A girl in the throes of growing up keeps her secret diary on her cell in video. Here she shares all her feelings and worries about fall in love, growing up, having a best friend, moving to a new town, her parents fighting, hating her mother, her body changing and developing and more. She figures out a secret message to put into her locket to help her keep the best of herself for the future. In 45 seconds you will get the film of this 16 minute film which is going to Premiere on April 3rd at the Garden State Film Festival, between 3 and 5.
Growing up is tough. Us adults can still remember some of the pain, angst, frustration and often confusion. I know that I relied a lot on my parents to help me make it through. I remember in the Seventh Grade being so upset with older boys that swore in the hallways and older girls who wore lots of make-up to school. I was scared, fascinated but really confused. I remember coming home on a Friday and telling my parents that I wasn’t going back to school anymore. However, by Monday morning, there I was back on the bus, going to school. How did that happen? By my parents taking the time to listen to my upset and talking to me on and off all weekend. By Monday I realized that these kids were just being themselves, a couple of years older than me. I had nothing to worry about. I wasn’t in class with them, nor did I even need to talk to them. I was to go about my business in school and everything would be fine. Thanks to my parents, I was at peace again.
When I wrote The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Tween and then Secrets, Diary of a Gutsy Teen, I wanted to include as many of the subjects as I could think of where kids need to be listened to, understood and helped to process their lives. So when I started working on the film version, the same thoughts were in my mind. In this short scene from the rehearsal scenes of The Truth, a Short Film, the ‘Girl’ played by Cassidy Terracciano, shares her pain that her mom doesn’t concentrate on what she is saying. That is a real problem for the ‘Girl’ as she needs ANSWERS. Not all answers can just wait. Like when to wear a bra? When to have sex? When to smoke or why never to smoke? Time marches on and one way of another an answer will be found.
So if you have a child growing up in your home, remember to listen. That means not multi-tasking and not using technology. It also means not folding clothes sometimes or even paying bills. This may be hard at first to honor but you know in your heart it is the way to go.
When Jon Seiler, my editor, to ‘The Truth, a Short Film’ and I began to process how to bring the girl in the film closer emotionally to the viewer, we decided that she should be ‘involved’ with her phone. After all, aren’t kids as well as parents all involved with their phones? Don’t we check them numerous times a day to see if someone or something has attempted to connect to us? Don’t we use them as a back up for security or company if we are alone in a restaurant or diner? And don’t we also use them to record our lives in various ways, from pictures of our check before we send it, to a travelogue, to a diary of the events in our lives, to ways of connecting ourselves, sometimes with regret later, to all the social media sites?
So we decided that the ‘girl’ in ‘The Truth,a Short Film’ should be using her cell phone as a diary and perhaps as the platform to send her pain and pleasure messages out into the universe. Were will she send her diary entries? To whom does she wish to be connected? And most of all, as we watch the film, will her sense of pain and the issues surrounding her be made more real to the audience as she talks to her cell? You will decide.
Meanwhile, kids use cell phones all the time and in this little video if the mom bothers to listen to the long message from her daughter she will perhaps realize what her daughter is thinking about. And what she is thinking about is quite serious. All kids think serious thoughts and worry. We just have to allow enough time to listen, comfort, suggest, and share with them!
Why is it that the ‘Girl’ in The Truth, first known as The Truth, I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything, and now re-issued as The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Tween, can be acted by almost any girl between the ages of 8 and 17? Why can she be acted in the play version, ‘The Locket’ one moment by a girl of 9 and a few minutes later played by a girl of 15? The answer is simple, the ‘Girl’ in The Truth is not only #Almost 13, she is someone that we all have either been, are now or will be some day. If we are girls and/or women, we have to pass through many of the moods, feelings, opportunities and passages of life that she passes through.
All of us have had at one time a first crush, most have had to move, many have had siblings, many have had parents fighting, many have felt left out by friends or misunderstood by teachers, parents, others, many have been bullied or put down. I could go on and on. But the truth is, the ‘Girl’ is universal in spirit.
By the way, that is why I didn’t name her. If you wish her to have a name, name her! Maybe it will be your name or your daughter’s or a friend.
Of course, when it comes to going public in a film or a play, then choosing the right actress for a particular version of The Truth becomes relevant. When I decided to produce ‘The Truth, a Short Film’ I knew I wanted Cassidy Terracciano to be the star. I had seen her acting skills and I felt she would be perfect to capture a girl going on 13 in a short film.
However, on many other occasions, in some of the staged readings of ‘The Locket’ I want as many girls as possible to play the ‘Girl’. That’s what you see in the picture above.
Meet Sandie, a wonder woman of today! When Lin, myself and Sandie started to film Cassidy we were totally unfamiliar with some of the facets of making a film. I knew you need a script and I supplied that. That was easy for me as the ‘Girl’ in The Truth has been my baby for over 10 years now. She has come to life for me through three versions of my book, a play version and now a film version. Cassidy is already a great actress and Lin Pernille is a great photographer. And of course, Sandie is a great mom, bringing up 5 wonderful children. However, we didn’t know for example, anything about taking B roles of the shoots. Nor did we think ahead about Cassidy changing clothes for each scene, exactly how we would do that, etc. Also, we were not initially planning to do a Selfie version of the ‘Girl’s’ diary entries. Now we had to learn even more about filming when Jon Seiler, our editor came on board.
At every step of the way Sandie pitched in and helped us. She became the stage manager of the costume changes. She learned how to do B role footage. Basically, the film or films (there is so much footage that I hope to produce more than one film) could not have happened without Sandie. Thank you Sandie!!!
In today’s world of course, lots of kids, keep a diary. But something else has happened. Many are not only taking Selfie pictures but are also speaking up. Speaking up into their phones ‘the truth’ of the moment as they see it. Sometimes these words from the heart stay just on the phone or get deleted for something else. But sometimes, who knows what happens to them? What we do know is we have a new easy means to send our thoughts and feelings into the universe. But what we may forget, and certainly kids often don’t know the risks, these filmed Selfies may land not in the atmosphere but somewhere. And it is that somewhere that can be safe or dangerous.
The ‘Girl’ in The Truth, a Short Film, keeps her diary and at times speaks out, whether into her video camera or her phone. Maybe one of the most important messages she is really sharing with the public is how intense the feelings, emotions, and concerns are to kids as they are moving from childhood to adulthood. Us older folks forget a lot of the angst. We are way past our first crush, our early rages toward our parents, our fears if we have to change schools, our pain at a best friend no longer being one, or fear if there is a bully in our daily path, our frustration with an annoying sibling, our concern if our parent were fighting. But there are tons of kids, millions out there just beginning to experience all of the above and at times much more.
My hope is that the ‘Girl’ in The Truth, a Short Film and in the book The Truth, will be a beacon who not only helps kids feel stronger and more courageous as they undertake all the universal steps of growing up, but that she will remind parents, grandparents, teachers, neighbors, and all concerned with our children that indeed it does take a village to support and nourish and encourage a kid. We all have a role to play. If you are a parent, listen and advise with intelligence and sensitivity. And all the other players in a child’s life play by the golden rule, treat any child who crosses your path with the kindness, respect and helpfulness that hopefully you got growing up, or still at best what if you could go back and be a child again, you would have wanted for yourself.
You can’t make a film, even a short film without cameras. Lin came into my life about 8 years ago. She has helped me with everything from loading my own family photos onto my computer, to filming me talking to Girl Scouts to making trailers for me, to filming ‘The Locket’, the play version of The Truth. And now she has been filming The Truth, A Short Film. I love working with Lin. She is friendly, kind and considerate and does great work. Oh, I forgot, she has done head shots of me also. Lin now has her own photography business and focuses a lot of weddings. You can find her at:
When I wrote The Truth, I’m a Girl, I’m Smart</strong and I Know Everything I already had a mission as a teacher, psychologist and a woman. My mission was to create a story that was unique, yet totally universal in nature. Everyone has had a crush at some point in their lives and most of us have a first crush when we are young and vulnerable. Usually the feelings that we have, having the crush are not returned and eventually we leave our desires toward that person. The same is true of other themes that I made sure were in the book: Many of us move at least once growing up and suffer the pains and adjustments of moving to a new school, neighborhood, etc.; many of of us problems in our families whether they are financial or parents that don’t get along or illness, etc.; many of us have siblings that we would not have chosen who make like difficult, and I could go on and on.
In the spirit of the Universal Spirit of kids my work continues with the help of Cassidy Terracciano bringing to light at least 20 issues that most of us faced or will face. After all, we are human!
The Truth, I’m a Girl, I’m Smart and I Know Everything!
Long story short, that book and it’s newer version, expanded to cover even more issues, The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Tween, are the basis of my film AND the basis for other filming going on at this very moment about The Girl, played by other girls. That’s right! Up in the Boston area Pam Richard is filming girls playing ‘The Girl’ as part of their education. More to come in the next blog about the Boston Program and some of the other girls that have played ‘The Girl’ and even created dialogue for her, here, there and everywhere. Meanwhile, take a look at one of these students playing ‘The Girl’.
Making The Truth, A Short Film, is the most amazing experience. Think of it this way: A women entering or should I say having entered her wisdom years, who was teaching second and first graders who now are ???? years old themselves, finds that life has taken her from the classroom to the psychology treatment room to head space where authors sit up late at night writing their books, to becoming a playwrite and now, as if a magic wand has been circled around her head, she is producing an independent film she has written.
Does that sound exciting to you? It is certainly exciting to me, as I am that person. Where lots of my friends are playing golf or preparing to be a snow bird, I am looking at these 20 fabulous scenes, videotaped by Lin, acted by Cassidy, staging and costuming helped by Cassidy’s mom, filmed in my friend Kirsten’s Tea House, the White House on Monmouth Road in Oakhurst, and I am filled with the kind of rapture that only comes with creation and fulfillment of a life dream or project.
I’ll be telling you lots more in further blogs. In fact, we want to share the whole process with you as the film emerges and is sent into festivals around the country. This is too much fun and too important in terms of the messages embedded in The Truth about growing up and staying strong to keep it quiet!