CandyCellers by Benin Trotter | Script Revolution




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“Pursuit of Happyness” meets “American Gangster”. Late 70's Portland is brought to life by a Black female, ex-con, Harrie, who struggles with her ex, Big Dee, for custody of their son, P'nut.
All Accolades & Coverage: 

Diverse Voices (Fall 2018) Semifinalist
Dark Matter Media (Fall 2018) Third Place

Contest: Dark Matter Media
Dark Matter Review
Overall Impression:
The Pursuit of Happyness meets American Gangster. At first blush, you might not think they mesh, but in CandyCellers, this mishmash plays quite well. While the writing is tinged with occasional bouts of laziness, the narrative voice is at once distinctive and crystal clear. Late 70’s Portland is brought to life with conviction and a certain scoundrel’s panache. Overall, we give CandyCellers very high marks, what held it back from a top score is that Harrie, the story’s tragic heroine, is ultimately one dimensional. For a character driven drama, despite all the elements CandyCellers got right (and there are many of them) it was a shortcoming we couldn’t get completely past.
What We Found Most Effective:
The writing itself (leaving aside the story and characters for a moment) is excellent. The cadence is flawless: scenes snap along, we’re never bogged down by chunky blocks of action or dialogue and the feel for what to say and what to leave unsaid is pitch perfect. A number of beautiful scenes have stayed with us: Harrie and P’nut picking strawberries, Harrie and P’nut’s reuniting in the church van, the Harrie/Passa revival scene. Even if it’s not this script, writing of this caliber will eventually produce a winner that gets filmed.

Contest: The LAUNCH Million Dollar Student Screenplay Contest (2018)
Package: Entry
Date: 06/16/2018
Page Count: 95
Genre: Drama
Analyst: 241A5

Harrie is a flawed character who has an intriguing story. She
is facing a lot of problems which makes the story feel
dynamic. Her position in society is a great source of conflict
and it hooks the attention of the audience from the very
beginning. The constant conflict keeps the audience engaged at
all times. The character development is noteworthy. The
characters are unique, they have clear personalities, goals
and motivations. For example, only after a couple of lines, we
can see that Judge Patterson is a character who has clear
authority and integrity.
The structure works and the plot is well developed. There are
progressive complications as the story moves forward. With
every new sequence, Harrie’s goal becomes more and more
difficult and complicated. There is good conflict throughout
the story and the plot is intriguing, but we should see more
of the court proceedings. Especially because in the beginning,
the way that the story was set up, it looked like it is going
to be a courtroom movie.
The story is emotional and it resonates with the audience.
There are a lot of moments that are touching. For example, on
page 65 is heartbreaking to see P’nut try and give his mom
money for the bus, while at the same time realizing that she
is probably going to lose the case. The dialogue is organic
and it flows smoothly. The conversations have subtext and the
accent makes it feel real and authentic.

Submitted: December 18, 2018
Last Updated: December 18, 2018
Times Downloaded: 5
Last Downloaded: March 25, 2020

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Jim Boston's picture
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The Writer: Benin Trotter

Studied drama at State University of New York, Purchase Bachelor of Fine Arts, Film Directing, University of Central Florida Master of Library and Information Science, University of South Florida Second Round Austin Film Festival 2017 WeScreenplay Diverse Voices Screenplay Competition Seminfinalist 2018 Go to bio
Law Firm: Law Offices of Lawrence H. Haber, P.A
Lawyer: Lawrence H. Haber