I made a very short film — under three minutes. THE CHASE stars my niece and nephew, who have both grown much bigger now than when this was shot. I wanted to learn a particular editing program, but my computer wasn’t robust enough for the task, and then other work moved to the front burner, so took it a year before time and resources finally aligned… but I’m happy with the result:
The credits go by fast, so I’ll call attention to the fact that even on a three-minute film, it works better if you have a village. My friend Christine was behind the camera, while another friend, Caroline kept things moving doing an A.D. / producer duties. My mom handled craft service, Paul acted as consultant and “spackle.” And, of course, the whole enterprise was elevated by the great original music. I’m very lucky to be able to use my sibling card to draft Greg Gordon Smith to compose and perform.
Our Those People: A Love Story crowdfunding campaign was a success! I’m not supposed to be surprised, but, between you and me, I am a little bit. There were two solid weeks where it wasn’t looking promising…
But friends, family and fans came through with cash in spectacular fashion, and now it’s time for me to pony up with my humble “incentive” offering: made-to-order depictions of movie scenes about lovers (preferably star-crossed, but I’m not going to quibble if they happened to live happily ever after).
Once my client chooses their movie (and scene, though some leave that up to me) my “artistic” process begins with a cannibalized element from another process: Each piece is drawn the flip side of a “repurposed” 3×5 index card used to outline a movie script:
I pencil, ink with a Sharpie and then erase the pencil. I use black and occasionally one contrast color. For digital delivery, my husband takes a picture with an app that is supposed to keep art looking flat and not wonky.
My original plan was to work totally with stick figures, because it seemed easy and the idea of it made me laugh. This was my first attempt:
And this was the second: While both pieces they look similarly rudimentary, you might notice that by my second attempt I had already drifted from stick figure to boxy outline, because it somehow felt easier.
My first real order was for our kind-hearted supporter, Nate, who requested Atonement. I realized I couldn’t bring myself to render the iconic image of the character in his black tuxedo only in outline, so I reached for the thicker sharpie:
And somehow the thick Sharpie carried over into Orly’s request for Annie Hall.
A practiced artist knows how to control style and tone. I am not a practiced artist, so who knows how the next 18 drawings will turn out? Not me! But I assume that anyone who chose something called “Bad Art” will have appropriately low expectations, so, unlike almost everything else in my life at the moment, I am not stressed about this. I look forward to finding out what my clients will choose, and giving it my best, “bad” shot!
Persian people like watermelon. Black people like watermelon. But there’s some history there, and miscommunications can occur, as in this scene where Mehran shows up at brunch to meet Taylor’s family for the first time…
For more than three years, I’ve been working as a co-writer (and reluctant (but proud!) producer) on a script about a black woman and an Iranian man who fall in love, how this affects their relationships with their families, communities, their feelings about religion and themselves. THOSE PEOPLE: A Love Story is a light drama–a love story. It’s fun. But it also represents is something we take seriously — not just a movie cast with diverse actors (though we applaud that) and not just a “celebration” of diversity (although movies that do that are good too) but an actual exploration of diversity and its challenges today.
Today marks the last week of our campaign to raise development funds to lift this project off the ground. The amount we’re trying to raise is small by Hollywood standards, but it’s a lot for us – and we can do a lot with it! We’re already working with a passionate producer who’s been working for free – we’d like pay her! And before reaching out to investors we’ll hire an experienced casting director to help find the perfect actors, and a lawyer to put together the legal end of things… You can see the details (and me, in a video!) at https://www.seedandspark.com/fund/those-ppl-movie.
A couple things:
1) Any amount you contribute is just a pledge—until we meet 80% of our $20,000 goal. If we don’t get $16,000 in pledges, we don’t take any money and your card will never be charged. If we do reach our goal, you’ll know that we have enough to push forward to the next step, and that your money won’t just float away. (As of this writing, we are $9000 away from that require 80%)
2) We also really need people to FOLLOW our project on Seed and Spark. FOLLOWING IS FREE, but it helps us! Investors will look at our followers number to know that there are people who are interested in seeing our film, and, if we get to 500, Seed and Spark will guarantee us distribution! (As of this writing, we need about 350 people to meet this goal.)
A few more words about this project. Black and Persian. Strange combo, right? Sometimes love is strange! But we are happy with both sides of our interracial equation:
Even though they are loyal film-goers, black women are one of the most neglected groups — both on screen and as an audience.
And time and again we hear our Iranian friends wishing to see their real lives reflected on screen — without a terrorist plot!
When I imagine this film made, I think of someone browsing through her Netflix options, and having the options of seeing a story about someone who looks like her… and I think of other people having the option of choosing to watch a movie that helps them understand the lives of people who might look different from them. That’s how the world changes, little by little. A march, a story, a song… a film,
We want to make a piece of art that moves the needle on the dial just a little. If you’d like support of that, a little or a lot, here’s how:
If you like what you see, you can SHARE this post with anyone you know who might be interested.
You can FOLLOW us for FREE simply by clicking the BLUE FOLLOW BUTTON on the right. (They’ll make you log in, either with Facebook or an email. Sorry for the pain. We recommend using those 60 seconds to meditate on the positive intention you’re putting into the world!
You can CONTRIBUTE by clicking the GREEN CONTRIBUTE BUTTON. Don’t feel bad if you’re not a big spender — no amount is too small! (Actually, there’s a $1 minimum, but $1 is not too small — it brings us $1 closer to our goal!)
The countdown is on. I’ll check back in on April 21 — 6 days and 8 hours from now — with the final results.