Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Big News at One Ringing Bell

When the phone rang that night, I almost didn't answer, because we hardly ever get anything but solicitation calls on our home phone. I'm glad I did, because it was a life-changer.

Some of you know that for the past several years, I’ve had a movie script I wrote under option with an independent film company, Elevating Entertainment.  Last week, the call I answered was the producer there, Dave Moody.

That script, Give My Love to the Chestnut Trees,was a finalist for the Kairos Prize in Screenwriting as well as a screenwriting finalist at the Gideon Media Arts Conference and Film Festival.  
As of last week, it has now been green lighted for production.

What does this mean?

It means according to the production schedule, that on June 19 of this year, cameras will begin rolling on St. Simons Island, Georgia , where the screenplay is set, to capture this story God planted in my heart.

Am I excited?

Over the years, I’ve tried to keep my feet firmly planted on terra firma, because I know how quickly these deals can unravel. However, this is a huge step, even though there is still much to be done.

I now have a date, and I believe it is going to happen, because I trust Dave Moody and have seen his work as I was on the set for the filming of Rusty Whiteners’ wonderful story, Season of Miracles.

I’ll keep you updated as plans move ahead. This is an indie film, so we’re still looking for investors. If you’re interested in that regard, check out GreenLight Groupe.com for more information.

I’ll also keep you posted about other ways you can be involved.

I once heard a conference speaker say that a movie never changed anyone’s life.

Well, a movie changed my life.

I was eight years old when a neighbor, Mrs. Kutz, came over. “My daughter and I are going to see Mary Poppins. Could Beverly come along?” she asked my mother.

Up to that point, I don’t think I’d ever been to a motion picture except a drive in. And I’d sure never been to a musical. Oh, how I wanted to go and looked up at my mother with pleading eyes. I wasn’t sure my mother would allow it as we hadn't known these neighbors very long. I anxiously stood in our tiny kitchen awaiting the answer as if my life depended on it. It would later turn out that it probably did. When the yes finally came, I could hardly stand it.

Sitting in that darkened theatre, from the first Chim chim cher-ee, it seemed I’d entered another world—a world full of singing and dancing and wonder. My black and white life lit up with color. I began to see possibilities far beyond anything I’d ever imagined. Inspired by that movie, a short time later, I asked my mother if I could take piano lessons.

I can’t imagine the sacrifice involved to pay for those lessons, but somehow, we managed. When I sat at the piano, I entered that same world I’d seen in Mary Poppins—the world of music. Those lessons led to a lifetime of ministry in church music, as well as a personal ministry through songwriting and singing. Music also helped me survive a childhood replete with challenges, many of which continued into adult years. I look back and wonder what would have happened to me if it hadn’t been for what God did through Mary Poppins and music.

Yes, a movie definitely changed my life.

I have the hope that on some not too distant day, perhaps another girl will see this story, Give My Love to the Chestnut Trees, and realize her life can be more than she ever dreamed, too. Though this story is in no way autobiographical, it still carries the message that we can reach beyond black and white to beauty to change the world around us and with God’s help, offer others hope.

At times, I feel I’m awfully late coming to the table, but I know God’s timing is perfect. It seems poetic to have the ability to give away in some way what was given to me.

I pray this film will be part of my spiritual legacy.

I am currently reading this wonderful book, Own Your Life: Living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love by Sally Clarkson. In it, she dares to throw out these questions, “What might God do through my life, in the power of the Holy Spirit, if I were willing to dream big and believe in miracles? What might He accomplish through me if I would only throw off my cloak of worry and just enjoy the beauty, dance with the invisible music, and celebrate life?”

Over the years, I’ve asked similar questions and perhaps it is those questions that led me here. But I still struggle with the daily grind and worry way too much. And even though I have known for a week about this script being green lighted, I have told no one except immediate family, and a few in my writers group. Why? Because I hear this little voice in my head saying it isn’t true, and that people will think I’m crazy if I tell them I have a script going into production.

Honestly, if it weren’t for a small group of kindred souls I met through the Gideon Media Arts conference who are involved in similar pursuits, my writer’s group, church friends, my sweet family, and you dear readers who keep encouraging, I don’t know if I could do this. It also helps to see God using other people as unlikely as me to accomplish His work.

So after this rambling post, I ask for your prayers in the months ahead. And I challenge you to dream the big dreams, the improbable dreams, and keep hoping for the deep desires of your heart. There will be sacrifice, and there will be waiting, but it will all be worth it.

I end this piece with the verse I used when I first wrote about the option on Give My Love to the Chestnut Trees in 2010 as I began this blog. Yes, it will be almost exactly five years since the option began when the film starts production.

“May God, who puts all things together, makes all things whole,
Who made a lasting mark through the sacrifice of Jesus, the sacrifice of blood that sealed the eternal covenant,
Who led Jesus, our Great Shepherd, up and alive from the dead,
Now put you together, provide you with everything you need to please him,
Make us into what gives him most pleasure, by means of the sacrifice of Jesus, the Messiah.
All glory to Jesus forever and always!
Oh, yes, yes, yes” (Hebrews 13:19-21 The Message).

If you haven't read the novel, Give My Love to the Chestnut Trees, it’s available many places including HERE.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations Beverly! How exciting - I loved this book so much. I'm so very happy for you. Prayers for you and all involved as the film progresses. Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow!

Jane said...

Beverly, I cannot tell you how thrilled we are for you! This book was such a precious story and, I know, will be a blessing to all who see it "on the silver screen"! We are so proud of all you have accomplished and thank God for the impact you have had on our lives and the lives of countless others. The future holds so much promise and I know God has much in store!! Love you and praying God's continued blessings on you and your family.

Beverly Varnado said...

Thank you, Beth, for your encouragement. You know that I know how difficult it is to persevere on this writing journey, but keep up your good work. Only God knows all the people you are touching through your words. Blessings, Bev

Beverly Varnado said...

Jane, of course, as I've told you before, you and Warren have been lifelong inspirations. At a critical moment, you and Warren were there to help me find God's path. Of all the people I know, you two are right at the top of the most important people in my life. I would not be here without you. So, if I have accomplished anything, I say thank you to you folks and to God who never gives up on us. I love you so!

Lisa Hetzel said...

This is an incredible milestone, indeed! My prayers are with you as you continue your journey. Yahoo!

Beverly Varnado said...

Thanks, much, Lisa. I hope you are continuing to improve after your surgery. Praying. I do so appreciate all the EMACW has done to encourage me.

Rusty said...

This is the best news I've heard in a great while!! I knew your terrific story would go to film in God's perfect timing!! Rebecca and I are so thrilled for you Beverly!!

Alton said...

Alton and I (Freida) are thrilled for you, Beverly!! Many prayers have been answered and God's timing is always perfect! "So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of His call. May He give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do." 2 Thess. 1:11 NLB

Beverly Varnado said...

Rusty, I know yours and Rebecca's prayers are a big reason this is happening. I appreciate that so much. Many blessings to you both. Praying for Seasons of Mysteries, as well.

Beverly Varnado said...

Great verse, Freida. Thank you for your continued prayers for the challenging months ahead. Love you folks!

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