The creative process, in any form, can be cathartic. It certainly was in the case of up-and-coming screenwriter Sammy Scott. At just 16 years old, the Upstate New York resident finished high school in two years, holds down a full-time waitressing job and, at 13, completed a screenplay.
Perfect Payback is a story inspired by her school-year experiences dealing with the everyday trials of being a teenager and the anguish of being bullied. The screenplay follows five teenagers, aged 13 and 14, as they each confront bullying in different forms. At first silent victims of their tormentors, the five teenagers band together and decide to stand up for themselves and finally face their bullies.
Scott channeled her emotions and firsthand familiarity with bullies into an empowering work for all audiences, not just teenagers. Writing the script also allowed her to confront what she has faced in her own life in a way she wasn’t prepared for: “I feel no need to really talk about my memories of that time, so putting it into words on paper was like a weight off my chest,” Scott says. “I hadn’t realized it until I began writing. It was like being able to feel those emotions that I hadn’t let myself feel for so long. The words just poured out.”
The honesty Scott conveyed in Perfect Payback has garnered attention from Hollywood, and it won’t be long until her words are brought to life. But right now, she’s happy using the screenplay to give teenagers confidence to confront the issues they face daily, be they human bullies or emotional ones.
Sound Off: Sammy Scott is using her experiences with bullies to confront a significant problem many teenagers face. What film has been most effective at dealing and exploring the issues teenagers face?