In Plain Sight - How the script came to be.
In Plain Sight came around when I was sitting down and on the news, In it David Allen Turpin and his wife Louise had been abusing their 12 children by locking them up in the house and chaining them to beds. That is the short of it, but I sat there with my wife and asked the simple question How is it nobody knows? We then started talking about other cases and the most prominent case that came to my mind was Jaycee Dugard, 11 year old girl kidnapped from her home in Lake Tahoe Ca. She was kept prisoner for 15 years in a parolee's shanty behind his house. His wife was complicit in the abduction and assisted. A more notorious example was Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina Dejasus. There were imprisoned in a neighborhood in Cleveland for over 10 years they had experienced all sorts of abuse.
The next thing I said is something I feel like should be the first thing you say before creating a script, treatment or anything. I said "What If?" In this case it was imagine what if a woman was abducted but while people were looking everywhere for her and pointing the finger at her husband for her disappearance. The entire time she was being held against her will in her neighbors basement. Someone she had trusted and called a friend. From there I had a concept, my antagonist and my protagonist I just needed to set the scene and scope of what we would tackle because you can run sideways with this subject if you wanted.
I decided there was a point to be made about people being so distracted and preoccupied that that is the reason nobody is thinking to look next door. I masked it by attacking the concept that we all have two sides, our private personality and our public personality, in that I pointed out that even when you think you know someone, you really don't.
I wanted to set the stage by showing one day in my heroines life as a victim, show the audience that she hadn't given up on getting free, How would my antagonist handle her not accepting her situation, how would she get loose, what was her husband doing, what was the police doing, what did the community think. So the film would start first thing in the morning and finish at the end of the day. This gave us a very narrow scope of focus to work in.
My first draft of the script was all over the place, I had neighbors commenting on her from across the street, I had her husband sitting on the floor with a gun to his head because I was being accused. I had a young man next door in the yard seeing her in the house and thinking their neighbor was just perverted. Like I said it was my first draft.
Trying to keep the time down so that we wouldn't get to carried away I stripped a lot of that down and toned down the husband from being a lost hopeless drunk, to being a man who wanted to find his wife, just was dealing with the daily stress of everything going on around him combined with pressure from the police.
My antagonist didn't actually change much throughout the writing process he came across as a great friend and neighbor to everyone outside of the house, but then you find out there is another side of him and his wife whom we don't actually meet until the end of the film.
My protagonist was my victim, Christine; she wasn't just setup as an escape artist or a complete in your face fighter. I decided she would have to go through the stages of denial. After all this was a man whom was friends with her and her husband. There was a point in the story when she realized that there would be no safe ending for her where she would be let go. At that moment it was all about escape any way possible.
The biggest most interesting thing I noticed from people watching the film, everyone has a moment that they really relate to and it hits them. The goal of the film was to call out all of our hypocrisy, we have all done it, not helped, judged, assumed we knew someones situation and it isn't until we get more information that we go wow I didn't know. This is summed up by the phone call into the radio station at the end of the film where we have a good Samaritan call in. He talks about how the news of the missing woman had effected him and his wife but when faced with an opportunity to show compassion and help someone he instead judged them and left it to someone else to help.
I am very happy with this film, I learned a lot about writing and the process of character development. how to craft a better story and I was able to bring awareness to a problem. This is not a trafficking film, it is about how we are blinded by our own lives.