CHARMAINE PARKER-LEWIS - 2011 FALL/WINTER 1st SCENE Screenplay Finalist
1. What is your screenplay about?
An extraordinary story of redemption- a small town girl has to leave her successful teaching job in a big city only to return home to a dying father, meth addict sister, a poor performing school, and a callous supervisor.
Katrina’s dad was a blues artist and The Blues has a 12 bar foundation. Joe taught Katrina the 12 bars to help her get away from her problems. He told her that “every bar has a different emotion and it can go from sad to happy in a matter of seconds. It just depends on how you play it.”
A few years later Katrina ran into Seth, a childhood friend she saved from a fight. Seth is a recovering alcoholic and he told Katrina about the 12 steps to recovery. In Katrina’s mind, this was just like the 12 bars for Blues, it was a type of cleansing. Katrina went back to her roots that she had left behind, she starting using her 12 bar system to deal with her life’s struggles which meant, finding peace with her meth addict sister, dying father, callous supervisor, and her twenty-seven unruly children.
2. Why should this screenplay be made into a film?
Society needs to see both sides of the education spectrum and not just what teachers aren’t doing. They need to take a deeper look at what really goes on inside the classroom with one teacher teaching twenty-seven kids, eleven are ADD, three are autistic, and most of them have to help raise their brothers and sisters because their parents are on either drugs or selling them. Just a few examples: Five year old Jake’s mom and dad are in prison because they were running drugs from Louisiana to Texas in a 18 wheeler, Tracy has to pick up her brother and sister from the bus stop and take them underneath the overpass to find something to eat, six year old Fran is molested by her father every morning on her way to school and continues to urinate on herself because her vaginal muscles are damaged, thirteen year old Kevin does not know where he is going to lay his head from night to night because mom changes boyfriends like she changes her mind, and these are just a few harsh facts, except the names. Teachers have issues outside the classroom themselves and have to deal with issues like these on a day to day basis can be overwhelming.
3. How long have you been writing screenplays?
I have been writing screenplays since 2006, but I have been writing since I can remember. Anytime I needed to express myself, tell someone something, and tell a story, I would pull out a pencil and paper.
4. What film have you seen the most times in your life?
During my lifetime, anything that came from Stephen King, I watched. But, Flowers in the Attic, is one movie I watched over and over.
5. What artist in the film industry would you love to work with?
I would love to work with Frank Darabont and the Hughes Brothers.
6. Who was your hero growing up?
To be honest with you, my parents. My mom because she was, is still is strong, she is a caregiver, generous, and strong willed. She was always the type to take a stranger in if that stranger were a child. My mom was a bus driver and changed the lives of many children who are now adults, but they still remember her till this day. My dad was the strong silent type and I am just like him. He passed away of cancer in 2009, he is the one that told me never to give up on a dream regardless of the stakes.
7. Ideally, where would you like to be in 5 years?
Ideally, I hope to have a small production company that will eventually grow over the years. I would love to present others with opportunities to express their creativity.
8. Describe your process; do you have a set routine, method for writing?
I don’t really have a process, although I rather write in my car. It’s like isolation for me. I can think better in a confined place. Once I start writing, I am in the zone.
9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
I am passionate about kids, especially kids that come from difficult circumstances. In my opinion, they have the most to offer. I want them to realize that they don’t have to be a victim of their environment.
10. What influenced you to enter the WILDsound Script Contest?
I took a chance. The truth of the matter is that there are not too many opportunities for people like me in Louisiana. I have to be “well-known” to get a foot in the door or for anyone to even speak to me, oh and my favorite, I have to know someone. Al l I’m asking for is chance to showcase my God giving talent. I’m tired of questioning if this is for me, when I feel that it is. This is not my first time entering into a WILDsound competition and I thank them for their feedback and this opportunity. It has helped me in so many ways.
11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?