Today is the last day of our fundraising campaign on Seed & Spark, and we just hit 80% of our ask. That tips us into a green light for having the funds released. We’re making a movie! Thank you SO MUCH FOREVER to everyone who donated!
But I have to say—it’s not just the money (although wow does the money matter) that is making me so happy right now. The way people have offered their time and their apartments and their ideas, to get this film made… It is the most profoundly validating and moving thing in the world.
I promise, you will be proud you helped make this film.
Alexis and I have been in Colorado for the last few days with two friends. Everyone else has been skiing, but I’ve been hanging at the condo doing film stuff. I’m an awkward, clumsy
person skier, and I was petrified of injuring myself so soon before we start filming. So, chilling in the condo.
Holy yikes, by the way. In two and a half weeks, we start filming. Wow.
So this past Thursday, we fly in to Denver and the four of us stop for Mexican food, and in the parking lot of the restaurant, my phone is accidentally knocked from my hand and the screen shatters. Fully shatters. Little pieces of glass still come off on my fingertips when I send a text. But the phone still works perfectly, which is a blessing. Driving away from Denver, we stop at a liquor store and I buy beer. An hour later, we get to the condo and I can’t find my wallet. Between the four of us and six Apple devices, we figure out what the liquor store was, and I call. They haven’t seen my wallet. Not even in the parking lot? Sorry ma’am. I go to the websites of my credit cards, poised to cancel, and sort of spontaneously decide to call the guy at the liquor store back. Sorry to bother you, I say. Can you take my name and number, just in case someone finds it? Sure, he says. But I don’t think your wallet is here.
Five minutes later, my shattered phone is literally in my hand and Capital One’s number is up on my computer, and my phone rings. The liquor store guy found my wallet, untouched, in a dark part of the parking lot. Blessing number two, salvaged from the blight of a near disaster. But, the liquor store hero says, we close in one hour. And the liquor store is one hour away.
So Alexis and I jump in the car and take off and maybe he goes a mile or two over the speed limit. Just about five miles from the liquor store, we get pulled over. My heart is in my throat, this is seriously the most surreal and perplexing evening I’ve had in ages. I tell the officer my stupid wallet story and he follows us to the liquor store and I get the wallet (HURRAY!) and we then sit in the car, waiting for the officer to come over and give us whatever ticket. He takes forever. Then he comes over, talks for a while, and ultimately just gives us a warning. Blessing number three. My relief is so unwieldy and vast that I exhale for an hour.
I like to see coincidences as verification that I’m on the right path, and near misses give me a similar tingle. They force me to pay attention to how lucky I am. And now, today, two-ish weeks from principal photography, I need to settle down, take a breath, and think about how wonderfully lucky I am to be two weeks away from making a movie I wrote, that I also get to act in. That’s outrageous. I get so caught up in what’s left to do and what we can’t afford. But like a wedding or a community theater play, it’ll all come together. Momentum and this team will see us through.
We’re about to make a fucking great movie.
One of the main characters in the film is a police officer named Rob Sullivan. He’s one of the two love interests for Kim, and he represents the potential for what she can have in this time if she’s able to let down her guard.
Because I wrote this thing, Rob and his lines are super deeply etched in my brain. I feel like I understand him so innately—what he wants, why he pursues Kim, what that relationship brings him—that it would be a matter of finding someone to say the words in a way that matches how I hear it in my head. But that’s totally not it at all. What happens when you’re lucky, unbelievably lucky, is that during an audition someone walks in and nails it so perfectly that it rewrites your expectations and you get washed over with the feeling of, OH! This is who the character is supposed to be.
I present to you Brendan Griffin, our Rob:
Brendan is beyond talented, and he makes it look effortless. We’ve had one rehearsal so far and I left feeling elated. This guy! There’s no way this film won’t be awesome with him involved.
He’s done a ton of film and TV, but what really took my breath away was seeing him in Clybourne Park on Broadway. It was probably the most nuanced, moving and hilarious theater production I’ve ever seen, and that had a lot to do with him being part of its dynamic and amazing ensemble cast.
I could not be happier that he’s part of this project.
The enormously charming Matthew Bowers interviewed Alexis, Serena and me for his podcast, Wrong Opinions About Movies.
We talk about what it’s like to make the film, how we like working with Seed & Spark for fundraising, what got us into filmmaking, and what it means to us to work together. We’re so grateful to Matthew for taking the time. If you’ve never heard me chatter excitedly, this is for sure your chance.
This is a departure from the other posts, but documenting the process of making the film is very much documenting my life.
Let me start by saying that I think it’s safe to say that 11-14 are the most impressionable ages, and we’re lucky to survive them. Your peers can be mean, adults don’t take you seriously. Your post-school future is as shimmery and impossible to imagine as outer space.
I had the extraordinary good fortune to meet Karisa Bandura in 6th grade and she was my life raft. We made each other laugh and went to the mall one million times and slipped notes into each other’s lockers. We talked on the phone for upwards of five hours a night. Once in 7th grade, she and I walked down an empty hall and voices from around the corner drifted back. It was two girls making fun of me in cruel and specific detail. I turned to Karisa and I remember exactly the expression on her face. It was unavoidable that we walk by them, and they’d see that I’d heard – one of those impossible social dynamics that defines what it is to be 12. Karisa gave me a smile that said I’m with you, we got this. And we walked past them, side by side. And I kept my head up. Because sometimes sharing something difficult is the only way through it.
Just over three weeks ago, Karisa was diagnosed with stage four adrenal cancer. When I realized just how horribly terrible things had gotten, I came back to Maryland to see her. I arrived late Saturday night and was in the next room when she slipped away Sunday evening. She leaves behind a close-knit and wonderful family, including two beautiful children. She brought a lot of joy into a lot of lives. As friends go, she was the perfect mix of generous, supportive and loving. The world is less interesting and much less bright without her.
My first acting experience was playing Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors when I was 12. I remember being backstage with Karisa, listening to the radio and wishing we were older. We shared a dream of moving to New York City to be actresses. This film is for you, honey. I love you so much. May your memory be a blessing.