I’ve seen many teams who are very passionate about their work, but rarely have I seen one as enthusiastic as yours. Are you a group of high energy people, or has this project brought that vigor out of you?
Chelsea -Both – I think individually we all have a strong passion for creating art and living a life that means something. When we get together to work on Susie Sunshine, our excitement over what it is and what it can be fills us with energy that bounces off of each other!
Jessica – I know sometimes enthusiasm can seem silly when you’re talking about making something serious, but enthusiasm can bring you to places you never thought possible. And it’s contagious. So I think it’s a real asset when you’re going into unknown territory, and we can share that with others on our team.
I don’t think it is controversial to say science fiction has traditionally been a male driven world. The closest thing I could think of to what it appears you are going for is Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale and it was disheartening to me that more references didn’t come easily to mind. Do you feel like Susie Sunshine follows a path that, until this point, has only been lightly trodden?
Jessica – Sure. But there is something in science fiction for everyone. It’s just, many of the iconic sci-fi worlds we know are centered around male figure heads, and we’re just looking at it from another angle, hopefully an interesting one.
Chelsea – I agree it is lightly trodden, but I do feel that we are part of a resurgence happening at least in the Fantasy world vs. sci-fi (i.e. Hunger Games, Harry Potter) for women. Women have a tendency to want to create a story about people, their stories, and their lives, and then set that in a sci-fi/ fantasy world. Men, it seems, dream up the world and the circumstances, and the story and people comes second.
It seems like you have gotten extremely creative with fundraising efforts. Do you have any crazy fundraising stories?
Chelsea -We had a garage sale and I sold my kitchen table. I had to explain to my husband why we didn’t have a table anymore. We also found out days before our outdoor fundraising dinner that it was going to pour down rain and drop to 40 degrees! There was a lot of last minute scrambling for that one!
Elizabeth – In March, we threw a fundraising dinner at Earl’s Gourmet Grub in Mar Vista. Ironically, our SUSIE SUNSHINE dinner fell on a rare rainy LA day…a very rainy day. The dinner was planned for a beautiful outside patio, so we scrambled to rent a tent and heaters! We didn’t want our generous guests to freeze! It was a hectic day, but it all ended up coming together.
You’re currently running an Indiegogo campaign and you’ve already raised 2/3 of your goal with about a couple of weeks left to go. We see a lot of projects who have great difficulty raising funds. What have you done to get the word out about your story and why do you think people have been eager to contribute?
Elizabeth – We are truly grateful to have such awesome support. It definitely takes hard work and persistence to spread the word. We are constantly sharing our passion behind the project to get others excited–whether we’re contacting friends and loved ones or people we’ve just met, it’s all about not only pitching the story but also explaining why it’s important to us to bring it to life. SUSIE SUNSHINE has a lot of underlying messages that appeal to all types of people–it’s not JUST a story for women, it’s also a story for anyone who has underestimated their own strength or has felt marginalized for their labor.
Chelsea – We have been talking about Susie Sunshine since November. I think there were a lot of people who knew this would be coming and were excited to be involved from the get go. Now that we’re reaching the half way mark, we really need to bring more awareness to people outside of our networks of what we are doing.
Do you feel there have been any unwarranted difficulties you’ve faced that might not have presented themselves in a male driven, more historically conventional genre film?
Jessica – I’ve had people tell me, in complete seriousness, that it sounds like a cute idea for Lifetime television. They obviously don’t get it. And I have people that love it and it captures their imagination right away, and they are excited about expanding the story and world and being able to see it. Any kind of difficulties we face are just general societal marginalization (women being paid 70 cents on the dollar) kind of thing. That’s bigger than any genre of film. That’s a societal statement that women matter 70% of what a man matters. That kind of societal ambivalence of that treatment of women is certainly something we encounter in our lives, and definitely in our business. But it’s not new to us; I’ve been a lady for a while now. But there seems to be a bit of a crack in the ceiling where people are more inclined to put money into a female driven story, more inclined to support it’s value. It’s still a “new idea” which is a little weird, but we’ve found support. And I believe we will continue to find like minded supporters.
Chelsea– I’m not sure. I want to say probably. But the reality is, there are a TON of difficulties you face when making a short film of this size. It’s very involved, the team is bigger, and a lot of people’s emotions are invested right alongside their work. I think those difficulties happen in every movie, not just the ones being driven by women.