The Beat Sheet!

Hey all,

Just a quick line as I am knee deep in relaxation mode as I tinker with new projects.

As I was taking a break on Reddit, I came across this nice little nugget from Joe Daniels. For those that are “Process-Oriented” (such as myself), peruse through this site and give Joe a big thumbs up.

Joe Daniels – The Beat Sheet I use

My First Journalistic Article

Just a quick note before the Memorial Day holiday.

I was honored to be able to connect with an Editor at the Bee Herald newspaper in Jefferson, Iowa and write a Guest Commentary about the 168th Infantry Regiment. I also penned how Memorial Day should not be about all about beaches and cooking on the grill, but reflecting to all who have fallen to be able to give us these freedoms we so partake in every year.

I wish everyone a Happy Memorial Day and if you have time, please read my article. I’d sure love to hear your thoughts.

JC Leach


Kasserine: “The Price of Victory”

Hello all,

It has been way too long since my last entry, so I’m going to catch you all up. I’ve been extremely busy writing, both at work and at home. I feel the carpal tunnel coming on too. Alas, the trials and tribulations of an Addicted Screenwriter.

Since last September (where has all the time gone), I’ve stumbled upon a story that, as my wife tells me, “writes itself”. If it truly did, I wouldn’t be working on it, however; she isn’t too far off, and being one to never argue with your spouse, will never tell her otherwise (LOL). But I digress…

Kasserine. My latest screenplay project and is based on true events.

For those readers that don’t keep up on their war history, Kasserine Pass is located in Tunisia and was the site of one of the earliest World War II tank battles where American tanks fought the first real tank-to-tank battle with Germans in North Africa shortly after the U.S. threw their hat into the war after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Unfortunately, it did not turn out well for the home team, but then again neither did Dunkirk for the Brits.

In 1942, the U.S. sent troops to both the Pacific AND Europe to fight the Axis. It is during this timeframe that this amazing story unfolds. In September 2017, my wife’s cousin Sandy-Seely Harris posted a Facebook Tribute to her father (my wife’s uncle) Sergeant Harry C. Harris (see photo below), an Infantry Regiment musician (a horn player) who was shipped off to Ireland in one of the first American deployment to the European theater. From there he was later deployed in “Operation Torch“, the offical allied invasion of North Africa. It’s purpose? Draw German tank battalions away from the Russian front.


Sergeant Harris, along with most of the troops from the 34th Infantry Division “Red Bulls” and 168th Infantry Regiment are from the Midwest (e.g., Iowa, Minnesota). The 168th Regiment still sends troops in harm’s way to this.

Harry’s story takes a turn for the worse on 14 February 1943. Valentine’s Day.  Sidi-Bou-Zid. (pronounced: Seedy-Boo-Zid) is a small village in Kasserine Pass. Nearby, two observation hills (called “Djebels”) were manned by segregated 168th Infantry and artillery for the purpose of catching the German armor off guard as they were (based on conflicted intelligence) to roll through the pass. However, high-level commanders dictated tactics and dispersion of forces that failed from the start.

The famous and seasoned German tank commander, Erwin Rommel, with up to date intelligence, planned to circumvent these observation hills, encircle, and entrap them.

On the morning of February 14, 1943, in a blinding sandstorm to cover their movements, the Germans struck with such quick and devastating force, most of the Amercian tanks, artillery and infantry were either killed, captured, or forced to retreat.

Battle of Sidi bou Zid

Sergeant Harris was captured, injured from falling off a cliff, had his back further injured by a German rifle butt to the back, and then transported to a German POW camp, via Italy and train through German lines. He would spend the rest of the war (27 months to be exact) in at least three POW camps, suffer weight loss, and desperation.

During this time, he stole a German Compass, drew a map from memory (both of which his daughter still possesses), and escaped to Switzerland. It is believed he made a wrong turn (maybe somewhere in Switzerland) and was recaptured.

He was repatriated by the Russians in April 1945 and passed away in 1979. He brought back only what he could carry: His compass, Map, and a cloth portrait of himself painted in a POW camp by another POW (whom I’m having difficulty tracking down), and smuggled it under his uniform. Read on…It gets better.


Flash forward— Present day

As with any screenwriting project, I perform months of research before writing the words “Fade In”. With this one, it was long, tedious, but well worth the effort. After reading the Facebook post about Sergeant Harris and his POW, I felt compelled to learn more. Call it the veteran in me, war/history buff, or the fact that my grandfather served in both World War I and II. To me, it was personal. And that drives me to write this amazing story of faith and perseverance.

So, I hit the books (Kudos to the Orlando Library system for home delivery and Hoopla for the free online reads ) and found the best books on this important snippet of history.  After about 4-5 notepads of paper, I created a detailed timeline of events, analyzed war maps (from both sides), and read testimonies from other POW’s to understand the events, feelings, and desperation these war heroes faced.

Sergeant Harris left little writings other than notes his daughter made in recalling her conversations with him before he passed away.  He mentions two other compadres who were captured with him. I verified their names and reached out to see if they were even still alive (they would be in their 90s) without luck. I was able to reach out to one but unfortunately, this person had recently passed with Dementia. But I was not deterred.

With every search, there is that beam of light. That one piece that makes it worthwhile. Enter Private First Class Arch Shealy. Arch Shealy also fought in North Africa, in this battle as an Artillery Gunner, captured on February 14, 1943 (I told you it would get better), and spent 27 months in German POW camps.

The only difference between Sergeant Harris and Private Arch Sealy was that Arch was still alive.  And he lived not two hours away from me. Talk about a gold bar hero. I had to get in touch with this hero, this vast historical source of information. He had a story to tell and to hear it first hand, made it much more special. Time for our World War II heroes was running out. ROAD TRIP!

After reaching out to family members, I was able to coordinate a most memorable meet and learn about what happened, some of the events in his POW life, and how he survived.

It is their story I want to tell, that I feel obligated to share with the world.

God has designated me a “storyteller”, the writer of this amazing story of two heroes who probably didn’t even know each other, but fought bravely together for their brethren and their country under dire circumstances, then to suffer years of containment at the hands of a dictatorship, desperation, and fear.

Their only saving grace was faith in their country, God, and their family. Before I left our interview, I asked Arch a pointed question.

If you had one take away from this whole experience, what do you believe allowed you to survive?” After a few seconds to reflect, Arch simply replied “Faith. Faith in yourself, your country, and your God.” 

They all kept the faith and survived.

I need to keep the faith in myself and finish what I started.


Update: It is with great sadness that my dear friend and esteemed patriot, Arch Shealy passed away in March with family by his bedside. He was 98-years old. My sincere condolences go out to the Shealy family and a sincere thank you for allowing me into their lives. This honorable hero will be sorely missed. Rest In Peace, my friend. See you on the other side.  



Tribulations of Screenwriting

Hello, my fellow Screenwriters!

Long time, no hear. Didn’t realize until now, how long it’s been since my last post.  I’ve been busy with the primary job (Technical Writing), downsizing into an apartment and enjoying the birth of another Grandson. Tribulations may not be the proper word for my current situation, but I do feel that Writes block has

“Tribulations” may not be the proper word for my current situation, but I do feel Writer’s Block has crept into my life. I’m dealing with it by keeping active in honing my craft and reading screenplays.

My current project, “Confession In A Bottle” is a murder mystery where a mother loses her daughter to a tragic accident and as she grieves, discovers a note in a bottle on the beach ([nsert “I Dream of Jeannie” joke here]. The note, a decades old murder confession, entices the mother to investigate the murder to possibly heal herself by solving this crime.

As I developed this story, the direction and intensity have changed over the last year, but I’m almost finished with the first draft. As long as I can work through this writer’s block and let my characters evolve the storyline, I should be fine.

I promise to write more often.

“Keep writing and fighting. Never stop dreaming of that one story; a story the world needs to hear. ”


Tools! Tools! Screenwriting Tools!

Hey, all!

Just a quick line today. Been really busy. Had a 4-day weekend to spend with two of my granddaughters; Makayla and Megan. (My Cheer Girls Champions!).

They have the tools to cheer, tumble, and throw themselves into painfully contorted positions. We addicted screenwriters need our tools of the trade as well.

I subscribed to many months ago and pleased with some of the screenwriting advice and links. If you haven’t checked them out, click the link.

I recommend this article below. This is how I learned to pre-plan my first screenplay. Hope you get some use out of it.

Keep writing!


What Happens Next? The Scene Mashup

Image result for what happens next?


Hello,  Screenwriters and Readers alike!

So, I’m in a creative mood, right? Fingers dancin’ with the keyboard as the creativity flows through my Mt. Dew-fed veins.

Then it hits me.! A scene out of the blue. In my head. And it doesn’t tie into my current project. Where did this come from?

So I remind myself to always capture the moment.  I hastily open a new project in Final Draft and go to work in the Index cards layout. For the next 30-45 minutes I’m puking out a funny scene (read below) that could be used anywhere, but what’s interesting is the characters created themselves. All I had to do was ask them “What happens next?”

What starts out as a simple house delivery, turns into something more long-winded.

And I would love for my followers or readers to comment and help me determine “What Happen’s Next.” If I get a bunch of good ideas, you never know, this could be the next comedy. So all you prankster’s out there, this is the time to give me some funny ideas.

Right now, I’m capturing them in my Scene Mashup file.

Thank so much for reading,

JC Leach



A Flower delivery man walks up to the front door, rings the bell, waits.  A dog barks from inside the house.


TAD MARKEL (40s), sporting extra tonnage. yells at the barking dog, scratches himself, as he shuffles in his slippers and soiled white undershirt to the front door.

He checks the peephole,. sees flowers hiding some guys face, opens the door

The DELIVERY GUY (20s), not his dream job, struggles to read the name on the tag.


“Delivery for Thad–de–us Markel?”

Tad grimaces at the guy who butchers his name.


It’s Tad. Silent H and shorten it.


Mom must have been pissed at you, man.


Does insulting my heritage cost extra? Cus’ you can keep that shit.

The Delivery Guy. shuts up, reads the delivery receipt.


Says you MUST read the gift card C-O-D. Says here sixty bucks and change. Delivery tip expected, but not included.

Delivery Guy hands over bouquet, Tad reads the attached note.


“Happy Birthday, brother! I’ve been down on my luck at the Casino lately, but I just wanted to wish you the best today. Can you pay the delivery guy? I’ll get you back. — Tom.”

Tad is stunned, glances at the Delivery Guy, gets irate, rips off the card.


Sure he will.

(to Delivery guy)

Wait right here.

Tad backs up with the vase in his hand.


Baby, who is it?

Tad turns and closes the door on the Delivery Guy’s face.


Dude, what about my sixty bucks and the tip?


My brother sent flowers for my birthday.


Aw.w How nice was that?




C-O-D? Cash. You’re kidding, right? Is he–

ALISHA MARKEL (40s), a hot vixen, opens the front door to a confused Delivery Guy. Tad stands behind her unsure of what to do.



Alisha stares at the Delivery guy, examines the vase in Tad’s hands, makes a deduction.


Your brother Tom has some imagination. And a screw loose. Funny though, I’ll give him that. I’ll take these.

Alisha holds her laughter, smiles instead, revokes the vase, pats Tad’s chest, and locks eyes.


Making you pay C-O-D on your birthday? Classic dick move. When are you and Tom gonna stop this? Pay the man.

Head down, eyes closed in defeat, Tad cracks a wryly smile as he reaches back for his wallet.


Father Time

Father Time - Source: WikiCommons

Father Time – Source: WikiCommons

Hello all,

After listening to a ballad from rock guitarist “Father Time” by Richie Sambora, I was intrigued by the lyrics. The song is about the loss of a loved one. We have all lost loved ones during our lives and when we do, we always ask ourselves for more time. Time to say what we need to say, or just to be with our loved ones as we pass on. It is a humbling moment in our lives as we deal internally with loss and grieve in our own ways.

What if you were able to talk with “Time.” Imagine “Time” to be an entity (not in a physical sense) and Father Time, a person or someone who manages it, like the day-to-day (no pun intended here) personal relationships everyone’s has with “Time”. It’s almost like a “limited life contract” and you, being the recipient, must negotiate for more life. But the negotiation is determined by your resolution of internal and external life issues you at the time your contract ends.

As a father myself, I had to reflect how one deals with this event. So I’m putting together (and I quote my supporting wife) a “Doom and Gloom” story. with maybe a theme of internal thoughts on how we all should resolve our issues before we pass on. Regardless of the genre, the overall goal for any screenwriter is to instill “emotional response” from the audience. Good, bad, or both. With terminal illness prevalent in our society today, I’m sure this hits home for everyone.

As I pondered this project, I noted the title “Father Time” could have at least two distinct meanings:

  1. Father Time the old man, – Manager of life and time depicted in so many literary readings of our days, or
  2. Father Time – Time spent with the male parent in our lives. Father-Time—the precious human memories we get so few of in our limited time on this planet.

So, I took both of those contexts and mashed them into my writing “Father Time.”

Logline:  “A terminally ill widower begs Father Time to repair his lost relationship with his daughter who blames him for her mother’s death. Unfortunately, he’s talking to the wrong person.”

Stay tuned for a synopsis. I’ll keep my readers updated as the project unfolds.



Collaboration – The meeting of the Minds

Hey all,

Just wanted to drop a blog to let you all know  that I am in deep collaboration with one of my fellow film makers who has caught the screenwriting “bug”.

I’ve been hassling him to spew forth his creative side, so after serious prodding over hot wings (which we truly love and also share for our ritual Friday lunch), he committed himself to providing me his “story”.

So in this Collaboration the roles are similar to what I have read that other successful collaborators do: 1) Share scene development, and 2) each write and provide a catalyst to the story development.

It works really well. He provides me his thoughts, and I, being the screenwriter/formatting GURU/Editor put his thoughts into my screenwriting program.

I then PDF the scene (s) back to him and we discuss it at our next hot wing feast. Then we repeat the above process.

This will eventually get us to the rough draft.

We are not going to analyze, edit, or rearrange scenes at this time. The object here is to get the scenes down first.

One thing we didn’t do at this time is outline the whole story first. We are being creative in letting the “story develop itself”. Some say this is Taboo, some say it creates a more realistic outcome. Only time will tell.

The part that I love the most is after years of missteps with co-writer websites, I have kept it close to home, with someone I trust and enjoy working with.

So we shall see how this new project develops, but so far I am optimistic.

Stay tuned for more.

Keep Writing Screenwriters–Life is short! Eat your Dessert first!




“Poverty Island” Synopsis



Genre – Action/Adventure

Pursuing a 150-year old mystery, treasure hunters confront thieves to honor a heartbroken man while they protect the truth behind the legend of Poverty Island gold.


In 1863, a legend exists where money desperate Confederates manage to get a loan from the French. The French ship, carrying chests of gold, allegedly sinks near Poverty Island, Michigan. To this day the gold has never been found.

In Act I, treasure hunters Buck Spencer and Jeremy Razey (Protagonists), arrive at Washington Island, south of Poverty Island. Their goal—cultivate information from Carl Jackson (Mentor) – the only person who may have last seen the Poverty Island gold. Buck gets help from Carl’s friend, niece Grace (Love interest), and newspaper clippings on the legend and untimely death of Carl’s girlfriend. Carl struggles to deal with the loss, but opens up to Buck and reveals how Jessica died, but not much about the Legend.

Buck and Jeremy dig up empty gold chests and harass other nefarious treasure hunters who want in on the find. In turn, one of the nefarious hunters shoots Carl dead.

In Act II, Grace inherits Carl’s estate and safe deposit box, where she finds more clues, a letter about Jessica’s death, and a gold coin. Grace, Buck, and Jeremy team up. After finding a big clue and map, they suspect the gold is in the lighthouse. In a covert night operation, they search the lighthouse but have to deceive Carl’s friend (Antagonist) who has followed them by boat with another treasure hunter.

After hacking through a wall, they find hidden sacks of gold, hurry to get it off the island, but run out of time. By now, Andy is pissed after Buck sank their dive boat, returns to the lighthouse by dinghy, and takes hostages at gunpoint. Jeremy overpowers the other hunter and sneaks up to put Andy under gunpoint.

Buck leaves Andy with their own dinghy, extra gas, and ultimatum to live or die, but without the gold.

In Act III, the State of Michigan grants Gracie the gold to rebuild the lighthouse—as Carl and Jessica wanted. Buck gives Gracie a parting gift – a letter and ring from Jessica to her fiancée he found in the wall. It professes to Carl how much she truly loved him and looked forward to a long life with him.  Lovely words Carl never heard.

Dead Hand

Hello all, just wanted to drop you a line about one my many screenplays. This one is a Cold War thriller. “Bridge of Spies” stuff. Cloak and dagger.

If you are interested in reading the screenplay, give me a shout. More to follow.


Dead Hand – Historical Action – “When a rogue Russian General takes over a secret Doomsday system, the scientist who built it risks allegiance, family, and friends to avert nuclear Armageddon.”


Dead Hand is the name of a doomsday system that the Russian Federation has not publicly acknowledged. This system allows Russian nuclear missiles to be launched after a decapitation strike on the Russian ministry. The system works when conditions consistent with a nuclear blast occur along with the loss of communication with the Russian High Command. If these conditions are met, communication rockets then launch and transmit the launch codes to the rest of the nuclear missiles in their silos.

During this story, Dmitri Yarynich (Protagonist), the developer of Dead Hand, struggles with the horrible death of his wife, his decision to send his daughter way, the economic strife of his Cold War country, and Dead Hand’s secrecy. His goal is to make Dead Hand public to halt nuclear weapons development.

General Koslov (Antagonist), a Rocket forces commander, has other nefarious intentions:  Acquire Dead Hand and keep it secret, control the nuclear arsenal so he can avenge his Chechen brother’s death at the hands of the Russian military, and kill anyone who stands in his way.

To do this Koslov and his band of militants kidnap Dmitri’s daughter (Zina) for information. Dmitri retorts by revealing Dead Hand to a CIA Agent friend in exchange for help to recover his daughter.

In the showdown, Dmitri relinquishes Dead Hand to Koslov after Zina is about to be shot. In a crazy turn of events, Zina is released, but turns on her father for the “cause”, as she has been brainwashed by the militants.

Koslov launches the communications missiles and attempts to leave when Special Forces intervene and take down Koslov’s thugs.

Zina finally accepts that Koslov killed her mother and militants killed her best friend. She goes on a maniacal killing spree to save her father.

Dmitri and Zina are granted asylum in the United States and catch-up on their relationship. Their efforts pay off as the two countries agree to reduce nuclear weapons, as history goes.

Dead Hand, or “Perimeter”, by its popular name, has never been publicly acknowledged.