Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Citizen Writing Team

In February I had to make two significant decisions. I very much enjoy the writing process; putting all the research and ideas on paper (more on the research process) and modeling a compelling story that stays true to its origin. That's what I did in the first, the current draft of The Assassination of a Citizen. But I knew I wanted to collaborate with other writers, additional sets of eyes and perspectives to make this a unique and refined film. 

I set out to find the people that could be a good fit. A good fit would be first and foremost someone with skills, of course, a perspective, someone with a certain grasp of the genre and milieu we’re dealing with, the ability to empathize with the sometimes extreme characters; someone who's an able collaborator and communicator. 

There are many ways of going about this but it's the magic of making a film and just life in general how things just come together sometimes. Sometimes. Anyway, I didn't need to look far. In January I was able to present the first draft of Citizen to Reflektiv's newly netted co-writers Caroline Chang and Mark McKeown and after a number of creative exchanges and some gentle legal haggling they set out to work on different aspects of the script.


Mark, this handsome devil, really loves to make movies. I mean look at him! Full-blooded. He was an early supporter of Citizen. I met him during our time at CalArts and his work always stuck out to me as particularly genuine and unique. He made a short film called Loosey Paw, an amusing, subtle comedy about a young woman and her brother who, in an awkward climax, come to realize they’ve been sharing the same lover. I’ve had the chance to read a recent feature script of his, which told the story of an aspiring but struggling actress who returns home for Christmas to her slightly dysfunctional but charming and loving family in Texas and the chaos that ensues. Mark knows the craft and its pitfalls; he's our own, personal Indiana Jones. 

Through a friend of mine I met Caroline, an alumni of the Writing Program at CalArts, and after helping her out on a production of her own I asked her if she was interested in collaborating on a script I was working on. Guess what. She was. Her repertoire ranges from the examination of the repercussions of a plane crash on the surrounding communities, to a meditation on the impact of the construction of the Three Gorges Dam in the Hubei Province of China, which, while providing an enormous amount of energy, forced 1.24 million people to relocate and stands as unprecedented environmental, cultural and spiritual overexploitation. It is not published but I think it should be! And as you can see Caroline's socio-political sensibilities fit just perfectly into this project.

So these two already have their place in this project and will certainly leave their mark on it. Thanks you two for boarding this ship!


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