We appear to be doing things backwards.
When we started Sonlight Pictures in 2008 we had a specific plan on how we wanted to develop projects, what types of projects we wanted to produce and a strategic plan of attack for growing the company one project at a time.
The first phase of the plan did far better than we expected. We decided to make short films first as a way to spread our production wings a bit and to get our name out there. It was a great success.
Club God, our first short film, won the Bronze Award at the Faith Film Festival. And our web series Purgatory, USA, retitled as Nikki & Babs, has received wonderful reviews, festival nominations and is being distributed by the established Christian film distributor company Cloud Ten Pictures. The Nikki & Babs DVD, which includes Club God as a bonus, is available all over the world. Wonderful!
Our next project in the mix is a romantic comedy called An Unfinished Work and is in pre-production. Our primary focus now is creating the title song before moving onto the film portion of the project. This is taking a bit longer than we expected, but the Lord has been very clear that we should focus on the song first.
After that our plan was to shoot our potential “franchise” project, The Adventures of Gabby Wells. We developed a film trilogy that would be the foundation of the company for the next 10 years. However, our experiences from Nikki & Babs made us realize that developing a television series would also be a good idea and the characters in the Gabby Wells movies were a perfect choice for such an endeavor. So, we decided to write two seasons worth of television episodes of Gabby Wells and her friends where the storyline pre-dates the plots of the trilogies.
When we finished writing out the first two seasons of the Gabby Wells TV series, we realized that Gabby and her friends would also make a good series of novels. The novels could co-exists inside and outside the world of the series and the movies, as long as the novels don’t interfere with the TV and movie plots.
So, we searched for a novelist that could take the first two seasons of the TV series and convert that into the first novel in the novel series, hoping that the novelist would take the character and book series into directions we never dreamed of while, at the same time, establishing the Gabby Wells brand in preparation for the TV series and movies.
And that’s where it’s all backwards. Usually you would choose to adapt a book into a movie or TV series. You could also take a TV series and evolve that into a movie. If successful, you would then spin that movie into a trilogy. We’ve done the exact opposite. The idea for a trilogy became a series and is now becoming a novel.
Unable to find a young writer that fit the specific needs required to turn Gabby Wells into a novel, we’ve decided to do that task in-house and are actively working on a first draft. We’re in the early stages of the writing process, but the feedback has been very positive.
The end result is that a film company is writing a novel about a TV series based on a movie trilogy that we haven’t shot yet. The plus side is that, if the novel is successful, all of the other items in the franchise are already written.
Writing the novel has been a rewarding experience, where we can delve deeper into the internal faith struggle of the main character and how her faith journey evolves over the course of the story. It’s an exciting opportunity and we look forward to what God has in store for our latest efforts. We’ll have more on this in future blog entries.
In the meantime, we have to trust the Lord on this novel approach to getting a project done. It is certainly not the conventional approach, but, then again, when has the Lord ever been conventional?