Semper Fortis by Matthew Bertsch | Script Revolution

Semper Fortis



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Inspired by a true story along the lines of Breaking Bad
An honorably-discharged Navy Vet, finding it hard to make an honest living, builds a drug empire that eventually leads to destruction.

We’re in a church confessional where we meet DAVID (20s), a Navy veteran recently returned from Afghanistan. A priest encourages David to tell his story.

We flashback to see David’s return from the military. David’s grandmother ELLEN (60s) cooks him dinner and offers a place to stay. David thanks his grandmother but declines. He’ll stay with his old friend SAM (20s) until he can find a place of his own.
Sam makes money on the side selling weed to kids at the mall. He offers to cut David in but he declines.
David takes a construction job where his coworkers are mostly hardworking Mexicans, including JESUS and JOSE. The pay isn’t great but it’s the best David can do.

David visits VANESSA (20s) at her job – she’s a stripper. The two become a couple.

David asks his boss for a promotion at work but his boss doesn’t have a position to offer.

With no other options, David talks to his coworkers, who he knows have connections. Jesus and Jose reluctantly agree to help.
David returns to Sam’s place with a large bag of meth. Sam is shocked by this turn of events but agrees to help sell it.
David meets up with his suppliers after a tough week of slinging meth. He’s made a bit of money but wants out. It’s just too dangerous. The drug thugs make it clear leaving is not an option – David is in for good.

Meanwhile, things aren’t going so well on the home front. Vanessa has her baby, EMILY, but falls into bad habits. David returns home to find Vanessa nodding out on the bed, a needle and spoon at her side.

David and Sam expand into the inner city. After a confrontation with a local dealer named OSCAR (30s) that results in David getting shot in the hand and Oscar losing a finger, David makes the strategic decision to have Oscar work for him.

While selling product out of a seedy hotel room, David attempts to revive Vanessa from an overdose. It’s no use. Vanessa dies like so many junkies before her. Ellen offers to take care of baby Emily.

David and Sam expand. They buy a mansion and open a front business. Faced with piles of cash, they head to Vegas to launder their money. Sam loses the money earmarked for repaying their suppliers.

Sure enough, the suppliers, led by a gangster named CARLO, are not happy.
Carlo’s thugs take David and Sam out to the desert and order them to dig two graves.
Sam is killed but David is spared. He’s got to keep slinging.

David recruits Jose and Jesus to work for him. He’s under increasing pressure from both his suppliers and the police. He knows he’s got to make an exit as soon as possible before he’s busted or killed. After Oscar’s accidental death, David carries out a plan to leave the drug game for good.

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The Writer: Matthew Bertsch


‘Brownie Points’ – 2011 (short film), 2nd place in the Love and Relationship Online Film Festival

 ‘Penny’s Lemonade Stand’ – 2015 (30 second TV spot), Won 2017 Addy Award

‘Morehead State University – On the Map’ – 2013 (30 second TV spot)


I've added some of my older shorts recently.  They were done early-on in my journey, so some of them have format issues/cardinal sin issues/etc., but content is enjoyable.

If you're interested in producing any of my shorts/etc., please contact me.  Please do not produce any of the shorts without first contacting me (they are all protected works). Go to bio

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