“Vaccine Vignettes: Fictional Experiences & Responses to Life as Covid-19 vaccines are distributed” are a series of spirited podcasts co-written by Chicago native, Vera Brooks, Melissa Birks (Los Angeles), Jamie Johnson (West Virginia), and Roman Jones (Washington D.C.). Each vignette provides various lessons and perspectives on life during distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. In a brief interview with Vera Brooks, she provided a closer insight into each vignette and what inspired the group of writers.
EL:What inspired the Vaccine Vignettes?
VB:The desire to stay collaborative and creative, in spite of the isolating circumstances of a global pandemic.
EL: Are the vignettes focused on a particular demographic?
VB:We focused on the genres each writer was interested in (drama, comedy, sci-fi/horror, dystopian, political), however as four women screenwriters from different socio-economic and racial/cultural backgrounds, those aspects of our lives do play a role in several of the stories we’ve told.
EL:What are the primary issue/s each vignette focuses on?
VB:We cover religion, phobias, aging, isolation, racism, politics–even the guilt from exposing a loved one to Covid.
EL: What are the focal points for each of the stories?
VB: Here’s some info about the first four episodes. They’re released monthly on SoundCloud.
- “LaDonna’s Epiphany”(by Vera Brooks) is a story about learning to respect the different choices individuals make in life—even if they don’t align with yours.
- “Phobias”(by Melissa Birks) offers a humorous perspective on vaccines through the eyes of an Army veteran.
- “Fun Can’t Wait”(by Roman Jones) takes a “Black Mirror” style of storytelling and blends it with a conspiracy theory about taking a virtual vacation.
- “Estelle & Harry”( by Jamie Johnson) Looks at how happenstance (a lost cat) brings two senior citizens together as the country begins to emerge from lockdown.
EL: What lessons do you want listeners to take away from each vignette?
VB: We want listeners to be engaged, but if something resonates and can provide a perspective that helps them get through this moment in time, that’s great and we would be satisfied, because we know that art (especially storytelling) has the capability to change lives. We also want people to know how important the blending of various talents are (writers, actors, directors, sound editors and artists) are to getting a project from the page to their ears.
EL: What don’t you want listeners to take away from the vignettes?
VB: We don’t want anyone to think that we are trivializing the global issue we all find ourselves in. We offer our condolences to those who have lost family and friends from coronavirus– and we offer our stories as a way to commemorate and reflect on it. One of the directors said that these stories will be a part of the “time capsule” that will be explored by generations to follow– reviewing what occurred and how we dealt with it, not just politically, but artistically as well.
EL: Will there be any additional stories about the vaccine?
VB: This podcast has 8 episodes. The remaining 4 will be released through the end of the year.
The upcoming episodes include the following:
- “From Chaos To Hope” (Brooks) about a Chicago D.J. who chooses to stay in self quarantine, even after the Covid-19 vaccine has been distributed.
- “Side Effect”(Birks) is about a beaten down but affable young man who volunteers as a test subject for Covid-19 vaccine and the other worldly side effect he experiences.
- “The Great Escape”(Jones) takes place in the not so distant future, and it’s about an American teenage girl who plots to escape a Russian military ruled small town with her sick grandmother.
- “Vaccine Day”(Johnson) takes place as the U.S has lost all leadership and militants have taken over. A woman must find the courage to escape the reality presented to her and hope that beyond the hills of Appalachia there is something better waiting for her.
Check out this podcast and these episodes. They’re entertaining, enlightening and educational. For more information be sure to visit www.vaccinevignettes.com.
Liz Lampkin is a Lifestyle, Love and Relationships writer. Follow her on social media @Liz_Lampkin