Death of a Boy
CRIME SUSPENSE/THRILLER DRAMA
Aja LaGrand Blount
Death of a Boy depicts the struggles of a thirteen-year-old African-American youth forced to grow up fast and live each day as it could be his last.
David has become fed up with his living conditions. His unfit mother hates him and she voices that displeasure regularly. On his thirteenth birthday, he metaphorically kills the remaining childhood innocence he sought to hold onto in order to step into the role of a man.
David has navigated the dangers of the streets as best as he can, only to find himself in a hospital bed fighting for his life. Where he metaphorically murdered his innocence to become a man, the streets takes him to the brink of death literally.
Based on a True Story
Plot - Premise
Tragedy,Internal Journey/Rebirth,Rags to Riches,Quest
Plot - Other Elements
Twist,Coming of Age
Mature Audience Themes
Substance Abuse,Extreme Violence,Nudity, Language/Profanity
Main Character Details
Name: David Thrine
Key Traits: Aspiring,Leader,Skillful,Desperate,Complex,Adventurous,Masculine,Strong Moral Code
Additional Character Details
Name: Clarice Thrine
Key Traits: Uneducated,Criminal,Outspoken,Sarcastic,Manipulative,Insecure,Greedy,Aggressive,Narcisstic,Seductive,Crazy
Additional Character Details
Name: Crystal Hardy
Key Traits: Faithful,Engaging,Sexy,Strong Moral Code,Sophisticated,Selfless,Educated,Crazy,Aspiring
Additional Character Details
Name: Kenyada Kennedy
Key Traits: Clumsy,Flexible,Naive,Modest,Strong Moral Code,Desperate,Aspiring
Aja LaGrand Blount's Death of a Boy is an upending depiction of an urban city kid yearning for a better life. Based on a novel by Aja LaGrand Blount, it is a story revealing an up-close and personal experience of a teenager named David living in an unfit situation. His mother, a whore and heavy cocaine user named Clarice, hates his guts and voices that displeasure whenever she can. She simply provides him with a roof over his head, nothing more, nothing less. He sleeps on the floor. There's no food in the refrigerator and his clothes are hand-me-downs. At the tender age of thirteen, he has a decision to make. He can stay a teenager living in an unfit situation or man up and go get it himself. The decision to sever the cord between his childhood innocence and manhood sends him to the streets. While the streets are welcoming, they're not forthcoming with the danger that lurks within the shadows in which he finds out the hard way. It was one thing to turn to the streets to eat. It's another to depend on the streets for survival. This is a heartbreaking tale filled with suspense, shocking moments, and unreal revelations. While at times you can root for David's progression, a number of tears may overwhelm the rim of the eyes as you hope and pray that he can overcome the madness he has been born into.
David takes to the streets out of hunger and desperation to escape his drug addicted mother. At 13 he is kicked out of middle school and shortly after gets his first love pregnant. Forced to support more than just his self David and his best friend get involved in further illegal activities with deadly results. In trying to keep the bare minimum and do what is right, David has to sacrifice by doing so much wrong to close the gap.
Authors Writing Style: GOOD
Franchise Potential: FAIR
Accuracy of Book Profile
For the most part the profile very accurately reflects the script. The only change would be that this is described in the genre section as a mystery and there is no mystery only crime and drama. It is technically a family drama, but not for families given its rating so this also might be removed for a more accurate expectation in drama.
Draw of Story
The dynamic between David and his mother is quite heartbreaking. While Clarice doesn't all the way veer into sympathy territory, there is a ton of emotional investment in David succeeding after the first time he eats out of the dumpster.
The back to back trauma can sometimes lean too close to trauma porn. The happy moments are too few and far between to prevent desensitization of all the tragic events.
Use of Special Effects
THE STORY RELIES A LITTLE BIT ON SPECIAL EFFECTS
Primary Hook of Story
The hook is that David becoming a man at 13 involves living on teh streets but that is less hardship than living with his mother.
If more hope is sprinkled throughout outside of the end that David didn't die, this could have a medium to large size audience. There needs to be a fine line drawn though so the story doesn't cross over into melodramatic territory.
This could potentially have awards potential given the range of emotions and situations, but the focus of the message behind the coming-of-age of David needs to be more apparent.
Similar Films/TV Series
THE WIRE, PRECIOUS, BROTHERLY LOVE, THE HATE U GIVE, THIRTEEN
What’s New About the Story
David situation and his chance to better himself makes him an exceptional youth, but allowing him to continue his dual lives longer would make his death scare all the more hear-wrenching. With too much back to back trauma the beats can fall more flat as they are less impactful and more expected outcomes.
David is resourceful and prideful. Crystal is caring but naive. Kenyada is loyal and risk-taking.
Uniqueness of Story
This has a lot of potential to be a creative piece about the tragedies of poverty, violence and how many black youth in America are treated, however the messages and the events are quite crowded and need room to breath with slower pacing to create more emotional investment.
Film - Indie, Film - Streaming, Film - Studio
WORK IN PROGRESS
While the dialogue works between the tripping mother and David, other conversations with other characters need greater subtext and nuance to feel more realistic. The pacing could use more uplifting moments within its structure as things can get too depressing.
Tips for Improvement
Adding more subtext to the dialogue and allowing certain characters who try to make good decisions succeed rather than everyone ending up with bad luck could help create a more balanced look at the trauma. Focusing on one issue and a central message might also be more impactful. The characters' internal conflicts are all so strong so giving them room to reflect can help show their transformations and slow down the pace to a more digestible level and less melodramatic tone. At least one character needs redemption rather than just survival for the hopeful message to feel earned.