My full name is Jason Harley Gilbert. I have been a practicing criminal defense lawyer for almost 19 years. I am also both an actor and a writer. For acting and writing purposes, I use the shortened name "Jason Harley." You can find me on Instagram @realjasonharley and on IMDb at imdb.me/jasonharley. Before studying law, I did my undergraduate studies in journalism, so have always been involved in writing in some form or other. I have been married to my wife Rebecca for over 14 years. We have two daughters, Madison who is 11 and Ashley who is eight. We also have a cat named Chloe, who is 16.
I wanted to write a script that would make a nice half hour story, maybe for an anthology series, or just a self-contained short film. I wanted a strong female lead and a hateful villain she would be really motivated to detest. Since I am also an actor, my hope, should this be developed into an actual film, is to play Harvey, the evil cult leader. He is absolutely reprehensible and really has no redeeming qualities at all. I decided that the protagonist would be a young journalist, or journalism student. I wanted a strong, black female lead for the protagonist, so I wanted this particular cult to stand for something that would really make this female journalist hate him, and really want to take him down. So that's how the idea of the anti-feminist cult was arrived at, and the interview she sets up becomes her means of accomplishing her goal of trying to take down Harvey and his cult.
I wanted to try my hand at a small, very contained and understated California romance story. Something between a middle-aged guy in an unhappy marriage who's a little uptight and straight laced, and a much younger, free spirited woman. The sort of love story you don't see much of on screen anymore, but used to see a lot of in the 60s and early 70s. An almost "drugstore romance novel" kind of story. And Andropause is what I came up with. Once again, as an actor, I'd love to play Neil, the male lead in the story. And Brittany, the young female lead, and Nick, who is Neil's college-age son, are very prominent characters as well.
My writing process is probably pretty individual. I have only written two screenplays to date, which are the two I entered in the festival. So I don't know that I have totally developed a long term process. I usually know what I want to say, and I just start writing and letting things flow. I rarely if ever write out any sort of outline first.
Most people who have read the script are really taken with the interview scene. Some have described it as a game of cat and mouse. I like that, because that's supposed to be the real key scene, where Lena, our hero, and Harvey, our villain, are going head to head, trying to out-talk one another. And of course, everyone thinks Harvey is just so evil and diabolical, which is great. Because he's supposed to be. That's the character I hope to play. But my favorite character is Lena. I see her as being so strong, mentally, morally and physically. And she is so clearly Harvey's intellectual superior, and this is what really gets under his skin.
I really only finished writing my feature script Andropause within the last month, so I haven't gotten a lot of feedback on it yet. One friend who has read it said he could really relate to the characters. He really loved the Brittany character, who is the female lead. I was really thrilled to get the juror comments I got from your festival because, as I said, I haven't had the opportunity to get much feedback on it yet.
Right now I'm really trying to see what I can accomplish with these two screenplays. I would really like to get them produced. For the future, I have thought of trying to write a Western. It's a genre we don't see nearly enough of anymore, though there seems to be a resurgence of interest in the genre. It's always been a personal favorite of mine. I'm a huge fan of Clint Eastwood. I love his style, and so admire his ability to make films completely self-sufficiently, and consistently under budget. And I love that at over 90 years old, he's still going strong and putting out great work.