Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Gift of Giving Life - A Call to Film Makers

Last week I had a huge a-ha moment at the temple and I have wanted to write about it, but thought I should let it process a little longer. However, Busca's recent post made me realize that it is time to share.

My other work, besides spiritual childbirth educator and mother, is as president of a boutique personal history service. We have been writing memoirs for private clients for almost 8 years, and I had always toyed with the idea of doing a film component, but never did because I didn't want to do anything second rate, and had no experience in film making. Then, almost two years ago now, I was looking for a new salesperson, and in that process met a girl who was so excited about the idea of personal documentaries that she convinced me that I should do it and she'd help me sell it.

Once I decided to do it, everything started to work like it was pre-arranged. This was during the writer's strike (remember that? None of your shows were on), and I live in Los Angeles, so a lot of editors and cinematographers were out of work and were desperately, humbly taking projects for a lot less than normal. When I interviewed editors and cameramen, I told them flat out that I didn't know what I was doing, but I wanted to do it well. Because I was so open and not a poser (like a lot of people around here) they were eager to share their knowledge. I thought it would be impossible to choose an editor without knowing much about editing, but God sent me clear (comically clear--I'll write about that another time) revelation on who to pick, and it was an ideal match. My editor then helped me find a great cinematographer, who taught me all about lighting and a whole lot more.

Over the next few months, working hands-on making our sample documentary, I basically got a free film school education. Okay it wasn't free, because I invested a lot of time and money. But the greatest thing about this whole experience was that I felt so invigorated and alive and inspired every step of the way. Deep down I have always wanted to make documentary films, but I always thought it was something that wouldn't ever happen. Also, living in Los Angeles with all the "Hollywood spirit" as I call it, can sometimes be annoying, so I always tried to distance myself from all the wanna-be filmmakers and screenwriters. But suddenly I was making documentaries (simple, one subject, hour-long--think A&E or Biography channel), and I was a natural at it. I am by no means an expert, but I learned that with a great team, and no fear, I can do great things. If you want to see a sample chapter, there are two here.

When we finished the sample film we started the trial and error process of marketing our personal documentary service to high-wealth people and families. (Sadly, I had to choose between making an affordable product and making a professional, broadcast quality product. I chose the latter.) Anyway, to cut to the end of this story, after a lot of frustrating and hard work, nothing big happened. Then the economy tanked. Then I had a family crisis. Then things got busy in other areas of business/life and I stopped trying to market it.

For some time I have been wondering why God inspired me to do all that if it was not to make me and my company rich while we did his will by preserving family legacies and turning the hearts of the children to their fathers. I just couldn't understand it.

This last week as I was sitting in the temple thinking about The Business of Being Born, What Babies Want, and a few other documentaries I had watched again that week, I felt an urgent need to call LDS filmmakers to make more films like these--films that will affect women, mothers and families in good ways. I kept thinking, someone should do something. Then came the feeling, you should do something. This surprised me at first, but then I said, A-ha. That is why.

The someone-should-do-something feeling is what first inspired me to write this book. And now, though I don't exactly know what it looks like yet, I know that there needs to be a film counterpart to this book. In fact, while meditating on the direction of this book over 2 years ago, I got the clear revelation that there ought to be a DVD and/or CD to go with it. I took it in, but I also sort of laughed (this was before I got all the above mentioned film schooling) and said, Okay God, we'll see how that happens.

I don't know why I am constantly amazed at how he works things out, or that he can see far ahead of me? He is God after all.

So there you have it. As I said, I have no script or concrete vision of it yet, but I am putting it out there that this is what I will be working on as soon as I finish the book (pray for March), and I am looking for an executive producer (a person to fund the project), a producer, cinematographer, editors (Tracy if you are reading this, I want you!), an accountant, assistant, babysitter, and a whole slew of other people to help out. If you are a filmmaker or other just want to be helpful in some way, please contact me.

I also felt inspired to put the Donate button on the left, so that individual people can donate to the film. Anyone who donates more than $50 will get a credit in the film as an associate producer or co-producer. I made the dollar amount for credit very low because I think it would be awesome to have tons and tons of associate producers rolling up the screen (slowly of course) so that people see that this is a project that is a result of not just a few passionate people.

I will keep everyone posted about how this progresses.

Behind the scenes.


  1. Heck yeah I'll give you some money.

  2. Oooh oooh... can you please include the birth of Jesus how it should have been done?

  3. I think this is an amazing idea. I wish I had some sort of film making talent so I could help out. I hope you keep us up to date on how it moves along!



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