Persephone Vandegrift is a writer who is looking to collaborate with women directors, producers, etc., to make movies about women. Read on to find out more about Persephone and her work.
Who are you?
What do you do?
I write stage-plays, film scripts, short stories and odes. Not always in that order.
What compels you to write what you do?
The Arts has always been a beacon for me. They are the best way I know to express who I am and the journey I am on in this lifetime. Writing is my way of understanding that journey and the journeys of others around me – whether it’s their past, present or future. It is a innate need, like being thirsty and knowing water will quench it – writing satiates my curiosity for everything – people, objects, history, the unexplainable, psychological, the forgotten, and the infamous. Once I get a germ of an idea, I won’t rest until my head has figured how to explain it through writing.
Someone asked me recently what it was like to be inside my head while I was writing or developing an idea and the only way I could describe it was that it was like languishing on a warm tropical beach, but at the same time being dangled over the edge of the Grand Canyon by my heels. Writing, for me, is also like being an archaeologist – what will I uncover if I dig – right – here. I write to understand things I don’t know, and to put those things I do know to the test.
What types of stories do you pursue?
Usually they pursue me. Seriously, they find me, pin me down, smack me in the face, pull my hair, tie my shoes together, make me walk into poles, pick up the wrong book, smile at the wrong person, talk to the right person, make me leave in the middle of social functions, really this list would never end. The stories that come out are stories that need to be told when and how they want it. It could be one from thousands of years ago or it could be from this morning.
I have learned (the hard way, see list above for more info) to stop telling them when it’s ‘a good time’ for them to show themselves, and ceased dictating to them ‘how’ they are going to be written.
The stories that draw me in first are ones that have been lost, ignored or are uncomfortable to talk about. Mythology and history play key roles, but there are plenty of heroines and heroes being created every day whose stories go unheard.
But more to the point, as a woman, I write ‘for’ women. That is and has always been my goal – to write more roles for women in the theatre and film industry. But above all, the story will dictate the gender of the characters. I just like the majority of them to be women because I am one, and it makes it easier for me to understand my gender, and if I don’t, it gives me a great opportunity to try.
What are you working on now?
I just finished two feature scripts, the first, Death of a Mortal Woman, is a historical biopic about a Roman widow trying to secure a legacy for her family in the face of empirical machinations, political corruption, and eventually her own death. The second, The Curse of Mercy Wood, is a supernatural chiller with a little historical thrown in (because I can’t help it) about a young girl who, while visiting her grandparents, inadvertently becomes a participant in a centuries-old ghost story in order to solve the mystery behind it.
I would love a woman director for either. I have several short scripts and plays. I also like to write for specific people or if someone has a particular character in mind, to build a script around it. I just did that with a recent project and I loved the challenge of it. My other short script, All Things Hidden, won a Certificate of Excellence in 2011 and is set to shoot this spring in Seattle. All Things Hidden was inspired by my experience growing up around domestic violence and the ramifications that experience can have on one’s life. It also explores the process of how we overcome those experiences, or ‘morph’ out of them, and what does it take to do that? What do we have to put ourselves through in order to transcend our past?
I am working on a children’s fairy series (books), developing a TV pilot, and outlining two feature scripts, a rom/com/dram & a fantasy, which means there’s a lot of post-it notes and pieces of paper to sort through…tomorrow.
What are you looking for?
I am looking for women directors, producers, etc. who are interested in scripts written by women, like myself. I am always open to writing for people or with people, short scripts or features. I honestly do spend my waking hours writing, researching new writing outlets, and networking to try to find women directors/producers. Nowadays a woman in this industry has to pretty much do everything; direct, produce, shoot, market, act, write. It makes it a bit more difficult to get noticed when one really only wants to write. But, I know they are out there, and hopefully looking for me too. I’m not giving up.
vandepk77 at hotmail.com