Winning Fan Fiction Screenplay – ROCKETEERS, by Gil Saint

Watch the August 2017 Winning FAN FICTION Screenplay.

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Family.

Based on the 1991 movie “The Rocketeer”. The grandson of a high-flying hero will do anything to live up to his grandfather’s legacy, including battling a new global threat. The odds may be against him, but he’s got a secret weapon: a prototype jetpack that’s destined to make him a legend.


Narrator: Hugh Ritchie
Charlie: Nick Wicht
Lex: Julia Baldwin
Valentina: Alicia Payne
Tour Guide: Beck Lloyd
Bodyguard: David Occhipinti
Air Traffic Guy: Michael Lake

Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay about?

In the spirit of something like TRON: Legacy or Jurassic World, ROCKETEERS is a modern day “legacy-quel” that pays tribute to its source material, but takes the mythos in an exciting new direction. It’s a passing-of-the-torch from the jazzy 30’s world depicted in the original 1991 Rocketeer movie… to what the golden age hero might look like in today’s high-tech universe. My story follows Charlie Secord, a thief with a good heart who will do anything to protect his grandfather’s heroic legacy — that of Cliff Secord, the original Rocketeer. Yes, the jetpack doesn’t fall far from the tree, as we see Charlie forced into taking up the mantle of becoming the Rocketeer when a frightening new global threat emerges with designs on ruling the skies. Charlie may be in over his head, but he won’t have to battle evil alone… hence the title, ROCKETEERS. The ‘s’ -the pluralization of that word- is meaningful in more ways than one.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Hopefully, like its blockbuster predecessor, it’s a Family Action/Adventure.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Of all of Disney’s live action fare from the 80’s and 90’s, I firmly believe The Rocketeer is the most deserving of a sequel. Aside from the fact that I believe he’d feel right at home in the superhero movie landscape –especially with the homegrown, All-American Steve Rogers defending the multiplex for the MCU; a square-jawed Cliff Secord type– I think the universe of The Rocketeer is ripe for re-discovery and exploration. The original movie is a classic, no doubt, but it’s really a comedic look at the classic hero’s origin story. We’ve seen him learn to fly and juggle his secret identity with his masked one, with kind of a wink and a smile. But we’ve also seen that now in countless other superhero movies. What excites me is the possibility of seeing this “aw shucks” hero through the lens of a modern day action film; seeing him go up against other high-flying villains that are, perhaps, villains better suited for a Liam Neeson actioner, and not a family film. How does that affect the tone of The Rocketeer when, yes, we believe he could be in real mortal danger? And yes, we’ve seen him in the golden age of zeppelins and biplanes. Now let’s see him survive high-stakes threats in an age of drones and stealth military tech wonders and power-mad dictators. And, what they could achieve with the modest optical FX of the 90s was great, but how cool would it be to see The Rocketeer in an ILM-style action sequence with updated VFX?? I get a big, goofy grin on my face just thinking about how cool it would all look. Look out, Iron Man! This Rocketeer would straight up OWN aerial action sequences.

How would you describe this script in two words?

As you can probably tell, brevity is not my strong suit. Two words…. aw jeez… how about: ROCKETEER. INSANITY.

What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

I’m an action and sci-fi nut, but funny enough, the movie I’ve probably watched the most is ED WOOD. I love watching movies about making movies, and I also am something of a Tim Burton apologist. I used to be a Tim Burton defender, now I’m an apologist. It’s not easy these days for us Burton fans. Well, before Alice and all that, he made what might be the best movie about making a movie ever made… ED WOOD. It’s Depp in his prime before he started annoying people. It’s touching, uplifting, humanizing… and it’s honestly the funniest movie I’ve ever seen. I’d put it above Spinal Tap for best comedy movie, no joke. The late, great Martin Landau powers the movie with an all-timer performance as Bela Lugosi. That accent. Every line out of his mouth is a quotable gem. And when I’m feeling down, or creatively empty, the movie inspires me. It reminds me of everything I love about movies and the creative process in general. It teaches me to rise above the odds, to shake off the hate and second thoughts. It makes me want to create. Plus, it’s got gorgeous black-and-white cinematography and an awesomely gothy score. Runner-up is PUMPKINHEAD.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I’ve honestly been toying with this story for 26 years. Ever since I saw the first Rocketeer in the theaters back in ’91, I was imagining a sequel. I kept holding out hope that Disney would make one, but they never did. I scribbled little notes here and there, I’d put it down, I’d pick it up, and back down again. It was only recently, in the last year, that I sat down and made myself streamline the ideas and turn it into a screenplay. Once I got writing, I cranked it out over a couple of weekends; full days of writing – mornings for new stuff, afternoons for rewrites.

How many stories have you written?

Several. I don’t have an exact number thanks to all the false starts, but it’s I’m sure it’s up there. I have stories I keep going back to, and I have inklings of ideas for things all the time. Let’s guesstimate that it’s between five real stories and about a zillion fragments of others.

What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

Man, this is tough. It’s not my favorite, but you know what song I listen to A LOT? “Epic” by Faith No More. When those drums kick in, it gets me so pumped up, I feel like steam shoots out of my ears like a real life Looney Tune, and I bounce around the city all day after I hear it. I feel like I could run through a wall, or take on the world, or at least mosh a bit and not be self-conscious about it.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

I’m my own worst enemy. My biggest obstacle is my stupid mind. My first instinct is to second guess everything I put on the page. “Is it good enough?” “Will people think this is cool?” “Does this make sense?” I have to fight those demons back every page, and remind myself that I’m writing for me. No one else. Yes, it’s good to know your audience and all that, but you have to please yourself first and foremost. If you yourself like it, chances are others like you will enjoy it too. Once I get over that little voice, the scenes geyser out. Movie magic happens.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Animals – especially, my cat. I’ll keep his identity a secret, but his nickname is Boo Man. He’s freakin’ adorable. I also am an avid movie watcher. I am passionate about seeing film and discussing it; I average 1 to 2 trips to the theater a week. I like to see everything on THE BIGGEST SCREEN POSSIBLE. Big releases, indies, classics. Specialty screenings are my favorite. I recently saw a 35mm print of the original Robocop on the big screen and it was a transcendent experience. The audience was cheering and hollering at every classic scene, it was like an interactive Robocop rock concert. “Dead or alive, you’re coming with me!” APPLAUSE. “Your move, creep!” DOUBLE APPLAUSE. I also pretend I’m interested in cooking, but I think I’m more interested in eating.

You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?

So far, so good. They’ve made submitting easy, and I’m extremely grateful for that.

What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

Fan Fiction Festival seemed liked the premier fest for fan-driven stories, so it felt like an organic choice. I wanted the script to find an audience of like-minded creators and fans that not only celebrate the properties they love, but create within those worlds as well. I’m happy your fest exists, honestly; it seems like fan fiction stuff is hard to get out there, so thank you for doing the good work. In terms of feedback, I’m always gobsmacked anytime anyone likes anything I do, so I was flattered by my reader’s kind remarks and warm reaction to the script. I also thought he was gentleman, and phrased his constructive criticism in a very polite manner. If you’re reading this now, Mystery Reader Man, thank you for that.


Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

Movie Review: CAPTAIN AMERICA, 2011

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Movie Reviews

Director: Joe Johnston

Starring: Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Samuel L. Jackson, Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci, Hayley Atwell, Natalie Dormer, Richard Armitage, Dominic Cooper

Review by Mark Engberg


After being deemed unfit for military service during WWII, Steve Rogers (Evans) volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into Captain America, the Sentinel of Liberty — a superhero dedicated to defending America’s ideals. His first mission: to combat the Nazi propaganda effort headed by Johann Schmidt (Weaving), also known as the Red Skull.


Check your thesaurus for the word “patriotic” and you will find that every synonym perfectly typifies the character of Captain America.

“Patriotic: Chauvinistic, devoted, dedicated, dutiful, jingoistic, nationalistic, statesmanlike, zealous.”

Yup, that’s him, all right. But chauvinistic? No, Chris Evans’ rendition of the 1941 comic book icon is too much of a sensitive and caring male superhero to be considered a chauvinist.

In an age when political pressures stalled the direct involvement of women in the military, new recruit Steve Rogers maintains persistent and loyal eye contact with his female superior, SSR officer Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). And he is even more faithful to his fellow Brooklyn buddy, Sgt. Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan).

As far as personality goes, he’s a kinder, gentler Captain America.But those familiar with the history of this superhero know that this is only the tip of the iceberg (get it, fans?). This is a humble beginning of the character, who was created by legendary Marvel Comic gods Joe Simon and Jack Kirby seventy years ago in order to stir up some fervid patriotism among the nation’s children during World War II.

Through seven hard decades, Captain America has suffered imprisonment, torture, suspended animation, degradation, and even death. In terms of pop media, he actually suffered a fate worse than that when WWII ended: People began to forget about his character and he seemingly vanished in the 1950’s. It wasn’t until March of 1964, when his frozen carcass was found in a floating iceberg, that he resurfaced as the leader of The Avengers.
At first, I rejected the studios’ choice to cast 30-year-old Chris Evans as the celebrated hero. For one thing, he already played Johnny Storm, a.k.a. The Human Torch in “The Fantastic Four.” Any Marvel fanboy who says that’s insignificant is lying. Secondly, I always envisioned the time-honored Captain as an older and wiser soldier; someone who could embody the leadership of John Wayne, the campy loyalty of the G.I. Joe team, and the athletic prowess of Batman.

In all honesty, I was thinking Brad Pitt would be perfect for the part. His memorable portrayal of Lieutenant Aldo Raine in Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” was already an R-rated, masochist Captain America who carved swastikas in the bad guys’ foreheads. George Clooney could have been another viable candidate if he had not humiliated himself in 1997 with “Batman and Robin”.

The logic behind these casting choices relates to the fact that the Captain America of today has been through hell. Like his country’s perpetually diminishing respect around the globe, this hero has survived insult and onslaught. Therefore, it should be a tough and seasoned veteran handling the performance of this great American warrior.

But that’s not what “The First Avenger” is about. These are his formative adventures from long ago, when military colonels were funny like Tommy Lee Jones and American ideology was at its zenith before we went crazy with power in Southeast Asia. Johnston’s introduction to this saga seems to catch the Captain in his most vulnerable and obedient years. Maybe we’ll get to see him become more of the dynamic leader he was always destined to be in “The Avengers”, which will place the period piece character into a modern time frame.

Tommy Lee Jones is in his comfort zone as the intimidating Colonel Chester Phillips. Like Agent K in “Men in Black” or Sam Gerard in “The Fugitive”, Phillips has a way of barking orders in a condescending yet subtle manner that depicts humor as well as bravado. His alliance with Dr. Abraham Erskine (the seemingly omnipresent Stanley Tucci) creates the country first-and-only “super-soldier” when the 90-pound Rogers is injected with super-serum and lit up with vita-rays.

The all-time accountable villain actor Hugo Weaving wears his best nasty face (literally) to play Nazi officer Johann Schmidt, who eventually will become the Red Skull. He and his men steal a mysterious cubic prism from a Norwegian castle early in the story.

Naturally, this “jewel of Odin’s treasure room” is merely a MacGuffin used to motivate the mad scientist villain towards his destructive goal. Since Weaving is so well versed as a diabolical supervillain, it’s only naturally to cast Toby Jones as his sniveling sidekick. Jones, who marvels in these kinds of roles (he played Karl Rove and Swifty Lazar in the same year), brings a simpering Renfield quality to Weaving’s Nazi Dracula.

Like Johnston’s underappreciated previous action flick, “The Rocketeer” (1991), the film has a ton of tight action sequences that are presented in a much more discernible and entertaining way, rather than the contemporary blockbusters (cough, cough, Transformers). In other words, you can actually follow the action and catch your breath between the explosions because there is an unfolding storyline.

Even more appealing is the fact that these action/chase sequences are evenly timed out to honor the tradition of 1930’s film serials. Spielberg himself paid respect to the cliffhanger style of fragmented short movies when he made “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in 1982.

Chris Evans is no Indiana Jones, but the dramatic timing of action is not far away from those golden fight scenes. Modern action filmmakers could learn a thing or two from the pace of action in “Captain America”, instead of burying their audiences with overlong apocalyptic destruction of cities in 3-D.

Speaking of which, I saw this movie in 3-D and I would politely advise against it. The movie is great fun and about as cheesy as a Hasbro cartoon. But like every other action film I’ve seen since “Avatar”, the 3-D effects just aren’t worth the headache and diluted color palette that suffers in the transformation. Ever feel like you’ve been under a fluorescent light for two hours when you’re handing back your glasses? I do.

I didn’t see “X-Men: First Class” or “Green Lantern” so I can’t say “Captain America” is the best superhero movie of the summer. I can say that is an improvement for Marvel Studios after “Thor”, which was fine, if not a bit too cosmic and surreal. Fans won’t have to wait too long to catch either of these heroes again Joss Whedon unites them for “The Avengers” next year.

Now that we’ve all been briefed about Captain America’s past missions with “First Avenger”, we can determine what he can do for contemporary America today. Let’s have him start by saving the economy.

This late note is for those who have already seen the picture: SPOILER ALERT.

Is there anything funnier than the kid who gets thrown into the water by the fleeing bad guy? In all my life of watching action hero movies, I have never before seen an innocent bystander get thrown into the lake . . . WHO CAN ACTUALLY SWIM! This quick joke made me laugh out louder and harder than anything else I’ve seen this summer. I wonder if anyone else got the joke.

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