DIARY ENTRY: From 'Warrioress' to 'Five By Five' of the 'Echo 8 Trilogy'

Author: Maria Tran
I'm just taking a breather as I write this. This week, I saw my directorial documentary "Warrioress" screened to 120 people at the Art Gallery of NSW, and the response was fantastic. In fact, I never really know if something I create is good or not. My primary focus in any project has always been its heartbeat—the human connection and the 'soul' and 'energy' of every component that brings it to life. I'm grateful that the results have brought so many people together. Today, on a Sunday, I finally have a moment to pat myself on the back and ease back into my passion project, 'Echo 8: Five By Five'.

The script stands as the very heart and soul of filmmaking. It's the inception point of the narrative, around which every facet of the filmmaking journey orbits with purpose. A robust script doesn't just provide the blueprint; it lays the groundwork for a film that etches itself into memory and leaves an indelible mark.

The test reading team for 'Five By Five' 
This afternoon, the unveiling of Elizabeth H. Vu's 56-page (halfway mark) 'vomit' draft of "Echo 8: Five By Five" has elevated my excitement to new heights. Wearing the hats of director, actor, and producer, I'm ready to delve into an array of roles, each designed to unravel the magic behind this captivating concept, ultimately bringing it vividly to life by 2025.

However, let's be real—independent filmmaking isn't everyone's cup of tea. It's an arena that demands not just creativity, but a high-caliber form of leadership. And it's not just about producing one fleeting short film or feature; it's a saga that requires unwavering tenacity.

Determining whether you have a good script involves many factors. I'm certainly cautious not to prioritize style over substance, creating a hollow film where emotional beats fall flat. This is a common trope in the action film genre, where 'heroism' is put on a pedestal.

While reading, I have the opportunity to assess the 'chemistry' between characters, ensuring seamless dialogue and a story rich enough in mystery to captivate our audience. Much happens during the story and scripting phases, involving collaboration and experimentation that often elude solo writers. That's why many writers have a drawer full of scripts waiting for their big break. However, the landscape has changed; writers now need to expand into producing, and directors, actors, and producers must venture into the writing phases and invest their energy.

I've had many discussions about why big-budgeted films fail. Often, it comes down to the 'care-factor'. Do the creatives care about the story? Is it there to tick a box and/or to build leverage? Then there's an aspect of 'ego'. Are the creatives creating something for their own image, advancing their position in an industry, or are they true artistic practitioners, wanting to make something that impacts their world? I chose the latter because life is too short, and an ego is just for one, when you can build something that becomes part of a legacy that goes beyond your mortality. To me, people's actions are very telling. What they say and do and the level of congruence in the space in between are indicators of where they will be in the future.

In the meantime, as creatives, we enjoy the ride, the connection, and every 'light bulb' nuance that we come up with, individually or as a collective, can be celebrated.

I'm really confident about the Echo 8 trilogy. Even though at this moment, I have no idea where our resources and funding will come from to make it happen, I just 'know' that what we have so far and how we work together is going to inspire others to come on board and join this movement.