This is me and my best friend and ex-business partner, Maureen. I’m the one with the gun and Maureen is the one with the justifiably smug expression.
Maureen and I met in high school and bonded over Daphne DuMaurier, Gene Kelly and a mutual desire to wander around moors at odd hours wearing flowing capes.
We also shared a belief that we could do just about anything we set our minds to, very much along the lines of ‘Hey, let’s put on a show! We can use my parents’ barn…Sophie sews and she’ll make the costumes! And we’ll get all our friends to act!’ We ran a mystery-oriented theater troupe, did haunted houses for Maureen’s sister and her friends when they had parties, and much more.
We honestly didn’t know what we were doing or the odds we faced at actually pulling any of these ventures off, which gave us a wildly inflated optimism at our ability to succeed. And because we didn’t know any better, we generally did accomplish our goals. We also managed to drag friends/family and assorted actors and musicians along with our enthusiastic plans. Sometimes we made money and sometimes we didn’t. But no one ever complained, probably due to the quantity of freshly-baked treats we supplied.
So no no-one in our circle was at all surprised when Mo and I decided to make a movie. We dashed out a script in a week or so, cast it amongst ourselves and our circle of actors, found a friend who’d taken film courses at UCSD and had a video camera, and got to work. We knew nothing of lighting. We had no microphones and figured we do all the dialogue not caught in the actual filming after the fact (I’ve since learned it’s called ADR and have, in fact, done dubbing for other actors…but that’s another story). We found locations, including a B&B in Idyllwild, California, run by my ex in-laws, set up a shooting schedule, and set about filming. The film was called Passion’s Purple Prose and was about a young woman so caught up in her fantasies, she can’t recognize true love when it stares her in the face. I played the heroine and Maureen the best friend.
We filmed about two thirds of the script before the loss of our leading man (divorce/moving out of town) effectively put the kibosh on our careers as successful Hollywood writer/director/producer triple threats. I still have three videotapes stuffed full of footage. Every now and again I threaten Maureen with a public viewing.
I was going through a suitcase of my old writing a couple months ago and found the script for Passion’s Purple Prose, lines of dialogue highlighted in fluorescent yellow. Re-reading the script, I both winced at some really cheesy dialogue and painfully bad jokes…and genuinely laughed at some of the humor. It had possibilities. A rewrite was definitely in order, but…it had possibilities. “Hey,” I told myself. “Let’s turn this into an erotic romance! It has good characters… they could have sex…and I could pitch it to Ravenous!” So I sent the synopsis and first 25 pages of the script to Holly, changed the name to Ripping the Bodice, and she said I could use her barn if I made the costumes!
So any of you who read RtB and are REALLY curious…come visit me in San Francisco and if you get me to drink enough wine, I might just break out the original footage.
(P.S. I’m still doing a happy dance ’cause Ripping the Bodice is currently #4 on the Top 10 list and #1 in the Contemporary Romance category.)