This is the first in what will hopefully be a long series of updates on the progress of the Ryann Watter's movie. I'm trying not to get my hopes up too high, but am looking at it as Jesus' parable of the sower and the seeds. This is the first seed being sown and we'll see if it ends up landing on the path or on fertile ground.
"In the picture above, I am next to Cathy, the director of the Mount Dora Chamber of Commerce, as we scout out a place for brick placement. Instead of my name, as a supporter of the chamber, I chose for it to read, "Ryann Watters.com lives here."
Above you will also see, Kerry Fink, the CEO of TYG Media (in the blue jacket). To the left is Hal, "the camera guy," taking video around Mount Dora.
Kerry, Hal, and Mike Germaine (who worked on "Fireproof") came over to Mount Dora for a site visit. None of them had ever been to the town and I believe they left with a very favorable impression of the location as an ideal movie set.
We started off with lunch at the historic Lakeside Inn (1873) as Kerry shared the vision they have for the film. Like Facing the Giants and Fireproof, they feel that a compelling story can be told on a micro-budget. The idea being to make a movie with special effects not a special effects movie (like Harry Potter, Avatar, the new Percy movie, etc.). Avatar cost $400 million to make and has grossed over $2 billion dollars, but Facing the Giants was made with a $30,000 budget and has grossed over $33 million (do the math on the percentages there). Fireproof had a larger 6-figure budget; however, the key to doing these types of movies is the community - church involvement in the project for free or limited expenses. In this case there would probably only be five or six people in the crew being compensated; while parts for the movie would involve amatuers desiring the benefit of creating their own 'movie resume' in effect. In the case of Fireproof, it was an advantage to get a household recognized name such as Kirk Cameron. As a Christian, Kirk, felt making the movie would be a positive message and his compensation, if any, would come through the potential success of the film, afterwards.
"In First Presbyterian Church of Mount Dora, with the Senior Pastor."
It would be great to get a Christian, household name to play Ryann, for promotional purposes. However, the real key is going to be getting the involvement by places the First Presbyterian Church of Mount Dora (who is excited to let us have the use of their facilities), the downtown area of Mount Dora (the Chamber, Mayor, and City Manager, have indicated we will have their full support) and other churches and the community who would like to be involved.
"Eric and Mike Germaine looking around for a good location for the bench, the drifter Noah Johnson, sleeps on behind the church."
After lunch, I took everyone on a walk around the alleyways and streets of Mount Dora. If you've read my books then you know the chase scene of Drake running after Ryann. We also headed down to the gazebo, where Ryann shares the secret of the ring with Liddy and Terell. A short drive took us over to the house I envisioned as Liddy's and then we headed over to the other side of the inlet and the lighthouse.
"The bookstore where Ryann, Liddy and Terell hang out."
Obviously there are numerous details to work out, but it's a start. I'm excited that the guys at TYG Media have caught the vision of the script and book and want to make a Christian film. They have promotional outlets through national radio syndication contacts, film background through doing this on other Christian movies that have gone from start to finish, and most importantly, a heart to see God's word spread in a positive way.
So, what are the next steps? I think they are going to go back to their studio and think through everything they saw in Mount Dora. It's the perfect place to film, with so much charm packed into a small area. The sets in this world should be easy. The tough part will be how to make Aeliana work, especially the animals like Raz. There are some very interesting thoughts on that... but I'll save that for another post. For now, I will let them put together a plan and then I'll head over to their 10,000 square foot studio to get into greater detail. Can't wait to give you that update! Keep praying and spreading the word about the book series, website, blog, and facebook fan page. All of these are going to help in the process. Also, if you're in Central Florida and want to try out or be an extra in the movie... if things continue as planned, that could be a reality this summer! Eric