Screenwriter’s Notebook

Screen Shot 2013-06-23 at 8.59.16 PMMy screenplay’s in the news. Or rather, its main theme is.

One of my favorite journalists, Sarah Lyall of The New York Times, published an interesting piece today on primogeniture in Britain. Here’s the link to her article, “Son and Heir? In Britain, Daughters Cry No Fair.”

She leads in with DOWNTON ABBEY, but she could just as well have led in with Tabou. If only my novel cycle were a hit TV series!

Primogeniture is the fusty old legal rule of sole male inheritance of titles, property and chattel in the paternal bloodline. Primogeniture is the reason Vita Sackville-West never inherited Knole. It’s the reason Lily de Gramont wasn’t a prince like her grandfather–or at least a duke, like all the other men in her family. And it’s the reason why I’d never be a controlling owner of my own family business in the UK, because I’m adopted.

Primogeniture: proof that consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.

–After an epigram from Oscar Wilde


Well, It’s alive and well in England, but in Scotland, at least a portion of the estate must be left to all legitimate children born in wedlock.

Screen Shot 2013-06-23 at 8.56.59 PMAnd why care? Because the rot of primogeniture is at the core of my ghost story, SCOTCH VERDICT, nominated for best unproduced screenplay next month at the Madrid International Film Festival. It’s a very sexy Napoleonic mystery set in Bombay 1796 and Edinburgh 1811, based on a true trial story. With a shocking twist that will knock your socks off. If and when it’s produced, that is.

The award winner will be announced July 6th. Come join me and my fellow screenwriters for a great evening of film and laurels and libations in Madrid.

Meanwhile, check out the poster by the talented British-born, Hollywood-based production designer, Robert de Vico, who’s creating the visual treatment. Talk about a thriving imagination! So lucky to have him on my team…

Ever wondered if Tabou might be the next DOWNTON ABBEY? If SCOTCH VERDICT is the next CRYING GAME?


Let’s find out. Next stop: Madrid.


With a feature film produced in 2012, award-winning screenwriter Suzanne Stroh’s period drama Scotch Verdict is in development at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Suzanne hails from Michigan, where her family brewed Stroh’s beer for five generations. She lives with her family in the Virginia countryside.

4 thoughts on “Screenwriter’s Notebook

    1. Colette would have been a hard core yoga teacher. And I bet she’d be first in line to play a noble Italian in exile, an illusionist in 1796 with a penchant for cards. But somebody please tell her, no way I’m letting her rewrite! 🙂

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