Homeless Heart | Skillshare Projects



Homeless Heart

Hi. I'm a classical/jazz singer and composer.  Here are my project steps. I hope you enjoy my very first screenplay.


I chose the poem "The Unknown" from Spoon River Anthology.

I like this poem because it has the potential for many interpretations.  It is simple yet complex with lines that can mean exactly what they state or be interpreted to another meaning.  There is mystery in the role of the hawk and how it looms over (or perhaps protects) the mansion of Aaron Hatfield.   

The Unknown

YE aspiring ones, listen to the story of the unknown

Who lies here with no stone to mark the place.

As a boy reckless and wanton,

Wandering with gun in hand through the forest

Near the mansion of Aaron Hatfield,

I shot a hawk perched on the top

Of a dead tree.

He fell with guttural cry

At my feet, his wing broken.

Then I put him in a cage

Where he lived many days cawing angrily at me

When I offered him food.

Daily I search the realms of Hades

For the soul of the hawk,

That I may offer him the friendship

Of one whom life wounded and caged.


My focus is to show that no matter what status we hold in life we are all the same.  This focus comes from the last lines of the poem “…that I may offer him the friendship of one whom life wounded and caged.”  This is The Unknown trying to convey to the hawk that he is also wounded and they are alike.


I chose “Homeless Heart for my title. 


John (homeless, 60)

Bernice (church administrator, 45)

Rev. Hatfield (senior pastor, 64)

Antonio (the Janitor, 38)

Rev. Michaels, (assistant pastor (40)

Marie (neighbor who knows Bernice, 59)

(Non-speaking roles)

City Councilwoman


Homeless People


Young Bernice

Bernice’s Mother




Music Director

My protagonist is JOHN.  I chose the name John because John was the beloved disciple of Christ.  Some DaVinci-esque scholars might argue that Mary Magdalene was actually the “beloved” disciple. But for this story I’ll use the traditional interpretation with John.  This is to show that no matter what state John’s life is inn (or anyone’s) he is yet a human that deserves love and respect.  John is homeless and has lived a reckless life and is now paying for it.  He relies on charity to get by from day to day.  In his youth, he burned all his bridges and alienated himself from society.  Now older, he realizes his agony is from the trauma of a broken home, abuse and bad choices. 

The antagonist is BERNICE.  She represents the obstacle that John must overcome.  She is the symbolic “hawk” from the poem perched high atop a dead tree.  While her name means “bringer of victory” she is tormented by her childhood.  She has turned especially cold toward homeless people as she blames them for her and her mother’s suffering.  Through her deliberate acts of hatred and rejection, she unknowingly attracts a scenario wherein she can finally have victory, if she so chooses.

Treatment (in prose)

I find that when writing a script it is helpful to get a sense of the full story and characters by writing it first in prose. 

[link to prose]


Here is the final.  I made more format changes and some dialogue changes to add action and less description.  I followed a few sources for screenplay writing, although some contradict each other.  Some areas seem left open for the writer to interpret.

[link to screenplay - FINAL]

Draft #4 is now uploaded.  I made a lot of formatting changes plus some description and dialogue changes as well. 

[link to screenplay - 4th draft]

Ok. Here is my 3rd draft.  I made a lot of changes and added more description.  I now won't consider an alternate title. I like Homeless Heart and will stick with it.  I gave the Assistant Pastor a name (Rev. Michaels) and revised the scene at the parish house. 

[link to screenplay - 3rd draft]

Thanks for the feedback.  This is the 2nd draft.  I made additions in blue text so I will be able to keep track of my changes.  Each draft will have a different color of changes until the final which will be all black font.  Thanks again.

[link to screenplay - 2nd draft]

This is a first draft of the screenplay.  There are some changes from the Treatment that are necessary as prose is generally filled with more description.  And script needs to have more dialogue.

[link to screenplay - 1st draft]


John is an aging homeless man, uncouth, unkempt, and hardened by life.  His quest for respect stirs conflict with the bitter church administrator, Bernice.   He sets out to show her that her private pain is no different from his.

[these pics I found on web for inspiration]

Thanks for any feedback you can offer.


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