My Family Fantastic

Creating Experiences That Help Relationships Thrive

The Day Sonny Died: Book Trailer


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:

  • writing
  • editing
  • contracts
  • waivers
  • 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

John 10:10

The Thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. But (He) came that we might have life. And it more abundantly – John 10:10.

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!

Clean Up Day!

Clean Up Day with the Neighbors!

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

  1. 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.
  2. I wanted people to see a glimpse  of the unanswered questions that plague many of our young men.
  3. “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.

6 Months and Counting

We Survived: 6 Months And Counting!

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.

What’s Next?

Baby E's First 4th

Baby E’s First 4th

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!


  1. Simone, I hope you already know how much I admire you! You’re a straight up BOSS and I don’t even think you know it..yet. I’m super excited about what God is doing in your life and the many lives of those you and your beautiful family touch. I’ve lived in circumstances like the one you and your family are facing, and I know it’s not easy, to say the least. My prayers are with you as you walk in obedience. I meditated on Psalm 91 almost daily during that season to remind me of His ultimate protection. Keep preparing and believing, Sis. That door for the movie trailer will open sooner than you think!

    • Simone

      December 28, 2017 at 8:08 pm

      Faith!!! Thank you so SO much for the kind words (and forgive me for the delayed response). Gurlll, I’ve learned so much from YOU and you’re the one that showed me that self-publishing can be well executed. For such a long time, I was waiting to get picked i.e. by a publisher or an agent.

      After a while, it felt like the Lord was saying this is something WE are doing to do together. And I think it’s because, ONLY He could do what He’s done. He gets all the credit…not some agent or publishing house. And I had an example of how to promote and market and distribute without being icky from YOU!

      Thank you for the reminder about Psalms 91. I have a book that we read to Baby E based on Psalms 91, but we haven’t read it in a while. I need to continue reading and praying through it. Thank you SO much for your prayers, especially, having lived in a similar situation. Oakland, right? (I feel like I read that in one of your posts). The Lord continues to protect us and I’m just trying to continue in obedience.

  2. Simone, This trailer grabs the viewer and pulls you in immediately. Sonny (both the young boy and adult actors) were well suited for this trailer. I am glad you wrote/directed this and am sure it was a labor of love. I am also glad you are working with neighbors and friends in “taking back your neighborhood”. Sounds like you are well on your way. Congratulations!

    • Simone

      December 28, 2017 at 8:15 pm

      Shelli! It’s so good to hear from you, and thank you for sharing your thoughts about the trailer. The Sonny(s) were friends and family members. AND it was definitely DIVINE how this project came together. Literally, two days before filming…the adult Sonny had not been confirmed. Neither had the role of “Constance” the grandmother. But the Good Lord brought it all together!

      Yes! Despite, the difficulty we face in our neighborhood. The Lord was connected us with some great neighbors, and it’s awesome to see how everyone’s working to make a difference. Sometimes, I just with the change would HURRY. But, I keep reminding myself that God’s timing is perfect.

      Thank you for stopping by!

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