Mark next Monday, April 2nd, in your calendar. The marketing team told me I can't spoil anything, so I'll just say next Monday is the start of our next big step forward. We've had months of planning, preparation, and prayer, and we hope to see you there.
Assuming everything goes as planned, by the end of April our team will have raised enough money for us to shoot the film in July, and by this Christmas I'll have a college degree and a feature film on my resume. Of course, everything hinges on those key words: "assuming everything goes as planned". From the start, this project has been a leap of faith. Imagine you're on a small boat in the ocean, sailing through a dense fog, with nothing but a compass to guide you. That's how this project feels. I know the end goal, but I can only see the immediate step forward.
Allow me to speak from a place of Christian faith for a moment. I realize not everyone reading this shares my beliefs, but bear with me. Regardless of the final outcome, I believe we've been on the right track thus far because of the sheer amount of improbable success we've had. At the beginning, I was very unsure if this was the right project to pursue, so I prayed something very simple: "God, if you want me to proceed with this project, please give me success. If you want me to do something else, please make this project fail." Perhaps not the most theological prayer, but this project keeps moving forward despite the odds being stacked squarely against us.
Let's catalog a few places where this project could have imploded: production rights, crew, and pre-production. Fun fact, I did not direct the short film this project is based on. I co-wrote and co-produced it. This meant I needed to secure permission from the original director/co-writer to move forward. She easily could have said no (and she would have been totally justified); moreover, during our 11-month conversation she had many chances to say no. Yet, she graciously handed me the reigns.
Though I've worked on a lot of projects at Biola, I'm an introvert and a screenwriter. This means I'm not always the best at networking (a la building a production team). For example, it took months to find a producer, the key player. By the end of my search I was contemplating pulling the plug on Wrapped, but at the last moment Rachel Lin, our producer, agreed to the project. Since then, we've had many more people hop on board. Had we not secured a producer and crew, this project would be dead in the water.
Pre-production has been a can of worms all by itself. Whether it was bad weather threatening to ruin a film shoot, people's cars breaking down, auditions falling through, or simply biting off more than we could chew, our pre-production work could have easily done us in. But it didn't.
There have been many chances for this project to fail, but at each step everything has fallen into place. That simple prayer, asking for directions, has been my compass. We could call this coincidence, but there'd be a whole lot of coincidences to account for. This project is bigger than me, and it's bigger than even our team. It'll take a miracle for this film to get made. I've explained a lot about why I've chosen to do this project from a practical and emotional standpoint, but these prayers have been the backbone of it all. You don't have to believe it, but all I know is that I've prayed and I've seen wild things happen.
April 2nd is the next big step forward, and I hope to see you there.