Casting Call for a Birth Mother

Finding a face for the absent

Jen Kim
Jen Kim
Aug 1 · 3 min read

If I ever saw her face I don’t remember it. By the time anyone started documenting anything about me I was ten months old and she was already gone.

I have a beginning and an ending for my third screenplay and the faces of actors who I’d love to play the roles.

Who knew someone could recommend a 20-something half Asian actor who could play the cello? (Thanks for the lead, Chris Kim!)

But someone is missing:

I don’t know how to conceive of the role of the birthmother.

It’s been so much easier to envision a world for these characters to live in.

And adding music to their atmosphere:

Even this article is a form of avoidance, drifting away from constructing the storyline’s twists and turns that the characters will have to navigate.

In real life I’ve tried to find mine. But despite the many ways I’ve cast about: through adoption records both in New York City and Seoul, a kind journalist, and publicizing myself everywhere hoping that she’ll see, she still eludes me.

So writing a character I can’t visualize feels empty.

I try to imagine what she would wear, the flavors she craves, her favorite color and time of day, and the sounds that she loves and hates à la James Lipton’s questionnaire for Inside The Actors Studio.

I know there are reasons why I’m avoiding something very important.

So I’m applying for a few fall writing collectives to get myself going and to give myself accountability. I’m so grateful for ALL of the support from my fellow creatives and collaborators and am excited to meet more.

Leaving you for now with the beautiful Jacquelyn Wells, a Korean Adoptee who kindly provided the music for my 2nd film, and this song about her birthmother.

Many thanks for your support and contributions already: Nick Genta, Christopher Larkin and Disqo Volante. More soon!

Jen Kim

Written by

Jen Kim

Film, Event and Festival Producer, Writer, Korean American Adoptee

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