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The Texas Journals

Log Line
A Texas Co-ed is threatened by her University Professor, when she brings her mother's writings to life, uncovering a secret affair.

Script Info
Script Type: Feature
Genre: Thriller
Est. Budget: Less than $1M
Based on the story by Cynthia Rose

Screenplay Synopsis

Open on a 
terrified woman rushing to her car in the darkness under dimmed street lights, she’s running from someone, who now gives chase, we can’t make out the pursuer. The frightened women, disheveled and scared, frantically jumps into her car, quickly driving away… on the road she looks back into her rearview mirrorthere’s nothingthen headlights!  Approaching faster, closer, right behind, she speeds down the two lane rural highway, the vehicle behind honking, chasing her, finally forcing her off the road, she slides to a sudden stop, hitting the embankment and slamming her head against the steering wheel, bloodying her face….  
Newly divorced co-ed, Julie Hargrove, 32, attending the University of Texas and working toward her doctorate, is finally thinking she’s gotten things figured out as a sought after Oral Historian and Researcher Her subject matter for her dissertation thesis is her mother’s secret journals, hidden from her abusive father for over twenty years because of his bias and anger toward the woman that bore him three children.  One which we are to learn may not have been his own child.   
Julie works to carefully unfold her mother’s story, who as a young woman in 1968was newly married and starting a little family in rural Kempner, TX.  Julie’s mother wanted to be a writer and often wrote about her feelings, her pain, and ambitions.  Julie knows life didn’t turn out the way her mother had hoped, as she was forced to hide her journals from her jealous husband. 
Best friend, Rachel Lee, introduces Julie to a visiting Los Angeles film maker, Edward Shipman, a short term guest lecturer at the University.  Edward is there to also repair his relationship with his son Donnie, a sophomore.  Edward finds himself immediately attracted to Julie, but discovers he has competition from handsome professor, Bill Sanderson, who seems to have a keen interest in Julie’s mother’s journals.   Bill thinks they would make a great novel and introduces Julie to a publisher. 

Julie peels back the layers of her mother’s life, she begins to uncover family secrets and deceit between her parents hereto unknown. Julie soon realizes her mother may have an affair and there is an unpublished manuscript her mother wrote that was never published.  Her mother gave the manuscript to a close friend, Dr. Morgan, a donator to the University, whom Julie discovers was killed in a mysterious automobile crash with his wife – finding the lost manuscript seems impossible now.   As Bill tries to get closer to Julie, she finds herself falling for Edward, and soon Bill becomes jealous and almost enraged that Julie is seeing Edward.  Or, so it appears to Julie. 
Bill invites Julie to dinner with his publisher friend to get Julie to give up her thesis work and publish her mother’s writings.  Julie is torn between completing her doctorate and her instinct to help shed light on her mother’s suffering at the hands of her father.  When she returns home that evening, she discovers that someone has been in her apartment, as if looking for something. Her feelings grow for Edward, who now has left the University to film a movie in Utah.  Julie seeks advice from local cattle rancher Ina Ritter, now in her 70’s, who knew Julie’s mother and has been like a surrogate mother to Julie for decades.  Ina tells Julie that she needs to find the lost manuscript.  It will reveal more than she thinks. 
Julie feels like someone is following her now and when Ina dies suddenly, Julie is certain it’s foul play.  Bill offers condolences, then tries to assault Julie, who flees.  She decides to put a gun in her car for protection.  Julie goes to the University to report Bill’s unwanted advances and is asked to keep the incident quiet.  Bill confronts her and tells Julie he knows where her mother’s manuscript is – he has it.  His father was Dr. Morgan.  Julie is shocked to learn that Bill has been trying to hide the truth and steal her life story.  She flees and Bill gives chaserunning Julie off the road trying to stop her – where she grabs her gun to protect herself.  Confronting Bill.