Screenwriter seeking sailors

Hi all -

I can’t believe the stuff you guys go through… and on top of that, to fly Flags of Convenience for owners who hide behind multi-layered bureaucracy even during 100+ day kidnappings.

I recently read a nonfiction book about life on a container ship and I’m going to write a script which revolves around the crew and challenges of a container ship - it’ll be a mix of drama and action. If any sailors with transcontinental container ship experience would like to share stories, insights, opinions, or advice, please get in touch.

Many thanks


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Plenty of drama out here and not a lot of action.

Prepare for a boring trope… :wink:


Yup. Exactly what I was going to post. . . .

So, another day…we left port and the wheel went around, and around, and around…ate lunch, finished paperwork about 1500, took a nap…and the wheel went around, and around, and around…


First time author?

No, probably just someone enjoying the new relaxed cannibis restrictions. A few years back during my chemo treatments I tried the prescribed THC to relieve side effects. During that time I also thought about being a writer, astronaut or Spider-Man when not gorging on Nestlé Crunch.

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I’ll help him. Here’s how the plot line goes: endless days and weeks of mind numbing boredom punctuated by moments of sheer heart pounding terror.

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What part of the shipping world is this happening? Or is that hyperbole for crews being stuck with no crew change or low/no pay?


It is still possible to book passage as a passenger on some merchant vessels around the world. I couldn’t begin to tell you how to do it, but I know that it has been done in the recent past. Start googling and you’ll find something. Get out there and live it first hand, talk to the people while they’re actually the boots on the ground grinding it out in the trenches.


A great idea to find out about ship life without having to get your hands dirty.
It was a fairly common way to travels many years ago. Insurance rates and the pandemic nearly killed the practice but there are still companies and agents in business.

Maris Freighter and Specialty Cruises and Maris Freighter Club Int’l offers a variety of voyages to many destinations. You can go from island to island. You may cross the ocean 1-way. You can take coastal routes stopping at major ports. You may even choose from around-the-world cargo ship cruise options. is the agency we used where bookings are done by Hamish Jamieson. They are specialists in cargo ship travel, providing background, Q&A, pricing examples, and assistance on planning a trip.

Freighter Travel provides a general overview of freighter travel including extensive resources.

Cargo Ship Voyages works as an agent for shipping companies and offers many possible packages worldwide. Their ships offer room for no more than 12 passengers at once, including people from all walks of life, ranging from single travelers to families.

Freighter Expeditions offers information about cargo ship travel and itineraries worldwide.


Read Into the Raging Sea, by Rachel Slade. Write a screen play about that.

Alternatively watch season 2 of The Wire.



I don’t know what you are talking about. I watched this movie and it’s what made me want to be a merchant mariner. I went out and got my twic, MMC and a set of service dress blues the next morning.


I think the below movie is the best drama/action maritime movie. It was on a navy ship but it could be rebooted for the commercial side of sailing. I’ve worked with dozens of cooks who had what it took to blow up a galley, sink the ship or kill a bunch of people.


Polish Steamship (PZM) offers trips from Channel ports in Europe to the Great Lakes with unloads in Hamilton/Cleveland/Detroit)Milwaukee/Burns Harbor (depending on trip) and loading in Duluth/Superior or Thunder Bay. Met several passengers when I was a Federal Pilot.

Great boats and crew

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Also watch “Lake boat” by David Mamet…about the truest look at Lake sailing I know of.

If you ever worked on a Lake steamboat, you get it.


The ol’ man at his best.

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I think it’s a fairly accurate look at life in the modern American merchant marine in general. I get that some of it comes across as kind of whacky and maybe even a little bit over played in parts, but in general I found the whole thing to be very relatable. I think it was interesting how they seemed to nail the stereotypical personalities of each of the positions on the boat. The chief mate character was a totally stereotypical chief mate, the engineer was a stereotypical kook, the way the grizzled old AB’s like to spend all their time talking about what it was like getting drunk and getting laid in the old days, etc… Someone on that writing team clearly spent some real time on an actual American merchant vessel.

Lake Boat:

I also recommend another all-time classic favorite of mine, Martha (for similar reasons):

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You sound like you’ve got stories. How about it?