Script Files

Sable & Soul

The sordid lives of an elite group of urban community, creative and business professionals are explored, as their individual relationships, personal drives and ambitions are continuously plagued by childhood demons, corporate warfare, familial secrets, unexpected scandals, hidden desires and temptations.

  • Donald James Smith, Jr.
  • Project Type:
    Television Script
  • Genres:
    Drama, Dramatic Serial, Primetime Soap
  • Number of Pages:
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Language:
  • First-time Screenwriter:
  • Student Project:
  • Gladys Gordon Memorial Award
    Philadelphia, PA
    May 11, 2006
    Award for Theatre Excellence
Writer Biography - Donald James Smith, Jr.

Born and raised in South Philadelphia, Donald was educated in the Public and Parochial school systems. Donald is a graduate of the Temple University’s School of Communications and Theater with a minor in African American Studies. Throughout his career, he has learned the importance of the performing arts in the youth population and has developed a stronger sense of pride and concern for Urban America. He has worked as a Casting Director for Mission Films and has held positions at several local theaters in the Philadelphia area including New Freedom Theatre, Merriam Theatre, Wilma Theatre, Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, Walnut Street Theatre and Forrest Theatre. Donald has also completed the Freedom Theatre Adult Performing Arts Training Program.

As a former youth journalist, Donald has completed internships with several local newspapers and received opportunities to be published in all of them. He is a former contributing writer for Rags ‘N’ Riches Magazine based out of Atlanta. Donald has also participated in Merriam Theater’s “Theater in Schools” Program where he assisted high school students in developing original scripts for theatrical production. He is the former Executive Director for the Kaleidoscope Community Arts Collective. He is a recipient of the 2006 Gladys Gordon Memorial Award for Theater Excellence and the 2006 1st Place Winner of the Temple University Research Forums Academic Research and Papers Competition (TOPIC: History of Black American Theatre). Before deciding to focus on a transition into screenwriting, his sole focus was his role as Founding Producing Artistic Director of DreamOn Entertainment, a nonprofit theatrical production and urban outreach company based out of Philadelphia.

Donald is currently working as an independent teaching artist, arts & entertainment marketing consultant, and live event director/producer. He has served as Drama Instructor at Thomas Edison High School and is also interested in screenwriting, television and film development and production, music video directing, artist development, talent management, and music production and singing. He produced “Pride and Prejudice: The Jazz Age” an original adaptation by TEEN ARDEN for the 2013 Philly Live Arts Fringe Festival. He held a position as Coordinator of Arden Drama School and Assistant Director of Arden Theatre Company’s production of Lydia Diamond’s Broadway hit drama, Stick Fly alongside award-winning Director Walter Dallas.

Acting Credits: LMS Productions Sankofa 2002, Philadelphia Young Playwrights and “Young-Young” Playwrights Festivals, HarMageddo Entertainment’s If It Ain’t Got That Swing TOUR, Marget Productions Rewind, and the Temple Theaters productions of Playboy of the West Indies, Ragtime The Musical, and a stirring performance as Levee in August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Other credits include the Spruce Hill Community Center’s 2006 Stage Readings. He’s also worked on the web series Green Piece, the independent film Mission’s Purpose and M. Knight Shyamalan’s The Happening. His most recent credit was as Beans, a 1940s street hustler in the short period film, Swing-The Movie, which will be circulating independent festivals after celebrating a World Premier release at Pearl Theatre North Philadelphia.

Directing Credits: Javon Johnson’s Homebound, Two One Acts in Temple University’s 2007 New Voices Festival, Christopher Sergel’s Stage Adaptation of The Outsiders, Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, Keith Antar Mason’s For Black Boys Who Have Considered Homicide When The Streets Were Too Much, Casey Kurtti’s Catholic School Girls, Alice Childress’s Mojo: A Black Love Story, and Black Harlem: A Tribute to the Renaissance which he also wrote. Assistant Director for Lydia Diamond’s Stick Fly, Euripides’ Medea, James Ijames’ Osiris: Redux and Ain’t Nobody Gonna’ Turn Me Around, a civil rights musical. Directing Workshops: Neil LaBute’s The Shape of Things and Kenneth Lonergan’s This Is Our Youth.

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Writer Statement

I took interest in every aspect of entertainment as a child, but there was never much inspiration around me to believe that someone from my background could have a chance at a career in the heart of the industry. My personal Hollywood game plan seemed unimportant on the east coast as my adult life became more pertinent to fix and fund. Inside of me I’ve felt that writing could change my life for the better and that I could do that anywhere but I’d rather do it where I can perfect my craft and learn from industry professionals. This passion was fueled by a need to end personal struggles with my urbanized generational curses, childhood traumas from bullying, my nightly lullabies of sirens and gunshots, and the two freshly murdered bodies I encountered on walks home before I was a tween.

I’m a former boy who grew up in a racially segregated area of South Philadelphia during the 1980s and 90s, while attending Catholic school and being threatened and harassed after school by both Black and White children for being different. I was a latchkey child of the ghetto with two working parents. I was book smart but not street smart, yet I still became enamored with street life and obsessed with writing about it and finding a way to get away from it. That was the beginning of my writing. While my friends were playing with drugs and guns, I couldn.t seem to stay away from a fresh new notebook where I journaled heavily. I was a shy, curious boy who loved to read, and watch serials with junk food and candy questioning “how can I also create this”. I was a boy just using others’ writing for much needed escapes and now I’m a passionate, man determined to escape a similar and creatively stifling environment. My childhood fuels are now my adult fuels: curiosities, fear, excitement and wonderment.

As more opportunities emerge for aspiring screenwriters, I find myself at a career crossroads, surrounded by death and small debt. I chose to halt my screenwriting and filmmaking pursuits for a career in theatre which I have succeeded in but it pains me to wonder what could’ve been in regard to screenwriting and filmmaking. The creator in me is awakened and prays daily to eventually write myself to a place I’ve only dreamed about, look at the former chapters of my life and comfortably say “this is the
end of writing as a hobby”. Writing mirrors my life, as my search for new helpful opportunities reflects the hands I use to birth ideas, and build worlds. I want to show and prove. I want to work doing something I love. I want to become a professional screenwriter and learn filmmaking in its entirety as creative, production and business areas of the industry equally inspire my writing. The man I grew up to be finally has insight into what stories he has within, based on things he cares deeply about, various life fantasies, encounters with diverse people, and personal experiences.

I've wanted a writing career in Hollywood ever since I found and fell in love with the magic and cultural phenomenon of John Hughes films. They took me to a world of teen angst before I was a teenager, away from a crime ridden, impoverished, urban neighborhood. Being able to relate to those who were different than me and recognize deeper meanings in writing encouraged a lifelong study of cinema as well as television where I fell in love with the fact that multiple characters with multiple story arcs could be given to an audience consistently. With the recent successes and opportunities for writers of color specifically, there is a stronger need for me to tell stories from my perspective and share my writing with audiences enabling me to move past my writing as a hobby.

I tell myself I am not too old to pursue a dream for the lonely and scared boy in me that believed he couldn’t do so because of environment and circumstances. To be a writer that can reach out to another person who needs to see their self in another outlet and escape to different worlds if only to ignore a stressful reality would be very rewarding and relieving to me. These final moments of pursuit are not about fame and fortune, but more about working towards a goal of inclusion as a professional surrounded by other creators who can guide me towards more writing opportunities and assist in my career development. I would also love a chance to see my potential as a writer through the eyes of others. Everything I do now, whatever the outcome, is the result of my unleashed artistic maturity and my hope for chances to evolve as a dreamer, a man, and a working creative professional.