It’s summer of 2006 and you’re driving down a lonely road in the rural town of Acworth, NH. About ten miles back you convinced yourself you were on the right track to your destination. But now, the road has become narrow, a river is to your right, and thick woods to your left. There seems to be no one around for miles to ask for directions. You slow your car down as it bounces over some unexpected potholes. You’re about to find the next available U-turn when you look off to the side and see this grand, beautiful yard. But that’s not what catches your attention. It’s the thirteen-year-old girl who appears to be dancing to the beat of her own drum, literally. You think it's nice that she’s getting fresh air and has no care in the world, but you continue to drive on by, seeking your destination.
That little girl barely noticed you, she didn’t have a care in the world because she was not in this world. She had her headphones in her ears listening to a song that resonated with a story she was writing. And, she wasn’t dancing—she was acting. She was imagining how her characters would respond to a scene while at the same time imagining the actors who’d play the roles in the future live-action movie. This girl had so many dreams—this girl was me!
If you had told me all those years ago that I’d be filming my pilot episode in that very same backyard, I’d have been so confused and probably doubtful, “Who’d care about my Amber Oak stories?” I might have said. If you’ve followed my blogs, you probably have noticed that my writing journey has been a long and bumpy one, and one that will never be over as I am always writing still in some way or another.
The truth is, filming had been something I always wanted to do. In fact, when my mom found out how to self-publish my work when I was 15, I was honestly indifferent. Publishing didn’t matter to me so much as imagining the people who’d become the characters in my head. I found so much joy in my friends helping me act out scenes.
As I get ready to start filming this coming weekend, I reflect back even on the journey of getting into film. It was bumpy as well and I’ve faced so many challenges already. But the support from my friends, family, and even cast (as shown above) has been so encouraging. Even though I’ve been planning this for months, it feels so surreal to me. The characters aren’t imaginary anymore, they’re real.
Ever since I finished the last “Amber Oak” book, something had been nagging at me, I’d work on other stories and it’d be fun for a while, but I still kept thinking back on Amber and what she’d be doing right now. I’d ask myself the “what if's” and two summers ago I could almost hear her say to me, “My story isn’t done yet, it’s just beginning!”
I’ve met a LOT of people on this long journey to making Amber become real. And every single one of them helped me in their own way. So, to those who gave me my “wings” and to those who taught me how to use them…Thank you!