This is a strong low-budget effort with winning characters and sound psychological understanding extending beyond the extremes the patients have been driven toward.

 

Autobiographical spec screenplays typically focus on someone trying to settle a grudge against a parent or former romantic partner. The solution to all life’s problems is generally presented as writing a screenplay about the matter, which becomes a hit film and makes the public instantly side with the writer while the object of their scorn is publicly shunned. The problem is that such writers seem to expect the audience to unconditionally accept such a self-serving view while denying any responsibility on the part of the lead itself.

 

By comparison, this screenplay asks the viewer to go through a full process with the lead, who changes significantly over the course of the story. Just as Taren rejects any sympathy or support from others at the beginning of the film, the authors refuse to soften her nature to draw the audience to her side. It is only when Taren begins to develop empathy for others that the viewers can develop empathy of their own for the character, creating a mutual learning curve that becomes the true spine of the narrative.

 

As we learn about the patients on the ward, their varied suicide efforts come more and more to resemble different roads toward the same destination. Death is sought as an escape from pain, and the source of such turmoil inevitably comes down to unbearable memories of family discord. The medical solution for all this, for better and generally worse, is to bring these wounded individuals together as a pseudo family who may be able to give one another the understanding that has eluded them in the outside world.

 

In Taren’s case, the combination of family and memory find a balance in Mrs. Kelly, a loving maternal figure who is increasingly trapped in the present moment. She offers Taren the validation the young woman so desperately needs, yet also demonstrates how insubstantial the past can become within the mind, a powerful lesson for a woman who has decided that death is preferable to dealing with the consequences of her parents’ failings.

 

Accepting Mrs. Kelly creates a broader need in Taren that draws her to reverse her initial rage, the older woman becoming something of a role model in both her general kindness as well as an example of a life that has endured both tragedy and joy. Basically, as Taren begins to accept her own vulnerability, she finds herself perceiving the vulnerability in others and seeking to give them the support she has needed for so long.

 

This seems obvious when we view Taren’s interaction with the other patients, but the ultimate test comes in the final session with Kepler. If Taren views Kelly as a “good mother,” for her kindness, she is equally mistrustful of “bad mother” Kepler, who represents the authority and control Taren’s own mother had abused so terribly. Taren is able to break this division by getting beneath Kepler’s professional façade so that the two can connect momentarily as human beings.

 

While this connection is not going to extend to Taren’s own mother, it breaks the spell of power that Taren had created in her mind concerning the past. What had seemed overwhelming about her mother can now be placed in context. The memories remain painful, but are no longer the core of Taren’s perception.

 

The other patients provide a sliding scale of individual awareness. Carlos is the most-self aware, while Maria presents the most stable façade (though maintaining this act may cause her to melt down faster than any of the others). Near the end, Heather begins to regard Taren almost as Taren had regarded Maria, but Taren avoids repeating history by refusing to be anything other than her own self, still in the process of recovery.

 

Thus the observation ward here becomes less an exception to ordinary life than a laboratory carefully exaggerating the basics of human interaction that everyone has to learn to deal with. In following Taren’s progress, a sensitive viewer will come face to face with their own issues concerning others and leave the story with the insights the authors have gained through these experiences. Far from becoming a self-serving account, the story offers universal understanding, presenting a variety of characters ultimately contributing to the wisdom of not only Taren but everyone who accompanies her on the journey she begins here.

 

~E Yarber

 

 

 

This is a strong low-budget effort with winning characters and sound psychological understanding extending beyond the extremes the patients have been driven toward.

 

Autobiographical spec screenplays typically focus on someone trying to settle a grudge against a parent or former romantic partner. The solution to all life’s problems is generally presented as writing a screenplay about the matter, which becomes a hit film and makes the public instantly side with the writer while the object of their scorn is publicly shunned. The problem is that such writers seem to expect the audience to unconditionally accept such a self-serving view while denying any responsibility on the part of the lead itself.

 

By comparison, this screenplay asks the viewer to go through a full process with the lead, who changes significantly over the course of the story. Just as Taren rejects any sympathy or support from others at the beginning of the film, the authors refuse to soften her nature to draw the audience to her side. It is only when Taren begins to develop empathy for others that the viewers can develop empathy of their own for the character, creating a mutual learning curve that becomes the true spine of the narrative.

 

As we learn about the patients on the ward, their varied suicide efforts come more and more to resemble different roads toward the same destination. Death is sought as an escape from pain, and the source of such turmoil inevitably comes down to unbearable memories of family discord. The medical solution for all this, for better and generally worse, is to bring these wounded individuals together as a pseudo family who may be able to give one another the understanding that has eluded them in the outside world.

 

In Taren’s case, the combination of family and memory find a balance in Mrs. Kelly, a loving maternal figure who is increasingly trapped in the present moment. She offers Taren the validation the young woman so desperately needs, yet also demonstrates how insubstantial the past can become within the mind, a powerful lesson for a woman who has decided that death is preferable to dealing with the consequences of her parents’ failings.

 

Accepting Mrs. Kelly creates a broader need in Taren that draws her to reverse her initial rage, the older woman becoming something of a role model in both her general kindness as well as an example of a life that has endured both tragedy and joy. Basically, as Taren begins to accept her own vulnerability, she finds herself perceiving the vulnerability in others and seeking to give them the support she has needed for so long.

 

This seems obvious when we view Taren’s interaction with the other patients, but the ultimate test comes in the final session with Kepler. If Taren views Kelly as a “good mother,” for her kindness, she is equally mistrustful of “bad mother” Kepler, who represents the authority and control Taren’s own mother had abused so terribly. Taren is able to break this division by getting beneath Kepler’s professional façade so that the two can connect momentarily as human beings.

 

While this connection is not going to extend to Taren’s own mother, it breaks the spell of power that Taren had created in her mind concerning the past. What had seemed overwhelming about her mother can now be placed in context. The memories remain painful but are no longer the core of Taren’s perception.

 

The other patients provide a sliding scale of individual awareness. Carlos is the most-self aware, while Maria presents the most stable façade (though maintaining this act may cause her to melt down faster than any of the others). Near the end, Heather begins to regard Taren almost as Taren had regarded Maria, but Taren avoids repeating history by refusing to be anything other than her own self, still in the process of recovery.

 

Thus the observation ward here becomes less an exception to ordinary life than a laboratory carefully exaggerating the basics of human interaction that everyone has to learn to deal with. In following Taren’s progress, a sensitive viewer will come face to face with their own issues concerning others and leave the story with the insights the authors have gained through these experiences. Far from becoming a self-serving account, the story offers universal understanding, presenting a variety of characters ultimately contributing to the wisdom of not only Taren but everyone who accompanies her on the journey she begins here.

 

~E Yarber

                                                                   Depression = PRESS ON

 

Suicide has no rhyme or reason, some people think about it for years and plan it. Some people, it's 20 dark minutes of their life that they decide to take their life that comes out of the blue. It's very random, it's very frightening." Her message in the film is one of achieving mental well-being and overcoming one's own problems". I think people need to talk about it a lot, making it OK that it's in your family. "It doesn't shame anyone, and it doesn't make anybody's family an ugly, bad family."

 

~Mariel Hemingway

 

I asked people that suffer from depression to read my screenplay / watch my footage to get their honest feedback. Here is what some have said:
Hi Jennifer!
 
The trailer made me cry. Sob actually. I suffer from depression and am in the public eye, so I've had to keep it on the down low because of the stigma around mental illness. Sad. But as you know, true. My depression came on full blast 7 years ago. Blind sighted me. I didn't know what it was and thought I was going crazy. I've finally been ok for one full year. It's a huge milestone!
The trailer hit me hard. I've never seen anything that conveys how I feel. I've watched documentaries read articles... there's always an aspect I can relate to, but no one ever seems to capture the bigger picture. People understand physical pain, but they can't comprehend emotional pain. So they judge. And then you feel even more lost on top of the pain you already feel.
Sincerely,
 
Mary Milhone

Reading the script is one thing. To see you not only acting out the role but to know that you really went through this and came out okay brings tears to my eyes. You are not only sharing your story Jennifer, but you are connecting to so many that have been in this dark, lonely place where all they wanted was a way out. Out of the pain, the depression, the grief. You made it possible for others to see that just because you feel that way for a period of time, it doesn't have to end that way. You amaze me. Your story is so real. So touching. I am so proud of you Jennifer Scott. You are my hero.

~DrooliongKittens​

 
Hey, Jen
 
Yeah, I think it is original. I think it has the similar vibes and maybe bone structure with all the characters to Cuckoos Nest but the stories are completely different. The scenes with Mrs. Kelly and the main doctor are not related to Cuckoos Nest. The two films I thought of while reading were 28 days later and cuckoos nest, however only really in setting and the fact that she's surrounded by many different characters. Eyes seem to go deeper in its subject matter also whereas the other two are more surface level which sets you apart from those other films. It's more honest.
 
Matt

Hi Jen,


I'm Michel Russell's Mom. I wanted to start by saying that I am beyond proud of you and that I admire the courage that you have to share your story. My own son Michael has quite the same one, the pain that everyone goes through is unbelievable, but it mostly breaks my heart for the ones who suffer from depression. As a Mom, it is the hardest thing to watch, you want so much to help, fix, save, but realize the journey belongs to the individual. What upsets me the most is the stigma behind it, no one wants to look at the disease, many just want to "judge" the alcohol and drug abuse side of the disease. I just want you to know that I support you and your story 150% and hope that your story gets out into our world and that the eyes of our society are truly awakened by your film, with a sense of compassion and empathy...God Bless You! I really hope to meet you one day, I have such admiration for you and for my own son Michael!

 

The first time I saw the trailer, with my son Michael's voice singing in the background, I can't tell you how many tears were shed, such a raw spot was hit from deep inside of the reality of his own life. What a proud moment for me as his Mom...the power to turn all the negative into something positive. The pride and joy to know that my son is still here and he is doing good in this world, I just can't say enough...Thank You from the bottom of my heart for giving him this opportunity. I hope to meet you one day, to give you a big hug and thank you in person. You are so very beautiful, I wish you lots of love, peace, happiness, and success with your incredible story!

 

With Love,


~Myra Russell

Jennifer Scott has displayed such strength and courage in her testimony that is unfolded in her story and Feature Film " Eyes Upon Waking ". She is compassionate and extremely talented.

This is an AMAZING Film that will no doubt bring awareness to multitudes of viewers. A MUST SEE Film !!!! CONGRATS and Two Thumbs Up !!!!

 

Professionally,

Pete DeLorenzo


Nationally Recognized Comedian, Impressionist, Actor, Recording Artist, Screenwriter, Producer, Director and Humanitarian
www.petedelorenzo.com

It's actually sad yet inspiring to read. ... This is how your energy and determination is affecting others around you.
 
Kudos x
~Robby J Keating
 
Dear Jennifer,
 
Thank you for this honest, REAL video. It's the best one! That's because it's REAL. The pictures of your depression and grief are wrenchingly real.
 
~Kitty Schwarz

Hello Jen

I was glad to finally meet you. Your film project "Eyes Upon Waking" 
left me speechless the first time that Bill showed me a clip from it. 
It leaves most of the Hollywood movies in the dust, as far as I am 
concerned.  I may not be a qualified judge, but I know what I like in 
a movie: an underlying truth, some heart, some hope, and characters 
that are real enough to care about. Your film is getting it right.


Best regards,

Jillian

I sat down and read the script for EUW today and really enjoyed it. I typically don't get through a feature-script in one sitting; I usually have to take a short break and digest it, but this was very compelling. You two did a wonderful job with the characterization, and the authenticity in the storytelling really shines through. It's a wonderfully honest story, and as I said, an important one.
~Patrick Griffin

Wow, that was something, an eye opener for some and yet you hit the nail on the head for so many others. I lost my brother to suicide and if there just would've been so way to break that wall down and communicate he may still be here today. Choice of music could've been better Hahaha. Thanks for the opportunity to view your film and I too look forward to the full production.

Tim Golden

Wow. Jen, this is so beautiful. The trailer totally pulled me in and my heart is aching and pulling for Taren/YOU in such a deep way. It hits a raw, vulnerable place of compassion and understanding. I love you so much and can’t tell you how PROUD and GRATEFUL I am of you for getting yourself to where you are today. You get to be a beacon of light for so many people through this film. It would be my absolute honor to write a song for your movie. If it works to use it... great. If not, there is no obligation, of course. No doubt it is meant to be either way. I think you and I have come to a special time of reconnection in our lives. One where we can see each other and support each other in new ways. What a gift! 
 
I love you, Jenny! 😉 Thank you for reaching out. 
 
Press on, sister. Let’s help bring healing to our world together. 🙏 Can’t wait to read the screenplay. Got the attachment in your second email.
 
With love and admiration,
Laura

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