I made a movie. A life-long dream accomplished.
The road to achieving that dream was filled with more ups and downs than one would ever imagine. The truth is, mostly “downs” and had I known what I was embarking on before starting, I may have thought twice.
I’ve always been a writer. According to my mom, my favorite toy as a child was the typewriter — as seen in the photo below.
“What was I writing?” I asked. I mean, I was one year old. I couldn’t even speak.
“You just liked to fool around with it.” Says Mom.
Ok… a glimpse of what was to come?
In grade school I began taking pictures. I took my first photography class in 8th grade. My favorite model at the time was my Himalayan cat, “Kitty”. He was very photogenic.
In high school, I moved on to my friends, whom I would style — complete with hair, make-up and wardrobe. Posing my friends in my parent’s backyard, I would create fantastical scenarios for each little moment that was set up. Developing the pictures, then taping the sets of these photographs to my bedroom wall and creating a visual story of my work was my favorite hobby.
Little did I know that this was the start of my story-telling career.
Years would pass as I threw myself into the dramatic arts. Studying drama in college, honing my craft as an actress in the theater and picking up small roles in commercials and independent films in Hollywood.
My ultimate goal was to be like my childhood idol, Sylvester Stallone. My dream was not only to be an actress, but a writer, director and all around filmmaker, just as he had done in so many of my favorite films.
I worked as a background actor, on-set intern, production assistant – I made coffee, picked up lunches, worked for free, slept on the floor of production offices, faced massive rejection, have been lied to, conned, manipulated – have been used and abused by higher ups… despite all this, I was willing to do almost anything I could to immerse myself into the world of “show business” in order to earn my dream of becoming a future filmmaking mogul.
The fantasy world of setting up beautiful scenarios in my parent’s backyard with friends was just that – a fantasy.
This town is not for the faint of heart. And, as one might imagine, along the way, my heart grew hard. Despite the sunny, blonde “mask” that is displayed to the world, a shadow of darkness shrouds my once carefree soul.
No more waiting for someone to produce the scripts I have written. No more waiting for someone to cast me in the “role of a lifetime” in their movie. No more serving others to help them fulfill their dreams. It’s my turn.
I made the decision to ACT.
“FUCK THIS.” I said to myself. “It’s now or never, I’ve paid my dues.”
The thing about producing an indie feature film on your own for the first time is this — it’s a daunting task. Everyone is going to have an opinion about what you’re doing and no one is going to believe you can do it.
For me personally, tack on the fact that I’ve been attached to productions that some may deem as ummmm… “unsophisticated and/or lacking in taste”, which one would assume is a direct reflection of me as a person. All I can say is, “Hey, I needed the money.”
So, screw it, I blocked out the naysayers, put my earplugs in and set out to write, direct, produce and act in my first feature film, NOWHERELAND.
In May of 2016, approximately 1 year and 8 months after the first day of principal photography, NOWHERELAND made its World Premiere debut in Los Angeles at the Pacific Theaters at The Grove during the 23rd Annual IFS Los Angeles Film Festival.
Not only did the film screen at the prestigious festival, NOWHERELAND was honored with awards for BEST PICTURE, BEST DRAMATIC FEATURE FILM and the AUDIENCE CHOICE.
To date, NOWHERELAND has also received awards for “Writer/ Script”, “Direction”, “Dramatic Impact” and “Women Filmmakers” from an additional festival — The Accolade Global Film Competition.
The first public screening of NOWHERELAND at IFS Film Festival event was a surreal evening.
As the cast, crew and throngs of supporters of the film began filling the lobby of the theater an overwhelming wave of gratitude and sense of accomplishment came over me. Were these people actually here to see something I created from nothing?
Accepting the movie’s multiple awards was a blur. I had planned on what I wanted to say, but as soon as I got on stage and over two hundred people were staring back at me, everything I had planned went out the window.
And then the moment arrived… NOWHERELAND was up on the big screen in front of a packed movie theater. I did it. From what I observed, the audience laughed and they cried… it was more than I had ever hoped for, imagined or dreamed of.
The truth is, I’ve only scratched the surface and there is still an enormous amount of work needed to make NOWHERELAND an even bigger success… and then there’s the issue of starting pre-production on my next film.
When you’re lucky enough to follow your true passion, the work never stops.
But, perhaps the single most important moment of the night for me and for my burgeoning career thus far, was that my mother and father were there to witness my accomplishment. The last twenty plus years of struggle were not only difficult for me.