The Age of Reason by Stephen Barber | Script Revolution

The Age of Reason



Page Count: 



Age Rating:

Based On: 
True Events (Founding of Marine Corps & America's 1st African American, Marine)
A chance meeting between two, spiritually and ideologically opposing minds, (Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine), forge new ideas that prove necessary for a soon-to-be Nation.

Tone: Patriot meets John Adams

Synopsis: After securing the position of the most recognized Scientist on the globe, Benjamin Franklin is persuaded out of early retirement and sent to London to represent Philadelphia’s objection to an unfair tax factor, created by the Penn Family. Maintaining the local morale in Philadelphia, young leaders, Samuel Nicholas (1st Marine Corps Commandant) and Robert Mullan (future Captain of Marines) learn how to become men, serving the local militia and forging a contentious relationship with a young slave, John "Keto" Martin (America's 1st African American, Marine) in the Tun Tavern. When ambitions to prove for an equal "right" are set in motion, an ideological opposition to everything that IS gets interrupted when, Thomas Paine begins to find his voice and force his thought of a new, global, "common sense" and forge the world's religious convictions into an "Age of Reason." Now, with time running out, Benjamin Franklin -- Thomas Paine -- John "Keto" Martin must each must deal with a tremendous level of personal loss and become resilient for the benefit of something greater than, themselves or a new nation, freedom of self and the freedom of personal faith will cease to be.

The World: Philosophy, science, politics and religion are working to provoke thought on a global scale. There is an understanding of what is “rule” and what is “debatable.” Across the Atlantic Ocean, the British Kingdom has its’ way of life and it leaves very little room for compromise to its interpretation. The intellectual ferment of the ‘original’ thirteen colonies (America) was dealing with a quarter-century battle of the indigenous population. Local disputes over land and conflicts over ideology were preparing the ‘soon-to-be’ nation for a new way of “rule,” … Open-mindedness, tolerance and an absolute revolution to the British Kingdom’s heavy hand is in sight. The Age of Enlightenment is about to get an injection of “Common Sense.”

Main Characters:

Benjamin Franklin (51) ~ He’s a world known Scientist. On the coattails of his inventions and publishing success,’ his priority in life is to live off the fruit of his labors and fame. Social gatherings and spiritual debates are where Benjamin points his efforts and achieves his desires.

Thomas Paine (21) ~ Trudging through a life of labor and British rule, he’s struggling to find his place on this planet he disapproves of his own existence. Working as a dockhand and following his father’s footsteps are not what he’s willing to accept. He’s beginning to question if that’s the path for anyone to take. Debating nearly everyone through life, Thomas sets himself up to become a necessary role in the future revolution (solidifying himself as a Founding Father).

John “Keto” Martin (16) ~ Bearing many qualities of a strong leader, Keto’s one of the many slaves who’re under the ownership of, William Marshall. A strong rifleman, he’s gained the duty of the plantations ‘hunter’ and is proud to follow the footsteps of his mother and father. Keto is learning how to overcome and prepare himself for the biggest challenge, yet… (Becoming America’s 1st African American, Marine).

Samuel Nicholas (14) ~ the nephew of Philadelphia’s Mayor, (Attwood Schute) works at a local pub (Tun Tavern – Birthplace of Marine Corps) that often holds the meetings of many future leaders. Samuel watches the behaviors of those who’re bred to lead and learns the darker side of reality, observing the inequalities of Delaware’s Black Slaves and realizes that every peer can become an opportunity for what will soon become his biggest duty… (Becoming the Marine Corps 1st Commandant of Marines).

Pilot: During the Age of Enlightenment, philosophy and politics helped forge a new set of principles that were to be adhered to across multiple continents. Among the many firsts' to evolve from this awakening time, none was more critical for future generations than the chance relationship of two, polar opposite minds, harnessing different spiritual beliefs becoming necessary to propel the period into an Age of Reason.

The ‘Teaser’ shows us a plump, tired but mentally strong, Benjamin Franklin at the age of 81. At the commanding position of an inkstick, Benjamin writes a letter to his long friend and fellow, founding Father, Thomas Paine. Through the (yet to be seen) years that will mold their relationship there’s one thing that has remained unchanged… their faith. Ben suggests that Thomas’ “Age of Reason” will inject the world of discourse due to his lack of ‘God’ and a ‘higher power.’

Where their relationship begins is where the first act, starts… Thirty-one years earlier.

The original colonies have acclimated to war. The brutal conflicts between Native Americans and the European governments (original colonies included) have prepared the need for local militias’ to form. In addition to grouping ideologies, Pennsylvania recruits Benjamin to represent them in the Penn Family dispute, with hopes to bring a level playing field to their troubling tax burden. Across the Atlantic a young (tenacious) Thomas Paine begins to challenge the inequality of European Law on its own and ventures out to find a larger platform to announce his perception. Soon, Benjamin and Paine will collide on an inevitable (fortunate) path and form a new standard for almost all of mankind.

Tending to the needs of the wealthy and powerful, William Marshall (slave owner) of Delaware is benefiting monetarily by imposing the exact same will, Thomas Paine is hungry to crush. Unknowingly, Benjamin, Thomas, Samuel and “Keto” are on the path together to survive through resilience and stand for something greater than just a freedom.

Submitted: October 2, 2017
Last Updated: June 4, 2018

Want to read this script? You must join the revolution first. Don't worry, it's free, easy, everyone's welcome, and you can start reading right away.

Stephen Barber's picture

The Writer: Stephen Barber

Stephen E. Barber is a Screenwriter who resides in Thousand Oaks, CA. Writing has always been an instrumental part of Stephen’s life, from childhood journaling through the discovery of the tactical formatting of Screenplay. He’s been writing Scripts (admirably) since 2010. His recent successes include the prestigious competition, Script Pipeline. He was named as the only Finalist in the 2015 Script Pipeline – ‘First Look Project’ under the ‘Adaptation’ category. In July of 2016, Stephen was named Quarterfinalist for Script Pipeline’s ‘Annual Feature’ competition. Previous awards include Quarterfinalist for, Nashville’s Screenwriting contest, Fresh Voices, and WMC. Announced in July 2016,... Go to bio

More Scripts From Stephen

By Noble Means
Struggling in a self-loathing world, an angry teen is thrown into the mix of a group who’re experiencing the same challenge - to change their path's trajectory and earn their way back home.
Feature Drama For sale 103pp
1 reader loves this script
The Fleet
After a former pilot with a checkered past discovers his wife has taken their son and left him for broke, he finds himself partnering with a nefarious group of people to transport drugs via aircraft.
TV Pilot Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller For sale 64pp
1 reader loves this script