Spiritus Fermenti | Skillshare Projects



Spiritus Fermenti

Step1: Choosing your story

I chose Deacon Taylor from the Spoon River Anthologies by Edglar Lee Masters. What intrigued me was the dichotomy of Taylor's character. He seems like a fun loving chap who loves to drink. But he is on the church committee and a supporter of the Prohibition movement. When he dies people mistakenly think he has choked on a watermelon seed (an absurdity in itself). In fact, he has died of liver cirrhosis since he keeps drinking from a medicine bottle labelled Spiritus Fermenti.  This screenplay is where I flesh out Taylor's motivations to join the prohibition movement even as he cannot give up his love for drinking.

Uploading you script.

I can't seem to paste the link directly inside the workspace. So please click here. This is the second draft of the script. I have incorporated many changes based on feedback I received from fellow classmates. 


The hypocricy engrained in human nature, a power struggle, alcohol addiction, an enduring friendship and the absurdity of death -- all come together in Spiritus Fermenti. Ultimately it is death that has the final laugh.


Personally, I find it a bummer to read explanations about a film before watching it (or reading the screenplay). I prefer reading the screenplay first and then reading the motivations of the filmmaker behind it. This, of course, is a personal choice. Here's how I went about writing Spiritus Fermenti.

It's based on the character of Deacon Taylor from the Spoon River Anthology. The poem made me laugh because of the sheer absurdity of the event. It was a simple yet poignant story of how we wear a mask of hypocricy and that society prefers to interact with this mask rather than the man beneath it.

There are two main characters in my adaptation. One is Deacon Taylor. The other is Henry Chase, whose story too is quite funny. If I hadn't written about Deacon then Henry would've been my second choice for protagonist. 

Prohibition is the central event of the film – it sets the story in motion. I read up a bit about the movement that swept across America in the 19th and early 20th centuries. I also read up about the political events that people talked about in the late 19th century – particularly the Civil War and how the people of Illinois viewed it.

I have tried to weave these things in subtle ways.

Thanks for reading the screenplay (and my explanation of it :)). Would appreciate your feedback a lot!


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