Or- How I Spent My Summer Vacation
This summer I got to live a dream. Well two really. I, one, got to meet one of the few actresses I admired as a kid and I, two, got to work helping promote and market an independent film. To make the dream even more unbelievable, I got to work on a film directed and written BY the actress I admired as a kid!
For those unaware, that actress is Amy Jo Johnson and her film is called “The Space Between.” For those also unaware, my middle school years consisted of three main things; geeky TV, rhythmic gymnastics and wanting to be a film director. So, in essence, this summer was the embodiment of everything 11 year old me dreamed of.
GO ADULT ME!
Sincerely, 11 year old Danielle.
It all happened so simply. Joseph and I decided we needed to go to more conventions. Trying to save money, we focused on conventions closer to home. We found Fanboy Expo in Knoxville scheduled for the last weekend of June. We put it on our calendar and kept it in our mind. But then we saw who was attending; Amy Jo Johnson and Jason David Frank, the original pink and green power rangers. Now Joseph and I had talked for years about making power rangers costumes. We both loved the show as kids and admired the actors, but power ranger costumes are expensive and we always had a long list of other costumes that we were building or that others were expecting from us.
So here we are, given a local convention with our two favorite rangers and two people we had both grown to admire. Clearly, it was time to make some ranger costumes!
So we did. We sold a handful of old costumes and pieced together 3 new ones. A pink, green, and white Might Morphin Power Ranger.
I won’t go into all the stressful details of that adventure (and it was one hell of an adventure!) But when the time came, we were ready. We had just enough money for an autograph from both, a photo with both, and two tickets to Amy Jo’s movie, The Space Between. We had no idea that last $20 would lead to so much more!
We get to the convention and everything goes expectantly. We walk around in costume and get lots of love, taking photos with tiny humans and their admiring parents. We sit through an awesome, if far too short, panel and goof it up with Amy Jo Johnson and JDF in our group photo.
We window shop various vendor booths, and we make a ton of new Power Ranger friends along the way. I get my pink power ranger stand-up signed (which was a gag gift from a friend in high school) and walk away happy, expecting that to be the end.
And then Saturday night we go to see The Space Between. I’d secretly been waiting all weekend for this and, I didn’t realize it at the time, but THIS was what I was wanting from that convention. About 30 or 40 of us go into a small room off the side of the convention hallway, with just a projector, tiny stage, and laptop, and Amy Jo herself. We sit through about 90 minutes of awesomeness, a quick Q&A, and walk out knowing that what we just saw was amazing. We literally can’t stop talking about it, and Joseph immediately buys the soundtrack off iTunes.
We both agree that we need to see the movie again and anxiously await the moment when we can own it. I mention to Joseph that she’s bringing the film to Nashville for one night, due to a contest of some sort. A young girl named Connie Jones won and we should offer to help out. Maybe we could work a merch table, or help sell tickets!
(For the record, Connie (CJ), is an AMAZING young lady who is nothing but heart and sincerity. She is a truly loving friend and she deserved every ounce of “win” that she received. This was truly her event, we were never more than her happy happy minions 🙂 )
The next day we wait until Amy Jo’s line is empty and then run into it. Jessica, the producer of the film, asks us what we want signed and we say nothing. We just wanted to tell Amy Jo how much we loved her film, knew it was coming to Nashville, and wanted to help wherever possible. They said they’d love to have us help and to contact them with our information when we got back.
I’m pretty sure I was jumping around and doing a little happy dance as we walked away.
I had to fly to San Antonio later that day for a technology conference, but it was super hard to stay focused when I all I wanted to do was tell everyone I knew, met, or saw about The Space Between and how awesome it was!
It wasn’t until I got back to Nashville several days later that my summer changed completely.
About a week after the convention, I emailed The Space Between and reminded them that they’d met us in Knoxville, and we wanted to help out when they came to Nashville. Jessica emailed back and asked to meet up for a phone call later that week. (At this point I am so excited, I am pretty sure any spirits or insects in our house were giving me weird looks.) Mind you, I’m expecting to work a merch table, help with set up, or something similarly small.
Jessica tells me they need help finding sponsors, advertisers, and media. I also mention that we want to help the day of (which is originally what we were expecting) and she puts us down as volunteers. I immediately start looking into finding the above mentioned things, clue Joseph into her needs, and we start working together.
Not much time later, we attend another convention here in Nashville called ‘Heroes and Villains Fanfest.” It’s a predominantly DC comics oriented con, but we decide to change things up a bit and go as power rangers on Sunday. Near the end of the day, a young lady dressed as Eleven from Stranger Things catches up to us and mentions the movie. She introduces herself as Connie, the SuperHost for the movie showing coming to Nashville. She is the one I knew won the contest. I immediately told her YES! We did know about the movie and were helping out.
From this point, it was all a wild and crazy blur towards September. Several phones calls, emails, and Skpe calls later, I’m knee-deep into grassroots marketing for The Space Between and I am LOVING it! Joe starts working with Jessica on designing and making the Media Wall, and I keep hitting up businesses and shops for sponsorship. We are in talks with Connie (CJ) regularly, (accompanying her to the theater, discussing Q&A questions,) have expanded our movie contacts to include two other individuals working on promotion, and somehow get made Superhosts ourselves!
We’re promoting the hell out of this film, stressing over numbers, but staying overly excited the whole time. I’m talking coworkers into going, friends and family into going, and hoping and hoping the whole time that people realize that I’m not in this because of the director and writer (well not ONLY because of the director and writer) but because I really, TRULY believe this movie to be worth their time.
Finally the big day comes, we get to the theater, and I manage to contain my excitement. That excitement finally bubbled over when Amy Jo Johnson gave an impromptu concert after the evenings Q&A. I got to show a film I truly believe in to friends and family, and every one of them loved it. (As they should! It’s AMAZING!) When it’s all over, and we walk back to our car, I felt truly happy, and still a bit hyped with adrenalin and excitement. It all happened so fast, I can’t really put how thrilling the whole night was into words, but it is definitely a night I will never forget.
Now, several drafts and 2 weeks later, I can type out my account and tell you exactly what I did this summer.
This past summer I got to meet one of the nicest and most genuine celebrities I have had the pleasure of meeting who also happened to be one of the few actresses I truly admired as a kid.I got the privilege of helping promote and market a very heartfelt and witty film with a captivating story and memorable soundtrack, while making some long-lasting and true friends in the process. Finally, I got to sit down and listen to the pink power ranger give a private concert to myself, my husband, and my friends (new and old), and I enjoyed and treasured every minute of it.
So thank you to Amy Jo Johnson, Jessica Adams, CJ, and everyone else involved for letting Joseph and I peek into this awesome world for just a little bit. I felt like I was part of something bigger and important, with a film that had such a meaningful and touching influence. Thank you!
If you would like to watch The Space Between (which you should!) You can find out more info on how to download it HERE, at The Space Between website. Also check out the link HERE for more photos of our awesome Superhost night!