Think about it. How many of us yearn to experience the dream of a lifetime? And how many of us actually have the opportunity to realize our dreams? Not many. I’m one of the lucky ones. Following 17 years of hard fought battles filled with a myriad of disappointments, frustrations and seemingly insurmountable obstacles trying to bring Deadly Sanctuary to the big screen, I was finally successful! What an incredible experience it has been watching the transformation from novel to screenplay to actually participating in the film production! The first time I heard the words I had written coming out of the actor’s mouths was an astounding moment in my life. After dreaming about it for so long, it was nothing short of surreal.
But, I certainly didn’t do it alone. Far from it. I had a lot of help. It took a team of talented and dedicated professionals. Fortune smiled down upon me the day that local actress/model, Bobbi Jeen Olson introduced me to veteran film producer and director, Nancy Criss. She read Deadly Sanctuary, immediately recognized the possibilities, and has been my mentor every step of the way along with our Director of Photography, Pete Brown, who, like Nancy, understands every aspect of filmmaking.
What an amazing, hands-on education I have experienced. From day one, I was involved in the pre-production details such as helping to raise funds, assisting in the choice of actors and crew, dealing with mountains of paperwork, driving endless miles along the back roads of Arizona searching for just the right locations, working with screenwriter Bower Yousse to hone the script, working with our wardrobe designer, Gail Mitchell-Panella, Brenda d’Usseaux, our key hair/makeup expert, and learning what was expected of each crew member—taking part in just about every stage of development in addition to being on set 12 to 14 hours a day. I managed on very little sleep and felt like I survived the eighteen-day shoot running purely on adrenalin. It was exhausting, stressful and yet exhilarating all at once! I can understand why people get addicted to making films now.
My education in transitioning from author to filmmaker continued with post-production phase at Kappa Studios in Burbank where I worked alongside Pete Brown and Kappa’s seasoned professionals learning about editing, VFX and color correction—the things that help create movie magic. I was also fortunate to be able to work in studio with our composer Dean Andre on sound and the musical score during the post-production process. After all I’ve experienced this past year and a half, I will never look at a film the same way again. Now, I’m always thinking about what goes on behind the camera—camera angles, lighting, props, staging, weather elements, equipment issues, noise, bugs, wind, heat, cold, endless incidents that can affect production and the subsequent costs involved.
Most small, independent film projects never see the light of day as far as being out there for the public to see. We were fortunate enough, through Nancy’s connections, to be able to procure national distribution! No small task. We, and all of our producers are thrilled beyond words that that the North American and Canadian rights to the film have been purchased by Barnholz Entertainment, a large and prestigious film distributor. DVDs of Deadly Sanctuary are already available for pre-order through Walmart and Best Buy, and will soon be available through Target, streaming on Amazon and iTunes and available through on-demand cable. We have high hopes that the film will soar in popularity and that we can begin preparations to film all of Kendall’s adventures in the near future.
But, for now, I am still savoring the memory of emerging from the white stretch limo the early evening hours of March 23rd wearing my emerald-green gown where I walked the red carpet to the entrance of the AMC Deer Valley Theater for the world premiere of Deadly Sanctuary. How electrifying it was to share that extraordinary moment with my family, friends, fans, our producers and members of the cast and crew. The realization that my elusive dream had finally come true spawned a rush of emotions that literally took my breath away. I will never forget it.
So, go ahead and follow your dreams! If you can dream it, I believe you can, with persistence, achieve it. And now, I can’t wait to make another film!