The Final Stretch: It Takes a Village

We’re at the final stretch of our campaign to crowdfund Episodes 4 – 6 of “They Live Among Us.” We have 5 days to go, and a little over $8,000 to meet goal.

Several people have asked me about crowdfunding. They want to know “What’s in it for me?”

“Well,” I tell them, “a lot!”

By crowdfunding a project like “They Live Among Us,” you are providing employment for cast and crew – around 30 people. You’re also investing into the local economy, for we must rent locations and equipment, as well as purchase props and wardrobe.

But beyond that, what you are also investing in are the artists themselves. You are investing in their dreams.

Filmmaking is an art form; the ultimate expression of this art is the indie film, for it is created from the heart and the soul, as opposed to being driven by commerce and profit.

Can you imagine a world without art? I cannot. What if there were no music, no dance. What would our world be like without expression? Dismal does not begin to describe it…

Art is an integral part of society. Film brings us together; it connects us through the shared human experience. It teaches us empathy. It reminds us that we are not alone.

Herman Melville once said: “We cannot live for ourselves alone.  Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.”

This quote beautifully illustrates the nature – and the impact – of crowdfunding. Strangers, coming together, connected by a common goal – to support the vision of artists. Making the world a better place, one project at a time.

“They Live Among Us” is more than a gothic film noir, a tale of fallen angels and the mortals they love, for it addresses social issues. It speaks about addiction, poverty, isolation and corporate greed, set against the backdrop of Los Angeles. The supernaturals who populate it struggle with very human issues.

Filmmaking is the most collaborative art form around. It takes a village to make a film – and members of the tribe to fund it. Our pledges start as low as $15. One  week’s worth of lattes.

So please, take a look at the episode on our IndieGoGo page, and consider making a donation to TLAU.

 

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It’s Official!

WEBSERIES CREATOR LAUNCHES 72 HOUR TWEET-A-THON

LOS ANGELES, California (January 12, 2012) – “They Live Among Us” writer/director Anne Lower is preparing for her upcoming 72 hour Tweet-a-thon, as part of a crowdfunding campaign, to raise capital for her series.

Sponsored by the Office Hooky Chat (#ohchat), Lower will issue live Tweets and recordings, interacting with Twitter account holders around the globe, taking questions about her project.

 “They Live Among Us” is a web-based series that follows the lives of supernatural beings – fallen angels and spirits – as well as the mortals who love them. “I wanted to write about social issues,” Lower said, “but I knew that if I delivered didactic content, no one would listen. So I created a world in which one fallen angel tends the homeless, while another loves a battered prostitute. My goal was to create thought-provoking and entertaining content that would make people think.”

Office Hooky Chat founder Jay Donovan adds “#Ohchat launched 2 months ago with 4 people chatting with each other.  Its growth and reach is staggering.  Since inception, #ohchat has reached nearly 400,000 people with 4 million impressions. I felt that the combination of our reach, and of Anne’s entertaining online presence would result in a really unique event.”

The Office Hooky Chat at #ohchat is a fun, lighthearted Twitter chat where people can enjoy Office Hooky responsibly. #ohchat is moderated by @OfficeHooky two times per week, every Wednesday and Friday.  @OfficeHooky is the Twitter handle of Office Hooky, a transmedia brand that provides escapist fun through fresh, original content.

To participate in the Tweet-a-thon, people will log into their Twitter accounts beginning Wednesday, January 12 at 10 am PST, and search the hashtag #ohchat. Lower has pledged to go without sleep, issuing round-the-clock Tweets and posting videos of her hourly experiences on the “They Live Among Us” YouTube channel.

Lower (@princess_scribe)  is trying to raise $18,000 to fund the next three episodes, each of which has a running time of 13 to 15 minutes.

To find out more about the “They Live Among Us” Indiegogo campaign, visit the project website at http://theyliveamongus.com .

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Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

I am thankful for the amazing love and support for this little dream known as TLAU. I am grateful for my team, and for my glorious cast. They are, all of them, beautiful people inside and out.

Episode 3 will be released next week. Until then, enjoy an interview with TLAU creator Anne Lower released today on Curve Wire.

An Interview With Writer/ Director Anne Lower | Curve Wire.

The Torments of Love

“But that afternoon he asked himself, with his infinite capacity for illusion, if such pitiless indifference might not be a subterfuge for hiding the torments of love.” 
~ Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

It is a bitter moment when we learn the hard truth of life, that the course of love never runs smooth.

The world of They Live Among Us is peppered with supernatural beings – who suffer from painfully human problems.

Episode Two, Fall From Grace, introduces the central story thread that will bind all of the characters together – the story of the star-crossed lovers, Caim and Serafina.

The story is emotionally evocative; the images painfully raw. We follow Caim, seemingly indifferent to the world around him, as he wanders through the mean streets of Los Angeles. And then, his countenance changes. Shock washes across his face as he discovers Serafina in her present incarnation, hardened by life on the streets, clad in disturbingly provocative attire, frail, like a rag doll.

Her lover Rocco approaches her. He is a like a wild animal, ready to spring upon his prey… and spring he does, his fury unleashes itself upon her. The fight is brutal. It is painful to see a person disassociate, to move so far away from being human; I am tempted to avert my gaze… but I do not.

Caim appears, and rescues his love. He is so gentle as he ministers to her wounds. What torment it is for him to find her fallen so low. He can no longer afford indifference; this time, he will not stand by and watch as she is destroyed yet…

…and yet, he is only half of this equation, for Serafina’s choice is the sum of the whole. She can stay with Caim, a complete stranger, who tells her that he only wishes to take care of her, or she can return to Rocco. The choice for her is not as simple as it seems, for Rocco’s love is the only kind she has known. What draws a woman to a man who drains the life from her, who resorts to verbal and physical assaults, who treats her as offal? Serafina is so far removed from being the Chosen One. She cannot even imagine the possibility of who she truly is – and who she can become. She may, however… if she is strong enough.

Six Degrees of Separation

“I read somewhere that everybody on this planet is separated by only six other people. Six degrees of separation between us and everyone else on this planet. The President of the United States, a gondolier in Venice, just fill in the names. I find it extremely comforting that we’re so close. I also find it like Chinese water torture, that we’re so close because you have to find the right six people to make the right connection… I am bound, you are bound, to everyone on this planet by a trail of six people.” – John Guare

Ouisa’s musings from John Guare’s extraordinary play, Six Degrees of Separation, perfectly articulate the journey that has been – and continues to be – the creation of They Live Among Us. There has been an odd synchronicity surrounding the project; glorious at times, at others, unsettling, as if unseen forces were at work.

I experienced two such incidents this week. In one, I was given the opportunity to bring to closure a traumatic incident from my past,
through the chance encounter of an old acquaintance.

I consider this a gift. A chance to heal. Bit by bit, one step at a time.

In the other incident, I sat dumbstruck as worlds collided within my pages.

I had written Episodes 4 – 6, and was executing a rewrite as I moved on towards 7 – 9. Episode 4 opens where 3 leaves off, with Peg and Ted in the Hollywood Hills. Peg was recounting the events leading up to her suicide: I was with… the worst sort of people. It was a party. They were… there were things done that night, terrible things. I remember I ran into the night. They chased after me, calling. I ran up to the sign… it was so very high, I thought if I could just climb up there, if I could just escape…

One of my rituals is to jog Lake Hollywood, then hike up the hills under Wolf’s Lair, eventually coming out onto Mulholland Drive at Castillo del Lago. Both structures are among my favorite in the City of Angels; the latter was once owned by doomed star Rudolph Valentino.

I wondered if it was possible for the party to have been there that night. I wondered who owned Castillo del Lago at that time; if, indeed the residents were the worst sort of people.

I decided to research the property. I skimmed through real estate listings and acquisition records. Then I stumbled across an article that almost brought me to my knees.

In 1932, the same year that poor Peg took her infamous swan dive into oblivion, Castillo del Lago was vacant. The residents of the nearby community of Beachwood Canyon would traverse the hills to the abode, using it as an impromptu community center. Countless parties were held there; some family affairs, others of a decidedly more debauched nature.

In the center of the article were the reminiscings of an old man, who was a boy during those parties. His sister attended many a midnight soiree at Castillo del Lago; he remembered being jealous of her adventures there, and how he dreamed of one day owning the estate.

His name was Milt. Milt Entwistle. Peg’s younger brother.

And so, the journey continues…

The Story Begins

Today is All Soul’s day. What a serendipitous date to premier Episode 1 – “Pull My Strings” of They Live Among Us.

You’ll meet Craig, a guy who is having a really bad day. You’ll watch Jimmy and Beth exchange not-so-secret glances, and you’ll hear Caim and Buer as they begin their eternal discussion… and you’ll meet Lillith. A lovely stranger – from a very strange land.

Original music by Brent Heflin McHenry

“Mary Annette”  courtesy of The Hushdown

The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a heav’n of hell, a hell of heav’n. – John Milton, Paradise Lost

Like what you see and want to see more? Support our Kickstarter campaign for Episodes 4-6!

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.