In 2004, my husband and I were watching a movie in which a woman was victimized. I found it so upsetting that I had to leave the room until the scene was over. Later on, I complained to him that there didn’t seem to be any movies in which the woman was the victor and rapists never seemed to be punished properly. He said that I should write my own screenplay to fix that. Thus was born the idea of Revenge In Kind (RIK). Basically, it is the tale of a woman who takes it upon herself to punish rapists who escape justice.
Because I had no idea how to format a screenplay, I went online to study. I bought some good software called Final Draft and set to work. Having written both fiction and non-fiction books, I knew well how to outline and develop a plot, as well as how to create characters. After a few months of writing and rewriting, I had a first draft. But even without showing it to anyone, I knew it wasn’t very good. I thought that the plot held together well, but the characters seemed too pat, too predictable. I put the screenplay aside to think about it for a while.
In 2005, I saw the movie Crash and was deeply impressed. The most appealing element was the multi-dimensionality of each of the key characters, all of whom were individualistic and memorable. Crash portrayed how peoples’ characters and ethics are often situational, and their actions cannot necessarily be predicted based on past behavior. I also very much liked the interchange of scenes and revelation of plot through sequences.
I did not own any movie DVDs, but decided to buy Crash. Over a period of 3 days, I watched it six times, writing out an outline of each scene and character. To this day, that Crash DVD is the only movie I own, although I will soon get one of Revenge In Kind!
Crash dislodged my writer’s block and helped me take a fresh look at each of my characters. Behind every key one, I developed a complete life story—where they grew up, what their families were like, how they were educated, and so on. Then I went back to the dialog and re-crafted each character’s style and attitude. At last I had a play and was ready for someone else to read it.
My cousin, Fredrick Bailey, is a screenwriter in LA. I asked him if he would take a look at RIK and he agreed. He gave me some constructive comments to help me tighten the dialog and quicken the pace of action. In particular, he suggested that I convert some conversations to action. After another rewrite, I was convinced that I had a really good product.
At the end of 2005, I sent out the screenplay to a few studios and agents, hoping to strike gold. One-hundred percent were sent back unopened. It reconfirmed what I already knew: to get a foot in the door, you have to know someone inside. I thought about making the movie myself, but knew that I really didn’t have the financial or other resources. I put the screenplay back on the shelf, where it would remain until 2015.