Script Files

Shanghai Palace

Shanghai Palace
Creator: heidi jacobsen
Genre: Comedy

Shanghai meets New Jersey when two loveable thugs cannot come to terms on the price of the towns hottest strip club, "The Shanghai Palace". Lust, love, racism and greed are in the kitchen in this spicy tale of Italian sausage and garlic chicken.

Ye grows up in poverty in the streets of Shanghai. He becomes a big and successful businessman, moves to America where he owns a strip club called Shanghai Palace. Frankie is a thug from New Jersey, a hot shot guy who does deals. He wants a piece of Yes' action. He is a compulsive gambler who can never stop when it comes to money. He is reckless and impulsive. They meet but they cannot come to an agreement on the price of the club. They fight....They clash, both have racial notions about the other person. Slowly they begin to see each others differences and become friends. They learn about each other. Ye explains that he lost his wife to cancer and Frankie admits to being a gambler and a hustler in life. Ye gets ill and has a heart attack. Frankie comes to his rescue and robs a casino to pay off his debt. Ye goes on to Arizona to retire and play golf while Frankie runs the fort. Its a story about two tough guys that soften enough to form a lasting bond, a story of friendship and loyalty.

"Shanghai Palace" Breakdown

We find Frankie gambling at the casino, losing money. His friends come to save him and take him to The Strip Club-Shanghai Palace.

We find 12 year old YE in Shanghai stealing goods to sell on the street. He barters with tourists, not budging off his price of $20.00 for a handbag. He lives in a tiny apartment with his beautiful Mother. Forty years later, we find Ye in America counting money at his strip club in new Jersey, the “Shanghai Palace”. Techno music plays and the dancers are very provocative. Ye pets his snake Samira, who he keeps on his desk in a woven basket.

At the club some mobsters watch the dancers, keeping an eye on Adrianna, the sexiest and hottest dancer.The head mobster is Frankie, a small time thug who is there to do business with Ye. He is very “Brooklynese”…They negotiate but cannot come to terms with the asking price of the club, seven million dollars. Ye will not budge off his asking price. The mobsters threaten Ye and his son Yin-Wa but then Frankie backs down saying it is Christmas. His friends think he is going soft.

Two undercover cops sit outside trying to figure out what is going down in the club. Ye and his son go home and Ye counsels his son against violence. Frankie goes home where his wife Maria is waiting for him and drills him on his business activities. The next day Frankie and Maria go shopping in New York, they split ways and Frankie meets a mysterious Chinese woman Adrianna, who invites him to her apartment in Soho. She tries to seduce him but he is faithful to his wife. When Frankie gets home, he finds out that his wife was attacked by a Chinese intruder. He has been set up.

Frankie goes berserk and drives to Shanghai Palace and chases Ye in his car and then on foot over a bridge. The men argue and are observed by the undercover cops. The two men then come to terms and have a beer in a nearby pub. Ye confides to Frankie that he needs the money to retire and play golf in Arizona. Frankie invites him to a Christmas party at his home but Ye is reluctant to go.

Frankie picks up his mother at the airport. She is a very crotchety old lady, very old style Italian. They have dinner at home and discuss old times and the old neighborhood and that they miss their dead Dad. Christmas carollers come to the door.

Ye warns his son Yin-Wa to stay away from Adrianna who is on the make with Frankie, but Yin-Wa is very enamored with Adrianna although she is exotic and mysterious and cold.

Maria and Mama buy food at a greenmarket for the big party, loading up on meats and vegetables. Frankie has a band set up and play they play blues. Guests arrive with gifts and soon Ye and his son arrive. Frankies mobster friends cannot believe he is invited and think that Frankie has lost his edge, that he is going soft. Some men at the party sing and Frankie asks Ye to sing a song, much to Mamas delight.
Frankie leaves Christmas Eve on business and meets Adriana at an airfield in a waiting helicopter wearing a Santa suit. They fly above Atlantic City casinos and land on the roof of a casino and he shimmies his way down into the casino. His friends are there and Mighty Zeke is also in a Santa suit. They steal the money, seven million dollars and do a switcheroo to throw off the authorities.

Frankie and Adrianna are chased by a police helicopter and they jump from the helicopter into a tent at a street festival in Little Italy.The next day is a big, happy Christmas for all the family, with expensive gifts like gold bracelets, fur coats and Harley Davidson motorcycles.

Frankie goes to visit with Ye and finds out that he has had a heart attack and is in critical condition at the hospital. He goes to see him and is touched by Ye, who is brave and wants to survive. He tells him that he has his money and he will play golf again.

They all meet at the airport and say goodbye, Mama then tells Frankie that she and Ye are going together to Arizona and are opening a Chinese - Italian restaurant. Ye proposes on the plane to Mother, who is amazed that she has found love again after so many years alone. It's a whacked out tale of lovable thugs, we root for them and their own personal demons they must overcome. Somewhere hopefully we lose sight that they are degenerates and see them as people with hopes and dreams and their own set of values.

When Frankie wins the last jackpot at the casino he realizes his gambling days are over. It's bittersweet.

Protagonist: Ye, a 60’s Chinese Businessman
Characterization: He’s cheap and stubborn
External Goal: To sell Shanghai Palace
Internal Goal: To find love and friendship again
Main dramatic Conflict: Frankie
Theme: Where there is a lesson be learned a teacher will appear.
Central Dramatic Question: Will Ye ever stop hustling?Will Frankie ever stop gambling?
Ending: Ye goes from being a stingy, stubborn man to accepting a new family in his life. Frankie goes from being a daredevil reckless person to a man with responsibilities and a huge secret to hide from the rest of his life.

  • heidi Jacobsen
  • Project Type:
  • Number of Pages:
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Language:
  • First-time Screenwriter:
  • Student Project:
  • Award Winner Uruvatti International Film Festival
    December 10, 2020
    Award Winner
  • Finalist The Next Short Film Festival Denegal 2021
    West Bengal
    December 15, 2021
    Finalist Shanghai Palace
  • Selected Screenplay
    Himachal, India
    December 3, 2022
    Finalist Shanghai Palace
  • Finalist Filmhaus Berlin Germany winner
    Berlin Germany
    April 24, 2023
  • Nominee Sensei film festival
    August 25, 2023
  • Selected golden eyes film festival
    January 5, 2024
Writer Biography - heidi Jacobsen

Baby Vulture Films - Heidi Jacobsen
(561) 414-7008

Created and wrote short films: Tee Talk Series, Strike Spy, Being Ed, Into The Wilderness, Granny Slots, Waters Bridge, Jason Ricci – The Making of A Music Video, Love Is All Around Us, Utopia, Louisianna, The Monkey and The Orange Tree.

Amazon Storyteller contest, Asian American International Film Festival and American Zoetroupe with original Screenplay “Shanghai Palace.” Wrote and self published a series of four Womens novels High, Sunburnt, Golf Widow, Noir and Patent Pending. Fiction for children, Patty the Black Cat Series, Sir Duke Pigeon Series and Simon The Silly Snail,

Assistant To Director
Assistant to film director Cliff Guest. Producer, Co-writer on projects.
2018 Producer for Blues Harmonica Artist Jason Ricci Music Video, “I’m Too Strong”, Ellersoul Records. Casting and production.

Blues Singer, “Heidi and The El Cats”
Performed in three international blues festivals/corporate events/private parties/clubs. Recorded three albums.

Content Developer/Childrens Animation
Created content for “Patty The Black Cat”
Books/Ebooks/Videos/Music/Products. Available on and,com

Word, Final Draft. KCDW Software, I Phone Film and Edit.

Education: BFA Environmental Design, Parsons School of Design, New York. Goals: Write, Create, Perform.

Film Festivals: Works by Heidi Jacobsen

“I Miss You Dad” Short Film
6th Annual I Phone Film Festival
Beverly Hills, California
November 11, 2016

“Mum Came to Visit” Short film
6th Annual I Phone Film Festival
Beverly Hills, California
November 11, 2016

“Shopaholic Webisode # 1”
Hollywood Screening Film Festival
Hollywood, California
Semi – Finalist March 11th & 12th, 2017

“Patty The Black Cat Goes to Key West”
Festival de Cortometrajes “Jose Fransisco Rosado”
Castile-La Mancha, Spain
Best Animated Short film

“Shanghai Palace” Best Screenplay – Finalist
Los Angeles Cinefest- January 14 Promenade Playhouse
Santa Monica, California

Semi-Finalist-Miami Epic Trailer Festival
“Gigging with The Blues Crusaders”, “Shopaholic Webisode # 3”, “Tales from the Blue Zone”.
Miami, Florida August 24, 2017

Selected Animation- “Patty The Black Cat Has a Lunch Date”
Geo Film Festival & Expo Cinema
Cittadella, Padova, Italy - November 9, 2017

Selected “Comedy Television Episode”
Atlanta Comedy Film Festival
Atlanta, Georgia December 11, 2017

Semi-Finalist “The Monkey and The Orange Tree” Play
Los Angeles Cinefest
Los Angeles, California January 14, 2018

“Utopia” Selected as Best Singer/Voice
European Cinematography Awards
Warsaw, Poland January 19, 2018

Selected “Gigging With The Blues Crusaders”
“Rock’ N ’Roll Film Festival
Kenya, Naiobi January 28th 2018
Selected “Blues Conspiracy”
Cefalu Film Festival
Sicily, Italy May 1, 2018

Selected “Heidi and The El Cats One Minute Movie”
60 Second International Film Festival
Islamabad, March 16th, 2018

Selected “Patty The Black Cat Goes to Key West” Animated
Al-Nahj International Film Festival
Karbala, Iraq, April 1, 2018

Semi Finalist “Louisianna” Best Song
Los Angeles Cinefest
Los Angeles, California
April 25. 2018

Selected, “Sunburnt”
Script Shop
Cincinnatti, OH
January 31, 2019

Semi- Finalist “Love Is All Around Us”
HCF Screenplay Competition
Los Angeles, California
March 29, 2019

Selected “Jason Ricci - The Making of A Music Video”
LGBTQ Shorts Film Festival
June 11, 2019

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Writer Statement

Dedicated to My Mother.