APRIL in BC: Feature Treatment Dev’ for PERMANENT WAVES

For the fourth time since the fall of 2012 I’ve returned to this story that just won’t leave my mind. It’s a feature script about a mom who experiences empty nest and decides to go back to hair and beauty school in her 50’s, something my mom decided to do, although not necessarily for that reason.

So in the fall of 2013, after nearly a year of development, I’d written a full first draft. I’d set it aside for a few days to gain perspective and then read it again. And hated it. It didn’t make much sense, the through-line wasn’t there. Having written the script in three weeks, I was mentally exhausted, so I set it aside.

Cut to the beginning of 2014. I remember while having a shower the actual story had suddenly come to me, me believing it was in fact three short stories of three family members that ultimately intersect. It was about the mom, the brother, and the sister. I wrote the mom’s story, the sister’s, and got halfway through the brother’s and realized, wait. No. This wasn’t right either.

The story was about the brother.

So I broke the story again, this time a film that had nothing to do about a mom going back to hair and beauty and everything about a young man overcoming his illness at 21. And it was while developing the outline that spring that directing came into view for me and No Breath Play took centre stage, leaving all feature writing to the side for two years.

And here I am again, back at square one, wanting to return to that mom who goes back to hair and beauty school. I’ve broken the story for the fourth time this month (or the third if you consider the story about the young man to be its own entity), and am 10 pages into a 30-page treatment. I like this story structure and for the first time I really appreciate the treatment phase. It’s really helping me shape the story in a non-committal way. And I’m fairly certain this is the way it should be told. (I think…)

The hopes is to apply for the Harold Greenberg Fund and NSI’s Script to Screen, both due in June. Wish me luck.

About the author

Stacey Ashworth

Stacey is a Canadian screenwriter, director, and script / story analyst with an MFA in Screenwriting from the University of Texas at Austin who is currently living in British Columbia. Stacey has had her work optioned in Los Angeles, as well as in Victoria, B.C., where she’s currently finalizing rewrites on her first draft of the Telefilm-funded feature, PERMANENT WAVES. Her short film, NO BREATH PLAY, which she wrote, directed and produced premiered at the Portland Film Festival, as well as won the Metropol Audience Award for Best Short at the Victoria Film Festival.

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