Short Film & Screenplay
A paramedic is on the hit list of the town’s drug lord for detoxing his clients. He submits and tells his under cover friend that he is ready to die.
Jules tries to survive the Veteran from an over dose. Isais wants Jules to tell Louis C, he is ready to die.
Paramedic Isais Eschurt waits for Detective Jules Taradico to join him for lunch so that he can break important news to him. But before Isais can reveal anything to him, Jules takes over the conversation with what he just witnessed. Jules was undercover in the projects when all of a sudden he hears screams coming from the next apartment. He goes over there only to find a Veteran had just overdosed. After a handful of minutes he wakes back up and tells Jules a story of what he just experienced, Hell. Isais can’t believe his ears. They jump subject and Jules warns Isais about him helping the addicts in the projects. It turns out the Drug Lord; Louis C is on the hunt for him. Isais confesses that he knows Louis C is after him and he wants Jules to tell Louis C where he will be so that he can prove to the people how bad Louis C is and in hopes the people will make a wise decision to stay clean.
Jules Taradico, a Detective, leaves an apartment and places his gun in the side of his pants. His hands are covered in blood. Isais Eschurt, a Paramedic, sits anxiously at a table in a restaurant and smokes a cigarette. Jules arrives and sits across from him.
Jules tells Isais about what he just experienced. Jules was undercover in the projects, visiting Ryam’s apartment, when all of a sudden he heard screams from the next apartment. He and Ryam go over there to find out what happened. It’s an apartment full of crack addicts and a Veteran, who was there getting high had OD’d. He immediately goes to check the body. He looks at Ryam and tells her he’s dead. Minutes later all the crack addicts gather together and pray. The Veteran rises. Jules is in shock. The Veteran pulls him closer to tell him what he had just seen.
Isais, who sits across from Jules, is in disbelief. Isais smokes another cigarette. Jules, still shaken up tells Isais that the Veteran went into detail of where he was when he died. Isais curiously asks. Jules tells him the Veteran was in Hell.
Jules breaks the news to Isais that the drugs they were smoking came from the City’s drug lord, Louis C who is now looking for Isais for helping the addicts. Isais breaks the news to Jules that he knows Louis C wants him dead and he wants Jules to tell Louis C to come get him. He wants Jules to purposely betray him.
Jules argues with him, telling him “no”. But Isais has a different approach. Isais explains to Jules that by dying for the addicts they will see what kind of man Louis C actually is and somehow this will cause them to stop doing drugs in Isais’s honor.
Jules disagrees. Isais insists. Jules don’t want Isais’s death to be on his conscious. Isais lets Jules know that what ever happens all is forgiven.
This story has a lot of excellent suspense, starting within the first 1/8th of the page. You have this mysterious detective, Jules, exiting an apartment building with bloody hands and his gun exposed. Already, your audience will be intrigued and want to know more about this character. The story inside the project apartment that Jules tells, this is where all the action begins and it gives way to Isais cause. It’s very engaging to jump back and forth between the past and present to see both events happening at the same time. You show the destruction, this person, Louis C. causes through Jules’s crack head veteran story; giving Isais reason to help the people addicted his drugs and to save them from ‘The Devil.’
I like the new opening to this story; it directly connects to page 13 when Isais comes home to his mother and she wants her drugs. He hopelessly tries not to give in, but does. We learn more about Isais’s character, even if it’s these brief moments showing him stealing from a hospital and dealing with his mother. I enjoyed these moments and it shows why Isais decides to make this sacrifice for these people. The conversation between Jules and Isais is well crafted. It’s suspenseful and transitions in and out from the story to them in the diner. This adds more to the tension whenever there's a pause from the story. You do this without calling too much attention to the transition.
When I wrote this story I knew I wanted to make it so I can practice filming a conversation piece. The first conversation to popped into my head was the conversation between Jesus and Judas. I wanted to modernize it between a detective and a paramedic who's been friends since they were kids. I wanted to have the story where the detective is undercover for a crime lord and the paramedic works the area to help the addicts. The crime lord wants the paramedic taken out in order to keep the addicts addicted. The detective tells the paramedic without the crime lord knowing because he wants the paramedic aware of what's to come. I wonder if Judas told on Jesus because maybe Jesus wanted Judas to tell so he can be known to the world of his gifts. I wrote the dialogue, but I needed a starting conversation piece to get them acquainted. So I thought about a job the detective came from. Okay, what was that? I wanted a story where an addict came to the revelation of having Jesus in their life. I researched videos on YouTube in order to find the right one. I came across a story where a man who has raised a satanist met a catholic woman and had an incident where Jesus came into his life to save him. I also heard a similar story on the NPR podcast. I thought that was the way to go. I wrote a story where the detective witnessed Jesus coming into the life of a man who just overdosed.
After I wrote the conversion I knew I needed cut-away shots. So I set up a two-day shoot. One location was at a restaurant with the conversation and the other location was at a house where we would see the detective and addicts. I asked this bar-ba-q restaurant for clearance. They agreed and we set up the shoot. I found a cinematographer on Craig's List. I had to pick him up but he had all the gear we would need for the shoot. A co-worker of mine had a friend who lived in an apartment on a high floor with outdoor walkways. Some more co-workers came out to help and also a former police officer. I really didn't know what to do to get everyone involved. Thank God for my wife who helped out a lot and reminded me to get people involved and included. While we waited for the addicts to show up we filmed the detective scene with his girlfriend inside and outside. The former police officer came in handy. He transformed one of the bedrooms to make it look like a crack house. I couldn't believe it.
I wrote two more scenes, one at the beginning where we would see the two friends as kids and one steals something and the other covers for him. The other scene I wrote is where the paramedic visits his drug-abused mother. These two scenes didn't make it into the film only because I couldn't find the time. I really think the additional scenes would have tied the whole film together and made it way better than the completed film.
I regret not filming those, but I do love the fact that I finished what we did. There was so much I learned from it.
Johnny Caicedo ... Jules Taradico
Dave Jia ... Isais Eschurt
Pamella Gil ... Ryam Angel
Justin Brackett ... Veteran
Mariana Dominguez ... Waitress
Debbie Baker Robinson ... Addict
Christy Cole ... Addict
Scott Getz ... Addict
Robin Martino ... Addict
Ian Quinn ... Addict
Trey Shawn ... Addict
Release Date: 10 July 2015 (USA)
Also Known As: The Betrayal: The Bad Karma Series - Vol. 1
Filming Locations: Fort Lauderdale & Miami, Florida, USA
Runtime: 10 min