Writing Robin’s Fate.

With several “Robin” notecards strategically placed across my coffee table, I contemplated the life I had provided her. When you write a fictional script, you end up spending a lot of time with each character you create. I felt like I was sitting at Robin’s bedside, emotionally drained from her comatose state. As I molded her fate over a glass of wine, it occurred to me that I didn’t know enough about the medical repercussions of being shot.

Was my story even accurate?

The only movies I had seen that featured a character in a coma were While You Were Sleeping, Just Like Heaven, and Talk to Her. The first two, I knew right away wasn’t the type of portrayal I was going for. Although my love for chick flicks runs deep, I am happy that we live in a time in which movie makers are held accountable for what they decide to romanticize on screen. And while I will be selective as to what symptoms and effects I choose to include in this story, I am striving to not have a single moment feel inauthentic. I chose to address gun violence in a movie, and it is important for me to do the effects of it — both physical and emotional — justice.

I checked the time difference between California and Spain, picked up the phone, and called one of my oldest friends Carlos Azurduy, a doctor who works in an ER in Soria.

Carlos and I as young birds. Here he teaches me 1 of 3 songs I can play on guitar.

Carlos and I first met through a youth group when we were both 15. We had the good fortune of living a block away from each other, and through long walks and shared taxi rides, we became the truest of friends. We parted ways when we left the motherland, I to pursue filmmaking dreams, and him to pursue life-saving ones.

The invention of Whatsapp has kept our communication frequent and casual. My call was no surprise.

Me: Can you even fall into a coma from getting shot in the back?

Carlos: You can fall into a coma from bleeding excessively, which could easily be the result of a gunshot wound in the back.

Throughout the next several months Carlos grew as close to Robin as I am (Okay, wild exaggeration.) I shared the story I was creating often and cross-referenced my research of symptoms with his knowledge of them.

There is a lot of Carlos’s brilliant mind in the 16th version of this script. And I hope that when the movie is ready to watch, it makes your viewing experience stronger.

All the love,

Maria Mealla