Below is an article I wrote in 2011 about Lost In Sunshine that was featured on the independent channel, Film Courage. Since it's been a couple of years, I thought I'd take the liberty of adding on to our story and updating you of our status. Reading it reminds me of why I continue this journey, and why you should, (continue yours) too.
A lot of people wonder if Lost In Sunshine was written after my life. The short answer is “no,” but it certainly was a response to it.
My life’s been a series of ups and downs, most of which I feel have contributed to the richness of what I am able to bring to the writing table. My losses have taught me there will be light at the end of the tunnel, and to laugh when I feel like crying. I no longer feel the angst I once felt from holding on to my past. I had an epiphany that if I knew how to rewrite my story, then I could somehow do the same for Lyn in Sunshine, in a different way. I felt deeply inspired to tell the story of a woman’s journey – however imperfect, crazy, or deluded she might be. After all, I think there’s a little bit of delusion in all of us.
Two years and 15 drafts later, I contacted script consultant and (my now)
producer, Lorie Marsh, to help me wrestle the story to its essence. With her
help, the full story budded its way to fruition in 6 more drafts. I then felt ready to carry it with me on a trip to LA. I was able to get the script in front of a popular TV actress in Hollywood, who vibed with the story, and was excited at the idea of playing “Lyn.” From that point on, I came back to Austin with a new resolve – I would make this film, no matter what. Lorie, who had been consulting on the project for months, offered to come on board as its producer. We slept on the notion. And the next morning - production-magic began.
We were planning for “action” by the end of 2009, but it hasn't turned out that way.
We were fortunate to have our first investor early on, who believed in the quality of our business plan, connected to the story, and the message we were trying to tell. And, though we had a fabulous crew committed and interest from actors, too, we needed more money.
We were disappointed and frustrated when things didn’t line up, but it wasn't in the stars, yet. We've never lost hope. We look at our project as a whole, and for every “no” we just say, “no, not that way.” Forward march.
So, what did we focus on? We spent the next year implementing a website, Lostinsunshine.com, to engage our audience.
Experimenting: Social Media and Transmedia.
From the time we decided to make LIS, engaging our audience early was always a priority. By creating a blog by our chronically malcontented heroine, Lyn, from the beginning, we hoped to let our audience have a sneak peak at the girl behind small-town Sunshine, Texas.
Soon afterward, I also began writing bits and pieces of a self-help manuscript-in-progress from our hero, Bob, a desperate optimist.
The idea was to create a world around our movie-to-be that would expand upon the narrative as a whole - a transmedia approach. In addition to a Lost in Sunshine Facebook page and several Twitter streams, we wanted to experiment with online fiction and other forms of digital storytelling (videos, short stories, interactive games). Indie movie distribution and consumption paradigms are shifting, thanks to surges in digital media capacities and mobile platforms; we want to have content available wherever our audience wants to consume it.
A year after we launched Lostinsunshine.com, we debuted a redesigned site on February 1, 2011. We learned that we needed to refine our interface and site layout to make it more obvious to visitors that there is a fictional, story-world section and a real-world, behind-the-scenes section. We recognize that our audience doesn't know the term, "transmedia," nor do they really care. But, a little interactive quiz on the Home page? (Maybe) That's fun, and memorable.
We're further embracing transmedia in our crowdfunding campaign on
IndieGoGo Feb. 1 - March 4th by offering donors opportunities to add content to the online story-world as our Perks
It's all a big gamble, the focus and efforts we've put into setting ourselves apart with our website "channel" approach for Lost in Sunshine. But, it's been something we DO have control over. And, it shows prospective investors or co-production companies what we can do.
Moving Forward: 2013
This is where the article stopped a couple of years ago. With modest Indiegogo success in 2011, and a lack of audience participation, we have since learned to rewire our sound. We've had many ideas about how to expand our story, and inject it into the hearts of those who might want to experience it, but there are many factors that come into making a vision a reality. For us, our restraints have mostly been monetary. Neither of us were born rich, or with a rich uncle, but we're definitely rich in spirit. We mustn't let go, if our vision's ever going to blossom.
In 2012, the talented and funny actress, Nadine Velazquez re-entered our circle and became verbally attached to LIS (again). My heart is really happy about that.
Our most current project, Fucked Up People, is a web series set to be filmed in 2014 on a much more affordable budget. It's inspired by the main characters of LIS, Lyn and Bob. Both are beset by troubles of their own making. Lyn is profane, unfiltered, and unhappily married and employed. Bob is warm, chatty, and a married father and gambling addict. The series will present “fucked up people” that Lyn and Bob must deal with in their respective lives, while uncovering how each of them are messed up, themselves.
We're in the final stages of solidifying the first season's script, and then we'll hit "GO" with our production efforts. In addition, we're working on turning LIS into an e-novel and making it available online. The idea is to give people a choice as to how they'd like to view our story world.
With this web series and e-novel, we hope to build, (re)connect and engage with our audience, and give them (more of) a reason to support our feature film.
Sometimes the efforts seem daunting, but if you've ever thought of giving up don't worry, you're just human. What makes you super human is your ability to hang on, even when it feels hopeless.