Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Film Stories Begin – Part 1


Hi All! Many of you seemed interested in our behind-the-scenes communiqués that went forth each night after long days of filming, or set dressing, or planning, or all of the above. My daughter, Hannah (Bo), and her friend, Shaun, created this project. Shaun had the concept and approached Hannah nearly a year ago about working with him and, perhaps, writing it, though he thought he wanted to give that a try first. They are both proud geeks who love the creative and technical aspects of all that would be involved. Shaun realized writing wasn’t his first passion – but he LOVED the technical and directorial aspect of the work. Consequently, he asked Hannah to write the story, screenplay, and be Assistant Director. The film is now in post-production and that is a creative, lengthy, and intense process in itself, though it doesn’t take nearly as many bodies to make it happen. Logistically, it’s more manageable but it is an expensive process and incredibly key to telling the story the way both of these young people want to see it told.

And did I ever learn a lot about making a film. I will NEVER watch a movie the same way again. This is especially true where my own efforts were concentrated: consulting, set-dressing (exciting and horrible work when you’re on a tiny budget and an even tinier time frame), caring for actors, finding movie extras and extra crew to help out, photography, planning/coordinating, and chauffeuring. And did I mention wardrobe nightmares, not just for me but for anyone who was turned to and asked, “Where’s the (fill-in-the-blank)!? Who knew wardrobe should actually be a SERIOUSLY assigned job (it was technically assigned to no one and everyone) because outfits have to reappear in subsequent scenes? I do wardrobe at home. It involves telling kids to put on whatever’s fairly clean and hasn’t been walked on, that much. That doesn’t work on a movie set. Who knew? You WILL drive all over town to look for ONE item that someone may have inadvertently taken home because its loss changes everything and you will have complete and utter cardiac failure over that small fact.

It also dawns on me now why movies cost approximately eight trillion dollars to produce. They actually hire individual people to carry out EACH job that needs doing so that it can be done well. Most people involved in THIS project did at least ten different things, like my dear friend Kim, Shaun’s mom, who was and is the CFO and ultimate caterer, telephone operator, chauffeur, last-minute-change facilitator, wardrobe consultant and gatherer, and stand-in actress for running lines (along with more things than anyone will ever know), and also mother of five children who have OTHER lives and activities they are involved in other than THE film.

Our days were long and many of us worked 20-21 hours a day, and that’s not even hyperbole. And most of us worked for free. And I’m talking seriously professional people (well, apart from ME) who are actually and usually PAID, really WELL, for the services they render in these capacities. But they all loved the project, the film, the statement it makes, the people involved, and well, being able to say they survived. If we were Navy Seals, this would have been “hell” week and we would now be able to swim to Antarctica and rescue everyone stationed there whether they want to be rescued or not. Instead, when we were done, we went to bed, thereby proving that we are NOT Navy Seals.

So, here we go. The first letters are pretty straightforward but they digress as the week, and the hours they were written, progresses. I will include some pics from the set, too, starting with the next letter.

The first part is a letter from Kim, Shaun’s mom, that I tagged on to and that’s how this daily mail got started that went out to each friend who volunteered to help or was interested (they all regret that now). I’m including Kim’s letter because, a. She’s a good writer. b. I can. c. She captures our sense of desperation and utter reliance on God and his provision. And he DID provide in HUGE ways, not the least of which was: NO.ONE.GOT.SICK.OR.INJURED. Amazing.

Sent: Sunday, July 18, 2010 11:11 PM

Subject: ready to roll (almost)

Hi Everyone,

Well, it's been a very busy week-end with both major progress and setbacks, but God is in control and we will start cameras rolling tomorrow!

Rod and Annalise arrived home shortly after midnight (from Hollywood – editor’s note) on Friday with all of the equipment and Rod's brother Russell went to LA for us today to get the camera (thank goodness for family!). We had our first cast and crew gathering tonight, complete with a read-through, and had a great time getting acquainted. God has brought a lot of really great, talented people our way!

We are still trying to dress a house for the 1970's, but have until Thursday to do so. An area where I will need help in is with food.

I need desserts every day and salads, too. Wednesday we will have our largest cast (50-60) including children and extras for a school scene. One of us can pick up anything you'd like to prepare. If any of you, or your kids, would like to be extras, let us know. We need extras on Wed, Friday and Saturday. Contact Robynn or myself and we'll give you the specifics.

Again, thanks so much for your love and support. Please pray for open doors and a chance to share God's love with those we're working with.

Love, Kim


Yes and AMEN! to all that Kim said. We do need our friends! Kim and Rod have all this going on IN their home and at every home of every relative they've ever had, I'm pretty sure. Tomorrow, Reg and I (and you, too, Diane?) will be out in Easton at the house that will be used for the 70's scenes. I need someone, probably a couple of someone's, to contact Lori M. and pick up empty boxes they have left over from moving. Tim, we need two 8 ft. tables from the church if we could borrow them. We need them out at the Easton house if anyone can pick them up and deliver them. (Call Kim or Rod for address and directions.) If anyone has items (maybe from our parents' houses?) - I know I'm tapping my mom - from the 60's/70's era - clothing, bedding, magazines, paperbacks, pictures for the wall, dishes, curtains, nick nacks, rugs, lamps, etc. we are in desperate need of them. They will all be returned within a week. We also need 80's clothing if anyone's still hangin' on to that jacket with the shoulder pads and the dresses with the big belts!

The days are long and the eyes and shoulders of the parents of this team are droopin'! It's FAST AND FURIOUS! But if you can help in any way with food or know other friends who might be willing to lend a hand as an extra or just because they want to help, I don't think we can have too many at this point.

A shooting schedule will be forthcoming tomorrow so you will know where to go and when, when it works for you. Just for fun, plan to come by and see at least one scene being shot. The camera and crew and equipment are pretty amazing. (The Writer and Director aren't too bad, either!)



©Copyright 2010


  1. :) I'm so glad you're posting these letters. They were so much fun to read as the project was in the height of progress.

    Love you.
    Kaylee bean

  2. Wow. Amazing project, I hope so many are blessed by it. :-)

  3. I wish I was closer, I sure would love to help with the film. It sounds so exciting.
    I know so many people will benefit from it.

    Good luck to you all with it.
    Have a great day.

  4. I forwarded this url to my granddaughter who is working in the film industry and has directed a couple of films that have been entered and placed in film festivals. I thought she might find it interesting. She is 24 and a graduate of State University of New York at Purchase with a degree in theater and film.

  5. Yep, I knew it all along: you are an amazing person, filled with enough emotional energy to light up the blogosphere. I found a wonderful guy who calls it Blogaritaville so that's what I'll call it from now on.

    You ROCK, woman!!! I'm so proud to know you and follow you.

  6. Holy Lord's chips! You did all this and survived? You must be like a cockroach or something, able to withstand just about anything - included nuclear blasts - to get through all that with your wits intact!
    Or not... I'm willing to wait and see. ;)

    Thank you thank you thank you for updating us all, because I have been absolutely FASCINATED with everything regarding this project!!

    I will get busy and make you a Super Woman cape, okay? By golly, but you deserve it!
    You ROCK, woman!

  7. can't wait to read more...what great memories you made I am sure! Thanks so much for your encouragement on my blog, there are days when that is needed more than others and I really appreciate it!

  8. Iam impressed with everyones hard work your an awesome person:)Hugs Darcy

  9. What an amazing time... sounds like hell when you're working on the project.. but hopefully it will be heaven when you see the results!

  10. Its really a once in a life time kind of project you were involved with. I will keep my fingers crossed for everyone involved that this become the little movie that could and does go on and on up the food chain of the film industry. You must be both utterly exhausted and completely elated at the same time. Happy to get the insider perspective through your letters.

    Btw, my word veri is u per su... as in you pursue it and we'll see what comes :)

  11. Wow. This is so fascinating. But i am exhausted for you.