OTHER PEOPLE’S DREAMS
Adapted by James Collins and Jack Rousseau from the book of the same title by James Collins
“Other People’s Dreams” is specifically written to be ultra low budget with a cast of six (ideally suited to emerging talent) and some extras, no effects or CGI. It is located mostly on a Turkish gulet cruising the Greek islands. A gulet is sufficiently spacious to serve as both location and accommodation for cast and crew during shooting. Act 1 is set in London, but with no obvious London features. It’s a gift to a good DOP with plenty of atmosphere to evoke.
Other People’s Dreams – Treatment
WGA registration: 1565017
Logline: A gay lifeguard takes a crew job on a boat to escape a vicious stalker. But the idyllic Aegean trip turns to a fight for survival when the captain uses the crew to exorcise his own troubled demons.
Mick: 23 years old, fit, good looking, a lifeguard, and a virgin. Everybody wants him, but he only wants Mr Right. He has a long way to travel before he realises that there is no great dark man. He’s loyal and obedient but unsettled; a puppy.
Jake: 39, a successful writer with a lots of money and lots of troubled demons to exorcise. Manipulative, calm, dangerous, caring, vicious, generous, he’s a real tiger.
Luke: A 19 year old with angel looks he knows how to use. Flirtatious with gay men, he thinks he is straight and confident, but really he is lost.
John: 20, stocky, a powerhouse of fun and energy, East End, rough and ready, did a year in the army, got raped, still getting over it, a real man’s man and Mick best friend. A monkey.
Paul: 21. A Lancastrian C3PO, tall, slightly effeminate, dry, gaudy but proud and regal. A lion.
Nikos: 50’s a Greek fisherman/sailor, big, hairy and tough and loves life, straight but ‘gay’ is not an issue; a father figure for the boys, a protective bear.
Act one: Mick is looking for his Mister Right and despite having lots of offers, is saving himself for that one great dark man. He is also being stalked, but is unable to fight back. His best mate, John, persuades him to take a job crewing a boat for screen-writer Jake Chambers; summer in the Aegean, all expenses paid. Mick is unsure, but when his stalker gets too close and dangerous, he takes the job along with John, and two other young men, Paul and Luke. They fly out to Greece with Jake and board the Andreas II.
Act two: Although Jake owns the boat, Nikos is the captain and he teaches the four boys to sail. Mick tries to get himself closer to Jake, believing him to be his mister Right; but it’s clear to everyone else that Jake has his mind set on Luke. The job comes with ‘certain strings attached’ so everyone is fair game in Jake’s eyes. As they sail south, the boys slowly start to bond and Mick becomes aware that Jake has a secret hidden away; something to do with a boy called Andreas. But all this is forgotten when Jake takes Mick to bed. Mick gives his virginity willingly and falls in love.
It last only a few days. Jake moves on to pursue Luke, leaving Mick high and dry, his dream dashed. John and Paul, themselves forming a bond, try and help Mick come to terms with this reality, but Mick is too loyal and can’t accept it. And then Luke, who has shown Mick no favours, starts to help and Mick and Luke become close. Close enough for Jake to get jealous. Mick and Luke discover Jake has a strange sexual fantasy to live out. The boys become worried for their own safety as Jake starts becomes moody and dark. And then Mick realises that he has feelings for Luke; now he is very confused.
Act three: The boys realise that Jake is getting out of hand when John returns from a trip with Jake, bleeding and dazed, and when Jake starts sailing the boat dangerously. Mick begs Nikos to reveal what he knows about Jake’s past: Jake was trying to make love to Nikos’ son Andreas when there was an accident and Andreas drowned. Mick finds Jake’s latest screenplay and realises that Jake is planning to somehow ‘find Andreas’ in one of them, or else kill them all. When Jake finally snaps, Mick has to fight him to save Luke and the boat. He succeeds, loses his mister Right but gains Luke, who he agrees will do for now.
Prologue: On board a small motorboat off a rocky shoreline, 26 year old Jake advances on a handsome 19 year old Greek youth. They are about to make love, or perhaps it is a scuffle and Andreas, the youth, is unwilling. Either way, Andreas is tied to the boat’s wheelhouse when an accident happens, and the boat and Andreas are smashed against the rocks.
Act one: 13 years later; a fit, handsome swimmer glides through the water of a noisy indoor swimming pool. Mick is a lifeguard and tries daily to break a swim record after work. He gets admiring looks from men at the pool, but is not giving his body to just anyone. A punter remarks on Mick’s Speedos: ‘nice trunks.’
At his local pub, Mick meets up with John, his feisty and fun best mate. Mick is being stalked and is constantly concerned. John suggests he apply for this job: all expenses and wages paid crewing a private sailing ship in the Greek islands. John has applied. Mick is not sure, it sounds like sex will be expected. John says that by holding out for non-existent Mr Right, Mick is missing what’s available.
Many young men apply for the jobs; letters pour in to Jake’s untidy, dark and broody flat and he loves the fact that these boys are prepared to take a job with ‘certain strings attached.’ He toasts a film poster for one of his films ‘Other People’s Dreams.’ It shows four perfect youths and an older man on a perfect boat on a perfect sea.
Jake interviews the final candidates and Mick stands in for his assistant. John is interviewed as is the lanky and nervous Paul. Mick believes he is getting closer to Jake until Luke, a blonde dream-boy of 19, arrives. Luke flirts with Jake, Jake flirts back, distracted. He even forgets Mick’s name. He only has eyes for Luke.
Mick is also interviewed and agrees that if contracted, he would do anything that as asked of him. Jake warms to Mick slightly and Mick has more than warmed to his possible Mister Right. During the interviews Jake is troubled by flashbacks of the accident from 13 years ago. Jake tells Mick that, in Mick’s submitted photo, Mick is wearing ‘nice trunks.’
John and Mick are both offered a place, John accepts, Mick is dithering. He has discovered about the accident, there’s something not right, he has to be sure this is safe. John warns Mick that if he doesn’t take risks he will end up living on regrets.
Jakes talks to someone called ‘papa’ on the phone. Then looks at his chosen boys and wonders, ‘which one will it be?’
Walking home one night, John breaks up a mugging while Mick can only look on. Then Mick gets home to find his stalker has actually been in his flat. He phones Jake to accept the job.
Mick and John pack their bags and meet the other boys at Jake’s house. They are treated to a limousine ride to the airport, they each have a job to do, Mick’s is admin, and they fly to Athens.
They arrive at a gloomy, quite marina where the dark hunk of the boat, the Andreas II waits for them. So does Nikos the captain, a big, bear of a Greek and old friend of Jake’s. The boys board the boat.
Act Two: On the boat, Nikos assigns them cabins, Luke and Mick are to share; neither is happy about that. Jake’s cabin is the height of luxury and he is happy. He sees his new bed and smiles a wicked grin. He has plans there.
In the morning Jake goes ashore to admire the boat properly and sees Mike diving into the water at sunrise. He has a flashback to Andreas.
Paul wrestles with his job, the galley as the boys adjust to their roles. Luke rubs them all up the wrong way. Nikos begins their training. The boys start off with mixed abilities, they are told off for playing around; a boat is a dangerous place. Paul is not a confident swimmer, Mick tutors him while Jake hangs around photographing the boys in their shorts until the ropes and the boys, remind him of the accident. He suffers flashbacks like moments of madness.
After two weeks the boys are trained and the journey can start. Jake gives each boy an expensive gift, paying particular attention to Luke. Mick is jealous of this, wanting Jake’s attention for himself.
Jake asks Mick to come to his cabin one night. Mick thinks it is for sex, he is prepared to give himself to Jake. But it is not for sex, only for some admin duty.
Luke is inquisitive as to what Mick got up to, and they fight. The real journey starts with Mick at the helm under Jake’s arm, until Luke arrives and Mick is replaced. They set off to open water.
The boat sails majestically with the boys running to their stations and doing their jobs. The sea is calm, the weather glorious, and yet Jake still suffers his maddening flashbacks. In his private moments of madness he tells himself ‘it’s got to be done. They are paid for.’
The boys are allowed ashore for R & R, leaving Jake to tell Nikos, ‘Papa’, that the boat will be his when they arrive at Rhodes, their destination. But Nikos is not happy about this.
On the beach, John and Paul are definitely getting closer while Luke makes a clumsy attempt at a pass to Mick. Mick is not impressed.
Mick tries too hard to make himself available to Jake, Jake knows and leads him on, keeps him dangling. Mick offers to be more like Andreas, admitting he has seen Jake’s screenplay. Jake is furious.
But Jake calms again during a game of ‘truth or dare’ which turns erotic. Mick and Luke are made to kiss as a dare; Mick is surprised by what the kiss makes him feel. John gets naked and Nikos catches them, and gets naked too. A party starts and soon everyone is messing around in the water. Luke tries to kiss Mick, but is pushed away. Jake tries to grab Luke, and is pushed away. Jake is frustrated with Luke. He suffers more stabbing flashbacks of the accident.
Drunk, asleep, in his cabin at night Luke is unaware of Jake feeling his body, fantasising. Jake is so wound up that he takes Mick to his cabin and Mick loses his virginity to Jake. Jake calls him beautiful and is tender. Mick’s dream has come true.
The boat sails on, glides across the sea with Mick at the helm, under Jake’s arm and on top of the world.
Luke tells Mick that Jake is just using him, but Mick is not listening.
Jake soon starts to turn his attentions back to Luke, discarding Mick. When Jake finds Mick looking at his screenplay he sacks him from his admin job and replaces him with Luke. Now only Luke is allowed in Jake’s cabin. Mick is confused; he thought he and Jake were an item.
John and Paul try to console Mick, welcoming him to the real world. But it is not helping.
The boys have an afternoon off on a deserted beach. Jake watches them from the boat as they sunbathe. As well as Luke, Paul is now feeling uneasy about Jake and the way he spies and creeps around, touches them. Mick still stands up for Jake and spurns Luke’s offers to talk about it. Luke wants to show Mick something.
At night, Luke takes Mick up into the deck where they can see down into Jake’s cabin through the skylight. Mike sees Jake reading his own screenplay and masturbating over a photo of Luke. They boys don’t know what his means, but they don’t like it.
The mood on the boat has changed and everyone seems to live in fear of Jake and his moods.
John and Jake return from a private climbing trip, and John has been injured. Alone with the other boys, John admits that he and Jake were having sex when he blacked out, hit his head, or was hit. Mick admits that there is something going on with Jake and they need to be on their guard. John thinks he is over-reacting.
Mick is realising that Jake is not the one, that his dream is crushed. He sits alone at dawn watching the sunrise and is, to his surprise, comforted by Luke.
Mick and Luke spend time alone. In a heart to heart Mick questions Luke’s motives, knowing the Luke is really straight. Luke is as confused as Mick is, he doesn’t know what he wants. These two lost boys comfort each other and that comfort leads to sex. Afterwards they are still unsure what is going on. On the way back to the boat they are elated to see a dolphin apparently talking to the Andreas II, and then crushed to see Jake’s furious reaction at catching them laughing together.
Jake now hears the boy’s voices in his head, mocking him with words like pieces of shattered memories. He stumbles to his cabin clutching some of Luke’s clothes, and photos of the boys and Andreas. Crying and curled up, his demons are circling ever closer to him and he can’t fight them off.
Sailing. The wind is up and there is a swell. All hands are on deck. John is ribbing Mick about his ‘fling’ with Luke, but Mick still has hopes for him and Jake. These start to fade when Jake gives Paul reckless orders, resulting in Paul falling overboard, Luke and John work together to bring the boat around as Mick dives in to rescue Paul.
Nikos is furious, Jake is unable to explain himself and here is no doubt now that there is something seriously wrong.
Act three: Mick is tidying the ropes when he hears Nikos and Jake in the cabin below; looking in he hears Nikos say that Jake promised ‘no more accidents’ and hears Jake call Nikos ‘Papa.’
Jake starts cutting up his photos of the boys and gouging out Luke’s eyes from his picture, he doesn’t even notice that the scissors are cutting into his own hand.
Jake sends Nikos and Mick ashore and demands that Paul and John take the boat out to sea. In his cabin, Jake tries to seduce Luke but Luke wriggles out of his obligation. He is needed on deck. Jake compares an image of Andreas (dead) to one of Luke and makes up his mind.
Ashore, Mick manages to get Nikos to tell him about the accident 13 years ago: Jake and Andreas were together on Nikos’ boat when the boat crashed and Andreas died. Jake promised to replace the boat. Mick discovers that each of the four boys has a quality also found in Andreas and he thinks he knows what Jake is planning. Nikos has gone so Mick must race the dinghy back to the boat.
Mick sneaks into Jake’s cabin and finds the manuscript. He realises that Jake is trying to live some kind of fantasy. Jake catches him, bringing Luke with him. Mick challenges Jake saying there is no way he can expect one of the four boys to be a replacement Andreas. There is no one ‘right’ person. The boat is in trouble, Luke is trapped and Jake is unhinged, Mick must distract him so Luke can escape and help save the boat. Mick turns, goes against everything he used to stand for and plays up to Jake, offering his body gratuitously. Luke escapes as Jake rises to the bait, starts to strip Mick, plays along… and then suddenly kicks Mick to the ground and storms out to live out his full fantasy, locking Mick in the cabin.
On deck, Jake throws Paul overboard, he knocks John out and starts to try and assault Luke at the helm. He ties Luke to the wheel and points the boat towards the rocks in a replay of the accident. But Mick escapes the cabin through the skylight, and battles with Jake at the helm. During the fight Mick is injured, but he manages to win, finally firing a flare at Jake which knocks him out. Mick manages to untie Luke and steer the boat away from the rocks just in time.
Nikos arrives with the local authorities and Paul, who has been rescued, and Jake is taken away as the boys come to terms with what just happened.
At an island police station they learn that Jake has been charged with assault, and they boys will need to stay around for some weeks to give evidence. But that’s ok, they have Nikos and the boat and so set off for some quiet time. Jake watches the boat and ‘his’ boys sailing away without him.
Nikos is happy with his boat, that part of Jake’s promise is fulfilled. John wonders what life back in London will be like, and Mick says he feels able to deal with his stalker now, and that he hasn’t found his mister Right, but he has found Luke, who will do for now.
Back in London at the swimming pool, Mick, John, Paul and Luke mess around together in the water; four friends hanging out, being themselves and healing their individual wounds. They line up for a race. Mick is laughing and happy until Luke comments to him: ‘nice trunks.’
Jack Rousseau is an award-winning journalist and broadcaster based in the UK. He has over 25 years experience writing and producing documentaries and current affairs programmes. He began writing screenplays five years ago.
The novelist James Collins began writing musicals (books, lyrics and scores), all performed on the London Fringe and elsewhere, which have variously won him an Arts Council Award for creativity and a Vivian Ellis Award nomination. He has also written the librettos and scores of a number of choral works, the scripts and music of several reviews, and has composed and performed numerous cabaret pieces.
Having moved several years ago to a small Greek island with little opportunity for music on a grand scale, he has written four novels and two travel books and regularly writes reviews, articles and blogs for a variety of websites, including his own. He is a regular contributor of quirky items in the island’s local newspaper.
“Other People’s Dreams” is their second collaboration. Their first, “Shocking the Donkeys” is currently in development, and they are now working on a slew of several other feature-length projects, one on commission.
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Other People’s Dreams
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3/6/2012 7:34:37 AM
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