This paper will outline the scriptwriter's experience and creation process for writing the feature film script Brick. A summary of the preparation, writing process, advisor meetings, research, committee feedback, and writing challenges will be shared along with the screened script reading's audience responses. The thesis proposal, story elements, representative photos and the Brick Walls script are included.

Brick Walls chronicles the life of my father Elza "Buddy" Cannaday (1922 - 2006) from ages 8 to 32, between the years 1930 to 1954 in the cities of Mechanicsburg, Springfield, Urbana, and Cleveland, Ohio. Young Buddy is the son of Hazel Lee Cannaday and Elza "Elzie" Summerfield Cannaday, a family of African American brick masons. In one night, 8-year old Buddy looses his family's brick home, his father, and grandfather during a race riot in Springfield. Buddy is whisked away to a farm in Urbana for his protection. Under the tutelage of farmer John L. Jones, Buddy learns the wonders of farm life, until he discovers his father is alive ten years later. Buddy finds Elzie in a Cleveland after-hours place and experiences a less-than-welcoming reception from him and the police. In time, Buddy discovers the truth about his father's absence and the cause of the race riot. Buddy also meets Eleanor Askew Linn, who later becomes his wife, and a catalyst for Buddy and Elzie healing their broken relationship.

Buddy also faces many societal obstacles that confront African Americans such as, housing and mortgage lending practices, bricklayer union membership, and Tuskegee Airmen contractor services. Buddy transcends societal injustices and his painful past to become a loving husband, father, and the first licensed and bonded African American contractor in Cleveland building homes for his family and many others.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Motion picture authorship; Cannaday, Elza "Buddy"--Drama; African Americans--Social conditions--20th century--Drama; African American families--Drama

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Film and Animation (MFA)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Film and Animation (CIAS)


Howard Lester

Advisor/Committee Member

Franklin Deese

Advisor/Committee Member

Charles Price


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at PN1996 .C43 2014


RIT – Main Campus

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