This thesis consists of practice-led research in the form of a full-length script for a feature film, plus, a 7000+ word essay (exegesis).
A summary of the script is as follows: Cheekie Baby, set in 1993, is the story of Cheekie, a 15-year-old Māori girl who grows up in the New Zealand bush, with her father Papa-Rob and no experience of the outside world. He dies suddenly, leaving Cheekie alone. She finds a letter and map from him describing a buried gold inheritance. Papa-Rob writes of his final wish for her to find a boy and make a family. She travels to Goldstown, a Wild West tourist town and encounters Ruia, a kind grandmother who offers her shelter. Cheekie approaches a boy but finds herself drawn to Nat, the wealthy town owners’ beauty queen daughter. Cheekie and Nat find themselves attracted to each other. Nat offers to help Cheekie find her gold. They learn it may be buried in an eccentric English professor’s garden or under Nat’s father Albert’s bank, in Plainsville. Cheekie learns Ruia is about to lose her home due to unscrupulous tactics by Nat’. Cheekie is assaulted by Nat’s jealous boyfriend Shane and bullied by mean girls. After Nat’s beauty pageant, Cheekie is outcast and rejected by Nat over a misunderstanding. In her final attempt to save Ruia’s home and gain back Nat, Cheekie dresses up as a cowboy electrician to perform her way into Albert’s office and secure her gold. She is thwarted, but after another even more desperate attempt she is rescued by Nat in her moment of peril. They reunite and recommit to each other. Cheekie gains her sense of identity and a future.
The script is framed by an Exegesis which is a 7000-word essay on the subject of: (a) The genre and components of the script. (b) The development from synopsis to second draft.