The Day Sonny Died has been out for over a year, and I probably should have mentioned the hashtag sooner. (But social media is just not my jam. One day, I’m going to upgrade to a smart phone. Then maybe it’ll be more of my jam. But today is not that day. )
Okay, back to the film project.
It’s only 2:26…and I’m not sure it even qualifies as a film. But here’s 12 photos with captions (that I think) are funny.
This less than three minute project amounts to four months of:
- location scouting
- securing actors
- working with a cinematographer
- asking people for help with props, locations etc.
- and many MANY other not-so-fun parts of an artist life.
I now understand why movies take such a long time to make!
Reclaiming Our ‘Hood
Part of this project is about reclaiming. We’ve faced many challenges in our neighborhood.
April, I witnessed a brutal beating of a pregnant woman. August, our home was burglarized. September, there was a shooting and murder one street over. I could go on, but you get the picture.
When the Lord laid it on my heart to do the trailer, I was excited. Then, I felt like He was saying film in our neighborhood.
I was terrified.
I mean, this is a neighborhood where people don’t even make eye contact. And He was asking me to:
- set up shop…
- for hours on end…
- with thousands of dollars of equipment…
But we did it.
And the Lord was with it (and so were my very tall and very big brothers:).
I think part of this project was about reclaiming our neighborhood with the Lord. One block from our location at the 0:14 second mark, a man was murdered . There was an armed robbery and shooting at the location we used for the 0:42 second mark. All this happened, the week we set out to scout locations…
Things Are Getting Better…
BUT the hallway scenes were filmed at the McGruder Family Resource Center—a place that offers hope and healing to families in our neighborhood!
AND the Lord is already turning things around:
- our recycling was picked up this week
- we walked down our street for the first time
- We had a super successful clean up day with our neighbors
- and Public Works came through like storm troopers to clean up our alleys
I’m excited to see what He does in the coming days, weeks and months. And I’m grateful for your prayers.
Why We Made The Trailer
- The idea is that this short film will help spread the message of the book. We see so many tragedies erupting on the nightly news, but many people just don’t know the stories behind the headlines and hashtags. When a father is absent, there is a deep emotional wound left.
- I wanted people to see a glimpse of the unanswered questions that plague many of our young men.
- “This book should be a movie” is a phrase I’ve heard almost a dozen times. I always nod and smile politely. But seeing my novel turned into a movie was just too much for my little heart to hope for.
The thing is, after shooting this project, a movie is starting to feel like it’s within the realm of possibility. I’ve heard that for the book to be made into a movie, we need to sell 1 million copies.
Only 998 thousand more to go!
How We Funded The Project
In two words: boot strapping and generosity.
Temp jobs, book sales, freelance projects, borrowing from our family savings, the generosity of people willing to let us use their locations to film and a boatload of family and friends that volunteered to help us.
The trailer cost about $5,000. For most people, that’s not a ton of money. For me, it seemed almost unattainable. I mean, some of my freelance projects only pay $30/blog post!
The thing is, I felt really strong that this was something I was supposed to do…so me and Morris prayed A LOT and scrapped together our coins. By some miracle, we had the money when it was time to pay for everything.
Won’t He do it?!?!
A New Chapter
“Aside from buying books and prayer, how else can we help you?” That’s what my dear friend, Coco, asked me on Sunday at the book trailer premier.
I was not ready for that question.
And it took me a loooong minute to understand that people might actually want to join me on this creative path.
After some hemming, hawing and laying down my ego, I’ve decided to launch a Patreon Page on December 1st. ( Patreon is a membership platform that makes it easy for creators to get paid.) And I’m excited/scared to begin this new chapter.
It’ll allow me to:
- create quality content on a regular basis (again)
- hire some much-needed help
- and buy diapers
But more on that later.
Now, that life has some what normalized with Baby E. I plan to get back to 1) blogging on a regular basis and 2) working on a screenplay for The Day Sonny Died.
It may be a very, long time before we sell 1 million copies, but whenever the movie door swings open…I want to be ready.
Thank you for being with me on this wild ride.
Love and Peace,
Question: What have you been up to the past 8 months? And what do you think of the trailer?
Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!