I tried my hand at a movie script based on AMA.

The full script can be downloaded by registering, free of charge, at One or two reviewers at that site panned it, but five, reproduced below,  had kinder words.

Fascinating detail, but needs a dramatic arc by jenniferleareed

Ama is the fascinating, well-researched story of an African woman torn from her village and successively traded as a slave until she reaches Brazil. I have never seen anything like this, and found the intra-African slave trade and its history to be illuminating. The only problem, and for a screenplay it's pretty significant, is the lack of a dramatic arc. That's not to say Ama isn't filled with action and drama -- it is. It's just that there's no sense of what Ama wants (sometimes she seems very content in her role as slave) and she just seems to move from scene to scene as time passes, enduring a lot of really bad stuff, until she's an old woman. If freedom is an elusive goal, what other, little goals, does she have? At one point not working in the cane field is one, and on board Love of Liberty she organizes a mutiny. But even the latter just seems to be another scene, not a climatic turning point. My suggestion is that Manu sticks with this script -- it could turn out REALLY good -- and get some books on the dramatic structure of a screenplay. A little tweaking, and it could be a very strong contender

African girl resisting slavery by kwjewitt 

I can't believe that the film rights to this well-praised novel haven't been bought already! Very well-meaning, apparently well-researched and censors nothing. Nicely conveys the complexity of the journey out of Africa and the way in which apparent security can be snatched away. However, it's a difficult subject area in many ways - not the least being that no happy ending can work. Roots worked, because of the tie-in with genealogical research, and the blend of light and shade. Amistad went for an easy option of mutating into courtroom drama. Beloved flopped big time, in spite of literary pedigree. It would be hugely expensive to film, a big big gamble. I feel that if it's going to work the punters must fall in love with Ama: but do we know her well enough? The script reads rather like a novel at times: it's panoramic, with lots of characters and might be better suited to a TV adaptation in several parts. The art of inventing dialogue in 17th-18th century language is very tricky: perhaps a read through might be useful. I wonder about the violence and rape scenes recurring throughout the film. When all's said and done, people will only want to see this if it works as "triumph of the human spirit".

Quite an undertaking by Ronnie A

This is quite an undertaking. An epic tale that takes you through a look at may of the various societies guilty of slavery. I thought it succeeded quite well. The dialogue was a bit long in parts and at times perhaps a little awkward. But with some trimming and polishing this could be filmed. I did think that this might prove to be written in a novelistic style as the notes make it obvious it is an author adapting his own work. The formatting, except for the dialogue at times, is accurate. The writer might want to consider having the script read aloud to hone the speeches.

A good, solid story with excellent research by bonobo

Some of the descriptive paragraphs are too long, though the detail is good. Some of the formatting is off, making readability an issue. You don't put the character list in the slug line. Split dialogue needs a new character heading and a (cont'd). Research work is excellent, shows you did your homework. Good use of adjectives for description. The dearth of new and strange names are hard to keep up with. I realize this is a cultural issue. The amount of dialogue reads like a stage play. A lot of the story is told in the dialogue. Much of it could have been told in the description. The amount and severity of the rape scenes may be authentic but they're coming off as exploitative. Overall, it's a good story that needs to be told. Learning proper screenplay format would make the script more readable. If you shorten and reduce the descriptive paragraphs you would also make reading a lot easier. This script is definitely worth editing and rewriting. 

Way too much detail by: jmanders

This is a rather compelling story. Its problem lies in paying so much attentiion to incidental details, that the story is lost in the mix. Using the proper names for body wraps and head pieces, and tools and such, as well as the nicknames, titles, and appellations of every person involved in the story, made it very difficult to keep up. For so many things to be out of a reader's ken, makes it difficult for us to identify with what's going on. The actual actions of the story and the horrible things that befell Ama are interesting, but that's where the focus needs to be, not on the correct terminology to describe an eighteenth century toothbrush. Also, I have never seen so many lenghty monologues in one script. And I felt that some of the words and comments used by a number of uneducated characters were a bit too sage. Case in point, Hatcher reflecting on Ama's viewpoint toward her "oppressors." Also, there were a few too many characters with little in the way of introduction. Your structure is sound, and the concept intriguing, but a rewrite is in order. I would also recommend addressing some of the leaps in time. The tranistion from ship to shore after Ama's eye-loss was jolting. As a title, "Ama" would do just fine

Here is the introduction.


A late eighteenth century map of the continent of Africa.  Slow ZOOM IN on what is now north-eastern Ghana.
1772. Asante conquers Dagbon and exacts an annual tribute of 500 slaves.
West African savannah dotted with baobab, silk cotton and dawa-dawa trees. A band of horsemen raises a cloud of dust. Title and Credits over.
PAN over landscape to discover and slowly ZOOM IN on:
EXT. Nandzi's father's COMPOUND -- Nandzi's family -- MORNING
The compound is an isolated cluster of thatched rondavels, linked by a low mud wall. Distant drums. Nandzi's father, TIGEN, Tigen's three younger BROTHERS, his two WIVES and their CHILDREN, leave the compound on foot and strike out over the savannah to attend a funeral in the nearest village. They turn to wave.
ext. compound courtyard --NANDZI, NOWU
NANDZI is 17. She is barefooted, dressed in a simple cloth wrapper. Her baby brother NOWU, is on her back. She waves back to her family and watches them disappear over the brow of a hill. Humming a lullaby, she takes Nowu's weight with one hand and tucks in the end of her cloth with the other. Nowu whimpers. Nandzi twists her head to look at him. He is asleep. She feels his forehead; then bends to pass through the low door of a rondavel. She lays Nowu down on a sleeping mat and returns to the courtyard.
Sitting down on a stool to rest, she sees and smells the soup which is simmering in a pot on a low fire. She looks around guiltily, then ladles some soup into a bowl. She puts the bowl to her lips.
She is startled by the drumming of horses' hooves. She stands up and in her haste drops the bowl.
End of Titles and Credits.
Twenty horsemen gallop towards the compound. They wear heavy leather jackets and ride with their legs straight. They are armed with spears and bows and arrows. ABDULAI, on a white horse, is their leader. The men bunch close behind him in a cloud of dust. Their guttural WAR CRIES rend the air.
They rein in their mounts. Neighing and snorting, the horses rise on their hind legs, prance and turn as the riders struggle to control them. Abdulai signals silence. Only the horses' blowing disturbs the peace. Abdulai nods to the two horsemen alongside him. DAMBA and ISSAKA dismount, hand their reins to others and stretch. Then, spears in hand, they advance nervously through the low doorway.
EXT. compound courtyard -- Damba, Issaka
Damba sees the pot on the fire. Silently he points to it. Issaka kicks at a hen, which flees, its chickens in pursuit. They peer into one room, then another. ENTER YAKUBU.
What are you two up to? Abdulai is impatient.
Tell him we are searching. Don't you see the pot on the fire? They could be hiding.
They pass into Nandzi's room.
INT. Nandzi'S ROOM -- Damba, Issaka
There is nothing here.
He flips the skins aside with the point of his spear. NANDZI and NOWU lie revealed. Nandzi screams and clasps her hands over her head, as if trying to make herself invisible. Nowu, woken, begins to cry.
Ah, what have we here?
Issaka, Damba. If there is no one . . .
He sees the Nandzi cringing on the floor.
What have we here?
He strides across the room and grabs Nandzi's upper arm, lifting her to her feet. Nowu is holding her cloth and as she is pulled away from him, the cloth unwinds, leaving her unclothed. She tries, but fails, to catch the garment.
What have we here?
He relaxes his grip on Nandzi's arm and at once she tries to run; but the doorway is blocked by Issaka and Damba. Moving swiftly, Abdulai grabs her two arms from behind.
Get out of here.
EXIT Damba and Issaka.
Now let's have some fun together, shall we?
He grabs her waist from behind and pulls her against him. Nandzi struggles, striking him repeatedly with her elbows.
You beast. You filthy pig.
I don't hear your language, my darling, but I am sure that those are words of love.
Nowu is screaming.
Issaka! Damba!
Damba's head appears in the doorway.
Remove this child.
Now get out. Get out!
Abdulai struggles to hold on to Nandzi with one hand, releasing his pantaloons with the other. The pantaloons drop to his ankles. He forces Nandzi down, pinning her to the ground as he mounts her. He sighs. Nandzi continues to scream abuse and struggle. He holds her wrists. She twists her head and snaps her teeth over his index finger.
(in pain)
You bitch. You filthy, verminous bitch. I will teach you to trifle with Abdulai. I will teach you. Remember me. My name is Abdulai. General Abdulai.
He puts the weight of his elbows on her arms. Then he begins to drive into her.
(Screams in pain.)
EXT. OPEN COUNTRY -- Abdulai -- day
Abdulai, in leather armor, drives his spear repeatedly into the body of a dead enemy.
INT. Nandzi's ROOM -- Abdulai, Nandzi
Abdulai puts his finger in his mouth to stem the flow of blood. He rises slowly to his feet and draws up his pantaloons. He picks up Nandzi's cotton cloth, tears off a strip and bandages his finger. Nandzi lies sobbing.
Damba. Collect the loot and take this hussy back to the camp. Let's get out of here. This place gives me the spooks.

Turning from them he examines his finger. The blood has soaked through the bandage.

Interesting link: