Writing Samples

Academic Writing | Journalistic Writing | Screenplay Writing | Technical Writing & Instructional Design

Screenplay Writing

I have written three complete screenplays: Excerpts and video clips are included below.

Lady Susan

Logline: A beautiful and scheming widow. Her shy and dutiful daughter. Who will win the heart of the rich and handsome Reginald DeCourcy? This is the question Jane Austen poses in Lady Susan--her wittiest and wickedest comedy of love and marriage.
Elevator Pitch: Set in 1794, Lady Susan tells the story of a brilliant and beautiful widow, Lady Susan--"the most accomplished coquette in all of England"--and her shy and dutiful daughter, Frederica. When Lady Susan's flirtations in London become too outrageous, and Frederica unexpectedly rebels against her mother's plans to marry her off to a rich fop, they both flee to the country estate of their relations, the Vernons. There they meet the handsome Reginald, heir to the DeCourcy fortune. Frederica falls in love. But Lady Susan has other plans.
Lady Susan: Opening Scenes
In these opening scenes, we meet Lady Susan and Frederica, and we begin to sense their very different values.
Lady Susan: A New Perspective
In this scene, we see how quickly and cleverly Lady Susan can begin to change Reginald's initial (and very negative) view of her.
Emma, Lady Hamilton by George Romney NEWS!!
There was a reading of my new screenplay of Lady Susan
Based on the Novella by Jane Austen
Directed by Constance George
July 22th, 2012 at 3:00 PM
137 West 14th Street (between 6th and 7th Ave)
New York, NY

There were two additional performances of Lady Susan  
Based on the Novella by Jane Austen
Directed by Constance George
September 21st and 22nd, 2012 at 7:00 PM
Draesel Hall
Triangle Theatre - Church of the Holy Trinity
316 E. 88th Street (between 1st and and Ave)
New York, NY

To the Lighthouse

Logline: Framed by a simple trip to a lighthouse, and based on Virginia Woolf's childhood memories of summers at St. Ives with her parents, To the Lighthouse tells the story of a day in a marriage, of conflict and reconciliation, and of a love and a journey that transcend the ravages of both time and death.
Elevator Pitch: To the Lighthouse tells the story of a single day in 1890, of Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay, their friends, their family, a dinner party, and a promised trip to the lighthouse. A storm prevents the trip and the promise is unfulfilled. And when Mrs. Ramsay dies, the house decays, and ten years pass away, it seems that Mrs. Ramsay's promise to her son will never be fulfilled. But when Mr. Ramsay suddenly announces his imminent return to St. Ives, the house is restored, the surviving family and friends are reassembled, and the trip is renewed.
To the Lighthouse: Opening Scenes
This screenplay is based on what I consider to be one of the most beautiful novels ever written: To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf. I try to capture both its beauty and its elegiac quality. Since the novel is a both a critique and a tribute to the enduring power of Mrs. Ramsay (based on Virginia Woolf's mother, Julia Stephen), I borrow details from Julia's life and preoccupations to establish the character of Mrs. Ramsay.
To the Lighthouse: The Jewel Scene
This is a tender little scene that illustrates many aspects of Mrs. Ramsay's character and carries on in a subtle way one of the major themes of the novel--the passage of time and its attendant losses. It occurs as Mrs. Ramsay is getting ready for the dinner party she has been planning throughout the first part of the novel. Fans of Virginia Woolf may also be interested in an unpublished lecture on the To the Lighthouse which I have included elsewhere on my site.

The Awakening

Logline: Based on Kate Chopin's classic novella, The Awakening tells the story of a young woman's discovery of love, friendship and sex--and their tragic consequences in the New Orleans of 1890.
Elevator Pitch: Edna Pontellier seems to have it all--a rich husband, a beautiful home, servants, and two lovely children. Then, while vacationing on Grand Isle, she begins to realize how confined and restricted her life has been, how devoid of real intimacy. Returning to New Orleans, she tries to live a new life of freedom, love, and sexual fulfillment. But she finds to her dismay that the men and society of 1890 are not ready for the woman she has become.
The Awakening: Opening Scenes
In these opening scenes, we meet all the major characters and touch on most of the themes that will be explored in the rest of the screenplay.
The Awakening: The Swimming Scene
This scene occurs at the end of an evening in which Edna can truly be said to have "awakened." She has heard and been moved by an extraordinary piano performance by Mademoiselle Reisz. She has begun to recognize her love for Robert Lebrun. And in this scene, she now gains a sense of confidence and power by swimming on her own for the first time. After this, her relationship with both Robert and her husband changes. There is no turning back.
The Awakening: The "News" Scene  
In this scene, Edna arrives at Mademoiselle Reisz's apartment to deliver the news that she is moving out of her husband's house to a smaller place of her own. Unknown to Edna, however, Mademoiselle Reisz has some important news of her own: Robert is returning from Mexico. The scene is full of complex and mostly unstated emotions.
Girl at Sunrise Copyright Steve Puntolillo, 2011 There was a reading of my screenplay of The Awakening
Based on the Novella by Kate Chopin
Directed by Joyce Wu
June 12th, 2011 at 3:00 PM
137 West 14th Street (between 6th and 7th Ave)
New York, NY Map