FEEDBACK ON “THE JOSEPHUS CONSPIRACY” -Screenplay & Web Series Festival

You have a great opening where we are thrust into the life of a woman whom we aren’t sure is just agoraphobic, a hermit or is hiding from someone. We follow her routine in hopes that eventually the answer will be revealed. The description is done so well that it seems you are in the space with her and experiencing everything she’s doing. It goes straight to the action when she leaves her apartment and is being chased.

There’s a good hook, created by the videos she has access to from various places in the world. Immediately we’re questioning what those scanners are? Why they are being used and why are those particular people flashing red? What does the red mean, how does Mag’s relate to the images she’s seeing and in fact how does she have access to it? All these questions generated gives you the writer, enough room to answer these questions over the course of the series and keep reeling the audience along.

Academy Nicholl’s Comments 2020

THE JOSEPHUS CONSPIRACY. A science fiction thriller about a hacker name MAGS who works with the Israeli government to fight back against her power-obsessed uncle, HAYWARD. Through a bio-metric wafer, Hayward has found a way to control entire countries by making everyone reliant on his company. The premise is original and touches upon relevant issues such as technology, capitalism, and religion. The story has high stakes and strong conflict. The structure of the narrative, however, could use a little more finessing. In the current draft, the flashbacks break up the flow of action which makes the plot feel disjointed and more challenging to follow. That being said, the story has high stakes and the action becomes increasingly tense, particularly towards the end, when Hayward decides to start bombing Israel.

The writing has a strong voice and specific vision. The characters are intriguing. Mag is a hacker who goes against her uncle even if it means risking her life. The secondary characters, like INSPECTOR ERAS and BRANDON add interest and texture to the story. Mag’s uncle HAYWARD proves to be a dangerous adversary who generates intense conflict.

COVERAGE ON “THE JOSEPHUS CONSPIRACY” by the Chicago Screenplay Awards 2020

The title The Josephus Conspiracy inherently promises intrigue and action, and this script delivers on both fronts. This is a narrative that spans the globe and has a diverse cast of colorful characters. This is certainly a script that demands audience attention to keep up with all the twists and turns of the plot, but it manages to be a plot-focused story without sacrificing interesting characters with great motivations and original personalities.

Ultimately it is the concept and the mystery at the heart of this story that makes it so compelling. Uncovering this conspiracy with life or death stakes really makes the pages fly by, and the various settings act as a palette cleanser, keeping things fresh. It’s a difficult balance to strike between dripping out information and stringing an audience along with mysterious elements. The script largely does this successfully, but the start could use some clarification. Even just spending time in a character’s perspective and mindset for a scene would alleviate a lot of the directionless feeling I experienced early on. On the whole, this is a wildly inventive idea with a characters and plot points that feel real and original. The pacing is sharp and the scope epic. With all these elements at play, I couldn’t help have a good time with The Josephus Conspiracy.

More coverage…

The script has a number of interesting components. One of the stand out aspects is the topical nature of the subject matter. Taking a “ripped from the headlines” approach, the story dramatizes the very real concerns and fears surrounding the world of the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence. As both the setting and the source of the dramatic question in play, the writer smartly focuses on the humans working from both corners of the conflict in this particular story — steering clear of the technological jargon and specifics and instead focusing on Mags et al’s objectives keeps the audience more engaged in the story and its outcome. Mags, as the protagonist, is like a friendlier version of the GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO; as someone incredibly competent but with a somewhat spiky demeanor, Mags is an interesting main character and has some dimension in which an actor could root a strong performance.

-Reviewer January 2019

Coverage by a reviewer….

“A clever computer programmer discovers a plot to strip people of their freedom in the name of security and must bring down her uncle’s company to stop it. The action (in the story) makes a solid case for the means to get consumers to gradually accept the introduction of increasingly invasive technologies into their lives. The Dyrette system helps to manage hacking threats, personalized VR systems helps take the frustration out of shopping, and everyone loves the idea of the health benefits of constant monitoring, giving most people good reason to believe that Hayward is a fundamentally good company. The philosophical debate that this produces, pitting security against freedom, is where this script is at its strongest. Mags efforts to protect people like her friends from hacking has led them to put trust into a system that is fundamentally corrupt. The twist when Kimbareta reveals that he is on her side serves well in building tension into the climax, simultaneously exposing their insurrection because of his own Hayward implant. The eager buy-in from people at the end, happy to compromise their freedom out of fear of a mysterious outside threat, ends the story with a solid statement on the fragility of individuality in a dangerous world.”