Last Breath | Skillshare Projects

Josh Real

Stay at home dad...doing dad stuff!



Last Breath

Step 1

Chosen text:

I picked Harold Arnett from Spoon River. It jumped out at me as I loved the way Harold tries to cling back to life once he decides to leave it. I was thinking that rather than a actual illness such as influenza or something, Harold could be suffering from depression. I started trying to think of what could push me to the edge of suicide and one of the most powerful responses was to commit suicide to save one of my kids life... So the ball started rolling and I wrote my initial draft in about 20-30 minutes. It was wonderful to actually get something down on paper and to eventually finish the script.

Harold Arnett (Spoon River)

I LEANED against the mantel, sick, sick,

Thinking of my failure, looking into the abysm,

Weak from the noon-day heat.

A church bell sounded mournfully far away,

I heard the cry of a baby,

And the coughing of John Yarnell,

Bed-ridden, feverish, feverish, dying,

Then the violent voice of my wife:

“Watch out, the potatoes are burning!”

I smelled them . . . then there was irresistible disgust.

I pulled the trigger . . . blackness . . . light . . .

Unspeakable regret . . . fumbling for the world again.

Too late! Thus I came here,

With lungs for breathing . . . one cannot breathe here with lungs,

Though one must breathe

Of what use is it To rid one’s self of the world,

When no soul may ever escape the eternal destiny of life?   

Step 2


Step 3


A devoted father tries to come to terms with the fate of his terminally ill daughter. 

Evolution of the story

What I liked about Harold Arnett's story was the immediate regret after he killed himself. There was obviously many reasons for him to kill himself yet as soon as he pulled the trigger it was final and there was no going back. I also liked that end line of the poem "When no soul may escape the eternal destiny of life" resonated with me and I almost imagined destiny as a personified character who could be cruel...and in the case of Harold at the end of my screenplay is extremely cruel to him.


Check out my various drafts or if you are anything like me go straight to the most recent one. Please be warned though that this does deal with suicide. 


DRAFT 1.1 SCREENPLAY (26/06/2014)

I have made a few changes to the screenplay and have changed the ending slightly.


DRAFT 2 29/06/2014

Second draft is up. Still obviously not perfect but I have changed the flow of the story a little and tried to make the lead up to his sacrifice a bit more drawn out.

DRAFT 3 4/07/2014

Here is my third draft. I haven't changed much of the story but changed some of the actions and time changes and also changed a bit of the dialogue.

DRAFT 4  12/07/2014

DRAFT 5 14/07/2014

Listened to a bit of the feedback and tried to trim so of the dialogue that wasn't needed. There was thought of trying to give the father and mother some quirks...and I thought of doing this and did try to add it into the script but in the end I figure the actors would add their own quirks to the characters. There was also some thought of the father and mother not saying everything they are thinking...I understand this and have trimmed some of the dialogue however the main chunk of dialogue I feel is needed to give some context to his decision... I am however open to suggestions on alternatives.


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