2017 Feature Finalist Laura Allen
Liv, a single-mom and small-time shoplifter, barely makes ends meet with her deviant lifestyle. But when she reconnects with her estranged father she finds she must navigate a new place for herself in the world.
My name is Laura Allen. I am a working actress in Los Angeles since 2000. I wrote my first script, Spree for a screenwriting class and had a fantastic time. As an actress all these years I have read tons of scripts and noticed that although some are terrific, lots and lots are really, really crappy. We know many roles for women over 40 are clichéd; the nagging wife, the one-dimensional lawyer/doctor/cop. I wanted to write something I thought would be compelling for an actress in her 40s, something I would find juicy to play.
The idea of Spree came about when I was doing endless errands as a new mother. Professionally, I had enjoyed some minor success as an actress but once I became a mom, I felt the glamour and notoriety slip away as I schlepped about in sweats with bags under my eyes. I thought: wouldn’t it be fascinating to write a female character who has a shameful secret, a deviant lifestyle, but is perceived as a plain mom pushing a stroller and slipping into a playground, a most innocent getaway. What if there is quite a bit more to the everyday woman you meet at Shoprite?
I delight in studying human behavior and idiosyncrasies in small moments between characters. I enjoy real-world environments, and I discovered with Spree a love for the everyday world; the Rite Aid, the JC Penney, the Food Court, the Marriott. We know these places, they can be tedious but relatable, and we are often tedious and relatable as their patrons. But mostly I relish the mash-up of characters you can find in these public cesspools, and the chance encounter that may have a deep impact on a person’s journey. I like challenging our tendencies to underestimate the inner life of a regular person in the regular world.