With a heading like this, you might expect the announcement that Hold Still has been optioned by a producer, or, better yet, that it's been picked up by a studio with a famous director attached and a few young stars ready to play the parts.
But that isn't what this is about. Instead, I'm writing to announce an art project, one that I hope will grow and flourish the way Hold Still did when it was only an idea I had, and then became a few scenes, and then dozens of pages, and then a whole story. The difference between a movie and a novel, though, is that a movie requires tremendous resources and many people, while a novel only requires an idea, something to write with, and the tenacity to see the project through.
Let me back up a little bit. Actually, I'll back all the way up to middle school when I went through a The Man in the Moon phase. This was right before my Reality Bites phase, which was only briefly interrupted by a mad crush on Empire Records. I watched The Man in the Moon with such focus. Not only was it showing me what I was on the brink of learning for myself--what first love would feel like, what loss would feel like--but it made art out of yearning and hope and grief. Then when I was in high school and Reality Bites became my new cinematic love, I realized that I didn't only connect with the movie because it was about the lives recent college grads whose questions echoed adolescent questions, but also because it was about making movies. Making art out of uncertainty and, again, love and loss and yearning and hope and grief.
I didn't become a filmmaker. I became a writer. And yet I never surrendered the dream of making movies, and now I'm hoping that I can do both. I adpated Hold Still into a screenplay. Now I'm hoping to bring it to life.
Which brings me to this:
Amanda said she had a nightmare last night that our time ran out and we didn't make it. Kristyn is optimistic. She thinks that enough people love the book and that they'll hear about the project, band together, help us make it happen. I vacillate between confidence and doubt. I mean, we raised over $1,000 in only one day. But then, we need to raise at least $17,000 and as I write this we still have $15,160 to go. At first I thought that with enough time and energy and volunteers, we could make this movie without raising money, but now I understand why films are rarely made for under a million dollars. Everything adds up.
I never thought that I would turn to the world and ask them to help me make art by sending me money through a website donation, but here I am. It's pretty exciting. And I wouldn't be doing it if I wasn't convinced that the result will be worth it. I have dreams of teenagers watching the movie over and over in their bedrooms late on school nights and getting that feeling. Paloma, our wonderful AD, said the other day that film is the most powerful form of art. I don't usually think in absolutes like that, but I think I might agree. It's so immersive. All the time I was writing Hold Still I was thinking of what it would look like. I wanted to capture moments without language. I still want to.
So, thank you to our day one donors. Their names kept trickling in and each time I was so moved. Look closely. Some of my YA colleages are in there, which is part of why I love being in this community as much as I do. You see Lewis Peterson? That's Margaret Stohl, masquerading as her husband. A friend from the neighborhood, Dan Merritt, who is a screenwriter himself helped us out. We got help from generous and big-hearted college students, from a young woman who I taught in her freshman and senior years of high school, from a woman I was so happy to know in grad school but now only see on Facebook, from a librarian who served on the Morris committee and gave me an honor, from friends we see often and those we rarely see, from people we've never met, from the brother of one of our actors and the father of another.
It's two hours until midnight here in California. Tomorrow we'll post a new list of all the people who contributed today. Thank you for being so wonderful.
To view our Kickstarter page, click here.