"Write what you know," is a famous adage usually attributed to the great Mark Twain. To some, it's writing gospel. To others, it's nonsense and shouldn't be listened to. Whether you agree or disagree, some weight should be given to the idea. The story we decided to tell is filled with subjects we knew little about -- portals, picking, and Einstein. We liked the story and the direction it was headed, but since we knew nothing about these things, we decided to find people who did.
Our first big break in research came when we found out that Mark Watkins, our fixer/producer, just happened to have spent the last twenty or so years picking in and around South Carolina. As it turns out, he had dozens of connections spread all across the Upstate. Our first stop was the Pickens Flea Market. We learned all about the recent floods that caused a lot of damage and logistical issues for the market and its sellers. We talked to locals, pickers, members of the Liars Club. We learned the history behind specific merchandise, how it was acquired, stories from days of picking past.
A few days later, Mark had scheduled us several interviews with local business owners who dealt in picking, junking, auctions, and antiques. They opened their doors eagerly and offered their time and knowledge freely to the project. We saw some amazing collections, heard some strange stories and overall, got a great sense of this fascinating world. We immediately started incorporating these characters, the lingo & dialogue, and the real-life locations into our script. This was beyond helpful in bringing our script a more authentic and honest feeling. In addition to these people being helpful in the writing process, these real locations and people are going to bring increased production value to the final movie as well. Set design is hard, and these places already look amazing.
Albert Einstein is not a character in our script, as it's set in the present day, but a fictionalized version of him and a technology he had a hand in creating are central to our narrative. This was added to the story early on when a myth about Einstein having ties to Greenville was learned to be factual. We connected with a Furman History professor who knew all of these details, and we were fortunate enough to spend an afternoon with her, asking questions, getting historical reference and setting, so our story was plausible, despite it being historical and science fiction.
All of these interviews and conversations were so helpful in shaping and improving our script, and we want to thank all of the people that were generous with their time and resources during this process. Our research isn't over, either, so if you happen to know a lot about portals, let us know -- we're still trying to figure out that one.