Golden Hour Approaches

Golden Hour approaches. The moment of reckoning, when our IndieGoGo campaign ends. For those just now tuning into this site, my name is Anne Lower. That rhymes with “Flower.”

I am an independent filmmaker living in Los Angeles.

I made the move to indie film b/c I felt myself creatively castrated by the studio system. I was tired of the cookie-cutter approach towards storytelling, and as a female filmmaker, I encountered resistance in others to placing faith in me. So, I decided to make my own project.

I wanted to write about social issues: addiction, violence against women, the sex trade industry, isolation, poverty and corporate greed. And, as a resident of a city where millions live, but few know their neighbors, I decided to create a world of outsiders… I decided the ultimate outsider would be a supernatural being. And so the world of “They Live Among Us” was born.

Part gothic romance, part urban horror and part film noir, TLAU tells the story of supernatural beings –  fallen angels and spirits, and the mortals they love. Set against the backdrop of Los Angeles, it explores a grittier side of the city. The mean streets. Raymond Chandler meets Stephen King, in a place known as the City of Angels.

Going indie means that you have to acquire your own funding. And so, I turned to crowdfunding.

We are trying to raise $600 / per minute for our little dream project. Many films cost close to 1 mil per minute. If you want to see what I can do with little, please watch Ep 1-3, which we made this for 12k combined.

For the next installments, I must improve sound and lighting, and the safety for cast and crew. We have to have insurance… and we have to have permits. LA is a very expensive place to shoot in! But the city is a character in the story – an integral one at that.

I am so grateful to all who have donated! And I am asking others to dig into their sofas, their cars and their pockets. $15 goes a long way!

I am so grateful to be surrounded by such a generous and talented cast and crew. I love them all. Every one.

Going indie means that you have the freedom to come work from the heart – and the soul. And that’s what I’ve done! I even Tweeted non-stop for 72 hours last week – without sleep – to share my dream project with you. And, I tweeted Naked. 🙂

Working on 12k meant we encountered some dangerous situations. Here was 1 night I wrote about for Film Courage. I also blogged about that night, about what it was like to work with such personal content and raw emotion.

Take a look at the articles. Watch the episodes on my site. Listen to my interview on Cutting Room Floor.  For your amusement, take a look at the Tweet-a-thon vids. All made in fun, all for the love of  “They Live Among Us.” And don’t forget to read about my encounter with a possible real-earth angel.

Then, visit our IndieGoGo campaign, and please consider making a donation. By doing so, you’re joining our tribe.

Pledges begin at $1. If, at this point, you don’t want to pledge… I’d like to know why! Email Me . We have had over 12,450 referrals to our campaign. If each of those people pledged $1 we would now be beyond goal… and I’d be blogging about the script, the story and the characters instead of raising money.

Thank you for all of your support of this dream project.

~ anne

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Tweet-a-thon 2012!

Today marks the launch of the TLAU / #ohchat Tweeetathon2012.Sponsored by the team at Office Hooky, I will be Tweeting live from @princess_scribe 24 hours a day for the next 3 days. No, I will not be using scheduled Tweets. It will be me, HRH, live and in the flesh.

We’ve a lot of fun planned: Q & A sessions, some games to play, and of course, Naked Tweets every day.

All of this is being done to raise funds for the next 3 Episodes of “They Live Among Us.” The script is locked down; the cast and crew are chomping at the bit. All that’s holding us back is a mere $15k in funding.

So swing on by! To participate, simply follow #ohchat – and be certain to use this hashtag with all of your Tweets directed towards me, so I will know that you are in the session. I’m Princess Scribe, and I’ll be wearing high-heels, a tiara, and a smile.

Here’s the schedule:

 

Hour Activity
10:00 – 11:00 Hello and about the Tweet-a-thon
12:00 – 3:00 Open topic Tweeting / Guest drop ins
3:00 – 4:00 Naked time. Naked truth about Indie filmmaking.
4:00 – 5:00 Campaign Updates; encourage all to watch Ep 1, 2 , 3 (Day 1 – 1 Day 2 – 2 Day 3 – 3)
5:00 – 7:00 Post viewing Q & A / TLAU cast/crew drop in
7:00 – 9:00 Hashtag games revolving around cinema titles – mashups, less ambitious titles, incongruous sequels, etc
9:00 – midnight Open topic Tweeting
Midnight – 3:00 Daily drawings Hello and Tweet-a-thon for UK / EU
3:00 – 4:00 UK / EU Naked time.
4:00 – 5:00 Campaign Updates; encourage viewing
5:00 – 7:00 Post Viewing Q & A
7:00 – 10:00 Open Topic / Games

 

 

Episode Three: Let’s Do Lunch

In Episode Three, Beth gets the chance of a life time when Alex arranges for her to audition for an A-list power broker, and Ted, a lonely park ranger, comes to the aid of an ethereal young woman on top of the Hollywood sign.

With Justin Baker, Jessica Nicole Webb, Erik Kowalski, Allen Marsh, Marcia French, David Stanford and Kendra Munger.

Original score by Brent Heflin McHenry.

“A Story Forever” courtesy Mike Peralta.

To learn more about the legend of Peg Enstwistle, click here.

Moments of Grace

“I don’t believe in stories with happy endings; I believe in moments of grace.” ~ Todd Field, AMC Shoot Out

I’ve been thinking a great deal about this quote, as post enters its final stages for Episodes 1 – 3 of They Live Among Us.

Moments of grace. What the characters – supernatural and mortal – are seeking. What I – as a writer, a filmmaker, a human being – am seeking. Moments of grace.

We live in ungraceful times; we are culturally conditioned to judge a man not by his actions, but by the amount of money he makes. Profit is our deity; we feed off of the misery of others through war-profiteering, loan-shark banking and depriving the impoverished of healthcare. An infant dies in its mother’s arms because the truckload of grain that relief organizations sent to her camp was hijacked and resold for profit. Churches build towering gilt monoliths worth hundreds of millions of dollars – and these structures cast giant shadows on Skid Row. Victims of rape are murdered by their families, for their victimization is seen as an admission that they are the guilty ones. Children are bought and sold – traded like junk bonds – within the sex-trade industry.

We know this, of course. We hear it on the nightly news… but we refuse to listen. Instead of exploring the human crisis that is Darfur, we turn our attention towards the Jersey Shore. We do anything, everything to drown out this influx of data, for the shame and guilt that we would feel if we were to open our hearts and our minds to the human suffering that surrounds us would be more than the soul could bear.

It was not without trepidation that I began this project. I knew that I would be taken to very dark and painful places; and yet, I also knew that I would experience moments of grace… and that is pwhat I experience as I witness post: beings as they battle demons, literal and figurative, while strugglthe in the place that is the City of Angels… and seek moments of grace. Dark emotions and conflict lurk just beneath the surface; scenes are taut, whittled down to what is most primal and essential. A killer seeks true love. A priest ministers to demons. A lonely man loves a ghost. An angel yearns for a prostitute.

Moments of anguish… enveloped by moments of grace.

The Trouble With Lucian

Not all fallen angels are as conflicted as Caim and Father Buer. For some, life on earth has become a sort of paradise. For beings such as Lucian, Los Angeles is a veritable all-you-can-eat human buffet.

For every protagonist there must be an equally forceful antagonist, and Lucian is a force to be reckoned with. He, too, served with Caim, as one of the Ancient Ones. He, too rebelled and fought in the Great War.

I see Lucian, before the Fall, growing envious of Caim’s rising star. I imagine him as a sort of supernatural Iago, always present, ever whispering into Caim’s ear, offering an insidious litany. He encourages Caim’s growing discontent;  Lucian nurtures and feeds the seeds of rebellion. Perhaps Paradise was too perfect for Lucian; perhaps his appetite for flesh, and the power that came with it, drove him. Fall he did… but instead of plummeting into the depths of despair, he rose – and thrived – amongst mankind.

Lucian is a master of manipulation. He prefers places of power – Wall Street, D.C., Rome. Wherever there is excess and privilege, Lucian is there. Every few decades, his persona dies – a car wreck, a mysterious plane crash – and Lucian retires into solitude for a period of time, only to rise again.

And thus, he rises, this time in Hollywood. Lucian embraces the City of Angels with gusto; he surrounds himself with carefully selected mortals – modern-day Renfields – to help him feed his fancies. He has crafted himself into an A-list movie star; he basks in luxury. At his side is his ever-faithful companion Beliala, an elegant yet bloodthirsty bitch if ever there was one.

In this new era of corporate capitalism and greed, Lucian thrives. He loves L.A., and all of its trappings. A new assistant has arrived to serve him – Alex, an ambitious junior agent. Alex has been hired by an age-old firm, which represents just a few select clients. Alex’s job is to find young Hollywood hopefuls, and send them, under the guise of an audition, to Lucian, like a lamb to the slaughter.

Soon, however, Lucian will himself be drawn into Caim’s private hell. Lucian, too, longs for the Chosen One.

For Lucian, Serafina might be the ultimate sacrifice. An offering of blood – that could launch the War against Man.

Saving Grace

The road to redemption is not a straight path; it is filled with twists and turns. One may encounter obstacles on the way; seemingly insurmountable barriers that must be overcome, in order to journey forward.

For Father Buer, this road is, at times, a perilous one. Like Caim, Buer is himself a fallen one; he served as Captain in Caim’s army, a seasoned warrior and elder advisor, whose devotion to his General – and a certain amount of hubris – led to his downfall.

Cast out of paradise, Buer, like the others, was forced to exist as an immortal amidst the sea of humanity that surrounded him. For many, this existence leads to darkness – and to despair. However, Buer found a way. He developed an idea, a belief, that the fallen ones could transform themselves through redemption, that they could all achieve a state of grace. For Buer, this meant to devote his existence to the Church; to give comfort and aid to those in need of it most – the indigent, the mad, the angels-turned-demons that live among us.

I’m not certain how far back Buer’s occupational choice extends, although I’ve seen a collection of religious icons at the Getty, and upon examining a 14th century panel, was struck by the face of one of the monks in the relief… how similar in shape and in tone to Buer’s. A certain sense of suffering within his eyes. He stands apart from his brethren, he seems lost in thought. Yes. I believe this to be Buer. I think about his decision to serve God, and if there was catalyst that compelled him to do so. What was it? Has he ever loved a mortal?

I watch him as he tends to the homeless. The social workers, the police all know him, for he spends his days weaving through the hell of Skid Row. They bring to him the untreatables; miserable wretches in filthy rags, who find no relief through traditional medical treatment, for the wretched ones are not human. The shame of being cast forth, the pain of living amongst humans, the longing for home – all of these elements have driven them mad. I wonder how this affects Father Buer. I wonder if he struggles for his own sanity. I suspect that at night, alone, these fears come to surface… but they have yet to break him.

I think about the day that Buer came to Skid Row, and found a new resident there. Weeping, frightened, babbling, he was clothed in filthy rags, his body covered with ulcers and putrescence. Buer knelt, and loosened the bindings around the other’s head… and discovered that this wretch was Caim. His general. His friend.

This discovery must have unnerved Buer, for Caim, like him, was one of the Ancient Ones. For Caim to have fallen so deep into despair was unheard of. I watch as Buer tends to Caim’s body – and to his soul. Years go by, with Caim trapped in darkness. One day, a glimmer of light – Buer sees recognition in Caim’s eyes. Another glimmer… and then, bit by bit, Caim emerges from darkness, and is finally restored to life.

And so, Buer continues his mission, to give comfort and aid to those who walk among us. He works tirelessly to restore them to grace, for he, too dreams of paradise. Redemption is the fragile thread that he clings to, for it is his last hope.

The Faces of They Live Among Us

You’ve been reading about the characters who live among us. Here are the wonderful actors who are giving them life (in no particular order – consider this a casting roundtable, L. to R.). Click on the pic to see them more up close and personal:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CAIM: Geoffrey M. Reeves

SERAFINA: Ivet Corvea

FATHER BUER: Rolf Saxon

LUCIAN: Allen Marsh

CRAIG: James Thomas Gilbert

ALEX: Erik Kowalski

BETH: Jessica Nicole Webb

SAM: Don Shirey

JIMMY: Justin Baker

PEG: Kendra Munger

TED: David Stanford

BELIALA: Marcia French

LILLITH: Nina Rausch

ROCCO: Terence J. Rotolo