Sunday, November 15, 2020

Joy Cheriel Brown and her auto-biographical Screenplay N.O.S are featured: “Just Kiss Me So I Can Wake Up!”

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Joy Cheriel Brown and her auto-biographical Screenplay N.O.S are featured:  

“Just Kiss Me So I Can Wake Up!”

Name of screenplay? And were there other names you considered that you would like to share with us?
The name of the script is N.O.S. Previously the name was too on the nose. It was called Take Your Medicine. (Above Left: Joy Cheriel Brown in September of 2020)

What is the date you began writing this screenplay and the date when you completely finished the piece of fiction? I actually wrote the first draft of this script as a contender for my thesis project in college back in 2004. However, I wanted to make sure that I had the right location for it, so I decided to make another film ("Figment" ended up becoming my thesis project, which is available on YouTube: 

I put the script away and didn't find it again until 2012, which was actually a huge synchronicity because I had decided to make my third short film, and I had moved since then and everything, and I was going through a container and found the original draft from college. I went on to do 9 more drafts of it. We shot draft 10 of N.O.S. N.O.S. is actually a true story. It is based on my first hospitalization for psychosis when I was 18 in 1999.

Where did you do most of your writing? And please describe in detail. I have a home office where I do most of my writing. When I moved into my current house, I decided to use the master bedroom as my office, and I sleep in one of the other bedrooms. 

I have a small couch in my office; my desk, computer, and printer; a bookcase with a ton of books; and a really old TV that is so old that it has a VHS player. I also tend to write in my living room when I get tired of my office; and oftentimes I work at Barnes and Noble during the research part, but actual scenes get written in my house.

What were your writing habits while writing this screenplay - did you drink something as you wrote, listen to music, write in pen and paper, directly on laptop; specific time of day? I tend to like to do most of my writing at night once it has gotten dark outside. Also, I usually outline everything in a spiral notebook, and usually the first draft gets written in a different spiral notebook, every other draft gets done in Movie Magic Screenwriter, my preferred software of choice. (Above Left: Felicia Sabree as Chelsea)

What is the summary of your screenplay? I was hospitalized for psychosis in 1999 for 5 days, and the whole time I was trying to figure out why I was there and how I could get out. So that's what N.O.S. is about. I was able to fit a lot of issues concisely into the story without losing focus that it's about a young woman trying to understand what's wrong with her and return to normalcy. (Scott Duvall as Nelson)

Please include just one excerpt.  This one excerpt can be as short or as long as you prefer. This is page 1 (it lost its formatting when I copied and pasted; also it should be noted that because this is the shooting script, and I directed it myself, I included notes like Day #1):



[Day #1]

A hot summer day.  CHELSEA, an 18-year-old Black girl-- sweaty and frantic-- pounds on the door of the old, but upkept house.


Open the door!  Tatum!  I made it!  I finally made it.

NELSON, an 20-year-old White guy, opens the door, confused and bewildered.


Tatum's not home.  He's in school.


You're lying to me.  I know he's here.

She steps back and looks at the upstairs windows.


Tatum!  Come to the door!  I made it!  I proved that I love you.


Chelsea, where's your car?


I walked.


But that's like 10 miles.


I know.  But I saved everybody and now I have to prove to Tatum that I love him so I walked.


What are you talking about?

Chelsea thinks for a second.  Her breathing comes with short quick breaths.  She wipes her forehead.


Are you okay?


(yells to sky)

Just kiss me so I can wake up!

Why is this excerpt so emotional for you as a writer to write?  And can you describe your own emotional experience of writing this specific excerpt? *and humor is one of many emotions. Well, this scene is actually a representation of the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me. Some of the things I (Chelsea-- I changed the name from Joy to Chelsea), Chelsea, says are actually kinda funny, but overall it is really sad because you can tell she's out of her mind and the person with her, which is just Nelson on page 1, doesn't know what to do.

Were there any deletions from this excerpt that you can share with us? And can you please include a photo of your marked up rough drafts of this excerpt? Here they are. This is from Draft 1:

Script was written in Fall 2004 while attending Howard University. Notes written in August 2011.

Rewrite.  Take out the things we can't see.

Write tighter.  Use an economy of words.



Chelsea opens her eyes and takes in her surroundings around her.  She finds herself to be on a bed in what appears to be a hospital room.



Chelsea screams while what appears to be nurses hold her down and a doctor injects a needle into her arm.


Chelsea rubs her eyes and sits up on the bed.  She is fully dressed in regular street clothes, but she still doesn't recognize her surroundings.  The other bed in the room is empty.

She sits on the edge of her bed, facing the window, and notices a duffel bag sitting in the chair.  Goes over to it.  Opens it, and inspects the bags contents.  There are clothes, pajamas, a toothbrush and toothpaste, comb and brush, hair gel and a few other toiletries such as deodorant.

Chelsea closes the bag and leaves the room.


Chelsea comes out of the room.  She notices other doors across from her.  A woman named EVA, wearing street clothes and a tattered bathrobe with frazzled hair, walks past her, mumbling to herself adlib (incoherent babble about killing and protecting herself from

being killed and such things).

Actually write out Eva's dialogue.  Rename her Mala.

As Chelsea passes her, EVA gives Chelsea the deadliest look anyone has ever seen.  Chelsea shutters and makes her way to the "receptionist" station that up ahead even faster.


Director's note: Light the nurses station so that it looks heavenly and angelic.

Upon closer inspection, it can be seen that what looks like a receptionist station from far away, actually has nurses working at it. They're all wearing what looks like white lab coats.  The area where the nurses station is located is actually divided up into other sections-- a place to eat and visit, an area for arts and crafts and group meetings, and a room for listening to music across from that.

Has this screenplay been made into a film? And if NOT which actors would you like to portray your characters in this screenplay? Yes. It has. Originally there was another actress cast as Chelsea, but it took several years to get the film made, so by then, the original actress was no longer interested. On one of the last days of auditions, a young woman entered, Felicia Sabree, who was actually auditioning to play the nurse. But she looked just like I did when I was younger, so I asked her to read for the lead as well, Chelsea, and she nailed it and got the part. 

How many pages?  What does that equate to how long the film would be? The final script is 22 pages (but the last page only has writing on the first few lines of the page). The entire film is 21 minutes and 25 seconds.

Anything you would like to add?  I have answered the questions below for your blog about my short film, N.O.S., which is based on my first hospitalization for psychosis when I was 18-years-old. 

The film is available on Amazon Prime and here is the link. I think readers would love to actually be able to check out the film:

Cast and Crew Information

Here is the link if readers want to know about upcoming projects. They can join the mailing list


Joy Cheriel Brown is an accomplished filmmaker, with an MFA in creative writing from National University and a bachelor’s degree from Howard University, where she studied film and English and graduated summa cum laude.

        Joy is the founder of Third Person Omniscient Productions, a production company whose mission it is to produce powerful, meaningful, thought-provoking movies, plays, and television shows that enlighten audiences about the human condition, shed light on the meaning of life, and raise the collective consciousness. Her first feature film is currently in development by her production company.


She has served as a screenwriting mentor for the DC Shorts Filmmaking Mentor Series and a panelist for the screenwriting panel at the Prince George’s Arts and Humanities Council’s Festival of Literary Arts, and she writes for Script Magazine and other media outlets. 

        She is also the author of “The Secret of Life Through Screenwriting: How to Use the Law of Attraction to Structure Your Screenplay, Create Characters, and Find Meaning in Your Script,” which is available on Amazon.


Furthermore, her short film, N.O.S., was acquired by ShortsTV and is also available on Amazon Prime. 

        In 2019, she produced her stage play, Stuck, for the Washington, DC Capital Fringe Festival, and received Playwright of the Year from ACHI Magazine.

1 comment:

  1. This is an interesting article. I enjoyed learning about Joy's screenplay.