Scene: The writers room in Studio 12 in Universal Studios, where the best writers in the business are scripting the latest blockbuster, “Untitled” a movie about colonial America.
Frank Otto – Director of the movie
Darnell Washington – Head writer
Terry Terence – 2nd writer
Perry Everard – 3rd writer
Viktor Svedberg – College intern shadowing Darnell
Frank Otto: Okay guys, we’ve got a deadline coming up in a couple days, we have to get this next part written. The scene is set in Colonial Virginia, in 1607.
Terry Terence: Isn’t that when settlers first settled in Jamestown?
Darnell Washington: Yeah, there were 104 settlers on the three ships that landed in Virginia. They were called The Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery.
Perry Everard: Ok, so we run with that. The movie can start with the first settler coming off the boat, and deciding that they would settle in Jamestown.
TT: Okay, sounds good. We can use Captain John Smith, he was the man who led the expedition.
Viktor Svedberg: Sorry to interrupt, sir, but wouldn’t a great idea for the scene following the people of Jamestown during the Starving Time of 1610?
DW: What is the Starving Time?
VS: It was during the winter of 1609-1610. Around 3/4 of the population died due to starvation. People were forced to eat all sorts of animals, and some even resorted to eating dead loved ones.
PE: Eww, gross.
DW: No, that is a great idea!
VS: Really? Thanks!
DW: Of course, we can write it from the perspective of one of the townspeople. They watch everyone they know either die from starvation or go crazy and start eating people.
TT: Actually, I don’t think that many people ate other people…
DW: Doesn’t matter, this will make it more dramatic. We have to make it more interesting. Viktor, how did the Starving Time end?
VS: You’re asking me?
DW: Yes, that’s why I said Viktor. There isn’t anyone else by that name here.
VS: Right… Anyway, John Smith whips the entire colony into shape. He established the ideal of “work or starve”. If a colonist wanted to eat, he had to work farming at least 4 hours a day.
PE: Jeez, and I thought Frank was bad!
FO: (From afar) WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?
PE: Nothing, boss.
TT: Back on point guys. So for the end of the starving time, can we have John Smith sitting at the edge of town, looking on at all the starving people, thinking, “I need to do something, I can’t just let these people starve!!”
DW: Yeah, that’s great. What else do you guys know about Jamestown?
PE: Well, according to google, the General Assembly in Jamestown was the first representative assembly in the New World.
DW: New World?
TT: Jesus man, don’t you remember anything from high school U.S. History Class? New World was the term for America before it officially became America.
DW: Riiggghhhtttt, knew that. Just testing you.
PE: Sureee, anyway, the General Assembly was formed because the Virginia Company, the company that chartered the voyage to Jamestown, ordered the colonists to create a uniform government in all of Virginia.
DW: How does that help us? That doesn’t play into this story at all. Come on man! Gimme something useful.
PE: (under his breath) Someone’s in a bad mood today.
DW: Did you say something?
PE: Nothing at all.
TT: I have something. John Rolfe discovered a way of cultivating tobacco, and it became the main , if not only, source of income for most people in Jamestown.
Dw: Okay that’s good. We can work that into John Smith’s getting the colonists back into shape.
FO: Alright guys, I think that’s enough work for today. Wrap for lunch!
(Image in comments)
Credit: The New York Public Library, Mid-Manhattan Library Picture collection; published 1876