How to write from a personal point of view without writing memoirs? When I embarked on my coaching sessions with Brooks Elms I was pretty sure I wanted to write a screenplay that I called “Backpacking with my Parents” which somehow dealt with my 15 year old self in 1989. Write what you know, right?
1989 was a pivotal year for me. And for Germany. My dad, an English teacher, had decided to spend a school year abroad to brush up his English. And East Germany decided to tear down the Wall between East and West…
But where did my dad take me and my mum? New Zealand. So I found myself on the other side of the world, far away from friends, only a diary, airmail letters, books and my parents for company for most of the year. Well, I did go to school, my mum insisted, but it was difficult to make friends.
Watching history unfold in Germany from “down under” and being a West German abroad was a perspective, but when Brooks challenged me to weave some thriller beats into my coming of age story – that’s truly when the story of Germany and my own started coming together. It became a complete “what if” fiction, but the fundaments and the emotional backbone are very truthful, and I’m proud of that.
So what now? I’ve written the feature script!
Who loves family secrets, spies caught between east and west, and a road movie, as told through a teenager who has to find out who she really is?
1989-90 changed the course of my life. I’m not sure I would have ended up living in the UK otherwise.
What did you do that year?
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