A treatment for a feature film on the adventures of diamond mining off the coast of South Africa.

                           SAM COLLINS: A VERY ROUGH DIAMOND

from the book by

Roger Williams

                                 ufindshill@btinternet.com

SYNOPSIS

Sam Collins was a man who certainly created his own destiny…sure as a young man he followed his dad into the pipe laying industry, servicing the oil rigs off the coast of Texas...and as a young man he took over the company and made his first millions...but it was his later years in Southern Africa where he truly shone...much like the large brilliant diamonds that he found in deep water along the Atlantic Ocean’s Forbidden Coast.

 

In London, savoring the excess’s of the “Swinging Sixties” he was seduced by talk of diamonds by the score to be found in deep waters off the coasts of South Africa and Namibia...small boat operators had followed the beachcombers and found diamonds in the shallows but the true riches...as legends would have it, were much deeper, requiring knowledge the locals had not yet acquired.

 

Sam Collins arrived in South Africa with that knowledge and after checking out the ocean mining competition decided to re-invent the business…and that required finding boats, engineers, crew and partners…it also required serious partying in the some of the lowest gin joints on the coast of Africa.

 

Sam, after recovering from a tour of Cape Town’s night life in tandem with Louis his Afro-American bodyguard...who would often put him to bed if the drink had taken its toll...was set to turn the diamond industry on its ear by his expansive plans for the first deep sea mining operation in the stormy Atlantic Ocean.

 

Exploration of the marine diamond operators to date were in no more than 5 meters of water, with hardhat divers suction pumping diamond bearing gravel up to a small boat for eager hands to separate gems from ocean debris...and the occasional deadly sea snake.

 

Sam, against all local advice, built a huge extraction structure on a 10-meter fishing boat, capable of suctioning up 50 times more than any rig constructed to date.

 

We now have a story of a Texan in Africa…Sam Collins batting the elements of the storm tossed ocean, the local Governments, his partners, the courts, his mischievous spirit, and often his own crewmen…when fighting talk turned into down and dirty physical confrontations.  

 

Louis his bodyguard was his man, a trusted confidant and when required, a nurse to his battered body...and often a focus for this driven man’s demons.

 

His failures, near death experiences, excessive life style and ultimate success in finding these superb diamonds makes for a marine story, unique and largely untold. 

 

Africa’s raw, rugged but beautiful coastline, littered with wrecks and debris from the last 200 years is the rare background to the Texan’s passion…not just to achieve another fortune but as a commitment to an endeavor that proved to be a national treasure for South Africa and Namibia, allowing both nations to gain status in an outside world that knows so little of the Dark Continent.

 

The following points are an indication of the possible story structure and incidents in Sam Collins quest for deep ocean diamonds.

SAM COLLINS

 

Texas and 10-year-old Sam’s escapade’s with damming local streams, flooding gardens and homes.

 

His prowess as a swimmer, saving another kid from drowning.

 

As a teenager working the oil rigs with his father, hanging out with Louis, a huge black kid with a motor mouth.

 

The trouble they get in and how they get out of it.

 

20 years later and still laying pipe in the Gulf of Mexico, Sam survives an underwater cave-in and discovers a need to take on other adventurous life style.

 

After a boardroom battle with tight fisted accountants we see the discontent in the man. The die is cast and Sam sells the family business and takes on Louis as his personal retainer and bodyguard. At 6.5 feet tall and as tough as rocks, the perfect man for the job.

 

At 40 years old and hung over after a birthday bender, Sam decides to seek another fortune elsewhere. Louis is a willing accomplice and they head for Europe.

 

London and a handful of uncut gems get their attention. A well told legend of diamonds there for the taking takes them to Cape Town and the fleshpots of the harbor taverns...the talk is of diamonds and more diamonds.

 

Committed to the task of finding the biggest and best of the precious stones he brings his pipe laying expertise to the job. The deep-sea suction rig he designed rigged on a fishing boat proves capable but no diamonds…the search continues.

 

An Atlantic storm blows the boat onto the beach, rocks tear a hole in the stern but the boat is saved, as is the life of a crew member.

 

On the beach the ancient wrecks reminds Sam how fickle the ocean can be, he vows to build a bigger and better boat…the prospectors on the beach, both natives and whites are finding diamonds, driving Sam on.   A sandstorm blows in from the coastal sand dunes.

 

He returns to Cape Town to hustle up more partners and money, his fortune is gone but with his usual flamboyant excesses, investors rally round. So do the woman but Gigi his wife takes it in her stride…the man strays but always returns.

 

With a bigger boat, life aboard is tough, fights break out, the crew mutiny and a geologist / diver drowns…the crew eventual bonds after Sam threatens to toss them overboard…and then a small quality of diamonds are found.

 

A newspaper reporter who has hint of Sam’s find pursues his wife Gigi in Cape Town.

 

De Beers and the Oppenhiemer family start to pressure Sam. Deals are made in the boardrooms of Johannesburg and broken in the courts of South Africa.

 

A storm takes Sam’s latest endeavor, a huge mining barge and wrecks it on the Namibian beach…the crew spend weeks dismantling the equipment under the hot African sun. Lions and elephants roam these deserted beaches.

 

Sam, impatient in Cape Town, races his Cadillac against a local Rolls Royce and loses…he imports a bigger Cadillac but Louis gets it jammed in a alley after outrunning the local cops after a drunken Sam fires off his pearl handled revolver in a bar fight.

 

Sam fires Louis that night but in the morning sends him back to work, something Louis has endured before.

 

Revolver practice in the boardroom brings the police in to play but a suitable donation to their favorite charity get Sam off the hook. The white South African policeman is astonished to have a very black Louis roll off a substantial bribe.

 

Back onboard a new boat the diamonds start to appear…by the hundred’s.

Sam radios Gigi with the news and tells her to keep it confidential but the reporter has overheard and his headlines bring a 10,000 people to the harbor to greet Sam and give him a heroes welcome.

 

Sam in the arms of Gigi forgives her and showers her with a bucket of diamonds prior to a celebration to end all celebrations.

 

 

"King of Diamonds”… the book these elements have been culled from is a 170 page factual, yet endearing illustration of the man and his demons. The storms, both ocean and sand and the extreme heat of the area will add to the authenticity of this African story.

 

Ownership of the rights are free and clear and with the author Roger Williams, the publisher Steven Flesch, Ivan Prinsep and Steve Phelps.

 

CONTACT 

Peter Shillingford

2 Creefleet House

280 Kew Road

Richmond

TW9 3EE

0208 940 4507

0778 66 42 71

ufindshill@btinternet.com