Thursday, March 6, 2014

Watching the Academy Awards, I was really put off by the clip from Twelve Years A Slave. I mean, it seems like a terrific film, but the repeated references to God alienated me. As a long-time atheist, I can't identify with people who have such bizarre beliefs.

Rather than just idly whine about this, though, I decided to take action. I'm currently writing up a screenplay for a similar epic, but this one won't rely on belief in a higher power so it should find a larger audience. Fingers crossed! Below are a few sample scenes I've written for Fred, the Atheist Slave. If you have any Hollywood connections that can help get this project off the ground, feel free to forward my work to them.


FRED is walking a dirt path from the field to the plantation when he passes a woman in her Sunday best.

FRED: Dear sister, where are you headed on such a lovely morning?

WOMAN: Why, my brother, I am headed off to church. My life on earth may be doomed to a bad end, but my soul need suffer no similar fate. Soon the day will come when Our Lord releases us from these iron shackles to sit by his side for the rest of eternity.

FRED: But sister, does he not reward us now? Look at the flowers! Smell the fresh air! Is the world not its own heaven?

WOMAN: Huh. You know, you're right! I think I'll go back home and eat.


FRED is sitting in the last row of a ramshackle church. It's hot: he's sweating, and the woman are fanning themselves with their hymnals.

PREACHER: Brothers and sisters, I know our bodies are beat down by the blistering heat. I know our backs are broken by our ceaseless toil. But let us know allow our spirits to soar by giving the Lord our thanks with the song Amazing Grace.

FRED: Preacher, I cannot keep silent! How can we continue to believe their is someone watching over us, when our plight has become unbearable? How can we delude ourselves that we will be saved when this savior may never come? Perhaps instead of singing a song that would bolster our Maker, we sing something that raises our spirits instead?

PREACHER [thinking]: Darn it, Fred: you're right. Do we all know the words to Mairzy Doats?


FRED and a WOMAN are working in a field when suddenly she straightens bolt upright.

WOMAN: I can't take it any more! I work my fingers to the bone, and what do I get in return? My children have no future. My parents are dead. I pick 400 pounds of cotton a day and feel the wrath of the whip, while our godforsaken master sits on his porch drinking lemonade in the cool breeze. God may smite me for this, but the only way I get up in the morning is by picturing the wrath God will unleash on him on Judgment Day.

FRED: But sister, we need not delude ourselves in the name of comfort. Science has shown no rational explanation for God. Odds are very good that Judgment Day will never come. I know we'd all love for justice or karma or whatever you call it to be enforced by some kind of higher power, but is there not some satisfaction to be derived from knowing Dude could not look stupider?

WOMAN: Wow. I never thought about it like that. Thank you, kind brother! Now when I pick cotton at least I won't have wool over my eyes.


No comments: