Hey ya’ll! I’m Sonia, the new girl. I’m going to be helping out on this film, and I’m really excited about it! I have a little filmmaking experience, but this project will be the first that I get to be a part of from start to finish. I will be a little Sonia Sponge, I tell you.
Back when I was in high school, I lucked out and landed in the “dumb” English class. As it turns out, we were far from dumb. With the help of our English teacher, we compiled our journal entries and published The Freedom Writers Diary, a book that eventually became a #1 New York Times bestseller, and a Hollywood film.
I was sixteen the first time I heard that someone wanted to turn our book into a movie, and I was twenty-five when it was actually released in movie theatres. During those nine years, I lived vicariously through the producers and the writer/director who were kind enough to let us in on the movie making process.
We were invited to give feedback on the script, casting, wardrobe, set design, locations, and even the music. I’ve been told (repeatedly) that that is not the norm. I was also told that movie people are temperamental and shady, but I call shenanigans. The people that I met during production of Freedom Writers were amazing. I may not have loved all of them all the time, but I admired and respected them. That experience is what sealed my fate in this industry.
Right before Freedom Writers went into production, I met the fine boys over at Psychic Bunny. I was working at the Freedom Writers Foundation, and we needed someone to film a teacher training session and a promo video that we could use for fundraising. Rick and company swooped in, did some amazing work, and I got the bonus of meeting more awesome film people.
So a couple of weeks ago, when Rick sent over the script for Cement Suitcase, I was thrilled for two reasons. One, the script was really good, and two; he offered me the opportunity to help out on this project.
I’m not gonna lie, I’m a little nervous. Although I’m familiar with the process, I have no idea what to expect from the making of Cement Suitcase. I know that I’m working with a pretty diverse group of people, which is awesome. From the email exchanges that I’ve seen, some of the peeps are funny, and some are shy (that’s me!). Some have known each other forever, and others don’t know each other at all. I also know that we’ll be filming in Yakima Valley, where some great Washington state wine is produced.
And I know the story. I don’t mean that I’ve read the script; I mean that I know Franklin’s story. We all do. In its simplest form, it’s the story of a man caught in a quarter-life crisis, and the lengths he’ll go to get out of his funk. The story, of course, isn’t simple. Rick’s characters are meaty, and the story is funny enough to be called a comedy, but grounded enough to be relevant and relatable. It’s the kind of material that a writing/movie nerd like myself gets really excited about.
So here we go. I can’t wait to share my thoughts, pictures, and videos of this crazy-awesome adventure with you. Countdown to the shoot: 29 days. (Holy s#$!. 29 days?!)
P.S. No more super long posts, promise.