Just Like The Men
Women create; why don’t they endure? JUST LIKE THE MEN follows two failed artists’ discovery of Ella Higginson’s lost screenplay: a silent comedy based on her experience campaigning for one of the first women to hold office in Washington state... before women’s suffrage. This is for those we forget.
Hometown Heroes Rally
Inclusion StatementThe significance of our female-majority production company filming a pre-suffrage political comedy written by a woman who failed in the film industry and ultimately faded into obscurity is very clear: this film is women preserving women's legacy because the larger culture does not.
About The Project
Do you like harrowing adventure?
The thrill of quantum theory?
The smell of sea salt on the wind?
We do too. None of these things are in this film, but we all like these things AND we like this film we’re making, so there’s a good chance you will too.
Glad we’re on the same page.
WHAT IS JUST LIKE THE MEN?
Just Like The Men is a lost screenplay from the silent era satirizing the true account of one of the first women to hold office in Washington state; it’s also the story of how this script found us.
AND WE ARE...?
Pop quiz: what does male nudity in mainstream media and an early 20th century female poet laureate, novelist, and screenwriter have in common?
These two girls:
It all began during an interview we were doing for our short documentary, Free the Penis, when Laura Laffrado, a professor from Western Washington University, laid a big fat sausage of a present in our laps: a lost screenplay, written by Ella Higginson called, Just Like the Men.
Never heard of her? Yeah, neither did we. This pissed us off a little bit.
Our work leading up to this point had been feminist-driven: in March of 2017, we created a campaign called Women Among Us that celebrated the women of our community; in Free the Penis, we explored why the brunt of nudity seen on film seems to be taken on by the ladies. So, learning that this incredible feminist poet who lived IN BELLINGHAM was completely unknown to us was a bummer. The more we delved into this notorious humdinger-of-a-gal’s life, we found ourselves troubled by this question: why the f**k doesn’t our culture preserve women’s legacy?
Remember that one -- we’ll come back to that.
WHO IS ELLA?
The illustrious Ella Higginson wrote a screenplay in 1912 about her real life experience helping Frances C. Axtell campaign for Washington State's House of Representatives. They won, despite the fact that women had yet to hold office in Washington State, and despite the fact that women’s suffrage was still not nationally recognized and wouldn’t be for a few more years.
Well, WHITE women’s suffrage, that is...
The experience was so affecting (and evidently a total laugh riot) that Ella turned the whole thing into a comedy for the silver (and at the time, silent) screen. Being the big-shot poet and novelist that she was, Ella contacted her editor in New York and sent him the script -- replete with shot list.
So, where’s this incredible retro-feminist silent comedy? Nowhere. It was never picked up. Our professor-insider speculates that Mary Pickford, the only actress Ella made clear was worthy of the part, either never received the screenplay, or most likely turned it down. Perhaps a story of women in politics was a hard sell in Hollywood at the time? Regardless, Ella shelved her screenplay and continued writing poems and novels until she died in 1940. With no remaining family and no children, her entire body of work was put in the Washington State Archives in Bellingham, WA, not to be resurrected until the professor we mentioned earlier (literally) stumbled upon 12 linear feet of notes, journals, unpublished novels, poems, correspondence, and a completed screenplay.
> > > Flash forward seven years > > >
Here we are, just a bunch of gals, just chatting about the severe lack of schlong in the movies when this professor says, “I need to tell you something…”
We went to the archives, found the script, touched the script, read the script; beyond. all. expectations.
That brings us to now. We're picking up where Ella left off -- filming her lost screenplay, weaving in the story of how Ella found us.
Mother. freaking. goosebumps.
SO… YOU’RE MAKING A SILENT FILM?
Good Questions. let’s talk logistics real quick:
As much as we’d like to make a silent film, there is simply too much amazing dialogue we’d be forced to leave out. We’ve taken creative liberties with the moments that are best kept silent, and the ones that should be shouting on a mountain top. Ella was born to write for talkies.
How cool would it have been to see the colors used in I Love Lucy to get those blacks and whites to pop? ‘Super cool’ is how cool it would have been. Color is a big deal in our work. By weaving our modern storyline in with JLTM, we will capitalize on the opportunity to show the color behind the black and white. SPOILER: they won’t be what you expect...
Our script subverts conventions of story and scene structure: breaking the fourth wall, fluidity between the “real world” and Ella’s world, and hyper-stylized costuming. Imagine Christopher Guest and Wes Anderson get throat-punched by an early 20th century Carrie Bradshaw -- that’s the mood. The crucial moments of JLTM men will be peppered through the modern day story of us as we slip ‘n’ slide down the Ella rabbit hole.
We get really tingly thinking about a female-majority production company attempting to preserve and revive the legacy of a prog-feminist female novelist writing way before her time. It’s meaningful as hell. That’s where you come in: help us end the cycle of forgotten women.
2020 happens to mark the 100 year anniversary of Women’s suffrage. Intentional release date? YES. We realize that this is a LONG TIME for investors to wait for the finished project which is why we want to have a private screening for EVERYONE involved in making the film happen in mid-late 2019.
Only you can prevent forest fires... and the obscurity of female legacy in the arts. Please, help us preserve Ella; help us end the cycle; help us be “just like the men” and make this movie.
We've come so far, but there's still a ways to go.
Come with us.
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About This Team
\\ Meet the Team //
Why, hello there. We are the Procuders from production company, Talking to Crows. We've been in production since 2013, tackling everything from multimedia cartoons to short narractive films.
This passion peice hits on all the levels with our work. We are beyond honored, (and sometimes terrified) to contunie carrying the torch Ella lit over 100 years ago.
Meet the Cast!
Ashton Lundy plays Mrs. Carleton: the illustrious humdinger modeled after Ella Higginson herself. She helped her real-life friend, Frances C. Axtell run for office in 1912 in Washington State. The whole experience was such a lark she wrote a screenplay about it! She's our main Dame.
Laura Baker plays Mrs. De Lorme: based on Frances C. Axtell, a do-it-yourself kind of broad who remained active in Washington State politics (particularly in labor laws) for many years after her initial win with Ella Higginson as her campaign manager. Total bff's.
Neill McLaughlin plays Senator Melwood: the antagonist and obligatory love interest of our story. Whether Ella based his character after someone in her life is up for debate. He likes long walks on the beach, popsicles, and hates widows! (seriously -- it's a huge plot point).