sleeve, looking at his MUSTAFA tattoo. ON *
Mo’s face, insulted and concerned...
GOLDENROD DRAFT - 12/10/21 25.
1.15 INT. SUPERMARKET - EVENING 1.15
CLOSE ON hands grabbing a large bag of MEOW MUNCH CAT FOOD
off a shelf. The brand’s logo is a cartoon cat smiling wide.
REVEAL Mo, carrying the bag on his shoulder. He passes a
white SUPERMARKET EMPLOYEE at a SAMPLE TABLE.
Hi, sir. Care to try some chocolate
Mo stops dead in his tracks. Eyes the “hummus” and pita bread
What did you just say to me?
Mo pulls out his small bottle of olive oil and pours some out
to dip the pita in. Explaining matter-of-factly as he eats:
See, this is the problem. First the
West goes to war with Arabs, then
it steals from them.
Sir, what are you doing? --
It’s not enough to bomb us, you
gotta debase our culture too?
Sir, the pita is for the hummus --
This isn’t hummus, okay? Hummus
doesn’t come in candy flavors.
GOLDENROD DRAFT - 12/10/21 26.
This is dip in brown face, that’s
what this is.
(looks down at his collar)
Is that an oil stain?
Mo’s inspecting the stain when suddenly -- POP POP POP --
BLOOD SPLATTERS on his shirt. WTF?? The employee SCREAMS in
Mo looks at the bag of Meow Munch. The cartoon cat’s covered
in blood as food pellets pour from a hole in its eye.
The screen goes BLACK.
END OF EPISODE
|Mo||Mo's character arc is centered around his journey towards acceptance and understanding of his circumstances. Initially frustrated and uncertain about his future, Mo is determined to make the best of the opportunities available to him. He faces conflicts around his relationships and family responsibilities, but ultimately learns to embrace his identity as a determined and resourceful immigrant. Mo becomes even more driven by his ambition and willingness to take risks, ultimately achieving his goals and providing for his family.||The character arc outlined for Mo appears to be somewhat predictable and generic, lacking in specific details or unique challenges. Additionally, while Mo's various conflicts provide some depth to his character, they don't necessarily drive the story forward in a compelling way. As a result, his arc may feel somewhat stagnant or formulaic.||To strengthen Mo's character arc, consider introducing more complex conflicts or obstacles that really challenge his identity and force him to make tough decisions. Additionally, try to weave his personal struggles more directly into the larger plot, ensuring that each of his choices has real consequences on the story's trajectory. By doing so, Mo's arc could become more engaging and dynamic, capturing the attention and interest of audiences throughout the film.|
|Maria||Throughout the movie, Maria's character arc revolves around her growing sense of concern and worry for Mo's safety and the consequences of his illegal business. She starts off as a supportive and understanding girlfriend but as she learns more about Mo's business, she becomes increasingly concerned about the risks he is taking. Her loyalty towards Mo is tested as she confronts him and tries to convince him to change his ways. Ultimately, Maria realizes that she cannot change Mo's decisions and is forced to make a difficult decision about their relationship.||The character arc for Maria is well written, but it could benefit from more complexity and nuance. While her growing concern for Mo's safety is an important part of her arc, there could be more exploration into how this impacts her personal values and beliefs. Additionally, her decision at the end of the movie feels somewhat abrupt and could benefit from more build-up and emotional weight.||To improve Maria's character arc, consider delving further into her personal values and how they clash with Mo's business. Show how her loyalty to Mo is not just a simple matter of love, but is also tied to her political and moral convictions. Additionally, give more weight to her decision at the end of the movie by building up to it with more emotional tension and stakes.|
Story Structure Framework 1: The Hero's Journey
- Yusra packing cash into various hiding places symbolizes the Call to Adventure, as it represents the family's departure from their home and their journey to Houston.
- Mustafa reminding Mo of his responsibility to the family and giving him a repaired Walkman can be seen as the Supernatural Aid, as Mustafa provides Mo with a tool (the Walkman) that will aid him on his journey.
- The Iraqi soldiers stealing from passengers on the bus represents the Road of Trials, as it presents a challenge that the family must overcome.
- Mo faking crying to distract the Burly Soldier and the Superior Officer intervening and saving them can be seen as the Meeting with the Goddess, as it shows the family receiving help and protection from a higher power.
- Mo working at a phone repair shop in present-day Houston represents the Return with the Elixir, as Mo has gained knowledge and skills (repairing phones) that he can use to improve his life and help others.
Reference: "The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers" by Christopher Vogler
Analysis/Critique: The story could be improved by further developing the challenges and trials that the family faces during their journey from Kuwait to Houston. This would create a more engaging and dynamic narrative, allowing the audience to connect with the characters on a deeper level. Additionally, exploring Mo's personal growth and transformation throughout the journey would add depth to his character arc and make the story more compelling.
Story Structure Framework 2: Save the Cat
1. Opening Image:
- Yusra packing cash into various hiding places while Mo and his siblings play around sets the initial tone and introduces the characters and their situation.
- Mustafa reminding Mo of his responsibility to the family and giving him a repaired Walkman serves as the catalyst, as it propels Mo into action and sets him on his journey.
- Mo boarding the bus to Houston, looking back at his home with uncertainty represents the internal conflict and debate within Mo, as he is torn between leaving his home and embracing his responsibilities.
Reference: "Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need" by Blake Snyder
Story Structure Framework 3: Three-Act Structure
- Yusra packing cash into various hiding places and Mustafa reminding Mo of his responsibility to the family set up the exposition and introduce the characters and their situation.
- The Iraqi soldiers stealing from passengers on the bus and the Superior Officer intervening create the inciting incident and establish the conflict.
- Mo working at a phone repair shop and getting fired by Abood Rahman introduces the rising action and presents obstacles and challenges for Mo.
- Mo discussing his job loss and desire to start selling bootlegs again with Aba and Nazeer adds complexity to the plot and develops Mo's character.
- Mo selling high-quality replicas to Jim and Maria defending Kanye West's political views build towards the climax and resolution of the story.
- The blood splattering on Mo's shirt and the cat food bag leaking blood create a cliffhanger and set up the potential consequences for Mo's actions.
Reference: "Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting" by Robert McKee
Overall, by combining elements from the Hero's Journey, Save the Cat, and Three-Act Structure frameworks, the screenplay can create a well-rounded and engaging narrative with clear character arcs, conflicts, and resolutions.
|Tone and Emotional Impact||There is a strong correlation between the tone of the scene and its emotional impact. Scenes with a tense or serious tone tend to have a higher emotional impact, while scenes with a playful or humorous tone have a lower emotional impact.|
|Dialogue and Character Changes||There is a correlation between the quality of dialogue and the degree of character changes in the scene. Scenes with strong dialogue tend to have more significant character changes.|
|Conflict and High Stakes||There is a correlation between the level of conflict and the high stakes in the scene. Scenes with high conflict tend to have higher stakes.|
|Concept and Plot||There is a correlation between the concept and plot of the scene. Scenes with a strong concept tend to have a more developed plot.|
|Overall Grade and Move Story Forward||There is a correlation between the overall grade of the scene and its ability to move the story forward. Scenes with a higher overall grade tend to move the story forward more effectively.|
|The Kite Runner||Similarities: The scene takes place in a war-torn country (Afghanistan in The Kite Runner) and involves a family preparing to leave their home. Both stories have tense and bittersweet emotional tones. The key dialogue in both scenes revolves around the responsibility of the main character. The significant visual elements include packing cash and the main character leaving their home.|
|The Farewell||Similarities: Both stories involve a family leaving their home and moving to a different country. The emotional tone is bittersweet and there are no conflicts in the scene. The key dialogue revolves around family responsibilities and saying goodbye. The significant visual elements include packing and leaving the home.|
|The Pursuit of Happyness||Similarities: Both stories involve a character facing financial struggles and trying to provide for their family. The emotional tone is tense and there are no conflicts in the scene. The key dialogue revolves around the character's responsibility to their family. The significant visual elements include the character working and trying to make ends meet.|
|The Big Sick||Similarities: Both stories involve a character navigating cultural differences and family disapproval in a relationship. The emotional tone is humorous and tense. The key dialogue revolves around the character's relationship and family dynamics. The significant visual elements include the cluttered and loud family environment.|
|Hustle & Flow||Similarities: Both stories involve a character facing job loss and trying to find a new way to make money. The emotional tone is casual and conversational. The key dialogue revolves around the character's desire to start a new venture. The significant visual elements include the hookah lounge and casual conversations.|
|American Hustle||Similarities: Both stories involve characters engaging in illegal activities to make money. The emotional tone is light-hearted and humorous. The key dialogue revolves around the characters' decisions and justifications. The significant visual element is the transaction of selling high-quality replicas.|
|Breaking Bad||Similarities: Both stories involve a character engaging in illegal activities and facing consequences. The emotional tone is tense and ominous. The key dialogue revolves around the character's warnings and arguments. The significant visual element is the blood splattering on the main character's shirt.|
|Better Call Saul||Similarities: Both stories involve a character navigating the consequences of their illegal actions. The emotional tone is tense and ominous. The key dialogue revolves around warnings and arguments. The significant visual element is the conflict in the supermarket.|
|The Florida Project||Similarities: Both stories involve characters facing financial struggles and trying to make ends meet. The emotional tone is tense and there are no conflicts in the scene. The key dialogue revolves around the character's responsibilities and challenges. The significant visual elements include the character working and interacting with others.|
|Moonlight||Similarities: Both stories involve characters facing challenges and trying to find their place in the world. The emotional tone is tense and there are no conflicts in the scene. The key dialogue revolves around the character's struggles and aspirations. The significant visual elements include the character's interactions and environment.|
|Trope||Trope Details||Trope Explanation|
|Family Drama||The screenplay revolves around the dynamics and conflicts within Mo's family.||Family drama is a common trope in storytelling, where the relationships and conflicts within a family are central to the plot. An example of this trope can be seen in the TV show 'Succession', where the power struggles and rivalries within a wealthy family drive the narrative.|
|Coming of Age||Mo's journey of self-discovery and growth is a prominent theme in the screenplay.||Coming of age is a trope that focuses on a character's transition from adolescence to adulthood, often involving self-discovery, personal growth, and facing challenges. An example of this trope can be found in the film 'Lady Bird', where the protagonist navigates her final year of high school and explores her identity.|
|Immigrant Experience||The screenplay explores the challenges and experiences of immigrants, particularly Mo and his family.||The immigrant experience is a trope that delves into the struggles, triumphs, and cultural clashes faced by individuals or families who have moved to a new country. An example of this trope can be seen in the TV show 'Fresh Off the Boat', which follows a Taiwanese-American family as they adjust to life in the United States.|
|Fish out of Water||Mo's experiences in a new environment, such as Houston, Texas, highlight his unfamiliarity and the challenges he faces.||The fish out of water trope involves placing a character in an unfamiliar or uncomfortable environment, often leading to humorous or dramatic situations. An example of this trope can be found in the film 'Crocodile Dundee', where an Australian bushman navigates the urban landscape of New York City.|
|Cultural Clash||The screenplay explores the clash of cultures between Mo's Middle Eastern background and the American society he encounters.||Cultural clash is a trope that focuses on the conflicts and misunderstandings that arise when different cultures interact. An example of this trope can be seen in the film 'Bend It Like Beckham', where a British-Indian girl's passion for soccer clashes with her traditional Sikh family's expectations.|
|Loss of Innocence||Mo's journey involves a loss of innocence as he navigates the challenges and realities of adulthood.||Loss of innocence is a trope that explores a character's transition from a state of naivety or purity to a more mature and aware perspective. An example of this trope can be found in the novel 'To Kill a Mockingbird', where the young protagonist, Scout, witnesses the injustices and prejudices of society, leading to a loss of her innocent worldview.|
|Theme||Theme Details||Themee Explanation|
|Family and Responsibility||The theme of family and responsibility is present throughout the screenplay. It is highlighted in the first scene when Mustafa reminds Mo of his responsibility to the family before they leave for Houston. It is also evident in the scene where Mo argues with Abood about his firing and emphasizes that he has a court date for asylum coming up. The theme is further explored in Mo's relationship with his siblings and his mother, as well as his desire to provide for them.||The theme of family and responsibility explores the obligations and duties that individuals have towards their family members. It delves into the sacrifices one makes for their loved ones and the sense of duty that drives their actions.|
|Identity and Belonging||The theme of identity and belonging is explored in various scenes of the screenplay. It is evident in the scene where Mo and Maria discuss Mo's mother and religion, highlighting the clash between Mo's cultural identity and his personal beliefs. The theme is also present in Mo's struggle to find his place in present-day Houston, as he navigates his job loss, his relationship with Maria, and his involvement in illegal activities.||The theme of identity and belonging delves into the search for one's true self and the desire to find a place where one feels accepted and understood. It explores the conflicts and challenges that arise when individuals are torn between different cultural, social, or personal identities.|
|Survival and Adaptation||The theme of survival and adaptation is prominent in the screenplay. It is depicted in the scene where Yusra packs cash into various hiding places while the family prepares to leave their home in Kuwait. The theme is further explored in Mo's journey from Iraq to present-day Houston, where he faces challenges such as theft, job loss, and involvement in illegal activities. Mo's ability to adapt and survive in different environments becomes a central aspect of his character.||The theme of survival and adaptation explores the resilience and resourcefulness of individuals in the face of adversity. It delves into their ability to navigate difficult circumstances, make necessary adjustments, and find ways to overcome challenges in order to survive.|
|Loss and Uncertainty||The theme of loss and uncertainty is present throughout the screenplay. It is depicted in the scene where Mo boards the bus to Houston, looking back at his home with uncertainty. The theme is further explored in Mo's journey in present-day Houston, where he experiences job loss, uncertain legal status, and strained relationships. The sense of loss and uncertainty becomes a recurring motif in his life.||The theme of loss and uncertainty delves into the emotional turmoil and instability that individuals face when they encounter loss or find themselves in uncertain situations. It explores the feelings of grief, confusion, and anxiety that arise when one's life is marked by unpredictability and the absence of stability.|
|Cultural Clash and Assimilation||The theme of cultural clash and assimilation is explored in various scenes of the screenplay. It is evident in the scene where Mo and Maria discuss Mo's mother and religion, highlighting the clash between different cultural beliefs and practices. The theme is also present in Mo's journey from Iraq to present-day Houston, as he navigates the challenges of assimilating into a new culture while holding onto his own identity.||The theme of cultural clash and assimilation delves into the conflicts and challenges that arise when individuals from different cultural backgrounds interact or when individuals try to adapt to a new culture. It explores the tensions, misunderstandings, and compromises that occur as individuals navigate the complexities of cultural integration and preservation of their own cultural identity.|
Screenwriting Resources on Themes
|Studio Binder||Movie Themes: Examples of Common Themes for Screenwriters|
|Coverfly||Improving your Screenplay's theme|
|John August||Writing from Theme|
|Story, Plot, Genre, Theme - Screenwriting Basics||Screenwriting basics - beginner video|
|What is theme||Discussion on ways to layer theme into a screenplay.|
|Thematic Mistakes You're Making in Your Script||Common Theme mistakes and Philosophical Conflicts|
|Summary:||The writer's voice is characterized by a mix of intense action, emotional moments, humor, and colloquial language. The dialogue is natural and reflects the characters' cultural backgrounds. The narrative description is vivid and creates a sense of urgency and tension. The writer's voice contributes to the overall mood, themes, and depth of the screenplay by infusing it with authenticity, humor, and a balance between serious topics and lightheartedness.|
|Voice Contribution||The writer's voice contributes to the script by creating a sense of urgency, tension, and authenticity. It explores themes of family, sacrifice, survival, resistance, immigration, cultural diversity, job loss, and social justice. The writer's voice adds depth to the characters and their interactions, highlighting their personalities, beliefs, and conflicts. It also balances humor and serious themes, creating engaging and relatable dialogue.|
|Best Representation Scene||1 - The Farewell|
|Best Scene Explanation||This scene is the best representation because it showcases the writer's ability to create vivid and emotional moments through dialogue and narrative description. The scene effectively conveys the writer's style and tone.|
- Overall originality score: 7
- Overall originality explanation: The screenplay demonstrates a moderate level of originality. While some scenes contain familiar situations, the specific details, cultural elements, and authentic dialogue add freshness and authenticity to the story.
- Most unique situations: The most unique situations in the screenplay are the portrayal of the protagonist's undocumented status, the use of multiple languages, the incorporation of cultural references, and the combination of humor and serious themes.
- Overall unpredictability score: 8
- Overall unpredictability explanation: The full screenplay has a high level of unpredictability. The combination of unique situations, unexpected plot twists, and relatable characters keeps the audience engaged and unsure of what will happen next.
|Goals and Philosophical Conflict|
|internal Goals||The protagonist's internal goals evolve from a need for security and fear of the unknown to a desire for independence and financial stability.|
|External Goals||The protagonist's external goals evolve from immediate circumstances and challenges to a need for employment and financial stability.|
|Philosophical Conflict||The overarching philosophical conflict revolves around the protagonist's struggle between family and personal desires, as well as the clash between cultural traditions and individual aspirations.|
Character Development Contribution: The protagonist's evolving internal and external goals reflect his growth and transformation as he navigates challenges and confronts his fears. They push him to confront his beliefs and values, leading to a deeper understanding of himself and his place in the world.
Narrative Structure Contribution: The protagonist's evolving goals provide a clear throughline for the narrative, driving the plot forward and creating a sense of progression. They create tension and conflict, leading to dramatic moments and plot twists that propel the story.
Thematic Depth Contribution: The protagonist's goals and the philosophical conflicts they embody contribute to the thematic depth of the screenplay by exploring themes of family, sacrifice, identity, cultural clashes, and the pursuit of dreams. They raise questions about the nature of responsibility, the impact of societal systems, and the moral dilemmas faced by individuals in challenging circumstances.
Screenwriting Resources on Goals and Philosophical Conflict
|Creative Screenwriting||How Important Is A Character’s Goal?|
|Studio Binder||What is Conflict in a Story? A Quick Reminder of the Purpose of Conflict|
|How I Build a Story's Philosophical Conflict||How do you build philosophical conflict into your story? Where do you start? And how do you develop it into your characters and their external actions. Today I’m going to break this all down and make it fully clear in this episode.|
|Endings: The Good, the Bad, and the Insanely Great||By Michael Arndt: I put this lecture together in 2006, when I started work at Pixar on Toy Story 3. It looks at how to write an "insanely great" ending, using Star Wars, The Graduate, and Little Miss Sunshine as examples. 90 minutes|
|Tips for Writing Effective Character Goals||By Jessica Brody (Save the Cat!): Writing character goals is one of the most important jobs of any novelist. But are your character's goals...mushy?|
The reasons might be more valuable than the rating.
The screenplay effectively establishes the setting and time period, creates tension and fear in the initial setting of Iraq, and explores the conflicts and challenges faced by the characters. The dialogue is engaging and showcases the characters' personalities and relationships. However, there is room for improvement in terms of visual storytelling, smoother transitions between scenes, and further development of conflicts and resolutions. The screenplay could benefit from providing clearer stakes and urgency, including more details about the Gulf War, and resolving conflicts more definitively. Overall, the narrative is compelling and engaging, with notable moments of humor and depth in exploring cultural and religious differences.
- The scene effectively establishes the setting and time period through visual and dialogue cues. (Scene 1)
- The scene effectively creates tension and fear in the initial setting of Iraq during the war. (Scene 2)
- The scene effectively establishes the conflict of Mo being fired from his job due to an ICE raid at their other location. (Scene 3)
- The scene effectively establishes the cluttered and loud environment of Mo's family condo, which adds to the overall tone and atmosphere of the scene. (Scene 4)
- The dialogue is witty and engaging, showcasing the characters' personalities and relationships. (Scene 5)
- The scene could benefit from more specific and vivid descriptions of the characters' actions and emotions to enhance the visual storytelling. (Scene 1)
- The transition from the chaotic scene in Iraq to present-day Houston could be smoother and more clearly established. (Scene 2)
- The scene could benefit from more visual elements or actions to enhance the overall impact. (Scene 3)
- The transition between Mo and Maria discussing Mo's mother and religion and Mo talking to his family on FaceTime feels abrupt and could be smoother. (Scene 4)
- The transition between Mo agreeing to get cat food for Sameer and joining Aba and Nazeer at the hookah lounge feels abrupt and could be smoother. (Scene 5)
- A clearer sense of the stakes and urgency of the situation could be established. (Scene 1)
- More details about the Gulf War and its impact on the characters' lives could be included to provide context and depth. (Scene 1)
- The resolution of the conflict between Mo and Abood Rahman is not clear, leaving the audience uncertain about Mo's future. (Scene 3)
- The conflict between Mo and Maria regarding Mo's mother's religious beliefs could be further developed and explored to add more depth to their relationship. (Scene 4)
- The conflict between Mo and Nazeer regarding Mo's desire to start selling bootlegs again could be further developed and resolved. (Scene 5)
- The use of Mo's love for basketball and his role as the announcer adds a touch of humor and personality to the scene. (Scene 1)
- The use of Mo faking crying to distract the Burly Soldier is a clever and unexpected tactic. (Scene 2)
- The use of Mo's Ninja Turtles toy as a distraction is a creative and memorable moment. (Scene 2)
- The repaired Walkman symbolizes Mustafa's love and support for Mo, highlighting their bond. (Scene 1)
- The scene touches on themes of cultural and religious differences, family dynamics, and the challenges of navigating relationships. (Scene 4)
|1||Young Mo: Yes! The crowd goes wild! AAAAAH!|
|3||Mo: How can you fire me over that guy? God only knows what’s in his search history.|
|4||Mo: You know nuns wear hijabs, right? They got OG hijabs.|
|5||Mo: Seriously? You’re pulling this shit again? Come on...|
|7||Mo: What good is that money if you get locked up?|