Written by Stephonika W. Kaye
Miranda, bent on revenge, crosses paths with Atlas on a desolate world in a withering galaxy. She is faced with the choice to continue on her hellbent path or help him on his journey to save thousands.
Q&A with Stephonika W. Kaye
Q1: Tell us a little about Regenesis. Where did the idea come from?
The idea for Regenesis actually spawned from another sci-fi story I've had on the back-burner for a while. I liked this character arc that happened in it, in which a character contracts an incurable disease and has to spend the rest of her days in this hard suit. It was at the start of "Covid Year" when I was feeling creatively trapped, as I am sure many of us did, and I wanted to write something that IF I got to produce it, it would be safer for the actors like it would be for crew, hence the suits and the respirators written into Atlas and Miranda's backstory. Those things just helped establish a deeper, richer world-building for this dystopian galaxy.
Q2: Who is the central character of your script? What do you think their conscious and unconscious desires are?
It's definitely not one or the other. It's very much a story of both Miranda AND Atlas. They complement each other perfectly both as characters and in the sense of driving each other's course forward. They become a kind of unit. Miranda has her mission of revenge while Atlas has his secrets and his end goal of redemption. Unconsciously, though, I think what makes them team up and what makes them work so well together (even if they won't admit it) is that they are both very lonely individuals, and the thought of actually finding another soul in a withering galaxy that they might have some connection to isn't something to just ignore.
Q3: What were the toughest aspects of creating your screenplay? How did you overcome them?
So much of this script actually came very smoothly. There's a handful of stories, I think, that work like that, where you just sit down and they almost writes themselves. Maybe the toughest bits were knowing just how much or how little to explain certain things. I never want to give so much exposition in dialogue. Sometimes it's necessary, but it can be a really uninteresting way to convey story points. It's also always a toss up on how much of the world do you explain to a reader/viewer. So, really it was just about finding a balance between the characters and their world.
Q4: What inspired you to enter into the world of screenwriting?
It definitely goes back to my first viewing of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. I've always loved sci-fi and fantasy, but seeing that movie opened up a whole new realm of possibilities for me. I've always been writing. Poems, prose, you name it. When I was younger I wanted to be an actor and novelist, but seeing LOTR on the big screen made me realize it was possible to tell the kinds of stories I wanted to tell in a much more visual format. Thanks, Peter Jackson & Co.!
Q5: What intrigues you the most about writing and storytelling? (Is it characterization, plot, etc?)
Storytelling has always been a release or an escape for me. It's the funnest and most challenging thing I do, writing stories. Whether it be exploring a fantasy you came up with in a dream or after listening to music, or if you're using it as a tool of self-therapy to release some emotions you cannot otherwise express... it's just magical. I've used writing and filmmaking as art therapy many times, and it forces you to look at the other's point of view or perhaps to write an ending for a matter you maybe never had closure with. Alternatively, it can be a place to highlight issues we face in the real world. Something I love about sci-fi is that they can be such morality tales, the "if we keep doing this, this could be our fate" kind of issues.
Q6: Do you have any screenwriting/film influences or people you look up to?
As previously stated, LOTR would definitely be among my influences, in both story and character and what it achieved cinematically, but in a more general sense, art and music likely influence me the most. Certain sounds and images can stick in your mind and bring out some interesting ideas and emotions.
Q7: What's your process for creating script concepts?
It varies project to project. Ideas come from everywhere, but it's just a matter of which ones resonate and excite me. One consistent method I have is the use of music. Just about every script I've written has had a different playlist I've curated for it over time. Music really influences how I write a lot and informs some of the pacing.
Q8: What is the single best piece of advice you can give to aspiring screenwriters?
It really is just as simple as sitting down and just writing. It sounds difficult, and it is sometimes, but writing just stream of consciousness can unlock a lot of ideas. It's not like you have to keep every little nugget; you just have to actually make those nuggets tangible through words to know if they're any good. That, and always have a way to write notes anywhere you are. I must have countless "new" notes on my phone app of just random thoughts or phrases I think up or things people around me have said that I want to remember for later. You never know when your next best idea will come, and you don't want to forget it!
Q9: Can you tell us about any of your upcoming projects?
I'm actually reworking Regenesis into a limited series. Other than that, I've got several scripts either finished, in their fifth to tenth drafts, and some that are still incubating. I have a break-up drama, a psychological horror I just finished another draft on, a fantasy adventure, and so many others. Just got to keep writing.