A peak behind the curtain
At the end of last week, I was quoted several times in a The Guardian article about US expats who’ve escaped to New Zealand for political reasons.
The whole exercise of reliving why we decided to move here made me think of all the projects we abandoned back in Los Angeles five and a half years ago. Mind you, I don’t for half a second regret our move. In light of the way six Supreme Court justices put the Constitution into the paper shredder last week, our emigration was obviously just in time, but it’s a crying shame what the US is turning into. It’s actually totally frightening that the world’s greatest military power is getting slowly but surely handed over to a far-right Christian theocracy, but I can’t help but think of how things could have worked out. We abandoned multiple projects — all of them promising — and who knows how far we would have taken them given all the momentum we had back in November 2016.
Of course, now we’ve got this incredible little nugget who’ll never, ever have to learn any active shooter drills, but it’s impossible to not wonder where we might be right now if 60 million US voters hadn’t lost their minds back in 2016.
I guess we’ll never know, but the events of last week put this entire project into perspective. It made me wonder what’s been driving me to tell this story for seventeen years. What brings me back to it again and again.
Well, I had a realization about Allan last night. Without giving away any spoilers, I’ve aways thought of him as the outsider amongst the main four characters. I know where all three of the other main characters — Sandy, Kim & Ned — end up in the end, though I don’t know how long it will take to get them there, and I don’t plan on having Allan there with them. In fact, I don’t as of yet have any plans for his storyline to touch the others’ storylines directly at all. So why have him in there at all?
That’s exactly what I’ve been asking myself these past 24 hours. Is it better to just cut him entirely?
I’ve always seen him as the philosopher of the group, the one who needs to make some kind of sense of it all. He brings something to this world that none of the other characters bring. While the others are trying to survive and save as many others as they can along the way, he’s the one wondering if we should survive. He’s the one who’s genuinely trying to find a compelling reason for humanity to even survive this apocalypse.
So of course I won’t cut him, but we need to understand that struggle. We need to understand intimately what’s going on with him in a way that we don’t with the other characters.
And that realization has brought me to this decision: all of Allan’s chapters will be journal entries or letters. They’ll be his personal thoughts spoken in his own voice.
The benefit of writing in this format — here on Medium — , is that I can basically do whatever the hell I want. I’m not beholden to any paying readers since every single chapter is free and available to non-members as well as members, and I’m not beholden to an executive producer either because I’m not getting paid by anybody.
So this is what I’m going to do over the coming few weeks. I’m going to one-by-one replace Allan’s current chapters by a series of journal entries. The events that occur in each might be identical to what’s in their current chapters, but the way they’re told and, more importantly, the insight into Allan’s thoughts and feelings about everything will be far more central to all of his chapters moving forward.
That’s three more chapters that I’ll be basically redoing out of order from the rest — Chapters 1, 12 and 21. After each is updated, its prior version will be turned off, and then by the first week of August we should be back to our regularly scheduled program.
Hopefully, you’ll stick around for the ride! If so, thanks for your patience! I hope you continue to enjoy — assuming of course that’s why you’re reading this.
Oh, and one last thing: we’re considering starting a little podcast for this series, so the writing can be heard out loud. Since I do occasional VO gigs myself and Kendall has designed sound for years, it seems silly not to.
After we update those three chapters (and wrap up some larger upcoming day gig and We Make Movies projects) we might consider making this happen. We’ll obviously write about that here if and when it’s ready, so keep your eyes peeled, and feel free to follow me — consider signing up for email updates whenever I post something new. I mean why not?
– Chad Kukahiko