The script is finished, the major players are in place, and the Life Inside Out Kickstarter campaign to fund the film is about to begin. Find out how one homeschooling mom went from talking about making a film to actually doing it--all while continuing her responsibilities to her family and working part-time. (Hint: It took a long time.)
How does a homeschooling mother meet her family’s needs and her own creative needs at the same time? More often than not, family trumps creativity and dreams end up buried alongside dust bunnies and rogue socks–hidden but not entirely forgotten.
Homeschooling mom and screenwriter Maggie Baird is all too familiar with this scenario. As an actress and voice over talent with roots in L.A.’s iconic Groundlings improv company she has had more opportunities than most to tap into her creative talent--after all, it’s her job. But, Baird had another dream. Ever since she was young, Baird has wanted to be a singer/songwriter. It wasn’t until she was well into her adult life, raising her children and trying to make ends meet that she returned to music. Eventually, Baird ended up performing with a collective of artists (most of them homeschooling parents) who were dusting off their dreams and taking them to the stage at various open mic nights around Los Angeles. That was how she met fellow screenwriter and actress Lori Nasso. Like Baird, Nasso had been a singer in her younger days, but a career as a writer for Saturday Night Live and then becoming a wife and mother derailed her musical ambitions.
Baird and Nasso developed a friendship and then a writing partnership. Both women, who regularly work on film and television projects to fulfill someone else’s dream, had finally decided to fulfill one of their own. Together, over the course of a year and a half, they wrote the script for Life Inside Out, a tale of true life that explores the parallel stories of troubled teen Shane and his mother, Laura. As Laura struggles to make her long buried dreams of becoming a singer/songwriter come true, new life ripples throughout her family and Shane unexpectedly finds his own voice.
The family in Life Inside Out doesn’t homeschool, but Laura certainly embodies the homeschooling philosophy that learning doesn't begin and end at school. In fact, as Shane struggles in school, finding it hard to fit in or find a place for himself there, Laura manages to provide him with an environment outside of school in which to grow and flourish. A true homeschooling attitude.
Baird found that this tale immediately struck a chord among her community of friends and co-workers, so much so that numerous people–all of them working professionals in the television and film industry–have jumped on the bandwagon to help take this story off the page and onto the big screen.
Baird is especially pleased to be working with her longtime friend, Editor, Artist, and Director, Jill D’Agnenica, who will direct the film. Baird and D’Agnenica met at a La Leche League meeting when their children were young and went on to be members of the same homeschooling group. “For years Maggie and I talked about doing our own project--something that speaks to us,” said D’Agnenica. “We just needed a script.” So when the script was ready, D’Agnenica jumped at the chance to direct. “I think all of us are living some version of this story. I’m an artist, but I also have a family. I’m constantly trying to carve out time for my own creative life while taking care of my family.”
It’s no wonder the story resonated so strongly with the film’s producer, Tessa Bell. Bell was diagnosed with terminal Leukemia in 1995 when her two children were just four and seven. Bell largely credits the rediscovery of her love of singing and performing, made possible by a very supportive family, with the remarkable (and complete) recovery she made over the course of several years.
Much like the true stories of Baird, Nasso, D’Agnenica, and Bell Life Inside Out reminds us that realizing our dreams is as much about our connection to each other as it is to our individual selves. When we connect with our unique creative gifts, we come into our own as individuals, families, and communities. It’s true of the characters in the screenplay and it’s true of the people who are working to bring this screenplay to life.
Life Inside Out’s creative team has come up with a couple unique ways to spread the opportunity for connection and creativity to the wider community while raising capital to cover the cost of filming. Beginning on July 15 they will host a song contest as part of a Kickstarter program aimed at earning $35,000 toward the cost of filming. Contestants’ original songs will be posted online where donors to the Kickstarter will be encouraged to vote for their favorite song in five categories. The winning songs will be included in the film.
In addition, the filmmakers will offer various organizations the opportunity to learn from the successes and mistakes of the Life Inside Out Kickstarter campaign. Groups are invited to follow the month-long fundraising effort and when the campaign ends Baird and Bell will conduct workshops to share what they did right and what they would do differently next time around.
Just as Life Inside Out is a film is about a profound transformation in the life of the lead characters, the making of this film is bound to have profound effect on those who become involved in its creation. “Everybody who comes into this project has a reason to be involved in it which is about their art and about their lives and about transformation and being true to yourself in some way,” said Bell. Whether that means watching the campaign’s progress to learn how to raise money for your own Kickstarter, submitting a song to the contest in hopes that your song will end up in the film, or donating money to support the hard work of these filmmakers, it’s clear that a lot more people are about to discover that meeting creative needs and meeting the needs of family and community sometimes go hand in hand.