No Great Artist
An investigative thriller set in victorian London.

A collection of scenes from the script. It was inspired by a quote from Oscar Wilde. When I was completing my undergraduate degree, I wrote a dissertation on Wilde's fairy tales, and during that time I came across this quote:

“No great artist sees things as they really are. If they did, they would cease to be one.”

So, I scribbled it down in my notebook. I first started writing this particular script for my masters degree a year later (in scriptwriting - no surprise there) and the story just grew from there.

Here's a snippet of the synopsis:

London, 1856. The pungent smell of factory fumes waft through the cobbled streets. Two well-dressed children are playing hide-and-seek. Their names are Jacob and Isabella Barker. They live a privileged life, being the children of a well-respected industrialist. So they play, carefree. That is, until a carriage pulls up beside them.

They are attacked. Isabella is taken. Jacob is left lying on the ground.

* London 1878. Gladstone’s Factory Act has been passed. Children are to be taken from the factories. Industry men are faced with having to pay more to adult workers. The children that were once in the factories are now being snatched from the streets. This has a left a city in distress, with little faith in the police force.

* Jacob is now a bobby, sent to witness the execution of a young thief. This leads him to an unexpected discovery – a portrait of his missing sister Isabella. He embarks on a new investigation to find her, only to discover a conspiracy that began twenty-two years previously, when two children were playing hide-and-seek on the cobbled streets.

Hope you enjoy this sample scene, with a bonus video that QuothMe shot for actress (and my very close friend) Carla Bryson.

NO GREAT ARTIST (FINAL DRAFT)
EXT. caper’s alley - night.
JACOB chases MILLIE down the alley. His footsteps ECHO down the WET BRICK street.
JACOB and MILLIE reach a square opening, enclosed by tall walls. MILLIE is trapped. Spinning around, the sound of a GUN being COCKED. JACOB freezes.
MILLIE
Don’t move!
Her voice rings through the opening. JACOB raises his hands.
JACOB
Okay!
MILLIE
I’ll shoot!
JACOB
Okay!
JACOB takes a moment to survey MILLIE. The gun looks large and awkward in her small hands.
JACOB (CONT’D)
Do you even have bullets?
MILLIE
Just the one.
JACOB
You would waste it on me.
MILLIE doesn’t lower her weapon.
JACOB (CONT’D)
Do you have a name?
No response.
JACOB (CONT’D)
Okay then. Maybe you would care to tell me why you broke my window?
Millie
I needed to get your attention.
JaCOB
Well, consider your mission a success. I’m listening.
MILLIE
I saw you at Newgate. You tried to stop the execution. Why?
JACOB hesitates.
MILLIE (CONT’D)
Why?
JACOB
He said he was innocent.
MILLIE
Reuben? Ha! No, he was guilty. You should never trust a cracksman, Constable.
JACOB
You knew him?
MILLIE
We worked together.
JACOB
You’re... a thief?
MILLIE
I only steal what rich people wouldn’t miss.
JACOB takes a step forward.
MiLLIE (CONT’D)
I told you not to move!
JACOB
I’m not moving!
MILLIE
(breathless)
I’ve never seen me a Bobby so desperate to save the life of a thief.
JACOB
I have vested interest in the item he stole.
MILLIE
The portrait?
JACOB
You’ve seen it?
No response.
JaCOB (CONT’D)
You threw a brick at my window. I have earned the right to ask that much.
MILLIE
I didn’t know what else to do!
(pause)
My brother was taken eight days ago.
Silence. Millie lowers her weapon.
MiLLIE (CONT’D)
The name’s Millie.
JACOB
Jacob.
MILLIE
So
They look at each other.

Remember this scene is subject to copyright!

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