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I know this is only the second week of the Sturms and myself working together, but because I have been chipping away at ideas for months, a lot of progress has been made for just 2 weeks worth of work. I know that the bulk of you who follow along with this Production Blog, you are interested in the process and maybe get some inside information on the story. Well, I can't (or more accurately won't) divulge any secrets or hints at the story (you'll just have to wait like everyone else), but I can walk you through what the process is like to build a story like this.

I've worked with all kinds of content before. Stories made up from scratch, stories inspired by other existing content, Biblical stories that needed to come to life in script format, children's books that needed to be expanded into a full script, and now a Biopic piece where there is a full story sitting there, it just needs to be told in cinematic form.

The first step for this process is to get as familiar as possible with the story. In my case, I consumed each chapter of this book 3 times. I've also heard Lacey give her testimony several different times online. She's very passionate and consistent with her testimony. Then, I go through the book, page by page, and take notes on everything that I think would be interesting for the script and important to the story. The next step would be to have Lacey fill in the blanks on some events that didn't make it into the book. (I will add this - there are some gems that will be in the movie that are not in the book - so there's your little teaser). And then we need to go through all of the notes that I've taken, and carefully decide what is important and what is not important to include in the script, and then begin writing. Once the first draft is done, it then needs to be examined for places to cut it down to a reasonable length (if necessary), and also find out what parts are working and which ones are not. Then make the needed adjustments, and 4-6 versions later you should have a final script.

So where are we in the process? We are about 60% through the narrative of the story. And for only 2 weeks of work, that is great. In the next week or two, we should be done with this process and then cut it down to start writing on the script.

We are looking to do a press release this coming week, so stay tuned for that. I'll probably include a link here on the zoetifex Production Blog.

Until then...

Well, it looks like it's time to let the cat out of the bag. And this cat is more like a Lioness of Rock!

I just began working with Rock Icon Lacey Sturm (former lead singer of the band Flyleaf) to write a screenplay on her life's story that is based on her best-selling book "The Reason: How I Discovered a Life Worth Living" (2014 - Baker Books).

BACK STORY - August of 2018, I finished reading Lacey's Book and almost immediately got the notion that the story would make a fabulous movie. Mainly because I felt it could be a life-saving and life changing movie. So, much like my pursuit to work with Michael Garland on a few of his children's books, and my ability to get the gig to work with Geoff Tate on an animated feature film version of Queensrÿche’s Operation: Mindcrime, I set out to see what it would take to get to be the lucky one to write this story, and hopefully produce the movie as well.

During my investigation into trying to reach Lacey, I was shocked to learn a few things. First, after watching an interview with Lacey and her husband Josh, it was revealed that there might already be a movie in the works. I was devastated, but not deterred, so I continued with my task at hand. Next, I discovered that Lacey and Josh lived right here in Pittsburgh! What? I knew right then and there that God was working on something special.

Turns out they live here because this is where Josh grew up. But out of any place they could live, they live here. So to me, that just meant there was a greater chance of getting to talk with them face-to-face about this. But I still had some work to do to get there.

Through some connections (that you Chris Furr, thank you Cindy "Mothership" Blankenship), I was able to get to Lacey's manager, which lead to a great first conversation with him, which lead to a meeting with Lacey and Josh at a local Starbucks. During the conversation, I learned that several production companies had approached them to make this movie, and thankfully, they had not selected any of them to move forward. (So you're saying there's a chance).

I'll skip several months that go by as God was teaching me once again to be patient and wait on His timing for everything. And soon enough, we were signing a collaboration agreement to start the writing process.

Michael, Josh and Lacey - Januray, 2019
Michael, Josh & Lacey - Jan. 2019

DAY ONE - I finally got sit down with Lacey and her husband Josh to begin to work through the details of her story. For the first night, things were pretty productive. Like any story that I start, I first want to know more about "The Players". In this case, that would be those who influenced her most, including her family members. So we discussed those mentioned in the book and even those that were not very prominent. I also went over the process that will get me to writing the actual script.

After a few hours (and a few sidetracked conversations), we wrapped up the evening talking about the writing schedule and "what's next". I felt very comfortable swapping stories about how we grew up and how I could relate to some of the things she shared. We talked a little bit about how we wanted to portray certain life events from her perspective. There is obviously a lot of work to do on my end, but with Lacey's input, I'm very confident this will be a smooth process.

Collaboration sessions continue next week, but there's a lot to do in-between. But hopefully you'll come along for the ride and enjoy the journey with me. Of all of the stories I have had the privilege of writing, this may be the most important one yet!

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#Repost @michaelkadrie ・・・ All glory to God for entrusting me with such an awesome task! I want to thank Lacey Sturm (@ilovejoshsturm @officiallaceysturm), her husband Joshua Sturm (@joshualevisturm), and her manager JW Clarke (@beachbird) for this wonderful opportunity to collaborate with Lacey to write a script about her life’s story that is based on her best-selling book “The Reason: How I Discovered a Life Worth Living”. God has created such an amazing story with Lacey’s life and it needs to be shared with the world. Her book sold over 40k copies so that’s a really great head start. Praying this movie attracts millions of people to know her story and that it helps inspire a few of those people who might be able to relate to the events in her life. If you aren’t familiar with her story, please go to Amazon and buy the book now. There’s a link to the production blog in my bio which also includes a link to the book. In full disclosure, I make no commission on the sales of the book :) I also want to thank Chris Furr (@inshepherdsarms) and Cindy “Mothership” Blankenship (@cindblank) who helped me get the proper connections to get the ball rolling. You guys are awesome! #OurGodIsAnAwsomeGod #LifeScreams #thereason

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For any investors out there waiting to see if they will still be able to take advantage of the Federal Tax Code 181 your ship has just come in.

As reported in Law Journal Newsletters (LJN), thanks to the new Jobs Act, the tax code will cover any production where 70% of its budget is spent here in the US between September 27, 2017 and December 31, 2022. This is fantastic news for all of the entertainment industry.

In February, 2018, Congress amended Tax Code 181 to include productions performed through December 31, 2017. But thanks to the new Jobs Act, this extends the time period for 5 years initially (Congress is free to extend that provision at any time). But it also doesn't end in 2022. The Jobs Act states that it will depreciate over time. The rate declines 20% per year, that is, 80% of costs for a project put in service in 2023, 60% for a project placed in service in 2024, etc.

A better visual of this is laid out at TaxNews.

As more news about this great Tax Benefit is made known, we will do our best to update you on any information that is made public.

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