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On Board

Captained by a former death-row inmate, security in the hands of a lush, spiritual guidance by a pastor who loves riddles, with passengers including a murderous boxer, a self-deluded and corrupt martial artist, madcap teenagers and a serial killer — come on board for the cruise of a lifetime.

A once proud detective, Martin has been devastated by his failure to save a Floridian single-parent family from a serial killer. Guilt overwhelms him and he disappears in skid row.

The captain of a cruise ship, saved from death-row by Martin, goes to search for him, with the aid of the ship’s pastor, who has a touch of the other-worldliness. They find Martin in a dark Sydney lane – an alcoholic derelict, hardly recognisable.

The captain takes him on board and makes him head of security in the hope of giving him dignity, a seeding in a largely futile attempt to wean Martin off alcohol dependency.

The captain organises for Martin’s family – wife Francine and daughter Petra – to be on board in the hope of reuniting the family after a year’s estrangement.

When a girl is raped and killed on board, Martin comes alive to the task of finding the murderer, whom he believes has all the signs of a serial killer in the making.

There are many suspects. There is too the fear of a second killing.

Meanwhile, subplots abound.

The pastor tries to tell truths about certain passengers by means of using non-intrusive, clue-ridden statements as the Fool does in Shakespeare's King Lear to help Lear understand his predicament without incurring his wrath.

The pastor's primary focus is on John, a farmer forcibly retired, whose well-hidden desire is to commit suicide (in the guise of an accident) to financially benefit his adult children, whom he feels he has let down.

In another subplot, a teenage karate expert is determined to publicly challenge a young boxer on his way to America to fight for the world middleweight title, unaware of the boxer's violent history outside the ring, including killing a thug.

We later find the karate expert is involved in a deal with a vitamin-producing company whereby if he beats the boxer and its filming is posted on YouTube, with him promoting the vitamins, he will receive five cents per hit. With predictions of over a million hits, the karate expert is set to make a small fortune.

The two finally clash in the ring with the boxer easily beating the karate expert by using footwork to exhaust his unfit opponent.

A third subplot involves a group of teenagers who seek romance and adventure. One teenager competes with the son of the billionaire owner of the cruise ship for the affections of good-looking Petra, their efforts made more difficult as she's preoccupied with her father's desertion – her anger is so great that on sighting him she attacks him with flailing fists.

All along there is the tragic fourth sub-plot of former SAS personnel, Mike, who has lost his daughter to a killer. The loss has broken his marriage and broken himself – both due to seemingly inescapable guilt suffered by mother and father.

In a Poirot-like denouement, Martin gathers the suspects and explains his efforts in finding the killer before finally naming him.

Act 6 ties the threads together in a positive manner, with the promise of a sequel as Petra proclaims to her father they should go to Florida and resume the search for the serial killer responsible for wiping out all-female families (please read my synopsis to Counterchance). On Board is the only screenplay I wrote to appeal to almost all demographics and to cater to almost all genre tastes.

Script Excerpt
Written by:
Format:
Screenplay
Genres:
Budget:
Modest
Starring Roles For:
Actor aged c.45
Actress aged 18
Actors aged 18
In the Vein Of:
Redemption films
Who-Done-It films
Love Boat TV series
Posted:
04/14/2019
Updated:
08/01/2020
Author Bio:
Looking Back, Going Forward

Introduction

Thank you for taking the time to read my document. I started writing screenplays proper in 2007 and since have written 11 of them, two of which have been archived.

Writing screenplays is exhilarating because one is creating emotional worlds that one day may be realised as immersive cinematic experiences for others.

From 2012 on, I’ve written several drafts of a 600+ page novel.

I see the differences between novel-writing and screenwriting as the former being precise and the latter concise.

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