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The story that wrote itself

Right from the onset, my screenplay, Kindred Spirits, had a life of its own. I had initially intended on writing a romantic comedy as I knew that the screenplay I would be writing after it, was going to be a difficult one to write – it being an intense drama based on a true story and me being personally and emotionally connected to it.

I also took a different tack when writing Kindred Spirits. Normally, I conduct research into each scene as I am writing them. This time though, before “putting pen to paper” on the script, I spent several months writing detailed notes.

At home, I would always had a notepad close by so when I was going about my daily activites and had an idea, I could quickly jot it down. At the shops, when I thought of something and didn't have my phone with me (yes, I am one of those people that doesn't get separation anxiety if it isn't in my sight), I would ask the shop assistant for a pen so I could write it on my hand. When I was out walking and had a light bulb moment, I would record it on my phone (I do have it in my sight sometimes). I found that by doing these things and by not actively and consciously trying to think of an idea, the concepts I came up with, just came. Furthermore, they had greater quality. I was more creative when I wasn't trying to be.

One of the main things that resulted from what I now refer to as “my subconscious creativity”, was that my characters were more unique and had greater substance. Also, themes that crept into Kindred Spirits reflected what was going on at the time nationally in Australia where I reside, and internationally.

In Australia, a number of accusations of rape and sexual assault were made against the highest of the high – members of the Australian Parliament and politicians. Internationally, the “Black Lives Matter” movement continued to gain traction.

Like many people, these events triggered raw emotions in me. As such, themes of sexual misconduct, and race and gender inequality inched into the story of Kindred Spirits, giving it added depth and profundity.

After spending months engaging in my subconscious creativity moments, Kindred Spirits, the story, the scenes, the themes and the characters, were there in black and white in my notes. It was like Kindred Spirits had written itself.

I however wanted to add a further aspect to the screenplay - a sense of mystery and anticipation, and I didn't want to make it a standard “start to finish” storyline. I wanted it to have additional edge. As such, I reworked it so that the reader/audience is given snippets along the way of why the characters are who they are, where they have come from, and their motivations. Certain scenes include little teasers to establish these until the puzzle pieces gradually come together, causing the reader/audience to have “I didn't expect that” and “ah, I get it now” moments.

What resulted, is a story of drama, comedy and romance – one of substance, one of uniqueness and, most of all, one of heart and soul; hence one of the reasons why it is aptly titled, Kindred Spirits.

Considering it is a story that practically wrote itself, I was delighted and honoured when Kindred Spirits received a L.A. Film Award for Best Romance Feature Screenplay.

I am currently seeking a producer/production company to bring Kindred Spirits to life on screen so that others can be touched by its powerful messages, and drawn in by its enthralling “outside the box” characters.

Screenwriter – Hayley Jean Reeves

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