The Grant Writing Process/Part 5: Project Description 

Okay ya'll!  We're wrapping this up with a big finale!  The Project Description!  You are going to be the first to hear about my next film project!  Please do not share this information with any one else-- it is currently under wraps and for your eyes only;) 

PROJECT DESCRIPTION should include the following: 

Statement of Purpose - 2-4 paragraphs 
about the subject of the project, why and how you want to explore it 
How the funds will be used - 1-2 paragraphs about how the $5,000 grant will advance the project (note that paying yourself to work is accepted and encouraged) 
History of project (how long project has been in development and any progress that has been made to date, 1 sentence to 1 paragraph) 

This one kind of kicked my butt.  I misread the part about how long it was supposed to be-- I can't even remember where they noted that. I think it's on the application itself and not on the application instructions.  I ended up writing twice as much as they would accept so I had to pair it down--eek! 

So without further it is. 

It's our job as actresses to be an attractive object— Alison Brie 

One day, I was shocked when I walked into a new workplace and realized that I was the same age as a majority of my co-worker's mothers. Some of them had children of their own, which also meant that I could be a grandmother. This concept that I could be a grandmother hit me abruptly. Since I have no children of my own, I haven't experienced the gentle evolution of aging based on the aging of a child. At that moment, my perception of myself and how I fit into the world changed so quickly that it was surreal. 

I started my professional acting career at the impressionable age of 19. For me, it's been challenging to keep a realistic body image while being an actor— and I'm not even a hardcore in front of the camera all the time type of actor. But here's what I know— if I want to work a lot, I need to stay thin, youthful, and shiny. Now that isn't true for every actor, but for someone who started in the industry as an ingenue, this concept of how I am supposed to look is deeply programmed. So what happens when I am no longer a skinny-mini, the wrinkles on my face begin to express the roadmap of my life, and I'm "past my prime"? My whole sense of self is challenged. 

I have also struggled with the low self-esteem that can be induced by the constant rejection that comes with being an actor. For years, I tried to be what I thought "they" wanted me to be. I stopped doing a lot of things that I enjoyed. What if my legs got bruised rock scrambling and the next day I got called in for an audition where I had to wear a bikini? What if the audition of a lifetime came up while I was on a much-needed vacation? What if, what if, what if? 

Luckily for me, I always had enough self-awareness to know when I needed help. And I also knew that I needed a life that was bigger than the industry. But what happens if you aren't that self-aware? And when the only world you have been living in is one built in Hollywood? 

Enter: GILF. 

An ingenue is taken off guard when she books the role of her life only to discover that she is the "sexy grandma". To do research, she joins a support group called GILF "Grandmas in Loving Fellowship" under false pretenses. 

The Exploration 

How does how we are seen influence how we see ourselves? How does that influence how a young woman sees herself and the world? How does that influence the middle-aged woman that she becomes? How does it affect her when the natural aging process takes away the things that make a woman an attractive and valuable commodity? 

Themes to explore: 

Aging from a woman's perspective 
How growing up in the entertainment industry affects our perception of ourselves and the world 
Not feeling like your enough and looking outside for something to fill up the hole 
Moving into menopause 
What is family? 
Community and connection vs. isolation and dissonance 
Female friendships 
Personal integrity 

Exploration tools 

It's time to be honest and to stop avoiding the hard conversations, but that doesn't mean we can't explore them gently, with humor, and through an artful lens. Although I want to keep the production simple, I also want it to be artistically sound. 

Much of the storyline will be drawn from my own experience and the experiences of other actresses and women that I know. 
My initial visual concept is to create a very restrictive, isolated world. As our heroine's comfort within the GILF group increases, the frame will be less and less restrictive allowing in other perspectives and giving us all more space to breathe. 
The production design will follow suit moving from an empty, static world to a lusher, more vibrant world by the end. 
There will be a robust sound design/music component. 
The GILF support group ensemble will start with characters who look like age/gender/race stereotypes, but these will quickly break down into whole, vulnerable humans. 
The ensemble scenes lend themselves to having fun with a variety of movie tropes that can be turned on their ear. 

GILF History 

The GILF muse came for a visit about six months ago. I was texting with my friend and co-producer, Jenny Maguire. She had just finished an audition for her first "sexy grandma" role. We both laughed at the thought that we were now "grandma" material even though we are only in our late 40's. It was remarkable that she had been thrust from sexy ingenue to grandma in such a short time. We were laughing about what a sexy grandma is and how she had dressed for the audition. The term "GILF" came to mind. Within minutes I came up with the whole idea for the storyline and the acronym, "Grandmas In Loving Fellowship," for the 12-step recovery group. It became clear very quickly that this idea had teeth and that it could be commercially accessible but still retain its integrity. At that point, I started asking around for stories from "women of a certain age" to begin getting a sense of what kind of quirky but true stories could be included within the micro-world of the GILF ensemble. 

My process is usually such that if I can get some dedicated time all in one lump I can quickly crank out a whole screenplay, which can then be finessed and nuanced- or completely overhauled- as we move along through the process. Although GILF has been rolling around in my mind for months, I have only been able to sketch out bits and pieces. I have had little time and space to realize the whole screenplay. 

Which brings us to: how the funds will be used. 

$4000 to the writer, me. I would go into more detail here, but the fact that you created this grant tells me that you already know why I need it. 

So there you go folks!  Very exciting!  The grant makers will decide at the end of this month who will receive the four grants.  I am sure that hundreds of people have applied but my fingers are still crossed.  And you know me, I already have a plan b up my sleeve;) 

Be well! 


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