Legend of the Kamaj Tree
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I will start by saying that I have lived in an amazing time for television. My parents did not have any streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, etc. while I lived at home, and then when I moved out on my own, I had only streaming services, and no cable television. Television is becoming more creatively free because it is no longer built around intermittent advertisements. All shows are available all the time, instead of having the most popular shows scheduled at peak viewing hours (like 8pm). This gives shows the ability to serve more niche audiences instead of having to be palatable for everyone. Things like limited series are becoming much more popular, and strict episode length is falling away, as was seen in the very popular Disney+ show, The Mandolorian. That has influenced the way I thought about structuring this script and has also made it a very exciting time to begin writing television scripts.
Similar to shows like Game of Thrones, She-Ra, and The Dark Crystal, my show, Legend of the Kamaj Tree does not take place on Earth. It takes place on the fantastic planet Aeire, and the heart of the story takes place in the Dupan Jungle - home to winged, fairy-like creatures called, Kamaji. Kamaji are born from trees, so, technically, they are walking, talking, sentient fruit, and that is why their wings resemble flower petals. There are only six Kamaj trees, and they are the source of the Kamaji’s life, and their magic.
The jungle setting is at the heart of this story, and it is where the inspiration for this story began. I lived on the Indonesian island of Sumatra in my early childhood years. Sumatra is known for its palm oil, coffee, and unique species of tiger. My family lived across the street from the jungle. Jungles are so lush, beautiful, and booming with life, but also dark, chaotic, and very dangerous, which is what makes it the perfect setting for a show of the fantasy genre. However, most fantasy stories do not take place in the jungle, most likely because the creatures associated with fantasy - like fairies - were created in Scotland and believed like myths, religion, superstitions, etc.. After living in Indonesia, my family moved to Scotland. When I think of traditional fairies, I think of wet Scottish forests, moss, and mushrooms. It is most definitely a magical place, but it does not compare to the jungle. In Indonesia, living across from the jungle, it was like living across from a myth. You never know what kind of new or complex creature could wander out. The bio-density and biodiversity of a jungle makes it feel like an alien planet, like a fictional planet, even when you’re standing in it.
Many of the words for the spells are made up, but their is one chant at the beginning that is Indonesian, and the translated English is in parenthesis. Indonesia is a very important place because of its significance in the history of life on our planet, and for the human species in particular. It is a hub of life, and that really is the main theme in this show, life. It poses no solutions to meaning of life, living in harmony, or the right way of living, but seeks to explore the nature of life as three different, non-human species struggle to maintain balance between survival and coexistence.
Another theme that is heavily played in this show is women using nature to heal. Even the trees themselves are a symbol of the natural, healing mother. The trees are quite literally the mother of all Kamaji, and the word Kamaj, I made up using the Bosnian word for mother, majka. It is commonly known that western medicine has been a field dominated by men, until quite recently, but what a lot of people don’t know is how discriminative western medicine has been to women since its beginning. It has oppressed women seeking treatment as well as women giving treatment. For most of the existence of modern medicine, all clinical trials were conducted on men, meaning that women have at least one hundred less years of data on their anatomy than men do, and as a result a high percentage of women suffer from chronic illnesses that doctors know absolutely nothing about. Women throughout history in cultures all over the world have used natural healing medicines like teas, herbs, salts, but when these womenoperated business started to thrive in a time where women were wanted to be submissive, not independent, the women who owned them were named as witches, and the natural healing they used was demonized. The Indonesian government is trying to pass a law right now that would outlaw black magic, along with a series of oppressive laws that match a pattern of anti-democratic behavior coming from Indonesia’s current leadership. Black magic may seem like a silly thing to outlaw and enforce, but it does have real historical significance as a tool of oppression.
Legend of the Kamaj Tree is inspired by my life while simultaneously having nothing to do with my life which makes it really fun to write, and hopefully more fun to watch. Included is the pilot episode, show bible, and some previous works of mine set in this same world.