Script : Redemption
Writer: Joshua Allen
Joshua Marc Allen is an American writer and director. Many of his scripts have won several awards around the world on the festival circuit. After serving as a Korean linguist in the US Army, Joshua was honorably discharged in 2008. He moved to San Francisco to study at the Academy of Art University, focused on acting. From then, he gradually moved toward scriptwriting.
1.Joshua, Redemption looks so promising! The script is brilliantly written and presented. What was your feeling while writing it?
Redemption was just fun. The free spirit of Jude was very easy to make a bit magnetic. Kane was very loosely autobiographical, and he definitely made a few mistakes I have emulated. Certainly not the exact situations, but you could definitely draw parallels. Then of course there was Conrad. He’s more aspirational for me. He’s got his life figured out and is slowly bending the world to his whims. He barely speaks, but I still needed him to communicate clearly. It made for a nice challenge.
2.How do you envision a chance meeting?
The funny thing is that even within a chance encounter; it needs to be the culmination of two logical series of events. The audience needs to accept that it’s not just coincidence; but reasonable, and even inevitable. It helps to create a pattern of behavior, have both parties visit the location before the meeting, and make the place familiar to the audience. This sort of reincorporation is a foundation of good storytelling as a whole.
3.Joshua, what attracted you to pen this story?
The foundation of this story was born in frustration and my own wallowing in mistakes I had made in my life. I wanted to exorcize some personal demons, and maybe find some personal growth along the way. This easily gave birth the juxtaposition of the two leads. At the start; Kane and Conrad both think they have life pretty figured out. Of course; they both have something to learn from the other.
4.If you met a stranger suddenly like this, how do you think you’d react to the entire situation?
Throughout my life, I’ve been put into a lot of situations. I spent some time in the US Army, and have traveled extensively as a civilian as well. While I haven’t faced this exact situation; I have been put into circumstances where I’ve had to face hostile people holding weapons. So far; I have always found the courage to step forward and do what was necessary to protect the innocent, regardless of the danger to myself. I hope that instinct remains strong and true.
That said; real life is complicated. Stepping in and getting into a physical confrontation might not be the best option – and it certainly isn’t the only option. Don’t be afraid to play with the psychology of the situation.
When I was younger; I spent some time as a bartender. There were fights and confrontations in the bar. One of my favorite tactic for diffusing a situation was to walk up to the aggressor and explain in a very understanding tone of voice; ‘Hey, I heard there was some sort of disagreement. Can you tell me your side?’ Anxious to be understood; the aggressor would quickly start explaining. I’d let them get one or two sentences out, before interjecting; ‘Sorry, it’s really loud. Do you mind stepping out front with me so I can hear you. I just really want to give you a chance here.’ Nine times out of ten; they would happily walk out front with me, and right past the security at the front door.
I pause next to security, point the aggressor out, ‘He’s done.’ and then walk back inside without another word. In a situation that could have escalated; I let the aggressor walk himself out; and he wanted to.
Don’t be afraid to use psychology to help.
5.What makes you keep going as a scriptwriter? How do you keep yourself motivated?
As a painter, if you want to paint; it’s easy. You go get pain, and you do it. A singer can just sing. (Yes you can step into the studio and do a lot of technical production work, but it’s not technically necessary. A writer just needs a pen and paper. A filmmaker though? A filmmaker needs a team. They need actors. They need support crew. You can do a lot on your own; but there are always limits. My true love is directing. It’s transforming the words into a vision.
But sometimes a global pandemic comes along, and it gets exponentially harder to create and run a set. So; writing. I can still create worlds, I can still tell stories.
As to motivation; it’s either in you or it’s not. I have to find ways to express myself. I’ve saved up every spare cent at my day job so that I can come home and keep working on projects of my own. You need to create because you can’t conceive of a life without creating.
But winning the stray award show doesn’t hurt.
6.Among all the characters from Redemption, who was the toughest to sketch?
This was a rare script where everyone felt like they had their place. I think I worked longest on finding the right balance with Conrad (and seeing how many of his lines I could delete and still effectively communicate) – but all in all this script came together fairly easily.
7.If you were to meet any one of them in real life, whom would you pick?
Hmmm, I think I would get along with Conrad best. Not to mention; he’d definitely be a good influence on me. I think Kane would be a lot of fun, and if it was just to be a single afternoon? I’d go for Kane. On the other hand; if I got a chance to build a relationship with someone? I need some Conrad in my life.
8.Joshua, I’d love to know what kinds of movies you wish to make in the future!
While there’s some specifics; the most important descriptor would be ‘many’. I would love to make a true return to Cyberpunk (the genre, not the PS5 game). I would love to tell stories that explore gender identity, sexuality, and the various pressures of the world. I’d love to tell stories of growth, transformation, and inspiration. But above all; I would love to have the opportunity just to make movies consistently.
9.Lastly, if you could change anything in the story, what would it be?
Well, I’ve written and rewritten as notes have come in. I think the thing I would like to change next is whatever the studio asks of me in order to get it greenlit.
Hahahaha, for real though. I’m not afraid to let my work evolve and grow as it enters the next step of production; I just look forward to the day when I get to explore those sorts of changes.