The Story & Screenwriter

     For each of us comes a time when we must find our own value and worth to this world. We must take a journey of self-discovery to learn what we have to offer. Sometimes we even have to refute those that would limit our potential regardless of their relationship to us.

     Justin Johnson knew he was gay from a very young age, but he was not allowed to act upon it.  Finally in college and free from having his every move watched, he seeks out what it is he feels he wants until he discovers what he needs.

     When Justin acts out recklessly - again, after the bi-semester check in phone call with his dominating and controlling father, he causes enough personal injury to require yet another ER visit. It is in the ER, on this specific night, he meets Michael Garner, a male nurse.

     At first it is as usual with Justin in attempting to win over the cute nurse with the same charm that has wooed many into his bed since his arrival in this town. But he quickly learns that Michael is not like the others and he will have to earn even just the first date through a series of tasks Michael presents in an attempt to dissuade Justin’s interest in him. With each successfully completed “impossible” task, Michael’s appreciation of Justin’s ingenuity blossoms as Justin’s appreciation for self-respect and determination shows him the value of actually caring about another person a little bit more than himself and realizes it brings greater rewards than one night stands to act out against his father.

     As Justin finds his way through a first time very real relationship he is torn between wanting to share everything with Michael and wanting to protect him from his father. The bi-semester phone calls continue with the constant threat of being cut off should his “tendencies” be acted upon. Despite the calls continuing to push Justin to want to be reckless he finds himself finding a balance and center he has never experienced before through Michael’s presence.

     Justin struggles with the admittance of love as he has no previous history of experience from either a parent or a lover. So he resigns himself to a statement of “ditto” when love is suggested as what Michael is feeling for him, but when Justin realizes he could loose Michael due to an unexpected visit from his father – he realizes he must put it all on the line and open up the door to the wall he can’t bring himself to completely let fall admitting his love and resolve to keep this relationship.

      Michael feels as if Justin will finally let go of his fathers control and stop acting out just to get even when Justin arrives in an ambulance in respiratory arrest. While Justin is admitted to the ICU for recovery, Michael finds himself confronting Justin’s parents who inform him that Justin must choose “their lifestyle or his” if he is to continue to receive any support from them. Justin’s parents leave the hospital to go home not caring enough to visit Justin’s room until he chooses a direction. Michael cares for Justin through his recovery and eventual phone confrontation with his father that leads to Justin declining his father’s wishes and choosing to live his life for himself.

     With Michael by his side Justin gets focused in school and completes the degree that leads to a successful writing career, he marries the one true love of his life, buys a home and has his best friend be their surrogate to bring a child into their lives.

     Justin and Michael do not simply find their Happily ever after; they find their Happy after everything.

Michelle Leigh,

Screenwriter & Director

        I Graduated from Walla Walla University school of nursing in 2000. I have worked as an RN for 16 years- the last 9 as an IV therapy/PICC nurse in the Portland Metro area.

         I have performed, directed and stage managed over 150 theatre productions along the west coast since first entering the theatre world in 1984. In 2005 I founded and continue to be the director of the non-profit Oregon City Children’s theatre.

          

     Writing a screen play was never my intention – it just kind of happened.

Prior to writing, “More Than Only” I had challenged myself to write, in less than three sentences, a statement that would summarize the relationship between a popular gay TV character and his father. I was frustrated with how the story line was not flushing out – so I sought to resolve it.

     Almost a year later, while sitting in a shop, the name “Justin Johnson” was on a large name plate on a door. I recalled thinking, " that name should be a character in a movie”.  On the drive home from the shop that line occurred to me. By the time I was home – the opening voice over was written and the story now belonged to a new character.

     The journey that has brought this film production to fruition has been an amazing one. I cannot thank enough

friends and family that sat through read-thru after read-thru and at times took far too seriously the task of marking up the script with suggestions and comments.

     And, to the members and family of the LGBTQA+ community, your insight, stories and honesty guided me to a story that I hope represents an underserved genre in the respectable manner it deserves.

     This story, for me, was about showing the normality of an LGBTQA+ relationship. To share in the joys, laughter, trials, fights and triumphs of two people who were able to find one another. My wish is to produce a film that celebrates the beauty of a true and loving relationship in a fun and honest story. There is nothing more beautiful than two souls that reach out to each other and speak a language so clearly to one another that the connection is undeniable.

     Someone who I looked up to greatly and helped me to really search out my own biases once said, “You fall in love with a person – not a gender”

     Understanding and embracing that simple statement was a turning point for me. I learned how very wrong labels are to human beings.