May 31st, 2013 11:43 EST
The Making of Justice Woman
Seven years ago, Justice Woman was only a domain name. Growing up a fan of Batman and Wonder Woman, I figured Justice Woman would be a cool name for my alter ego, a lawyer superhero. At the time, I didn`t know what I was going to do with the domain name or with the rest of my life.
I had recently graduated law school and had a judicial clerkship lined up, a position that most would feel lucky to have straight out of law school, but I was miserable. I had given up on my dreams of being a performer to pursue a path of so-called success. My spirit was slowly dying. I reneged on my clerkship, but being unemployed was not the best alternative so, I stuck it out as a lawyer. Never one to take well to authority and having an entrepreneurial spirit, I sought to find my own way as a solo practitioner. It was then that I experienced the genesis of Justice Woman. Without divulging specifics, hanging a shingle was an eye opening experience as I got to see firsthand how our legal system and the people in charge of it can work for both good and bad under the guise of the law. I wasn`t limited to the experiences of others; I too endured my share of injustices and disappointments enough to want out of the practice of law and back into acting.
While studying at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, I began writing plays thanks to the encouragement of one of my acting teachers, Pamela Scott. For some reason, dialogue just seemed to flow easily out of my head and onto the page (not sure what that says about me, but I think there`s a prescribed pill for that). I quickly moved onto writing screenplays, mostly out of necessity; I needed an actor reel to showcase myself. However, putting a reel together proved strenuous as I found myself hounding down directors to get copies of films I had performed in. I figured with all the energy I was expending, I might as well write and film the story for Justice Woman, which had been percolating in the back of my head this whole time.
As I wrote Justice Woman, a series of tumultuous events were happening throughout the world that fueled my desire to write not just on my behalf, but also on behalf of others who had suffered some form of injustice. I began writing about the many unfair things that exist in our society pertaining to discrimination, homophobia, immigration, double standards, sexual hypocrisy, class power, political corruption, etc. Those became the issues that I wanted to set forth in Justice Woman. However, I took to heart Oscar Wilde`s saying: "if you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they`ll kill you" and put a humorist twist to my writing with remarkable results.
What had started out solely as a domain name gradually took the form of a short screenplay that grew to surpass the length of a feature film that had to be parsed into a series. A series that could go on into infinity because "[a]s long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other" John Stuart Mill. If history serves as a precedent, the battle for justice is ever ongoing.
As for directing, it became obvious that I needed to direct the series because as the writer I already had a vividly clear vision of how the story should unfold. Besides, in the words of Woody Allen, "[t]his is not quantum physics. If you`re the writer of the story, you know what you want the audience to see because you`ve written it. It`s just common sense. It`s just storytelling, and you tell it." However, directing and acting at the same time is challenging. Therefore, I`ve been very fortunate to rely on the support of collaborating directors who have helped keep my vision of Justice Woman intact.
Seven years later I have found more than a purpose for a domain name in Justice Woman; I have found my purpose. I am truly happy with the incredible work the cast and crew have done on the series and eagerly look forward to sharing more of Justice Woman with everyone soon. In the interim, you can watch the first season online at http://www.JusticeWoman.com
MAY JUSTICE PREVAIL!!!
By Vanessa Verduga