Local screenwriter hopes the next step will be the Oscars | Richmond Free Press


Henry K. Myers makes every amateur screenwriter’s dream come true: to see his words turned into a movie.

The 64-year-old accountant and assistant professor of English at two area community colleges is now awaiting the release of a film version of “Jubilee Nation,” a political thriller he directed last year on his home computer.

The producer is WILDsound Festival, which hosts screenwriting, music and photography competitions and film festivals, and has selected its screenplay from the hundreds that have been submitted, he said.

“They told me it needs to be finished this month,” Myers said, adding that WILDsound was planning to show it at other film festivals.

The finished video will feature stills and chained cartoons to illustrate the action as the cast read the lines, he said.

As Mr. Myers describes it, his screenplay is about “a political conspiracy unfolding in the 1960s in an all-black nation” that was created out of several southern states in the aftermath of the Civil War.

The Henrico County resident said he wanted to imagine what it would be like to live in a place in the United States where blacks were dominant and whites were the minority and held the lowest positions.

“This is what the world could look like if it was reimagined through an alternate historical lens,” he said.

He called it an answer to the question of what would have happened if post-civil war racial oppression and discrimination had been erased.

He said the hero was a black journalist who, with the help of his white servant, “uncovers and foils a plot by white conspirators to overthrow the government”. The plot includes the exposure of the faults of the journalist and his assistant.

Mr Myers said he also created a ‘I’ve never seen onscreen before’ lead character, a rich and courteous black man who has all the privileges but continues to make his own way. In his screenplay, the main character is a descendant of the founders of the black nation who “is still very human and a man of his time,” he said.

Mr Myers said he got interested in screenwriting by taking a college course that offered an introduction to a range of writing, including films. He found he had a knack for it.

His previous shorts, “Night Heat” and “Naked to the Night,” won awards in online scriptwriting contests. The Richmond International Film Festival has named “Night Heat” as a semi-finalist in its 2019 Screenplay Competition.

It’s pretty exhilarating for a former high school dropout who was changed by the military.

At 17, Myers said he was looking to change his life by joining the Air Force, where he became an aircraft mechanic. He also got his GED while in the military and said he became a trainer of new mechanics and got into finance.

Although only a sergeant, he was so respected for his work that the Air Force promoted him to a position previously reserved for officers only, director of resource management for the Community College of the Air Force, a- he declared.

After 13 years, he left the military, returned to the Richmond area, and became an accountant and freelance accountant, helping businesses and individuals keep track of their money and taxes.

After more than 30 years in the field, Mr. Myers has sought to open a new chapter. While retaining some of his accounting clients, the Grand Canyon University graduate began taking writing classes. He said he also learned a lot about screenplays and films while working at the Virginia Film Office. He then landed assistant positions at John Tyler and Reynolds Community Colleges.

And he turned to screenwriting. He said he was always bubbling over with ideas for the next project. Like all screenwriters, he hopes one day “I’ll be at the Oscars to accept the Oscar for best screenplay.”

Until then, he plans to spend as much time as possible transforming his next concept into the material the movies are made of.


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