John Selby Screenplays
John wrote his first screenplay while studying creative writing for two semesters with William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) at Princeton. He later participated in the American Film Institute's early Director Intern program and was represented by Reese Halsey. Although he then left Hollywood for a career as a therapist, he has periodically written new screenplays. Below are some of John's best California scripts, awaiting a director's magic touch.
"Finding Juaquin" is the film version of John's Ojai novel Murrieta's Leap. Click on the title below to read the full feature screenplay. The other titles are available upon request from John's film agent. John is currently writing the miniseries scripts for his newest paired novels, High Heart and Higher Forces which tell two quite different versions of the same story.
This mystic coming-of-age adventure, drawn from Ojai's rich local history and the author's youthful adventures on his grandfather's ranch, intermingles a bank robbery and police shooting with young wild passion and mystic awakening. It delivers a unique exploration of the multiple realities young people often experience in the heat of conflict and love.
While living in Kauai, John worked passionately with the Hawaii Sovereignty movement. He wrote this screenplay with several leaders of that movement. The story exposes the explosive life and inner turmoils of a fourth-generation white landowner as he struggles to transform his family attitudes - and falls in love with a young woman who pushes him beyond his limits.
What would happen if a medical doctor loves his daughter who's dying of cancer so intensely, that he slips into an altered state and heals her? This groundbreaking Ojai tale blasts the film medium into raw mystic realms where science and spirit become enmeshed in a deep family drama and spiritual climax.
Written before the corona pandemic hit, this Santa Barbara-based romantic thriller exposes a white-collar corporate terrorist set to unleash a deadly virus - while an unlikely local guitar-maker hero and his long-lost high school girlfriend fight to save the world while caught in a deep emotional drama.
This is another of John's more ephemeral stories, roaming quite outside traditional genres - in which a renegade outlaw tries to hide out in an obscure Coastal California canyon, only to become entangled in a dangerous love triangle that pushes the romantic envelope with complex passions and surprises.
Author Note: Along with my current film projects, I also now want to bring to the fore 5 unusual screenplays that I wrote while living way out in north-shore Kauai. I grew up in the country and do my best breakthrough writing there. These feature scripts came to me out of the blue, one after the other, basically high-jacking my creative passion until completed
I admit that I'm crazy in love with these characters and transformation tales that came to me so powerfully in Kauai - but I never really shopped them in Hollywood because at the time, I was consumed with other projects demanding my full attention. So ... now seems to be the time to bring these unusual screenplays into production, to deliver unexpected uplift, insight and enjoyment to awaiting audiences.
Each of these dramatic themes explores timeless and universal human feelings, ambitions, compulsions and struggles. But the stories also go beyond dramatic genres in order to manifest what the muse of Kauai tends to encourage - pushing into deeper realms where imagination and spiritual insight, and the discovery of new ways of relating, have space to become an integral part of our otherwise highly-realistic human drama.
I'm a California fourth-generation central coast native, and these 5 stories are all odes to the living presence of the native land where we reside - highlighting local myths and attitudes and atmospheres to provide extra color and depth in the films.
I'm well aware that these productions will need a remarkable team in order to manifest. That's why I'm posting the screenplays upfront, so that from the beginning our shared intent is clear - to put money and fame in third and fourth place, holding artistic integrity and insightful service to humankind primary throughout. Big words - big job - fulfilling pay-off.