by Hedgebrook Staff

We are so excited to introduce you to each of incoming screenwriters for Hedgebrook’s inaugural Screenwriters Lab! We encourage you to check out their previous work by following the links at the bottom of the interview. This is the second in a series of five interviews. Check back soon to meet our third screenwriter!

 

Without giving too much away, what do you find new and challenging about your current project?

I am grappling with crafting the protagonist and milieu of my script. The project is of the independent genre, and takes place in another country with different cultural norms, but my job is to make the character’s journey relatable to the audience while portraying her environment without judgment. I am striving to make the protagonist’s story compelling and suspenseful, in part by drawing upon circumstances that might seem jarring and unfamiliar.

 

Have networks of other women writers contributed to your growth and success as a writer?

Recently, I plunged into new territory by writing a project with friend and filmmaker Erin Li. We met through Film Independent and continued working together once the fellowship program ended. Erin has a methodical approach in contrast to my intuitive style. This double-edged sword has helped us write our low-fi sci-fi feature, a genre I would have never tackled alone. Professionally, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with dynamic women, from chairpersons to story editors. To see how they wrangle scripts and formulate notes has definitely informed my writing process. My first network of women writers, however, was my family. My maternal grandmother was an amazing storyteller and put us to bed with Korean folk tales, my mother immigrated to the States to study literature, and my sister constructs contracts by day and prose by night.

 

How do you approach making creative compromises for financial reasons?

At its heart, filmmaking is a collaborative process. From what I’ve witnessed, both in school and in the working world, collaboration means compromise. Someone has to give up some part of his or her vision in order to get the film made. The path by which a project gets from paper to screen is peppered with these compromises, but I have found that if a strong script is at its base, the original intention of the writer doesn’t get lost.

 

Would you share one of your creative rituals?

At the start of every new year, I go through a ritual of eating every type of comfort food that I like. Then, I can go on the latest new-fangled cleanse (e.g., gluten-free, alkaline water, probiotic juice). I like to draw out my time going though the list, but eventually I get to a sanguine place. At the start of every writing day, I conduct a similar purge. I hit up as many British tabloids, Instagram accounts and news outlets as I can before I begin writing. Some might call this process procrastination.

 

Why are you excited about Hedgebrook?

Los Angeles is my hometown but I am excited to escape this drought-ridden city for the cool haven that is Whidbey Island. I am also running away (briefly) from the domestic mundane, and I am eager to dedicate time and space to writing. Lastly, I am looking forward to camaraderie with, and to hearing the war stories of, our mentors and other writers. Getting anything made is a battle with which I truly empathize.

 

About Allison Lee:

Born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Los Angeles, Allison Lee studied English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago. Lee returned to Los Angeles to receive her MFA in Film and TV Production from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. Upon graduation, she worked in development and production at DreamWorks and NBCUniversal. Lee was named a Project Involve fellow by Film Independent, under whose auspices she co-wrote KEPLER X-47. The film was screened at the 13th Annual Young Directors Night at LACMA and as a part of the Short Film Programs at the American Cinematheque.

Learn more about Allison: byallisonlee.com

Follow her on Twitter: @byallisonlee

 


 

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Hedgebrook supports visionary women writers whose stories and ideas shape our culture now and for generations to come. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily representative of the opinions of Hedgebrook, its staff or board members.

 

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