Scripting Justice Squad…

For the history of this independent film, see the previous post, and go ‘like’ the FB page.

The script for Justice Squad was written, and rewritten, in bits and pieces and odds and ends over three years. At the early stages in 2004 the premise was much the same, though the story, plot and characterisation were almost non-existent. We knew it was a mockumentary about inept Australian crime fighters, not much else.

So Dan, Chad and myself spoke about superheroes at length, the pop culture and the pop philosophy present in these modern day myths, then teased the tropes, messed with the motifs and metaphors and generally took the mickey. A similar inventory was taken of the mockumentary genre across film and television. Then writing in lectures, at bus stops, on coffee breaks, at parties, on a train, in the rain, etc, we managed to whittle down the core concept. After a few false starts, the script began to emerge.

As we attempted to write our first screenplay, only just out of our teen years, the first few drafts represented unadulterated incompetence (only ever improving little by little). We were busy graduating, finding work and moving house so much of our mundane lives landed in the script: the stifling bureaucracy of our day jobs, the beastly characters we encountered in the ebb and flow or that dysfunctional breed of suburban Australian male. We took the things we disliked about others, and ourselves, and put them in tights and capes. Genre scriptwriting amidst the journey of young adulthood.

Of course, cowriting presented its challenges, baring all the boons and trials of a democracy. Particularly, each writer might take a different approach to a character for instance, or disagree sternly on a certain plot point. However, the cowriting process also offers a great deal of support, as when you write an absolute clunker of a scene and your true and sturdy friends are able to steer you home, usually with the phrase ‘dude, that bit sucks!’… and yes, much of it did.

As executive producer and director, Dan was the man to pull the actual document into place and after a last-minute edit, the final screenplay came into being. As with most things, the script was never finished, we simply stopped and hoped for the best as the first shoot approached in mid 2007. The result stands as an ambitious and mischievous tribute to things we adored growing up (comics, pop culture, independent cinema) and a testimony to the love and labour of an amazing cast and crew who worked to make the script into an actual film.

And Justice Squad was written, three friends, four years, six drafts, one film… for better or worse.


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