David Versus | Skillshare Projects



David Versus

Step 1: Selecting the Text

"Godliness in Four Parts" struck me as a particularly meaty portion of Sherwood Anderson's "Winesburg, Ohio". It deals with the relationships between man and god, woman, time and society by putting forth a transgenerational mini epic which takes place during America's Industrial Revolution.

I chose to focus on adapting part 4, while drawing on certain details from the other stories. It finds David, the grandson of Jesse Bentley, on the cusp of adolescence while his grandfather begins suffering delusions of holy grandeur brought on by David's presence, and exacerbated by his capitalistic success. 

There's a force between the boy and the old man which keeps them apart. On different levels, it manifests itself as young vs old, gentle vs rough and innocent vs corrupt, while- as Jesse proves to be the villain he's always feared- the sequence of events mirrors the biblical David vs Goliath.

I felt that while the story takes place nearly a century ago, it feels remarkably contemporaneous in the context of white rural America. The tension between religion and commerce has only worsened as Post-industrial society has left small towns to rust with their abandoned factories and traditional ways of life.

Ultimately, the story I aimed to tell was of a boy becoming a man, and the extent to which that transition is forced upon him. I tried limit my use of dialogue when necessary. I conflated certain characters with length in mind, and changed the ending so that it seems as if Jesse might have died. Although he's shown to be alright in the story, he must finally face the death of his ridiculous dreams and the consequences they begat.

Step Two: Screenplay

The script comes in at just under 7 pages. Given that certain sequences will be longer on screen than in text, I think it's an appropriate length.


Step Three: Logline

Young David Bentley comes of age as his grandfather's religious fanaticism forces him to make a difficult choice.


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