Thursday, August 31, 2017

Prolonged Schedule

Met with our producers last night and agreed to keep the script as is with two short connecting scenes to help clarify story points. With this decision it was estimated we would need eight additional filming days starting in October. So we are possibly looking at a November completion date. That is scary considering the holidays will be upon us. We don't want to postpone until after the holidays because of the increased likelihood of staff and crew additional commitments. I am just hoping we get additional funding to help support this plan. I cannot explain why Allen and I are willing to start selling things to meet expenses. It is just that this is such an important cause, and I truly believe we need to do this. Something in me is weirdly calm about it all. Allen finished editing the promo clip of the film we will be posting to use for obtaining donations and I will let you know what sites to send friends and family to. We have multiple organizations checking out our project, and I am very hopeful. It is not my intention to make the staff and crew of Resilient Hearts worry. I still plan on supplying the M&Ms. Worse scenario, we can do it on our own, but it would be nice to have some breathing room. So keep those prayers coming. Everyone is doing amazing work!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Honoring the Real Cooper

Got some wonderful emails from Craig (Cooper) and Niko (Michael) about the real "Cooper", and how they wanted to do everything they can to honor his memory. He was an amazing man and it was an honor to care for him. I think the best way I can honor his memory is to make this film. People need to know the importance of discussing their wishes should they be in a position where they cannot speak for themselves. We ask too much of our families when they are placed in the position of making care decisions, and Resilient Hearts demonstrates this. If a family meeting did not take place and Cooper's wishes made perfectly clear, he would of gone through aggressive technical procedures to keep his heart beating and his lungs working. What is sad, the family would eventually be placed in a position to agree to having the equipment turned off once tests showed Cooper was without meaningful brain activity. This is such a horrible way for a family to deal with a loved ones death. Resilient Hearts showed the alternative. Cooper's family was at the bedside, his death was peaceful and loving, and the worst he had to endure was Michael's singing. If at the very least, Resilient Hearts gets family and friends talking, then I feel I have honored that he real "Cooper".

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

To Re-write or Not Re-write

Using the Labor Day weekend to possibly over think the script. There is a concern that we are running to long on filming, but we don't want to sacrifice quality. I just love the fact Allen is so dedicated to my script that he was genuinely hurt at the thought of eliminating anything! So as it stands, it looks like there will be no new changes. I still might work in the giraffe onesie just one more time, but other than that, the script stands, pizza in Michael's hair and all.

I am so happy cast and crew share the feeling we are doing something really special here and they continue to give it their all. This past weekend was full of so many special moments. I loved the smile on Rupinder's face when she got to use the clap board to start a scene, Niko's pillar dance while the Palliative team meditated, and Craig's (Cooper) emotional performance that kept us all in tears. This whole filming experience has been an incriedable Journey, I will be sad when it ends after I get caught up on about a months worth of sleep.

We are trying to focus on raising money for the film production and post-production costs. A new trailer and sample will be posted at a variety of fund raising sites, and I encourage everyone to get the word out about donating. The footage we have confirms this is going to be a quality project! So keep those prayers and good wishes coming!!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Aghhhhh It's Monday

Monday mornings are rough! Would of loved to just roll over and keep sleeping, but no chance. Oh well,  time to get going. Had an amazing weekend. Had scenes that required the majority of our cast and crew to be present. We added some great talent, and welcomed others who didn't have parts until now. Craig did an awesome job as Cooper and really helped make the conference scene an emotional one. Niko shined as Michael and brought some funny ad-libs to the script. Lindsey (Astrid), Athena (Nicole), David (Alex), Clare(Anna), Scott(Dr. Olson), and Sorin (Dr. Dracos) gave it their all and made our filming session truly golden. I love watching how Rupinder(Valerie) is evolving into a very good actress. Her character's friendship with Michael (Niko), is genuine and really helps make their interactions believable. You could tell the weekend filming was running long when the cast began singing "Hopelessly Devoted to You". I think that was the perfect song choice to describe everyone's dedication to this film. Well more details from the weekend later, I need a nap.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Always Make Room for a Nurse

Added two short scenes to the movie script to help make more sense of how some characters show up. It is amazing the impact of dropping one thing from a scene can impact so much. The scene when Danny dies was to have a nurse come in the room and be asked to call April's mom. That was dropped because we didn't have enough room on the set for all of the actors. Now I needed to explain how the mom got there, how the nurses found out, and allow enough time for the nurses to react to Danny's death before Michael comes to cheer them up. Whew!!! The moral of the story is: Always make room for a nurse!

I wanted to thank my cast members for their kind words and for believing in this project. We really are a family and I thank you all for making my vision a reality!

We are preparing for the weekend. It looks like it will be filled with the daily group and family conferences. It will be nice, because at one point the entire cast will be present! Now I just have to wrap 36 Rice Krispies treats so they don't look like Rice Krispies treats. What a life!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

YouTube Video

Allen just finished putting together a video we plan to post on YouTube to promote our movie and use to obtain donations and help with the financial aspects of filming and post-production. It turned out better than I thought it would. I still look old and a bit too serious, but I guess you have to work with what you got. Allen and I will be meeting with our executive producers Tamir and Jenia today to go over the video and confirm the cast needed for this weekend. I cannot believe making this film is a 24 hour job! There are so many details and so many things to plan. My script is making everyone crazy. I have people in the scene that don't have speaking parts but they are still needed. The challenge is getting 12 actors and 10 film crew members into the same room, not to mention all of the equipment! Allen and I are so aware of how this project is only possible because of the help and support I am getting from my co-workers ant the film's cast and crew. More and more I realize how important this film will be for so many people and it is really coming together! All of your prayers and good thoughts are really helping!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Making Promotional Video

Had to film some introductions to film clips Allen is putting together for a promotional tool to use for funding sites and to show potential investors and donators what we are up to. Now that we have some great material to use, we want to show others the great job we are doing. If anything they may want to help out the old constipated woman doing the talks my. I will share where things get posted. I would love to be able to pay the cast and crew something, and get some help with the food. Not to mention all of the other costs we are dealing with. Be sure to friend Allen on Facebook to see all the pictures that were taken during the shoots. I will ask him to post them on the Resilient Hearts web site too.
Keep those prayers and positive thoughts coming!!

Monday, August 21, 2017

It's All My Fault

Completed another weekend of shooting. It was a rough schedule as Niko had to re-do his melt down scene and little four year old Shane (Danny) had to film the scenes where his character dies. All were amazing. You know they nailed their scenes when the crew tears up! Everyone was so into their roles. All performances were amazing! I continue to get blamed for all the hard work and emotional drain of this project "it's all your fault". Now the comment has become a complement. There is something so special about this film project. Everyone realizes how important it is and wants to see it done the best way possible. We added Costa to the group (Dr. Joshua Little) and he meshed in quickly. He was able to put Shane at ease and between having Shane's Dad (Finly) there with them and all of the support of the cast, we not only got through this tough scene but really got some incredible performances! As usual Niko gave us his all and showed the vulnerable side if Michael and Clare (Anna) was the compassionate friend. Their chemistry helped you believe they were becoming very close even without a dinner date scene. Rupinder (Valerie) and Monique (April) gave stellar performances. Monique had it tough in the roll of Danny's Mom, she had to be exhausted from all that crying! Rupinder got everyone through the scenes and also made Chicken Curry for our lunch. A big thanks also goes out to Bella, Yogi, Desiree for the excellent Lunch and help with errands and acting as extras. We had a group of nurses come to play extras. We ended up not needing them as we had to postpone their scene, but I want to thank them for taking time out over their weekends to help.
There are so many people I want to thank my Husband Allen, Tamir, Jenia, Nakita, and everyone who helped make this weekend shoot so special. I am honored that the cast and crew think it is "all my fault".

Friday, August 18, 2017

Grand Baby Time!

Finalizing flight arrangements to have my grand babies here for the planned September 16th filming at my friends home. He is a physician I work with and he is very supportive of this project.  I am so looking forward to seeing what Kenna and Kai do with their roles. I just hope I can get Kenna to lose the Disney Character from Monster' s Inc. She is obsessed with Boo when she dresses like a monster. This  could be interesting !!

Also thrilled about the hard work the cast is putting into their characters. The talent is amazing! All the crew and our Director and Producers are really making this happen. They are meeting to go over specifics for the weekend. I appreciate everyone's hard work and support.

Thursday, August 17, 2017


Looking forward to this weekend's filming. We will be doing some re filming and will be taking on the tough scenes about Danny. A good friend and doctor I work with has agreed to have his 4 year old son, Shane, play this role. I am trying to think how to make it less frightening for him. I thought I would explain that his character is very sick and sleeps a lot. Then I realized that this is the way many of us deal with death, we hide in denial and fantasy. In this case, I think it is appropriate when working with a 4 year old. Then I wondered what excuse so many adults use.

The scene with Danny is a homage to the team I worked with at San Diego Hospice and Institute of Palliative Medicine. I will never forget when a mother carried out her little boy still wearing his cowboy pajamas. He looked like he was sleeping and the mother softly cried as she carried him to the waiting transport outside. I wanted to honor that memory and that little boy. I am surprised how I am both dreading and looking forward to filming the scene. It is an important statement about love and life and I am proud I have the opportunity to tell it with such talented actors and film crew.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

One More Time

Allen (Hubby and Director), Tamir and Jenia (Exectutive Producers), completed another set of auditions and found replacements for all of our open roles! Sill need to get use to the frequent change of actors, but I am repeatedly told this is normal. More and more I realize how tough it must be to be an actor. You are continually critiqued on your appearance, your ability to take on a character, and you end up working long hours trying to pull up believable emotions in front of 20 people busy looking at camera equipment or their phones, and you must make all of it look effortless. No thanks, give me an open chest wound any time! Well I digress, I am looking forward to welcoming our new cast members. Don't have any specifics other than Allen was very impressed with our new Cooper. I just hope there will be some good chemistry between him and Niko.

I also want to thank the cast members who wrote such kind words in response to my blog. It really feels like we are becoming a family! I am so grateful you are a part of this project and that you really understand what this film is all about.

Well, hope everyone has a great day and keep those prayers, positive thoughts, and energy coming!!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Going Forward

I want to thank Rupinder and Niko for their kind words and insight. I agree the important thing now is to enjoy this film journey. It may not feel like it now, but it will soon be ending so I need to cherish the friendship, the craziness, the frustration, and the laughter. I honestly feel this will be a project we will all be proud of. It still amazes me how one door may close but three more will open !

Auditions are being held today for a new Cooper and some other characters that opted to leave or were switched around. We will be welcoming a new Dr. Roberts, Dr. Joshua Little, and Astrid. I am beginning to accept that change is truly the only constant. But, hey, it's all about the Journey right?!!
I love Allen's new photo for our web site, and I am grateful for all of his work on the funding sites. We are definitely going forward.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Day 2 & 3 of Filming

The train into work is delayed at least 20 min so I thought I would get blogging. I wanted to wait until Monday to summarize the weekend filming. Not so sure if that is the best idea. I end up with way too much to talk about.

  • Rupinder (Valerie) turns out to be an amazing actress. So grateful for Niko (Michael)and Dean (Thomas) spending time with her. She absolutely nailed her performance. I think we may need to be careful she doesn't change careers.
  • Niko (Michael) is a natural stripper. His performance in his red onesie was hysterical. It will be one of the major highlights of the film.
  • I want to thank Niko for brining Michael to life. He provides all the quirky and playful elements I envision Michael would have. It is so surreal to watch this character that has lived in my mind for the past 4 years come to life. I am so grateful we have him in this production .
  • We were so fortunate that Clair agreed to take on the role of Anna. She is doing a great job and has seemlessly blended in with Niko and Valerie's characters. She is kind and funny and pleasure to work with. She was in a car accident on the way to our filming, but still managed to show up. Grateful she wasn't hurt, and amazed at her commitment to this project!!
  • I cannot say enough about Deseriee, Yogi, and Bella. They are nurses that I work with in Out-Patient clinic, that continue to help with feeding all the cast and crew and showing off their acting talent as extras. They are such troopers with everything from helping with clean-up, running out to buy pizza, helping print name tags, and agreeing to wear a giraffe onesie complete with giraffe slippers!
  • I wanted to thank the nurses in ETC and o n the units for coming in to act as extras and freeing up from their work to help out where they could. They did there best with being available and often they were subjected to the "hurry up and wait" filming. They never complained and stayed as long as they could.
  • We are lucky to have some  future additional food support offerings from Premier Infusion. We have a hungry cast and crew and all contributions are appreciated.
  • Dean is helping coach the acting and works with me to help rehearse the actors for a scene. He is a huge help for Allen and myself. This acting stuff is so foreign to me. I was not aware of the need to give more background and emphasis on why I wrote things as I did. I have come to the conclusion that I need to help with this. Dahhhhhhhhhh
  • My Husband has really gotten into the role as director. I am so grateful for his dedication and for all his hard work on this movie. He may pretend to complain about the workload, but I have never seen him happier.
  • I am enjoying the fact our cast and crew are functioning more and more like a family. Everyone involved is so helpful and kind, and they truly want this movie to succeed. 
  • I am so honored to have Tamir and Jenia as our executive producers. Their belief in this project, and the talent they have gathered for our cast and crew has been amazing. I am surrounded by such incredible talent!!
Well, time to end this novel. I will continue to try to emotionally roll with each crisis and challenge making this movie throws at me and to enjoy the positives more, because it really is all about the Journey.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Walk-ons in Jammie's Needed

Losing  the actor who was to play Cooper caused some last minute filming schedule changes, and my favorite scene was bumped up to this Sunday. It is the scene at a nurse's station when all of the nurses are in their pajamas to take part in a Jammie party for Danny, a 5 year old little boy dying of metastatic brain cancer. I need as many nurses/ CHO staff/friends of staff/etc as I can get to show up with or wearing their Jammie's (the sillier the better) this Sunday (8/13) at 9:30 am in the Main Medical/Northwest building at the Biller Center. Two scenes with Jammies will be filmed back to back. The first scene is with Valerie (Rupinder, our social worker) thanking the nurses for being involved with the party, and the second scene involves Michael doing a kind of striptease by taking off his Jammies in an effort to cheer up the nurses who are upset when little Danny dies. I will be asking at least two nurses to speak. The lines are short and primarily focused on oohing and ahhhing at Michael. It will be fun, and all can say they were in a movie, so spread the word!

I am still adjusting to all the last minute changes and complications that are occurring. We are also saying good-by to Mary, she was playing Anna in our film, and we wish her the best of luck in her career. It seems the more the cast and crew whether these frequent changes, the closer we become. I am going to be working with Dean (Thomas) to review a scene with cast members before filming and help with providing a focus and better understanding of what is going on. Everyone is dedicated to providing the best possible performance. It seems we all agree on how important this film project is.

Keep those prayers and positive thoughts coming! We really need all the help we can get!!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

More Challenges

The scenes for this weekend were all set, and Allen was making progress on editing footage from last week. All things were going well, I knew this was a bad sign. Sure enough, things started to happen. The actor who agreed to play Cooper dropped out and a few of the actresses with smaller roles also decided to take other jobs. I am grateful I learned my lesson earlier to not let this devastate me. Although, I do admit to being disappointed, I have to trust in what will be will be. We are all on a learning curve trying to do the best job possible with this film. There are so many concerns when you finally have time to focus on details as we review the film footage. I hope we can remain realistic of what absolutely must be corrected and what is just our OCD coming out.

On a separate note, my lyrics have been set to music and we may have additional help with the sound tract. I am just going to continue to believe in the amazing group that has assembled to make this film a reality, and prepare for this weekend with the new schedule they are putting together.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Getting ready for the Weekend Filming

Sorry for the scattered postings. I had a lot of sleep to get caught up on from the weekend, and had to fit doing laundry and some house cleaning in around 2am. How do movie people do this? Oh, they have to make it big and pay for help, oh well, maybe in my next life.

Just got the call sheets (movie talk for filming plan) for this weekend. We hope to accomplish quite a lot. Ten scenes are planned to be filmed. Lately the biggest problems have been scheduling conflicts with the cast. Fingers crossed that everyone can show. I pulled the pages from the script to double check what props are needed. We are advancing into needing more hospital equipment. I am so grateful for the help I am receiving from my fellow nurses! I could not do this without them.

Waiting for a final plan to know when to bring the Grand children out. They are practicing their lines and picking out what to wear. Kenna is especially proud of her clothing choice.

I still cannot believe this is all happening on an almost non-existent budget! I think all of your prayers and positive thoughts must be working!!

Thanks to all!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Day 1 of Filming

First full day of 12 hour filming. The production team was so professional and organized! It felt strange that I didn't have a task. I was asked to just listen and I would make suggestions when asked. The whole experience was amazing. I cannot believe how much work is involved in making a movie! I have so many people willing to help. My friends Bella and Yogie managed the food and kept us in ice tea. Nikko (Michael), Jimmie (Adam), Mary (Anna), and Dean (Thomas); all did a great job. Nikko and Dean took on some of their most emotional scenes and nailed them! Nikko chose to help us instead of celebrating his 11th anniversary with his wife Genna. I am truly grateful for their sacrifice and hope they have 100 more years together! We had professional make-up and cupcakes from Patricia, and I got to torture one of our producers who had a crick in his neck and was walking around like Quasimodo. In general it was a long and productive day, and I am thankful for everyone's hard work.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Day One

Today we did a meet and greet of the cast and crew. We also did our first full read through  and the crew practiced lighting set-ups and confirmed film sites. Everyone is so talented and wanting to see this project done right. I am amazed with our Producers and how they were able to organize everyone, and the crew is so experienced. All had great ideas and such unique ways of looking at things. Jenia came up with filming ideas I would have never thought of and Tamir was awesome at keeping everything moving on schedule. They are great to work with as is all of the crew.

I want to thank Claire and Scott for coming by and getting to meet some of the cast and crew. Everyone did an amazing job with the script. My favorite parts were when Jacob belted out a slow rendition of "Anchors Away" on the kazoo, and when everyone joined in on the Flintstones song. Zayden was awesome as Cooper's son Jessie, and as usual Nikko blew everyone away and he even brought rice Krispie treats! Jimmie, Michael, Rupinder, Mary, Megan, Jacob,Monique, Jillian, Richard, and Debbie;all did such a great job and made the whole day one I will always treasure. I want to give a special thanks to Dean who took on reading both Thomas and Cooper's roles. He is a true talent and a great snorer! I am hoping Dean can take on some acting coach responsibilities too.

I want to share my love and thanks to my dear fellow nurses who came in to help set up the food. You made everyone very happy and very full. I am so blessed to have everyone's support and willingness to put in such great efforts to help us make this film happen.

Just a huge thanks to everyone! Now on to Day 2!!

Friday, August 4, 2017

We're Gonna Make a Movie!!

Our Executive Producers Tamir and Jenia, my hubby Allen, the Director; Samuel our Director of Photography, and myself met with four major cast members: Mary, who plays Anna, Niko, who plays Michael, Rupinder, who plays Valerie, and Jacob who plays Paul. There was great chemistry and all seemed to be having a good time.  I am so thrilled at the dedication all cast and crew are making to this project. It seems everyone has a story to share about the loss of a loved one, and I am thrilled to be involved in a project that can set the bar for standards of care that should be available to all dying patients and their families.

Niko is awesome and was given a leather Gatsby/newsboy hat. He really got into his role. Mary did a great job as Anna, and she projects just the right about of intelligence and compassion. Jacob an amazing Paul. I told him his look was perfect for the character and to not change anything. He volunteered to live in the same clothes and not shave for a month! He might just be too agreeable...
Rupinder is having fun essentially playing herself. I want her and everyone in the cast to make their dialogue their own. Rupinder is a very caring and compassionate social worker who is not afraid to say what she thinks. That is why she makes the perfect Valerie.

Glad Allen and Samuel finally got time to strategize and bond. They had a lot to review and seemed to be working well together. Tamir and Jenia made our partnership official as all the paperwork got signed. So guess what?  WE'RE MAKING A MOVIE !!!!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Time to Play

Looking forward to tomorrow. Going to have our first meeting of the "friends". Michael gets to meet his best friend Paul, Valerie gets to meet her best friend Michael and her husband Paul, and Anna gets to decide if she wants any part of this group. It will also include Valerie and Paul's children Kai and Kenna on Skype. I am sure it will make for an interesting day. Then we prepare for the weekend. The August filming begins! I cannot believe it is finally going to happen! I am so grateful to my Husband Allen and our great Executive Producers for making this all happen. It is an amazing amount of work, but I think we will be happy with the results.

I am sure this won't be the last hurdle we encounter. I am beginning to think when things go smoothly that's when I should prepare for the crash. So, let's see what happens next!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Just Breathe

Took a few days off from blogging, needed to clear my head. I guess that's what blogging is for, but I did'nt want to frighten anyone away with my ranting. I am learning just how tough film making can be. There are so many things that can go wrong, and so many changes. I have decided to just roll with it and accept there will always be some challenge. I can see why they have such large film crews. Problems emerge almost continuously from equipment failures to not having enough bottled water. I value everyone's agreement to work without pay, but with that comes the acceptance that they are likely to leave if offered a paying job. It's like walking a tightrope. I am storing up on reminders to stay balanced and just breathe. It's a good excuse to shop, but even a better way to avoid a meltdown. I feel as though I have created this child and must let go of protecting it. I must find peace that others share my vision. The alternative is a panic attack and sitting in a corner blowing bubbles. I need to just breathe.......